Travellers are always on the lookout for original souvenirs to take home. While cheap gifts can be found everywhere, the keepsake selection in Budapest goes far beyond kitschy fridge magnets and cheesy key chains. From unique hand-drawn posters to fun air fresheners, we collate our current favourite finds to bring home from Budapest. All are not only great to give as gifts, but are also ideal personal mementos after an unforgettable stay in our city.
Picturesque Falk Miksa utca is made for browsing. Found amid rows of antique shops and art galleries, Citygraph stands out as a vivid spot selling modern-day merchandise close to Kossuth tér. Inside this pocket-sized outlet, map-like graphics portray Budapest, all hand-drawn in great detail by Hungarian artist Béla Magyar. Pictures on display present a variety of portrayals of the city’s skyline as envisioned from a bird’s-eye perspective, while other illustrations feature industrial Budapest fused with traces of Surrealism. In addition to these avant-garde artworks, plenty of products in the Citygraph collection can make a great souvenir, including the same city sketches printed on T-shirts, mugs, canvas bags, notebooks and fridge magnets. More details
From a starry-eyed shepherd to a jolly winemaker and a skilful wrangler, a collection of folk characters represents traditional Hungarian occupations, and aims to inspire shoppers with simple and witty messages that come with each figurine. Displaying a piece of traditional Hungarian culture, these sleek symbols are cool souvenirs for your friends and colleagues, and besides these figures made of resin, Folqa also offers jewellery, where these comical characters appear as pendants or earrings. Thanks to Folqa, you can have the city's tram or metro map wrapped around your wrist in a bracelet or have a tote bag decorated with traditional patterns, too. Pick up your new Folqa product at Memories of Hungary, Magma or online.
The designers of EggMap – a rubber stress ball covered with a map of Budapest – have another creative project, crafting unique souvenirs that reform the current mainstream selection of memorabilia available in Budapest. HunCut’s products aim to present cut-out parts of Hungary’s culture to the country’s visitors in a new funky form, showing local characteristics in a truly unique way. A classic yellow tram or blue metro scarf, chimney cake and pickle air fresheners, even little pieces of fridge magnets that together make up a typical apartment block, all help you take the essence of Budapest home with you. Pick up Huncut products at the Paprika Market or online.
We absolutely love Marcus Goldson. His work is something else; when producing his little masterpieces, he sprinkles each with the right amount of humour, perfectly capturing the city's idiosyncratic spirit. Goldson creates Hogarthian scenes for posters, colourfully capturing the details of daily life in the Hungarian capital. The Grumpy Crowd is what you see on the means of public transport every Monday morning, the likes of Fürdőman will be there in person next time you visit one of the city's many splendid baths, while the lady in Információ is just your questionably helpful assistance behind almost every kiosk in Budapest. A glimpse at a cigarette brand, a typical moustache or an everyday bar scene will transport you back to Budapest in a minute. His work is available online from his website.
Urban Sidewalker brought new colours into Budapest’s art scene four years ago with their meticulous hand-drawn maps of Budapest. Now these works are available from their new store at Károly körút 10 and online. Huge posters of cityscape in miniature scale, postcards, fridge magnets and notebooks created in perfect detail all feature at this treasure trove of talent. The artist, Balázs, draws free hand with a fineliner. He sticks to this method and only uses digital technique to add colour after scanning, even though this means that each poster requires three months to finish, postcards three to five days. Balázs jokingly admits that he cannot draw from memory, but uses photographs and then adds his magic. Either way, he always manages to capture the spirit and essence of his subject city.
The modern Magyar metropolis is depicted with a cavalcade of colours and comical characters in the highly creative illustrations of masterful artist Zsolt Vidák. Inspired by everyday life in Budapest, Zsolt’s art highlights the buildings, features and people he finds around the city. Classic landmarks like the Széchenyi Baths and the Anker Palace as well as classic street scenes all feature. And if you have an eagle eye, you can spot a bear, an astronaut and even Alfred Hitchcock in the many hidden details of some of the sizeable paintings. Posters are available online.