It’s quite simple to get lost in the immense beauty of a city when one spends a short holiday there and selecting the perfect Budapest souvenirs can be quite a hassle on the last few hours of a trip.
We’ve compiled our list of the greatest Budapest souvenirs and gift items so you can spend more time looking for experiences in the city.
Whether you need something to remind you of your holiday or plan to share your adventures with someone in tactile form, we have collected some of the most Hungarian items you can get your hands on in the shops of Budapest.
Perhaps the most well-known and prevalent spice used in Hungarian gastronomy is the hot (or sweet) and spicy red powder known as paprika. Brought over by the Turks in the 16th century, locals use the spice for several of their traditional meals but it also works wonders for basic seasoning purposes. So, head to the Great Market Hall (or any other market, really) and grab a bottle to take home, so your taste buds can transport you instantly back to Hungary, you know, whenever you’re hungry…
Originating in—and named for—the Tokaj wine region in Hungary, this delicious wine has a long history and is most noted for its sweet tones in every sip. After you’re done preparing an authentic Budapest dish with your souvenir paprika purchase, why not pair it with a bottle of Tokaj wine? After all, it IS famous, as the tasty spirit even gets a mention in the Hungarian national anthem!
Speaking of spirits, unarguably Hungary’s most important liqueur is the fruity Hungarian pálinka.
A traditional fruit brandy dating way back to the middle ages. When you sip this stuff, you are enjoying an elite form of alcohol that only can only be bestowed on a small selection of spirits that are produced in four specific provinces of the nation. The most common pálinkas are made from plums, apricots, apples, pears and cherries, or whatever local fruit you can find. And for those looking for a more detailed info on all things palinka, head on over to the recently opened Pálinka Museum on Király Street to whet your figurative whistle with every detail imaginable on this national drink.
For those mind-game maniacs out there, or people with penchants for solving puzzles, the Rubik’s Cube is your perfect fit. What many people may not know is that the colorful, handheld cube, which also moonlights as a 3-D combination puzzle game, was actually invented by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. This is a great souvenir from Budapest to pick up for your son or daughter (or you!) to spend several hours trying to figure their ways to one solid color.
Also known as winter salami, this Hungarian meat staple product is produced in a fascinating and ancient way. Made from Mangalica pork, or “curly hair hog” it is the only native pork breed in Hungary, is blended with delicious spices, like white pepper and allspice. The product is then cured in frigid air. After that, the meat is smoked nice and slow, before receiving its signature wrapping. Pick is the most well-known brand, which offers a wide variety of products perfect to purchase for those times when you have a hankering to “pig out” on this authentic Hungarian staple.
Hungarian Wooden Toys
When browsing for what souvenir to buy in Budapest that is especially for kids, Hungarian wooden toys are tried and true treasures, sure to make them smile. Distributed by a small and friendly Hungarian company called Fakopáncs (Woodpecker), these toys are truly unique local treasures. Be it a dollhouse for your daughter, a wooden racetrack or cityscape for your son, there’s just something special about owning an authentic Hungarian keepsake that’s been whittled from a block of wood.
Air from Budapest
You read it right…that’s AIR, but not just any air…it’s air taken from the banks of the Danube, the buttresses of Buda Castle, and the turreted fortress of Fisherman’s Bastion! By purchasing one of these cutely little decorated cans, you can magically bring back your Hungary memories, sealed tightly away for one rainy (or sunshiny day) when you just gotta’ get back to Budapest.