Shopping in Budapest – the 33 stores you shouldn't miss

From flea markets to designer clothing labels and handmade shoe manufacturers, these are the best stores for shopping in Budapest.

The hip Garden Studio combines a designer clothing store and a cafe. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

Andrássy Avenue is where you can quickly shell out a fortune in stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Rolex. Big commercial chains like Zara and H&M and tourist-aimed folklore stores are located mostly along the busy Váci Street in downtown, Budapest’s version of La Rambla. In between, both price-wise and geographically, is Fashion Street a short pedestrian row with labels including Hugo Boss, Lacoste, and Massimo Dutti.

As in other cities globally, shopping malls have siphoned away customers from downtown. This is partly why, for example, the once truly grand Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút) appears so forlorn these days. If you’re curious about a Budapest mall, try WestEnd City Center, a gigantic commercial hub set along the Nyugati Railway Station.

Find below, in thematic order, some of my favorite specialty stores in Budapest. They’re scattered across different neighborhoods, but almost all are in or within walking distance of downtown.

ANTIQUES AND FLEA MARKETS

There are dozens of antique stores along Falk Miksa utca in Budapest. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
There are dozens of antique stores along Falk Miksa utca in Budapest. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#1 - Antique row on Falk Miksa Street (€30-10,000; location; usually 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-2 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): More than 35 antique stores line this leafy street near the Hungarian Parliament building. Although you can unearth some inexpensive bric-a-brac, most places here sell pricey silver tableware, porcelain sets, turn-of-the-century paintings, and art deco furniture. Keep an eye out for the magnificent design items of Zsolnay. My favorites stores include Pintér (#10), Artcore (#12), Antikvitás (#12), Pethő (#24), and Virág Judit Galéria (#30).


Herendi, an iconic brand in Hungary, sells hand-painted porcelain products. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Herendi, an iconic brand in Hungary, sells hand-painted porcelain products. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#2 - Herend Porcelain (€30-20,000; location; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-2 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Around since 1826, this hand-painted porcelain maker is one of Hungary’s iconic brands, counting Queen Victoria and the Rothschilds among its prominent clients. The prices of some of the elaborate vases and tea sets can be steep – the vase in the window retails for €50,000 – but wallet-friendly small gifts like figurines are also available.

Located about a half-hour bus ride from the city center, Ecseri is Budapest’s biggest and best-known antique flea market. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Located about a half-hour bus ride from the city center, Ecseri is Budapest’s biggest and best-known antique flea market. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#3 - Ecseri flea market (€20-1,000; location; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Fri, 6-3 on Saturday; 9-1 on Sunday): Budapest’s biggest and best-known antique flea market lies about a half-hour bus ride from the city center. As with other flea markets, the main draw here is the cast of eccentric characters. A word to the wise: go on a Saturday, and be sure to get there before 9 a.m. for the fullest experience.


Vendors hawk used flip phones, cheap clothing and shoes, and a sea of tchotchkes at the Bakancsos flea market. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Vendors hawk used flip phones, cheap clothing and shoes, and a sea of tchotchkes at the Bakancsos flea market. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#4 - Bakancsos flea market (€1-20; location; 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fri-Sun; closed otherwise): For a deeply local experience, journey out to this flea market on the outskirts of Budapest, about an hour from the city center by public transport. Mainly Roma vendors hawk used flip phones, shoes, clothes, and a sea of tchotchkes. Compared to Ecseri, this one is grungier and and customers have more room to negotiate. Here too, the action is on Saturday mornings.

The Klauzál market, open only on Sundays, offers a classic flea market experience. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
The Klauzál market, open only on Sundays, offers a classic flea market experience. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#5 - Klauzál flea market (Antik Placc) (€5-100; location; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, closed otherwise): For a mellower and more conveniently located flea market, you'll only need to trek to the historic Klauzál Market in Budapest's Jewish Quarter, near the city center. Here, you'll find the classic secondhand repertoire porcelain dishware, folk clothing, vintage cameras, used vinyl albums. Bargaining is allowed and expected. Open only on Sundays!

BOOKSTORES (with English-titles)

Írók Boltja is a legendary bookstore in Budapest with a small section of English titles too. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Írók Boltja is a legendary bookstore in Budapest with a small section of English titles too. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#6 - Írók Boltja (€7-20; location; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Fri, 11-7 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Since its opening in 1952, this snug bookstore has been an island of peace and quiet for local bookworms. The English-language books, located on the upper floor, feature translated works of Hungary’s leading writers, including Péter Nádas, Sándor Márai, and Péter Esterházy. (I hope they never remove the vintage sign above the entry door.)

Bestsellers is an English-language bookstore carrying many international magazines also. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Bestsellers is an English-language bookstore carrying many international magazines also. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#7 - Bestsellers (€10-30; location; 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mon-Fri, 11-6 on Saturday, 12-6 on Sunday): Situated in the heart of the city, Bestsellers is a dedicated English-language bookstore that’s especially popular among local expatriates. The array of international magazines (Vanity Fair, Wallpaper, The Economist, GQ, etc.) and extensive Budapest-related guide books can make a visit worthwhile.


Atlantisz is an English-language bookstore focused on Hungarian history, translated works of Hungarian writers, and art history. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Atlantisz is an English-language bookstore focused on Hungarian history, translated works of Hungarian writers, and art history. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#8 - Atlantisz Bookstore (€10-30; location; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-2 on Saturday, closed on Sunday): Atlantisz is a bookstore located on the downtown-end of Király Street with a mix of English and Hungarian-language titles. They’re strongest in (Hungarian) history, translated works of Hungarian writers, and art history. I’ve stumbled into many gems here.

Architecture buffs shouldn’t miss Budapest's Fuga, a downtown bookstore doubling as an exhibition gallery. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Architecture buffs shouldn’t miss Budapest's Fuga, a downtown bookstore doubling as an exhibition gallery. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#9 - FUGA - Budapest Center for Architecture (€7-20; location; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wed-Mon, 10-2 on Saturday; closed on Tuesday): Architecture buffs shouldn’t miss this downtown bookstore which doubles as an exhibition gallery. The front of the space is chock-full of architecture and Budapest-related guide books — with many English-language titles — while the rear and downstairs sections are dedicated to temporary exhibits. (Find here a list of the city's most interesting architecture.)


This dim café and English-language bookstore in Budapest's Jewish Quarter is a hallowed ground for brainy locals and tourists alike. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
This dim café and English-language bookstore in Budapest's Jewish Quarter is a hallowed ground for brainy locals and tourists alike. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#10 - Massolit Books & Cafe (€5-15; location; 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-7:30 on weekends): This dim café and English-language bookstore inside the Jewish Quarter is a hallowed ground for brainy locals and tourists alike. The book-lined interior eschews the usual trappings of contemporary coffee shops, instead featuring worn-out furniture and greenery. (My interview with owner Judit Pecák.)

SKINCARE & PERFUMERY

The Omorovicza skincare line's flagship location on Budapest's Andrássy Avenue. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
The Omorovicza skincare line's flagship location on Budapest's Andrássy Avenue. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#11 - Omorovicza (€60-225; location; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-6 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): This premium skincare line harnesses the supposed healing powers of Budapest’s mineral-rich thermal waters. The brand has conquered half the world since their launch in 2006, but their flagship store, also offering face massages and mud masks, is right here in Budapest.

DESIGNER CLOTHING

Nanushka’s easy-to-wear pieces comprise updated takes on trendy fashion. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Nanushka’s easy-to-wear pieces comprise updated takes on trendy fashion. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#12 - Nanushka (€80-2,000; location; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Sat, 12-6 on Sunday): This swanky downtown store is the flagship location of Nanushka, Budapest’s leading women’s fashion label. Nanushka’s easy-to-wear cosmopolitan pieces comprise updated and pricey takes on trendy fashion. If you need an energy boost, order a shot of espresso from the specialty café inside the store.


Nubu is a high-end designer store on Andrássy Avenue featuring modern takes on classic women's clothing. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Nubu is a high-end designer store on Andrássy Avenue featuring modern takes on classic women's clothing. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#13 - Nubu Zen Store (€150-3,000; location; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11-6 on Sunday): This high-end designer store by founder Judit Garam and co-designer Adél Kovács is located on the upscale Andrássy Avenue. The clothes are made from natural materials such as silk and cotton and linen blends using lots of white, black, pale pink, and pale beige. There's some ruffle and lace and flirtatous lines, but these are modern classics that will last a lifetime.


The hip Garden Studio combines a designer clothing store and a cafe. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
The hip Garden Studio combines a designer clothing store and a cafe. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#14 - The Garden Studio & Cafe (€50-300; location; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tue-Sun; closed on Monday): Hidden on a winding backstreet parallel to Andrássy, this contemporary fashion store doubles as a hip breakfast restaurant and specialty café. Bright colors, playful prints, clean lines, geometric patterns the clothes are fun and trendy.


Margot is a downtown designer store focused on Anna Daubner's effortlessly quirky and fun clothes. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Margot is a downtown designer store focused on Anna Daubner's effortlessly quirky and fun clothes. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#15 - Margot (€50-300; location; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tue-Sat; closed on Sun-Mon): This downtown designer store specializes in Anna Daubner's effortlessly quirky clothes. The Agatha Christie-inspired fashion line is fun; those with the confidence to pull off the bold prints and color palette will shine. There's also beautifully crafted jewelry and pastel-colored hats that feel authentic and coherent.

Insta

VINTAGE CLOTHING AND THRIFT SHOPS

Tucked away on a cool part of District 8 near Mikszáth tér, Typo is a high-end second-hand store. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Tucked away on a cool part of District 8 near Mikszáth tér, Typo is a high-end second-hand store. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#16 - Typo Showroom (€30-300; location; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Sat, closed on Sunday): Tucked away on a cool part of District 8 near Mikszáth tér, Typo is a high-end second-hand store. The clothes are in very good condition and range from casual chic to formal, from fast fashion to designer labels such as Burberry, Lanvin, and Isabel Marant. Both men and women can find treasures here.


If aged denim jackets, worn-in plaid flannel shirts, and quirky tweed jackets are your design choices, head to Retrock in Budapest. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
If aged denim jackets, worn-in plaid flannel shirts, and quirky tweed jackets are your design choices, head to Retrock in Budapest. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#17 - Retrock (€30-100; location; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11-8 on Sunday): If aged denim jackets, worn-in plaid flannel shirts, and quirky tweed jackets are your design choices, be sure to head to Retrock, the mecca for vintage clothes in Budapest. Besides second-hand retro items, they also have a colorful collection of rugged sweaters and imported bags from Ecuador.


Ludovika specializes in cute and approachable throwback items. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Ludovika specializes in cute and approachable throwback items. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#18 - Ludovika (€20-€60; location; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, 12-6 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Ludovika is a tiny store in the Jewish Quarter specializing in cute and approachable throwback items. Highlights include the blouses adorned with Hungarian folk motifs, bohemian denim dresses, and a motley array of bracelets and silk scarfs (check out the upstairs, too).


Local fashion-insiders will tell you to head to Jajcica for a true-to-Budapest vintage shopping experience. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Local fashion-insiders will tell you to head to Jajcica for a true-to-Budapest vintage shopping experience. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#19 - Jajcica (€5-€60; location; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-2 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Local fashion-insiders will tell you to head to Jajcica for a true-to-Budapest vintage shopping experience. Whether you're into a chic 1930s look or heavy metal fashion, this labyrinthine store offers something for everyone. They're especially well stocked with second-hand Levi's jeans, shoes of all kinds, and Hawaii shirts. Being located a bit outside the city center means that prices are friendlier.


Szputnyik sells both second-hand retro items and popular global brands such as Toms and Kanken. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Szputnyik sells both second-hand retro items and popular global brands such as Toms and Kanken. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#20 - Szputnyik (€20-100; location; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Sat, 10-6 on Sunday): If you haven’t found what you were looking for, give Szputnyik a chance. It's yet another vintage store inside the Jewish Quarter, but apart from retro items, they also carry popular global brands like Toms shoes and Kanken backpacks – a true hipster paradise.

DESIGNER ACCESSORIES

Mono Art & Design features designer products ranging from ceramics to jewelry and notebooks. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Mono Art & Design features designer products ranging from ceramics to jewelry and notebooks. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#21 - MONO art & design (€10-€100; location; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-8 on Saturday; 11-6 on Sunday): It’s easy to spend more time and money than initially planned at this downtown store bursting with local designer products ranging from cool ceramics to jewelry and notebooks. Keep an eye out for Agneskovacs bags, PomPom’s natural skincare products, and Nubu’s clothes.


Printa marries a designer store and an artist’s studio in Budapest's Jewish Quarter. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Printa marries a designer store and an artist’s studio in Budapest's Jewish Quarter. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#22 - Printa design shop (€20-€150; location; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Sat; closed on Sunday): This lively concept store inside the Jewish Quarter marries a designer store and an artist’s studio. Peruse screen-printed drawings, posters, T-shirts, and Budapest-inspired gift items made by Hungarian artists, then round out your visit with a cup of coffee next door at Blue Bird.


Rododendron sells prints and posters made by Hungarian artists. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Rododendron sells prints and posters made by Hungarian artists. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#23 - Rododendron (€20-€40; location; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-5 on Saturday; 11-3 on Sunday): This lovely design store hidden on a quiet downtown backstreet sells prints and posters made by Hungarian artists. My favorites include Anna Holló’s poignant cartoons and Marcus Goldson’s colorful Budapest characters. You’ll also find notebooks, postcards, jewelry, and some clothes here.

SPECIALTY STORES

Vass Shoes in Budapest is a pilgrimage destination for shoe-fanatics from around the world. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Vass Shoes in Budapest is a pilgrimage destination for shoe-fanatics from around the world. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#24 - Vass shoes (€500-1,800; location; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-4 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): This upscale men’s shoe store is nothing short of a pilgrimage site for shoe-fanatics, young and old: Vass’ handmade suede loafers, high-polished oxfords, and classic derbys are considered to be among the top globally. They keep an inventory of all the models in-store, but customers can also order a bespoke pair.


Krisztina Kovács, the curator of Budapest's Várfok Gallery, describes a painting. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Krisztina Kovács, the curator of Budapest's Várfok Gallery, describes a painting. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#25 - Várfok Art Gallery (€1,000-50,000; location; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tue-Sat; closed Sun-Mon): One of Budapest's leading art galleries represents a cross-generational set of more than twenty local and international artists, including photographer Péter KornissFrancoise Gilot (Picasso's partner for ten years), and Endre Rozsda. The more experimental works, often made by younger artists, are across the street in their Project Room. You can conveniently drop in here after exploring the nearby Old City. For more Budapest art galleries, proceed this way.


Bortársaság, part of a national wine store chain, sells a wide range of local bottles. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Bortársaság, part of a national wine store chain, sells a wide range of local bottles. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#26 - Bortársaság wine store (€8-150; location; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-7 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Most people have heard of Hungary's famous Tokaj wines, but other wine regions like Somló, Eger, and Sopron have remained under the radar internationally. This wine store, part of a national chain, sells a wide range of local bottles. When in doubt, ask the informed and helpful staff. Here, you can learn about Hungarian wines.


Veritas wine store carries some treasured bottles, such as Disznókő’s five and six-puttony Tokaji aszús. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Veritas wine store carries some treasured bottles, such as Disznókő’s five and six-puttony Tokaji aszús. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#27 - Veritas wine store (€8-150; location; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-6 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): While Bortársaság, above, has more locations, Veritas wine store carries some treasured bottles, such as Disznókő’s five and six-puttony Tokaj aszús and the white wines of Mihály Figula, the king of the Balaton region. Their store is located in the old Jewish Quarter, so you can swing by once already there.


Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé occupies the ground floor of the Parisi Udvar Hotel. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé occupies the ground floor of the Parisi Udvar Hotel. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#28 - Rózsavölgyi Chocolate (€7-30; location; 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mon-Fri, 12-6 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Budapest is hardly known as a chocolate capital, but this family-run local chocolate maker produces some world-class varieties. They import single-origin cocoa beans directly from farms in Venezuela, Peru, Tanzania, and Madagascar, and process them in-house to let the natural flavors shine through. Dark, milk, and flavored kinds are all available.


Wave record store has been the hangout for fans of Hungarian alternative music since the 1990s. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Wave record store has been the hangout for fans of Hungarian alternative music since the 1990s. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#29 - Wave record store (€8-30; location; 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mon-Fri, 11-5 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): Wave is more than a record store – it’s been the hangout for fans of Hungarian alternative music since the 1990s. They’ve lived through all cycles: from vinyl to tape and then CD, and survived even when nobody wanted to pay for music. With current releases from all genres, especially Hungarian folk, jazz, and beat-selections, almost anyone can find treasures here. (Here's the full list of Budapest's top record stores.)


Vinylize produces high-end eyewear made from handmade recycled vinyl records. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Vinylize produces high-end eyewear made from handmade recycled vinyl records. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#30 - Tipton Eyeworks (€280-450; location; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10-3 on Saturday; closed on Sunday): What do Elton John, Quentin Tarantino, and Robbie Williams have in common? The unlikely answer is they all own Vinylize glasses, frames made of recycled vinyl records by local designer brand Tipton Eyeworks. Their downtown showroom sells hundreds of prescription- and sunglass-ready vinyl frames, and here you can also get a glimpse of the meticulous production process.


The Budapest Poster Gallery is packed with treasures dating back to different eras. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
The Budapest Poster Gallery is packed with treasures dating back to different eras. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#31 - Budapest Poster Gallery (€150-20,000; location; by appointment only: [email protected] or +3630 662 7274): With more than 2,500 original Hungarian vintage posters, this gallery is a treasure trove of graphic art. The collection includes Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Socialist Modern pieces made by prominent local artists. It's an appointment-only gallery, so try perusing their online catalogue before you go, an experience in itself.


Kaczián Ties is a true gem just off Budapest's tourist-heavy Váci Street. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
Kaczián Ties is a true gem just off Budapest's tourist-heavy Váci Street. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#32 - Kaczián Ties (€30-100; location; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Sat; closed on Sunday): A true gem just off the tourist-heavy Váci Street. This tiny, old-school store is a paradise of handmade ties, bow ties, pocket squares, and scarves. The Kaczián family has been in charge since the opening in 1957 (the production floor is on the upstairs). Wide assortment, reasonable prices, adorable spirit.


The wonderful 1001 Kefe Brush Store is the type of family owned operation that benefits from your support. Photo: Tas Tóbiás
The wonderful 1001 Kefe Brush Store is the type of family owned operation that benefits from your support. Photo: Tas Tóbiás

#33 - 1001 Kefe Brush Store (€10-30; location; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri; closed on the weekend): 1001 Kefe is a family-owned specialty brush store in Budapest's District 7 selling an impressive range of brushes. Whether you'd like to clean jars and bottles, dust off vegetables and mushrooms, tidy up your beard or stache, polish your shoes, scratch your back, they'll have something for you. All brushes are made from natural materials, no plastic bristles here. The family-owned store is appealingly old-school and the type of establishment that benefits from your support.

My content is free and independent. I never accept money in exchange for coverage. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider supporting me by making a one-time payment (PayPal, Venmo).