Plenty of cities around Europe are famous for legendary shopping -- Paris, Milan, Stockholm -- but I had no idea that Budapest would be one of those cities. Budapest is an awesome city for shopping, especially the exact type of shopping I like to do, because it offers so many independent boutiques, vintage collections, and local (i.e cool) Hungarian brands.
I expected to enjoy my 5 days of travel in Budapest, but I had no idea how much I would fall in love with the city. It absolutely swept me off my feet! Budapest has a humble vibe about it that I could feel from the minute we arrived. One of the reasons I enjoyed Budapest so much was the palpable commitment to local makers and independent boutique owners in every neighborhood around the city.
In my opinion, the shopping in Budapest is cool. It feels edgy and trendy because there are so many under-the-radar brands that I would not have learned about otherwise. You can find anything from vintage clothing to hand-made prints to beautiful concrete jewelry, all made by Hungarian design houses. The more shops I discovered, the more I realized that I needed to write a shopping guide for Budapest!
12 Best Independent Boutiques in Budapest to Shop Local
This charming tucked away art and print shop in District V is a great place to buy unique and easy-to-transport souvenirs. They tell a unique story of your time in Budapest! Rododendron Shop features work from 30+ young local Hungarian designers with products ranging from books and jewelry to toys and clothing.
Walking into Eszka felt like discovering a brand designed for me. I fell in love with it at first sight! Founded by Hungarian designer Kriszta Szakos, her colorful, patterned and cozy brand predominantly features expertly crafted knits, sweaters and outerwear. Her tiny flagship showroom features one of a kind items, but you’ll see Eszka designs around the city at other independent boutiques featured on this list.
Located inside the riverfront Balna modern shopping center (which only has independent brands), Stilshop offers a carefully curated collection of paper goods, prints, and home items crafted by local Budapest makers. The shop feels edgy with its black shelving, slate gray walls, and modern aesthetic. I loved the black and white screen printed postcards I bought here so much that I didn’t wind up sending them!
If you love the dig and discovery of vintage shopping, this is a perfect place for you! Featuring a wide range of 1950s-1990s feminine vintage, Ludovika VNTG in District V has a quirky aesthetic that might not appeal to everyone, but I certainly loved it. The two story shop has a surprising amount of shoes and accessories! It is cash-only.
Retrock was my favorite of the vintage shops that I went to while shopping in Budapest, because it offered an impeccable collection of unique items that I wanted to wear right now housed in an airy boutique. None of the products were too crowded together and the multi-level showroom let me browse the men and women’s vintage clothing collections without hassle. Retrock also features some contemporary brands, including Eszka mentioned below, if vintage isn’t your thing.
Featuring predominantly backpacks, watches and eyeglasses, Zun Store is beautifully merchandised shop for androgynous modern pieces from Hungarian brands. I loved that there was very little distinction between men and women’s items, encouraging shoppers to simply try the items that appealed to them. The high quality and craftsmanship of the brands they sell is undeniable. Both Sam and I purchased multiple items at Zun that we continue to use and love today!
Art Vintage Market -- Wesselényi u. 21
Located directly next to Zun Store (mentioned above), Art Vintage Market is a blast from the past. It is signless, website-less, and cash-only, but you will definitely find some amazing vintage treasures here...if you put in the work. Its chaotic and quirky merchandising ensures that even after looking around for 20 minutes, you’ll only scratch the surface of the little knick-knacks available here. Prices for vintage clothing here were especially good. I got a vintage Levi’s denim jacket for $15!
Famous in Budapest, Mono Art Design is a gallery and design house whose concept store downtown feels like walking into a minimalist interior design magazine. The massive store focuses on collections of home decor and design elements showcasing super fresh and modern aesthetics. Think pale pink concrete clocks, hand painted pottery in interesting shapes and mint green leather fanny packs. Price point is high, but the quality is exceptional.
The friendly staff at this tiny shop near the Palace District creates a warm and inviting atmosphere to shop their collection of Hungarian and Italian clothing and accessories. Predominantly for women, you will find contemporary designs in muted yet modern tones and shapes.
If you are as interested in sustainable and environmental design as I am, you can’t miss a stop at Printa -- one of the first environmentally conscious brands in Hungary. Their concept store and cafe in District 5 is focused on zero-waste practices and repurposing materials for their houseware and personal item lines. Housed in a spacious minimalist gallery, the shop has an awesome assortment of Budapest-pride items that are visually stunning. I bought their city map to hang up on my wall at home!
Perfectly branded for social media mavens and VSCO girls, Szputnyik shop D20 was another favorite of mine during my Budapest shopping spree. It features of-the-moment vintage and contemporary items that can seamlessly integrate into the wardrobe of any stylish hipster. It sheds the feeling that vintage shopping has to be cramped with its warehouse style merchandising and bright white aesthetic.
Inside a renovated 14th century palace is where you’ll find Paloma, self-described as the home of Hungarian designers. It is essentially a series of pop-up shops spread across 3 levels of small showrooms, showcasing young designers from Hungary. Many of the pop-up shops are staffed by the designers themselves, which means the opening hours are pretty sporadic. Nonetheless, there are so many unique brands to discover here!
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