Special products of Hungary
Unique traditional folk art items: ceramics, embroideries, painted eggs, dolls in folk costume, hand-painted Herend and Zsolnay porcelain, crystal and Halas lace.
Food: red paprika in gift boxes, goose liver, Pick salami*.
Spirits: apricot and plum brandy, Unicum liqueur, Tokaj and other famous regional wines.
This is the famous stuff ... Pick and Herz are among Hungary's most famous exports. Quality is legendary. If you are not as lucky as I am to buy them in the supermarket across my street (in Germany!), sample some of the produce in one of the Budapest shops.
What to buy: Salami Snacks
Magyar Futbol-Sport Uzlet is a football shop located on Vaci utca. It has all kinds of jerseys, scarves, flags, and accessories of teams from all over the world, and most Hungarian teams that are hard to find outside of Hungary. Prices are very reasonable. This is a great place for a gift for someone who loves sports. The owner is also very friendly - we ended up talking football for over a half hour.
On my second full day in Budapest I had decided to have a "walkabout" day - this meant getting down for breakfast at 8 am (which for me is still the middle of the night!) and then just following my feet to see where I ended up. That was the theory!
Stepping outside the hotel door I discovered that I must have caught the Budapest monsoon season. In order to continue with the game plan I needed an umberella: like now! Thinking about my local environs I was sure that there was a small market arcade not too far away, on the main road, the Bajcsy Zsilinszky utca, which should have someone selling umbrellas.
Yep! there she was - a little old lady with a trestle table loaded with umbrellas. Using my international "point, smile, thumbs-up" language I duly purchased the required brolly for 1000 forints. Job done!
A couple of days later the rain had given up and the sun taken over. By mid-morning it was shirt sleeve weather. I just happened to be passing the little market arcade, and there she was, the same little old lady, with the same old trestle table but this time loaded high with SUNGLASSES!!
This is a time where I did wish I could have taken a couple of "before and after" photographs.
This market is in very nice building, structures inside are from iron and outside – neo - gothic style. Market Hall was built in 1896 in the end of Vaci street (Vaci utsa). The building and the goods that are inside are worth visiting, it has become popular shopping place for visitors. There we tried some Hungarian wine too – wine named Tokaji.
What to buy: There are lot of goods people need - from food to souvenirs, books and so on.
As with any other tourist-orientated city you'll find plenty of places here to buy your souvenirs.
Personally the only souvenirs I used to buy would be a couple of bottles of the local hooch but because I usually travel with only hand-lugggage the present liquids rules preclude that and so most of my momentos are those I've downloaded from my camera onto my laptop plus those etched into my personal memory bank.
If you do want physical reminders, or gifts, from your visit then I'd avoid the obvious tourist trap places such as Buda Castle, the Gerbeaud giftshop and others of their ilk. Some of the stuff on the upper floor of the Great Market looked interesting (and because there's a whole clutch of places competing against each other seemed reasonably priced).
The best places though, in my opinion, (although I don't put my money where my mouth is) are those such as the gift shops at the museums, the Opera House and those sort of places where the extra bit of income gained from the sales is ploughed back into the general upkeep of the attraction.
Me - I'm a total skinflint these days - I just come home with a few restaurant bills and public transport tickets stuffed my wallet as the physical proof of my visit.
Just an excuse to use these couple of pics and the advice is obviously geriatric - or do I mean generic?
From the outside this is a pretty impressive building with its tiled roofs, elaborate brickwork, arched entrances and upper-storey windowed-frontage. However even more impressive are the array of aromas that strike you immediately you enter through the rubberised curtains.
The market was built towards the end of the 19th century, along with several smaller ones, to provide a more hygienic alternative to the outdoor street markets for the supply of fresh provisions to the local populace. At the turn of the century this was Europe's most modern market with state-of-the-art refrigeration and lighting but during World War II the hall was severely damaged and the subsequent repairs shoddy and not in keeping with the original magnificence. In 1991 the market was closed due to its, by then, unstable condition and it wasn't until the mid 90's that its restoration was completed.
Nowadays this is once again a thriving market, popular with both locals and visitors, and wandering it makes for an excellent rainy day thing to do, especially for us foodies. If you're lucky you might even catch an opera performance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-QGUnQUrI8
What to buy: The ground floor is the main produce market and the mouth-watering smells come from the paprika stalls, the ham and sausage merchants and even the fresh fruit and vegetables add their own scents to the cacophony. The basement level has a supermarket and the fish and the game stalls whilst the first floor is mainly arts, crafts and souvenirs but also has snack food stalls and even a couple of bars.
What to pay: By all accounts this is one of the cheaper places to shop but follow the locals buying habits rather than be tempted by the decoratively-presented stuff which is purely aimed at us tourists.
My experiences's (multi-plural) of Hungarian wines have left me wishing I could speak Hungarian and that I could set up a Hungarian wine import business to the UK.
Whilst the Tokaji grabs the headlines it's the reds that I love. Unlike France I've never had a glass of naff wine here in Budapest - I've had a few expensive ones (a superb Merlot almost caused a heart attack in an off-licence @ 3600 HUF !!) and a load of cheapos (1500 or maybe less if you know the right shops) but everything I've drank has been top-whack.
OK everything I drink whacks the top but as to this little shop just pop in and examine, savour the atmosphere and get the sales spiel. Unfortunately on my visit it wasn't tourist time and there weren't any bottles opened for tasting.
I don't reckon the locals buy here but it IS a NICE shop ;)
I note that VT doesn't have a "Tobacconists" on its list of types of shop but hey that's OK - we don't all smoke.
Here in Budapest you'll find shops to suit every taste and budget. There's the upmarket stores for the fashionistas and the downmarket little corner shops for those that need their daily bread.
Me I was impressed with this one - the Cigar Tower. I didn't actually buy anything but I liked the aromas. They don't stock my poison of choice, Gauloises rolling tobacco, but the helpful assistant offered to order some for me if I was going to be here for a couple of days.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom)
was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government
of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies,
lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956.
In the immediate aftermath, many thousands of Hungarians
were arrested. Eventually, 26,000 of these were brought
before the Hungarian courts, 22,000 were sentenced,
13,000 imprisoned, and several hundred executed.
Hundreds were also deported to the Soviet Union,
many without evidence.
Approximately 200,000 fled Hungary as refugees.
What to buy: On October 23rd Nothing as everything is closed except
for a few 24 hr grocery shops.