Budapest is the capital of Hungary and has much to offer to the curious traveller. With the wide Danube, which winds through the centre of the city, travellers get to enjoy stunning skyline views, as well as the gorgeous architecture that lines the Buda and the Pest sides of the river. Some of the best attractions in Europe reside in Budapest.
If you are done with sightseeing, then maybe you can spend some time buying some of the souvenirs which are typically found in Budapest. Travellers looking to shop in Budapest can find plenty of options with good bargains. The number of shops and malls in the city have increased over the last few decades. Travellers get a choice to shop from glitzy shopping malls, stores on shopping streets, as well as boutiques. If you are not sure of what to buy in Budapest, continue reading below. Here, you will find a list of 10 top things which are unique and found in Budapest, specifically.
1. Handcrafted porcelain
If you did not already know, Hungary is almost synonymous with porcelain. Hungarian porcelain is famous and could just be the perfect item to bring back as a remembrance of your epic trip to Budapest. The most famous brand of porcelain found in Hungary is Herend. Walk along the streets of Budapest and you’ll find several stores with deals on exquisite plates, figurines, ornaments and more.
Founded in 1826, Herend porcelain products have been showcased all over the world. Handpainted porcelain jewellery is also widely available in the city and comes in traditional patterns bearing modern designs. Many types of porcelain jewellery, like rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets can be found.
Where to buy: Herend porcelain
Cost: From 75 USD up
2. Painted eggs
These painted eggs are a staple in all gift and souvenir shops around Budapest. Particularly popular during Easter, these eggs make a great year-round gift. In ancient times, Hungarian men would visit their loved ones on Easter Monday and sprinkle water on them. In return, the female lovers would gift these men with a handpainted egg. These Hungarian painted eggs are available in a wide range of designs and colours that range from animals to flowers and even religious symbols.
Where to buy: Craft market on Castle Hill and every shop on Vaci Street
Cost: From 10 USD
3. Tokaji wine
Ancient history has it that every year for Queen Victoria’s birthday, Emperor Franz Josef would gift her a bottle of Tokaji wine for every month that she has been alive. Tokaji originates in the Tokaj region of Hungary, which is about two hours away from Budapest. Thanks to the good flavour of this wine, the fame of Tokaji has spread beyond Tokaj to the rest of the country and other parts of the world. This wine is usually sweet, although dry ones are also available. Tokaji wine is a perfect gift to take home for your friends and family.
Where to buy: Bacchus Borkereskedes liquor store
Cost: From 8 USD
4. Savour some Kurtos Kalacs
Come and try this typical Hungarian pastry, known as Kurtos Kalacs. It used to be a star attraction during winter festivals but is now commonly available in Budapest throughout the year. In English, this cake is popularly known as ‘chimney cake’ and there are many variations. For instance, some are sold with an ice cream filling, while some others have sausages stuffed inside. Visit Budapest during Christmas and the air around the Christmas markets will have the familiar smell of classic Kurtos Kalacs.
Where to buy: Several eateries, like Street Cakes and Hoppácska
Cost: About 2 USD
5. Mangalica salami
A trip to Budapest is never complete without trying out its local delicacies. One such delicacy is Mangalica salami. Made from the Hungarian Mangalica pig, this salami is a cured sausage usually flavoured with local spices, like Hungarian paprika. This is one authentic Hungarian snack that the whole country is proud of. The Mangalica pig is a prized animal in Hungary and its meat is sought after because of its flavourful fattiness. The taste of Mangalica pork is supposedly bolder than other pork products, whilst being tender and juicy. Try this famed salami when in Budapest.
Where to buy: The Great Market Hall
Cost: From 7 USD
6. Hungarian paprika
This is an inexpensive and easy-to-find souvenir which also locally produced. Hungarian paprika is the country’s culinary pride and is regarded as a national spice, widely used in Hungarian cuisine. There are several varieties of Hungarian paprika, from sweet and mild to hot. Typical Hungarian dishes that make use of this famous paprika are various types of stews, such as beef, chicken and pork.
Other delicacies include paprikás krumpli, which is a potato stew with sausages and papriká gomba, a mushroom stew. If you are baffled by the number of paprika varieties in the market, the safest options to go for are Szeged or Kalocsa paprika.
Where to buy: Central market
Cost: From 2 USD for a tube of paprika paste
7. Sweet treats from Szamos
Looking to tuck into some traditional Hungarian desserts or even contemplating carrying some back home? Then you are in for a treat! Visit Szamos and enjoy desserts, such as marzipans, chocolates and pastries. Szamos is a Budapest institution and a perfect stop for those looking to indulge in traditional Hungarian cakes and sweets. They have several outlets in Budapest and two of their most popular cakes need to be tried if you are in the area. These are the Esterhazy cake that comes with a white frosting, walnuts, orange liquor and fondant and their chocolate-hazelnut cake
Sweet treats from Szamos
Where to buy: Szamos Cafés around the city
Cost: From 1 USD
8. Matyó embroidery
Bring home a piece of Hungarian culture with you by buying a piece of Matyó embroidery. Matyó embroidery is famous and identifiable by its colourful and heavily-patterned designs. The predominant design includes red leaves and flowers and it originates from the old ladies in the village of Tard, passed down from generation to generation. In order to appeal to the younger generation, a wide range of fashionable colours have been introduced.
Many souvenir stores around Budapest carry products bearing Matyó embroidery. Enjoy the look on the face of your friends and family when you present them with products bearing this traditional work of art.
Where to buy: The Great Market Hall
Cost: From 20 USD
Pálinka is a Hungarian fruit brandy which has a relatively high alcohol content. This beverage is well appreciated for its potency, gorgeous flavour and nice fragrance. Pálinka is almost like a national beverage and is easily available throughout Hungary. This drink can also be sampled and ordered at restaurants. The drink’s history goes back hundreds of years and is made from sun-ripened fruit, such as plums, apricots and cherries.
Served at room temperature, the drink is typically served in a small, tulip-shaped glass. Palinka makes for a great gift because of its elegantly shaped bottles, either tall or round.
Where to buy: Pálinka Shop, House of the Hungarian Pálinka (Magyar Pálinka Háza), Absolut Pálinka
Cost: From 9 USD
10. Sip some Unicum
Unicum is Hungary’s famous alcohol, which is usually consumed as an aperitif. This is a bitter, dark-coloured liquor which is easily found around Budapest. This drink is said to have been invented by Jozsef Zwack, royal physician to the Habsburg Emperor. There is a longstanding history of this drink and is made with a blend of over 40 herbs that is a secret formula, protected by the Zwack family.
Where to buy: Zwack Museum & Flagship Store
Cost: From 9 USD for 0.5 litres
Splurge in Budapest
These are 10 of the top things worth buying in the beautiful city of Budapest. Come and explore what the city has to offer and enjoy!
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