There is one thing you can’t miss on a trip to Budapest: a visit to the Great Market Hall. The market halls are firmly anchored in Budapest’s shopping culture and offer visitors every reason to be amazed. Therefore, t is no coincidence that the Great Market Hall at the southern end of Váci Ut is particularly popular with tourists and lives up to its name – it is truly gigantic. But there are also less crowded market halls, which are worth a visit. Since all good things come in threes, I would like to introduce the Great Budapest Market Hall and two other great spots in this article.
The Great Market Hall Budapest
As I said at the beginning, the Great Market Hall is really very very large and impressive by its architecture alone. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s fun to just stroll through there and admire the sheer variety of products on offer. The Great Budapest Market Hall looks like a small city in itself, covered by a roof. Spread over several floors, you can buy pretty much everything you can imagine in terms of wine, sausages, fruit, vegetables, meat and cakes. But also souvenirs, trinkets and kitsch, tablecloths and porcelain dolls are offered. You should really take a lot of time if you want to explore everything. By the way, there is also a restaurant, which is supposed to be very good.
However, the smartest thing to do is not to go there on Saturdays at noon, but at less popular times, when the crowds are not so strong.
The Great Budapest Market Hall has a lot to offer and is therefore a strong magnet for tourists. In principle, I would recommend a visit to everyone. But if you like it a bit more traditional and like to be away from the big tourist crowds, I can also recommend the following two market halls.
The Great Market Hall in Budapest is open on weekdays from Monday to Saturday from 6 am. On Mondays it closes at 5 pm, Tuesday to Friday at 6 pm and on Saturday at 3 pm.
Pest's insider tip: The market hall on Lehel Square
“What kind of weird building is that?”
Well, that’s what I often hear from friends to whom I present this gem. And I have to admit, there’s something to it. From the outside alone, you can’t compare the Lehel Markthalle with the Great Market Hall – and neither can you from the inside. However, the architect seems to have taken his cue from a Kreusz ship when building it, and has followed through with the concept in a remarkably consistent manner, in my opinion. This market hall even includes a parking deck on top. Not bad, is it?
But even on closer inspection, the Lehel Markthalle has a lot to offer. Inside, many merchants offer their own produce. The selection of fresh fruits and vegetables is gigantic, the goods are very cheap. This is just a place for locals, as a non-Hungarian I am rather the exception here. In addition to the stalls, there are also real small stores in the outer area, where fresh meat and dairy products are also offered. But also flowers, wicker baskets and much more can be bought here. As in the Great Budapest Market Hall, the offer is spread over several floors, further up there is even a café. Also not to be despised is the small restaurant, which is more reminiscent of a canteen. Here you can get very hearty food at very fair prices.
I can also recommend the small booth with outstanding langos (deep fried flatbread, topped with grated cheese and sour cream)- super tasty for about 1€ per piece with extra garlic.
Buda's gem: the market hall in Fény utca
After the first two Budapest market halls, which were both located in the Pest district, I would like to present something very special as the last, namely the market hall in Fény Utca. Located almost directly next to the metro stop Széll Kálmán Tér, the hall is also very easy to reach. It is much smaller than the first two, but also finer. This is where the real gourmets go shopping. I must confess that I didn’t know the hall myself until recently. However, it was very much recommended to me and when I was there today, I was really taken. There were meter-long queues in front of some stands. Finest honey, various wines, whole legs of ham – if you are looking for something special, the Fény Utca is the right place.
I also found it particularly charming that this is not just a busy place where you quickly go to buy something and then rush back home. It is also a place to linger. Everywhere between the stalls are little cafes where people sit together over a beer. It hasn’t been too hectic or crowded either, although my visit fell on a busy time of day. In short, the market hall in Fény Utca may not be one of Budapest’s top Instagram motifs. But to anyone who appreciates something special, I can recommend this place. And to anyone who likes to hear some Hungarian in Hungary, by the way.