- 11 Jul 2023 10:09 AM
Here’s our guide to the best bazaars in town, where you can find one-of-a-kind furniture to embellish your home, a smoking jacket for social occasions and a slice of pop history in vinyl form.
Take cash with you just in case – and don’t forget to haggle!
1. Antik Placc
For secondhand shopping in the city centre, this friendly retro fair is ideal, filling the renovated market hall at Klauzál tér, also accessible from Akácfa utca. The goods here tend to appeal to a more discerning clientele rather than a random dump of discarded artefacts – restored jewellery, tools in working order, that kind of thing.
Which doesn’t mean to say you can’t pick up a pre-war typewriter or a radio with an exotic frequency dial – and, this being a short from the Nagykörút, it’s relatively easy to bring home your newly acquired treasure.
Address: 1072 Budapest, Klauzál tér 11.
Transport: Tram 4, 6 to Király utca or Wesselényi utca.
Open: Sun 8am-4pm.
2. Bakancsos bolhapiac
A flea market in the classic sense, one that opens at the crack of dawn and puts out for sale a completely random selection of potential finds. Here, haggling might bring the price down a few hundred forints but having made the huge trek here to the other side of Budapest Airport close to the city limits, you’re almost certain to buy something rather than go home empty-handed.
Note that the 198 bus to Bulyovszky utca brings you closer to the site but you’ll have to pick it up somewhere in deepest, darkest Angyalföld. The train is an easier option.
Address: 1173 Budapest, Széncinke utca.
Transport: Train from Keleti station to Rákoshegy, 10min walk up Táncsics Mihály út.
Open: Sat-Sun 5am-2pm.
3. Budai Zsibvásár
A popular spot for bargain hunters on the site of the Budaörs flower market, the Buda rag fair is curated enough to scatter all the ornaments, chairs, clocks and toy cars in their own separate spaces, so collectors can make a beeline for them straight away.
A lot of the stuff is in pretty good conditions, and vendors seem to specialise in their own particular field. Over a main road from Madárhegy bus stop so be careful when you cross.
Address: 1112 Budapest, Budaörsi út 172.
Transport: Bus 40 from Kelenföld to Madárhegy.
Open: Sat, Sun 7am-2pm.
4. Ecseri piac
All kinds of treasure fill these sprawling stalls, some covered, some left in the open air. Weekends see it packed with tourists, eager to pick up a bargain and a curio to take home with them. Paintings and homeware feature prominently – remember whatever has taken your fancy, you’ll have to lug all the way back to your flat from deepest south Pest.
If you’re just after a fascinating morning’s browse, perhaps picking up a few black-and-white postcards or pop singles from the Qualiton era, Ecseri is well worth the long bus ride from Boráros tér. Vendors tend to be savvy and unphased by haggling – they know someone else will come along sooner rather than later.
Address: 1194 Budapest, Nagykőrösi út 156.
Transport: Bus 54, 55 from Boráros tér to Naszód utca (Használtcikk piac).
Open: Mon-Fri 9.30am-2.30pm, Sat 7.30am-1.45pm, Sun 8.30am-1pm.
5. Gozsdu Weekend Market
The closest secondhand fair to the city centre, this weekend bazaar attracts specialist vendors who sell to knowledgeable customers – the camera stall is particularly active.
This being Gozsdu Udvar, a busy passageway of bars and restaurants between Király utca and Dob utca, it also brings a fair share of tourists happy to browse as they wander between the Great Synagogue and the nightlife quarter. Through December, it transforms into a Christmas market.
Address: 1075 Budapest, Király utca 13-Dob utca 16.
Transport: M1, M2, M3 to Deák Ferenc tér.
Open: Fri-Sun: 10am-5pm (winter Sat-Sun only).
6. Industrial Lamp Budapest
This facility differs from its counterparts in that it’s (a) more a yard aale than flea market and (b) switches to evening hours on certain summer weekends, such as 14-15 July, allowing browsers to escape the heat on Friday and Saturday evenings.
As its name suggests, the artefacts here once occupied someone’s home or place or work, so this really is the place to come for a sexy lampshade or an elegant dining chair rather than obscure cassettes, and shoppers tend to come here with something in mind. There’s a nice communal feel about the place, however, and repeat custom is the norm.
Address: Budapest 1117, Budafoki út 70.
Transport: Bus 33 from Móricz Zsigmond körtér to Galvani utca.
Open: Sat-Sun 6am-1pm.
7. Lőrinczi bolhapiac
One of the positive things about these kinds of flea markets is that they take you to far-flung parts of Budapest you would never otherwise visit – Pestszentlőrinc, ’Lőrinc’ to locals, wasn’t even part of Budapest until 1950.
The flea market runs six days a week alongside the district’s main market although you’ll find a far wider selection on Saturdays. ‘For seekers of treasure’ it says on the sign above the gateway, though you may have to rummage pretty extensively to find any of a Tuesday morning.
Address: 1183 Budapest, Regény utca.
Transport: Bus 182 from Kőbánya-Kispest to Regény utca.
Open: Tue-Sat 6am-2pm, Sun 6am-noon.
Words by Peterjon Cresswell for Xpatloop.com
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website liberoguide.com