If you are shopping in Budapest this Holiday season, don’t be afraid to get creative! No more socks, cheap cosmetics or bars of chocolate, we have the best Hungarian gift ideas for you in Budapest. Whether it be gourmet food or drink, clothes, jewelry, toys, something uniquely Budapest or something personal for your loved ones, this article will give you an idea of where to go shopping in Budapest this Christmas.
There are plenty of English, French, Spanish and Russian language books available, and other languages as well. You can visit the Alexandra bookstore to get that special book moth something to read this Holiday season. There is a cool, little communally run library and bookstore called Közkincs Könyvtár, whose focus is on social justice and theory, but they also have great books on gastronomy, education, politics and sci-fi, you can check them out here. This is a private apartment, with some super helpful librarians. Prospero is also a great option, as there is an online component, where you can order books to their store and pick it up in person. Their bookstore already carries tens of thousands of titles, but if you can’t find it: order it!
Hungarian Food and Drink
Hungarian gastronomy is up and coming. Wine is always a great gift, and Hungarian wine is nothing short of world class: get some Szekszárd red, some Bull’s Blood from Eger, or a fine Riesling from the Balaton valley. Veritas has an outstanding selection, and they carry wine from everywhere in the world, so you will definitely find something you like. Pálinka is the national hard alcohol here, and you can find it at the Pálinkaház. They make it from all sorts of fruits, and this strong liquor should be enjoyed with a bit of caution, and a lot of food. Speaking of food, why not visit one of the amazing markets and buy some delicious gourmet treats this Holiday season? The Great Market Hall will have you covered, but the Lehel tér, Hunyadi tér and Klauzál tér markets are all great places with a wide selection of organic goods.
There are plenty of designers and designer shops in Budapest, and lots of vintage fashion. Szputnyik and Retrock have got the market cornered for Vintage fashion goods, while the Wamp and the Design center in Erzsébet Square are a good place to buy custom made clothes for those with distinguished taste. Bags, dresses, accessories, and even shoes that are one of a kind and hard to find. Andrássy Avenue and Váci Street will have all of your high end fashion needs, with designer stores from around the world on display.
The above mentioned Wamp and Design Center have lots of unique and quirky jewellery for sale, usually small runs made by up and coming designers. Vinyl and Wood makes awesome unique wearables out of, well, vinyl and wood, for the most part. There are some really great wooden clocks that you can buy from Fa Time, which mimic the shape of the wood, or are sometimes little statues with clocks inside them. All are great gift ideas for people who have an eye for beauty, or are on the artistic side.
Toys and Games
Games and toys aren’t just for kids, you know. Szellemlovas has tons of board games, many of them suitable for adults, and many of them especially made for children. The new revolution of board games has created some exceptional masterpieces, and we highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t yet. Fakopáncs is a children’s store where everything is made out of natural materials, with a strong focus on wood. From brain teasers, tools, to dolls and figurines, anything kids like to play with is available here. And speaking of brain teasers, if you like puzzles and strategy, check out Gémklub in Buda, they have a huge selection of all kinds of intelligent games.
Whether its, music, comics, video games or memorabilia, we all know and love that one pack rat collector who has it all. Surprise them this year with a new addition to their extensive archive of stuff. If you are looking for vinyl, check out our article on where to get the best gems at a fair price. Nerd stores abound in Budapest. Geekshop focuses on memorabilia and figurines, while Trillian is the comic shop that has it all, but both have everything that those in the geek culture might appreciate. Check out Lemezkuckó for CDs and band related merchandise for that special super fan in your life.
Souvenirs don’t have to be gaudy and tasteless. There are plenty of places to buy high quality souvenirs from Budapest that are meaningful, unique and make a great memento. Artushka is one such place, selling Budapest themed trinkets with an artistic flare. The Whale is a design and art center with lots of galleries and cafés, and they also sell individualized, creative souvenirs that you can only buy here. Great stocking stuffers and small gifts to send the family.
Antiques and Art Galleries
If you are looking for a painting or antiques as a Christmas gift, Budapest is the perfect city for you. There are art galleries and antique dealers all along Falk Miksa street. Famous for their Astro-Hungarian era furniture and art, the faded elegance of a bygone era radiates from these treasures. The Whale also has many art galleries, as does Ráday Street, and there are auction houses throughout Budapest.
If you are short on time and don’t mind sifting through a bunch of stores to find the right one, we can highly recommend one of the malls of Budapest. Westend City Center, Mammut or Duna Plaza all have plenty of stores in all of the categories above, and much more! Shop ‘till you drop!