Shopping in Hungary, Hungary Malls, Shopping - Allo' Expat Hungary
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Tue | 09:47AM

Shopping in Hungary

In Hungary, traditional purchases include embroideries, Herend and Zsolnay porcelain, wooden toys and national dolls. Hungary is a good place to buy caviar, foie gras and Hungarian wines and spirits. Imported brand-name clothing and electronic goods in Hungary tend to be overpriced. On the other hand, flowers and wine are a bargain.

Absinthe is available for purchase at common liquor stores, a must-have purchase for the European traveller. Many brands available in the Great Market Hall (Budapest) and liquor stores are of poor quality (or not even "real" Absinthe).

Shopping hours for most stores are generally Monday to Friday 10 am-6 or 7 pm, and Saturday 10 am-1 pm. Shopping centres have longer hours and are open Monday to Saturday 10 am-8 pm; some are also open on Sundays. Food shops are open Monday to Friday 7 am-6 pm, and Saturday 7 am-1 pm.


Budapest has become a metropolitan shopping city. At one time, the streets were cluttered with store after store of small unappealing shops and boutiques with window displays that looked like someone's junk closet; everything was tossed in without order or separation. The offerings were a scanty selection of goods and often, they were all behind a counter where no customer dares to tread. You were at the mercy of the sales clerk to decide whether or not you were worthy of examining the goods. But today, local Budapest shoppers and tourists alike have the opportunity to actually touch the goods before making a decision. The crowds still flock to the ever-growing number of gigantic malls and shopping centres for comparison shopping.

You can browse in tiny shops or spend hours in shopping centres in several places in the city. There are several huge shopping malls in Budapest; the biggest are the West End City Centre, situated between Nyugati and Lehel Tér in Pest and the Arena Plaza, near the Keleti Railway Station.

Two elements of the Budapest shopping experience that really should not be missed out on are a visit to one of the market halls and a trip out to the Ecseri Flea Market. But then there is also much to be discovered by taking a walk down Falk Miksa Útca. This street, like certain areas in Paris and Rome, has become a centre for antique shops.

Andrássy Útca offers a wide-variety of luxury shops. Together with the adjacent Liszt Ferenc Tér and Nagymezo Útca, Andrássy Útca is where evenings comes alive, with numerous cafés and restaurants. Váci Útca is a pedestrian street between the Vörösmarty Tér and Ferenciek Tér; and it is one of the most popular shopping streets in the city centre. The biggest luxury brands opened stores here and in the Andrássy Útca. Váci Útca is historically the most expensive part of the city. You'll find Hungarian linens and lace, pottery, and other items, in souvenir shops.

Another bustling shopping street is Pest's Kossuth Lajos Útca, off the Erzsébet Bridge, and its continuation, Rákóczi Útca, which extends all the way out to Keleti Railway Station. Király Útca has gentrified and is becoming known for its small boutiques of home décor. In Buda, Hungarian crowds visit the shops at Fehérvári Útca, the end of the number four tram line.

Another popular shopping area for travellers is the Castle District in Buda, with its abundance of overpriced folk-art boutiques and art galleries. This is where tour buses drop off travellers with minimal time to shop, thus forcing them into unwise choices. A healthy selection of Hungarian wines and wine tasting from historical local viticulture regions can be found in the intimate labyrinthine cellar of the House of Hungarian Wines.

You definitely want to visit the Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) at Fővám Tér, which was recently renovated. Prices for the same items vary a lot between sellers and aren't set in stone so be sure to compare and bargain.

Transylvania was once part of Hungary before the Trianon Treaty of World War I. Most of the residents in the area are ethnic Hungarians. These women come to Budapest with bags full of handmade craftwork selling their goods to Hungarians and tourists alike. Keep your eyes open for these vendors, who sell their goods on the street or in the metro plazas. They are unmistakable in their characteristic black boots and dark-red skirts, with red or white kerchiefs tied around their heads. Their prices are generally quite reasonable, and bargaining is customary. If they spot the police, they may disappear fast, but often return when the coast is clear again.

For electronics, the cheap supermarkets like Electro World and Media Markt are good targets, but the quality is on par with the prices.