Photo: Stew at Szimpla Farmers’ Market © Szimpla/ Mátyás Szöllősi
One of the best ways to get a feel for Hungary’s capital is to pop over to a couple of the city’s awesome markets. They’re great places to find handmade souvenirs, try tasty local foods and meet interesting new people. From the enormous Budapest Central and Ecseri Flea Market, to the weekend food stalls at quirky ruin bars, here are six markets you must visit on your trip to Budapest.
Budapest Central Market is the largest in the city, and is located in the beautiful Great Market Hall. Every day except Sunday, hundreds of traders fill the long building with colourful Hungarian produce. Shop with the locals for fresh fruit and veg, fish, salamis and wine from the farmers’ market downstairs. On the upper floor, find arty handicrafts and fuel up with a traditional lángos – a delicious, deep-fried flatbread often served with cheese, ham, and a dollop of sour cream.
This market takes place at least one Sunday every month, and brings together Hungary’s coolest up-and-coming designers. You’ll be able to pick up really special pieces, from original jewellery and clothes to unique homeware. The fair turns Christmas-themed over the first three Sundays of December, when it’s crammed with all kinds of festive gastro and arty delights. Keep an eye on the website for fair dates and locations as they’re released.
A smaller Sunday offering, the farmers’ market at buzzing ruin bar Szimpla Kert is definitely worth a visit. On market day, its garden is lined with stalls selling local honeys and jams, cheeses, fruit and vegetables, and some seriously amazing baked goods. The best bit? You’ll be in the ideal position to grab a table for the ‘Szimpla brunch’, where you can fill your plate from a buffet piled high with all the produce sold at the market downstairs.
Vegan Sunday Market
Anker’t is another ruin bar that hosts its own quirky market, this one taking place once a month throughout the year. It stocks vegan everything – from tasty juices, cakes, dips and burgers to handcrafted soaps and beauty products. Part-market, part-community centre event, during the day there are interesting open discussions and even cookery classes, where you can try your hand at whipping up some scrummy healthy treats.
Just off Király Utca (the street famous for its art and design boutiques) is Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu Udvar). Every Sunday, this vibrant food and entertainment hub hosts the popular Gouba Bazaar. It’s the perfect place to pick up unusual gifts, from spring through autumn the market is packed with stalls selling jewellery, quirky homeware and rare vintage finds. It’s also a great place to hang out for a couple of hours, with local musicians playing live jazz throughout the day.
Ecseri Flea Market
Ecseri Flea Market is a must-visit at any time of year, with huge indoor and outside spaces. Everything you could imagine is up for grabs at this eclectic bazaar, from old records, piles of books and great artwork, to vintage war collectibles, clothes and jewellery. Come with time and a treasure hunter attitude, and there’s no limit as to what you could leave with. You’ll get some great bargains with a bit of haggling too.