shopping

12 treasured traditional and new-wave Budapest souvenirs

Writers

  • Petra Berende

6/7/2016 12:50 PM

Beyond the generic coffee mugs, kitschy keychains, unimaginative fridge magnets, and ubiquitous “I Love Budapest” T-shirts, the city’s souvenir shops offer many genuinely appealing Hungarian keepsakes, including both traditional items and new-wave presents. From elegant porcelain plates or a bottle of golden Tokaji Aszú to a cute card game and a chic city map, here are some essential finds to bring home from Budapest – and all of them are not only great to give as gifts, but are also ideal personal mementos after an unforgettable stay in the Magyar metropolis.

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Traditional: hand-painted wooden knickknacks

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Hungarians have a long tradition of making
hand-crafted wooden objects, like toys, tools, and ornaments

that have been

made here for centuries, and those splashed with decorative layers of colorful dyes are especially intriguing

for the eyes. Many souvenir shops proffer blue-colored timber trinkets with heritage flower patterns, all adorned with Hungary’s colorful Hartai motifs, a design originating from the community of Harta in western Hungary. We can also discover various baubles, like handy pepper mills, decorative jewelry boxes, classic combs, or slender figurines, all perfect gifts for anyone who likes folk art.

Buy

it here:

Memories of Hungary

Photo: Zsolt Vidák

New Wave: playful Budapest prints

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Young Hungarian artist Zsolt Vidák has been capturing Budapest through vibrant illustrations for a long time, and gazing at these modern-day artworks instantly evokes the bustling

life continually happening in

the Hungarian capital. Portraying city dwellers in everyday situations, monumental buildings, city construction works, or ordinary scenes from Budapest’s public transportation, these urban depictions perfectly resemble

commonplace (and

oftentimes surreal) settings in the Magyar metropolis, and so

these graphics are ideal presents

for those who have experienced a wide variety of city life here.
Buy it here:
Magma, Printa,

Mono art & design

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Traditional: ornate porcelain

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Mothers and grannies around the world will give a

thumbs up to

a delicate piece of ornate ceramics to add to their china collection, and luckily Hungary boasts a number of high-quality heritage brands, offering porcelain dinnerware and decorative ornaments. Secure a slender vase or tea set adorned by vibrant butterflies from Zsolnay, a historic Hungarian

company whose

works festoon various landmarks citywide, like the roof atop the Great Market Hall, or the stations of Budapest’s Millennium Underground. For those who are after exclusive earthenware,

Herend Porcelainoffers gold-plated marvels with classic patterns, with products including majestic bombonieres, or fascinating figurines. Meanwhile,

Hollóházi’s traditional tableware provides excellent

value for money for anyone with a limited budget.

Buy it here: shops selling Zsolnay

porcelain, shops selling Herend

porcelain, shops selling

Hollóházi

porcelain,

Memories of Hungary

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

New Wave: Air from Budapest

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When heading home, some vacationers pack sand from the beach, water from the sea, or rocks from the mountains to show where they’ve been and what they’ve done... so why not take a can of ethereal Air

from Budapest
? Filled in stylish packaging that features bright hues and silhouette drawings of major city landmarks, this

stylish gag gift

is as funny as it is appealing for the eyes. Besides the urban-scented vapor, Air from Balaton is also available, and even though it’s difficult to track down the exact origin of this intangible content, the colorful canisters are actually filled in Lake Balaton and in the Buda Hills.
Buy it here:
Mono Art & Design, Paprika Market

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Traditional: intricate embroidery

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Elaborate needlework embellishes Hungary’s traditional textiles, all bearing the Magyars’ customary

folk-art design with inspiration taken from nature, featuring green grapes and blooming flowers – two of the most prominent techniques are the Kalocsai

and Matyó embroideries, made

with

lengthy and intricate stitching techniques. The traditional tablecloths, decorative pillow covers, and refined garments have always been cherished by elderly customers, but

in recent years products featuring classic

Magyar embroidery spread like wildfire among the younger generation here in Hungary. These

precious pieces are light in weight and high in value, and they are ideal for anyone who appreciates handcrafted merchandise.
Buy it here:
Paprika Market,

Memories of Hungary

Photo: JÖF Design

New Wave: The Little Hungarians playing cards

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Take your Hungarian language skills to the next level or teach unexpected Magyar words to your pals in an easy-peasy way with these jolly playing cards designed by JÖF. Two sets of cards demonstrate characters

from the 44-letter
Hungarian alphabet, with each letter connected to a traditional character – in this regard, “H” stands for Huszár (“Hussar” in Hungarian), “M” for Mangalica (a local pig breed), and “Sz” for Szürkemarha (“Grey Cattle” in Hungarian). One set of cards showcases the Hungarian meaning of the words, while the other pack displays their English equivalent.

Buy it here:
Mono Art & Design, Rododendron,

Museum of Applied Arts

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Traditional: flavorful edibles

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Hungarian cuisine is known for its hearty meat dishes and the heavy use of crimson paprika powder that make local meals so irresistibly appetizing. For your carnivorous

peers grab a zesty winter salami (“Téliszalámi” in Hungarian), a luscious link

encrusted in white mold,

or

secure a canister of tender goose liver, or take a savory sausage
made of Magyar Mangalicapork meat. If you want to pass on traditional Hungarian recipes, from Budapest you can easily procure the basic condiments needed for preparing a traditional meal, like a small pouch of powdered paprika, or a tube of goulash cream.

Photo: Milan Magyarodi/Urban Sidewalker

New Wave: Budapest map with a twist

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Demonstrating miniature scaling of monumental landmarks, Urban Sidewalker’s meticulous city map presents a fresh perspective of Hungary’s capital. Mapping almost all of Budapest’s major sights and classic constructions, these hand-drawn graphics playfully capture the city’s streets and modern spirit, making it an ideal souvenir for those who want to get a closer view over the Magyar metropolis. Any time we immerse in the intricate design, we come across a fresh detail, like random people on the streets, or a bus passing by, and this just adds to the unique flair of this eye-opening product.

Buy it here:Yellow Zebra Bike Rental, FIAN Concept, Atlantisz Könyvsziget

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Traditional: intoxicating drinks

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Attracted by

an abundance of local booze, many visitors flock to Budapest to feast on Hungary’s intoxicating pleasures by imbibing local reds, whites, and rosés, and even to chug traditional high-spirited potables. Those who want to share this inebriating experience with family

or friends should take a bottle of golden
wine, a sweet libation from Hungary’s Tokaj wine region, while anyone who wants to gift an extraordinary elixir should hunt down a bottle of , a herb-infused alcohol made of secret ingredients. For a tongue-tickling treat, a bottle of local
is your best bet, a high-spirited fruit-based brandy made in Hungary.
Buy it here: Tokaji Aszú – , PálinkaMagyar Pálinka Háza (1088 Budapest, Rákóczi Road 17), Unicum
Paprika Market,

or most of the supermarkets

Photo: Anikó Róth

New Wave: Budapest-themed notebooks

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Anikó Róth’s playful notebooks feature well-known locales across Budapest, including the city’s iconic buildings, renowned downtown lanes, and traditional public transport conveyances. Whether it’s the crimson trolley buses, the iconic yellow trams, or the ’s bustling Dohány Street that you have fond memories of, these jazzy jotters are not only perfect choices for reasonably priced gifts but they will also evoke some unforgettable Budapest moments if you decide to keep them

for yourself.

Buy it here: Paloma,

Pro Forma Shop

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Traditional: porcelain jewelry

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Wear a piece of Hungarian tradition

by Zema, a local jewelry designer dedicated to represent authentic Hungarian culture and arts through gorgeous pendants, flashy earrings, and elegant bangles. All of the jewels are handmade using a fine porcelain base, and it's

decorated by various

patterns inspired by Art Nouveau, Baroque, or Art Deco styles. The characteristic Magyar motifs include Kalocsai, Matyó, and Kékfestő (traditional local textile dyeing technique) design, while the brand has recently been innovating with modern elements.
Buy it here:
Memories of Hungary

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

New Wave: Folqa figures

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From a starry-eyed shepherd to a jolly winemaker to a skillful wrangler, a collection of
folk characters represents traditional Hungarian occupations, and aims to inspire today’s society with simple and witty messages that come with each figurine. Displaying a piece of traditional Magyar culture, these sleek symbols

are cool souvenirs from Hungary for our friends and colleagues, and besides these figures made of resin

Folqa
has recently launched a jewelry line, where these comical characters

appear as pendants or earrings, making them a perfect pick for lighthearted ladies.
Buy it here:
Paprika Market, Memories of Hungary,

Magma

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