Before I visit a place the first thing I research is where the markets are. As a foodie, I love markets and I found the best market in Budapest on my travels. It gives an insight as to what is seasonal and what I should be ordering at the next restaurant I go to. The difficulty I have is not buying everything I see, especially when I know that I am on a long trip and I will have to carry in my suitcase for weeks.

The  Great Market Hall or the Central Market Hall is the oldest covered market in Budapest. In Hungarian, it’s known as Nagyvásárcsarnok. It is on Fővám tér in District IX. This, of course, is totally unpronounceable for me and even after a few attempts I still could not get it to sound anything like it should have! Luckily enough there were more than enough people who spoke English and were able to help with directions.

Whilst the exterior of the building is not pretty the roof is stunning.  The roof tiles are Zsolnay Porcelain. The factory received worldwide acclaim for its innovative frost-proof products. This meant that buildings could be ornamented as never before. It became even more popular during the Art Nouveau period and many buildings still display this form of decoration.


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Central Market Hall Budapest


Guide to the best market in Budapest


The Ground Floor 

The ground floor of the market has everything you would expect to find at a market. The freshest vegetables gleam as though they have been polished to within an inch of their existence.


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Hungarian Salamis are delicious. I tried quite a few of the tasters available in the market and end up buying 2 different types for a snack later in the day. Mangalitsa salami is made from a local pig which was crossed with a boar amongst other breeds.  It is the only pig to have a thick woolly coat a bit like a sheep.


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Salami and dried sausages


Pickles in all forms seem to be eaten with most meals. The obvious choice is pickled cabbage, but I saw any number of vegetables in jars, some with cut out animals as a decoration which I found rather strange.


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Pickles Hungarian Style Budapest Central Market


Paprika is the national spice in Hungary and is used for flavouring goulash. Hungarian paprika is made from roasted peppers that are blended to create the different varieties and flavour profiles.

There are 8 different grades of paprika. If you would like to understand the subtleties a bit more then this link explains it quite well.

You will find beautifully packaged paprika to take home as a gift or to buy for your own use. The prices are similar at all the stalls so just choose the one that appeals to you the most.


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Tokay Wine

Many stores sell this famous wine from the Tokay (Tokaji) region in Hungary. I always thought that it was the only sweet wine that was made in the region, but I was mistaken.  I had a pretty good dry white from Tokay which was a bit of a surprise for me, but equally enjoyable.

If you are anything like me then wherever you go you end up buying wine, then carry it around carefully for the rest of your trip cursing that you bought it in the first place. The bottles soon mount up. The next issue is do you have enough wine storage space when you get home? Quite honestly this is a never-ending battle for me, so either I need to drink more when I am travelling or buy less wine to take home. It’s a good theory, but I think that putting it into practice is going to be a bit of a problem! I like the memories it brings back when I am at home.


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Tokaji Wine



I am not sure why, but for some reason, I was surprised to see the amount of pasta sold in the market. I knew that dumplings called Nokedli or Spätzle were eaten, but not the more familiar Italian style pasta. There are also a huge number of Italian restaurants and pizzerias in the city.



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Hungarian Pasta

The First Floor

It is impossible not be hungry when you look at the delicious food on display. Head upstairs to any one of a number of restaurants or food stalls for a taste of Hungary on a plate.


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Upstairs restaurant


Budapest Souvenirs

The first floor of the market has all the souvenirs you could wish for in brightly coloured displays. I fell in love with the glassware. There are also Russian dolls, embroidered fabric, folk art painted items, the ubiquitous t-shirts and other touristy mementoes.


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Budapest Market souvenirs

When to visit

The market is always busy early mornings and on Saturdays, the market is at its busiest. If you want a bit of space to take photographs rather arrive a bit later in the day. I was there at around 11 am and it was perfect.


Opening times

The market is closed on Sunday and time vary on different days so check the website for updated details.


Getting there

Trams : 2, 47 or 49

Metro : Blue line – Kalvin ter stop, then a short walk

Walking : Start at Vorosmarty square and walk straight down Váci utca to the end of it. The Central Market Budapest will be on your right.


CNN Travel rates this as the best market in Budapest and is their no 1 choice in Europe. I must admit that I was surprised at the variety and enjoyed the area upstairs to grab a bite to eat. If you are a foodie then you will love this market.

Next : The Budapest City Guide


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  1. I had hosted 2 Hungarian guests a few weeks back in an Indian Bed and Breakfast and we talked a lot about Budapest and how it is different from Indian metropolitan cities. Budapest central market looks like a one-stop-shop for all the needs! Thanks for sharing a wonderful blog post!

    • It is such an interesting place to wander around in. It is a window on a lifestyle that may be different to yours and is definitely worth exploring.

  2. I had been to this same market in Budapest, I have to dig out those pictures. Yes the paprikas there are famous, I have a post just devoted to it. 🙂 Did you have the chimney cake there? One of the most popular snack there.

    • I love any form of chillies so I loved the peppers. I had the chimney cake at a number of places throughout central Europe and it was delicious in all the different forms, especially filled with icecream!

  3. The Budapest Central Market looks so vibrant and interesting. We too love visiting local markets to get a feel of the place and its cuisine and the everyday life of the locals. The fresh produce of the Budapest market looks so fresh and exotic.

    • Markets are definitely a window to local life. The array of fresh produce at the Budapest Market is astounding.

  4. The central market looks like the one place in Budapest where I would get all my food requirements were I traveling here. When we recently went to Europe, we used to do a lot of purchases from vegetable and food shops and prepare our own meals. I will thus remember this market for my budapest visit in future.

    • Yeah, the pickles are odd, but I guess that’s part of the fun of travelling, finding new things. Thanks for the tip. I will make a note for the future.

  5. How was the tokay wine? I love wines too! Ah, this central market is so vibrant in colors and stuff! I like the fresh veggies like your first photo above. It looks so cute that I wouldn’t even think I can eat! X

  6. Seems like a cultural experience too. I would go here only for that- to experience the local flavor of the place as I am not so much of a foodie. Definitely a fun experience.

  7. This market is very interesting. I have never seen an actual white bell pepper before. I wonder how it tastes?! I’d love to shop in this market. Those pickles seem to be calling me to purchase! I enjoyed seeing your post! Thank you!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. There is always something new to see at a market, unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to taste the white peppers, but I did buy some seeds to plant in my garden.

  8. I totally get you. I enjoy exploring local markets too. Gives me a good insight into culture and food – both go hand in hand. I loved the building that hosts this market, so pretty. Great post and thanks for sharing

    • That’s my problem as well. When there is so much to see I always leave wanting to come back and see more!


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