As it is the case with most of the big metropolises of the world, Budapest included, countless opportunities meet tourists’ demand and wish to shop in Budapest. However, one must always emphasize and acknowledge the high quality standards used in manufacturing most of the Hungarian products, all goods and services made available in Budapest being worth each and every penny, may it be a mere souvenir or an expensive gift.
Known as one of the proud national brands, Herend Porcelain products can be admired and bought from one of the Herend shops which is located in the very center of Budapest, in the Jozsef Nador Square, more precisely, on Andrassy Boulevard. Once inside, visitors will feel like admiring a decorative art exhibition, surrounded by tableware, gorgeous vases, hand painted sets awarded at many international exhibitions, some of them decorated with gold medals.
Herend porcelain products are famous not only for their high quality, but also for the motifs which embellish them.
The butterfly motif was created in reference to the name of Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901). The story goes at the Great exhibition organized in 1851 (held at Crystal Palace in London), Queen Victoria was the first to order and buy for the first time a porcelain tableware set which was hand painted with the butterfly motif.
The Rothschild motif (Rothschild Bird) with birds is one of which connoisseurs say it was first drawn in 1850 for the famed Rothschild family of Europe. This motif became later the symbol of porcelain painting.
Other different motifs of the 19th century render the story of Baroness Rothschild, who had lost her necklace in the garden of her residence in Vienna. Several days later, the necklace was found by the baroness’s gardener who had seen several birds playing with the necklace in a tree.
The Persian motif is related to the name of Empress Sissy of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
A short walk from Andrassy Boulevard there is the Vorosmarty Square, a historical square where one of the oldest and most famous coffee shops in Europe in located, a venue opened in the mid 19th century: the Gerbeaud Coffee Shop. Visited in particular by tourists, the coffee shop appeals not only by its impeccable services, but also by the richness and diversity of inner decorations which turn the venue into a small museum-like establishment.
Consisting of 3 shops and a café, the Gerbeaud Coffee Shop offers tourists, on top of all sorts of types of coffee and tea, a large variety of delicious traditional cakes made by old recipes, the most famous referring to the home specialty: ground nuts and jam spread between sponge cake layers topped with chocolate.
Other specialties can also be sampled here, such as: Gesztenye pure (chestnut pure with cream), Dobos torta, Oroszkrem torta, Eszterhazy torta, Sacher torta, as well as range of types of ice cream and strudel.
Similar to London who takes pride in featuring its Regent Street, or to Milan, the capital of fashion in Italy, Budapest boasts, it too, of a fashion street: Deak Ferenc street (the street which connects the Deak Square to the Vorosmarty Square). Connoisseurs anticipate Budapest will soon become what it used to be years ago, that is, the capital of fashion in Central Europe.
Just as on any other famous fashion street, shops on Deak Ferenc have been set up on the ground floor and on the first floor, being easily accessible to both the tourists and the local clients.
Filling a surface of approximately 1,200 square meters, the shops on Deak Ferenc street sell worldwide renowned famous brands.
The shops located on the Deak Ferenc street sell products signed by names like Roberto Cavalli, Gianfranco Ferre, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Roccobarocco, Tommy Hilfiger, Mexx, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, S. Oliver, Sisley, Karl Lagerfeld etc.
Some of the sportswear brands sold on the Fashion Street of Budapest need no further presentation: Puma, Nike, Adidas, Reebok etc.
The names of footwear designers represented on Deak Ferenc are some of the most renowned, such as Rodolfo Zengarini and Lloyd.
Tourists who want to ease their thirst or who are too hungry to carry on shopping can stop at Vapiano (a restaurant) or at Long (a bar).
Located in the very center of Budapest, lined with luxury hotels, dotted with tourist attractions, public state institutions and branch offices of the big international commercial brands, all in an excellent atmosphere exuding a unique historical and cultural dash, Fashion Street (the Deak Ferenc street) can be regarded as a new hub of European fashion.
Conecting the Vorosmarty Square to the Fovam Square, while crossing the center of Budapest, the Vaci Street (Vaci utca) describes a shopping area where plenty of shops selling famed clothing brands can be spotted, ranging from Levi’s and Zara to the renowned M&S (Marks & Spencer). It is precisely here that sundry perfumeries and jewel shops are located, next to the C&A store and even small boutiques.
Tourists should not hesitate to search out the other smaller streets which cross Vaci utca, since they can spot here countless boutiques, as well as lots of wine shops where the best Hungarian wines can be sampled.
Once on the Parizsi street, tourists have the opportunity to buy the famed Szamos marzipan, and they can also try the excellent ice cream made by the local confectioneries.
Similar to the increasing demand for shopping areas in the big metropolises, tradespeople have extended their businesses to the former vaults of Budapest, thus setting up three more shopping areas. For instance, therapeutic minerals are sold in a vault-shop located on the Feherhajo street. Just as well, on the Vaci street there is also a shopping area in a former vault where porcelain products, old furniture and children wear are sold.
Hoping the passion for shopping did not exhaust all their attention, tourists are advised to also take a look at the buildings in the center of the city, which were erected in part in the late 19th century. Thus, they can discover these edifices designed in a spectacular architectural style.
The Csok Gallery, located at the corner of the Pesti Barnabas street, sells and displays works of contemporary Hungarian artists, but it is also recommendable for people keen on antiques.
The Kigyo street has turned in time into a porcelain street: two shops selling Hungarian porcelain of exceptional quality are located in front of each other.
Crossed by the the Elisabeth Bridge, the Vaci street continues its route through a subterranean passage. Once in front of the so-called Downtown Auction House (Belvarosi Aukcioshaz), tourists can admire and buy the differently sized gems displayed at the window, gems which change every day. Located on 58, Vaci street, Folkart Center is the place visitors, in case they have not yet bought, purchase souvenirs and gifts able to call forth tourists’ stay in the capital of Hungary once they get home.
After crossing the Vaci street, tourists will reach to the Central Market Hall of Budapest (built in 1897), the largest and busiest covered market within the capital of Hungary, from where plenty of products and goods can be purchased. More than 100 years old, this market lures buyers with a large range of products: red pepper (paprika), bundles of garlic, fruit, sundry types of jam, or, from on first floor, visitors can search out plenty of florist’s shops, or pubs where they can sample Hungarian snacks, just to give a few examples of what the Big Market of Budapest can offer. On top of that, visitors can by traditional Hungarian products, such as the renowned Tokaji aszu, a sweet wine. Dubbsed "the wine of kings, the king of wines" (Vinum Regnum, Rex Vinorum) by Louis XV of France, Tokaji aszu has a specific taste from the sweet grapes previously dried in the sun.
Unicum is a sort of liquor which, by far, is the first on the top of alcoholic beverages. Specialists state it is one of the first four bitter drinks, by force of its bouquet, flavor and taste, but its secret refers to the aromatic plants of which it is made.
Palinka, which is produced both in Hungary and in Romania (more precisely, in Transylvania), but in Slovenia too, is a drink made of plums or peaches, the flavor of which being preserved by this liquor.
As far as traditional Hungarian products are concerned, tourists can sample the salami: Herz and Pick, for instance. Hungarian goose liver is delicious both canned and made in clay pots. Last but not least, the famed Hungarian goulash must also be mentioned.
Each day, from 10am the Fakanal restaurant, located on the Vamhaz boulevard, offers gastronomic lessons performed by skilled cuisine masters, where everyone can observe the making of traditional Hungarian culinary specialties (tasting is included). At the same time, an expert sommelier features and puts forward for sampling the most renowned wines brought from all the wine regions of Hungary.
Folkart Centrum is the largest folk art store in Hungary. From here, tourists can buy traditional handcrafted items, genuine traditional costumes, needlework products, homespun cloth, porcelain and ceramics, bone and wood sculptures, the famed painted eggs, as well as sundry other souvenirs of all the regions of Hungary.