Beyond pálinka and paprika, the Hungarian capital presents a host of options for unique souvenirs. For a special memento, look no further than Budapest’s talented artisans and designers.
From chocolatiers to ceramists, Budapest is home to a vibrant community of creatives and ‘makers’. The city offers numerous opportunities to take home a unique, locally made souvenir, including sweet treats, handcrafted knitwear and notebooks, to name a few.
Since 2017, CINQ FILLES has been tempting sweet-toothed visitors with customisable goodies. Offering an array of sweets and delicacies, including retro Hungarian soft raspberry candies and chocolate balls filled with quince or plum pálinka (fruit brandy), CINQ FILLES lets you pick your own delicious selection of items that will then be packaged in the brand’s trademark, show-stopping gift boxes. For a delicious souvenir, the assortment of jams from the Tokaj wine region – made with seasonal Hungarian fruit and acclaimed aszú wine – comes highly recommended.
Among the first environmentally conscious brands in Hungary, Printa designs and manufactures a wide range of products, such as screen prints, clothing, homeware and souvenirs – all of which which are produced as limited editions. Working with local artists and making use of upcycled and organic materials, Printa draws inspiration from Budapest, including its street art, and offers a unique alternative to mass-produced and imported souvenirs. In particular, Aware by Printa (the company’s fashion line) focusses on sustainable clothing. Vintage men’s shirts, leather jackets and home textiles are upcycled and made new again through dyeing, tailoring and screen-printing. As a result, each piece is one of a kind.
A small independent knitwear label based in Budapest, KELE makes colourful, classic clothes with a sense of whimsy. If you’re looking to return home with something vibrant and fresh but still timeless – much like the city where it is made – then look no further. All of KELE’s garments are locally handcrafted in Hungary, in small family-run knitting workshops. They are designed with care, drawing upon traditional techniques in order to create something new yet rooted in heritage and sustainability.
If you find yourself in need of a handy travel companion to carry your belongings while roaming the streets of Budapest and beyond, local backpack manufacturers Racka and Blind Chic offer a stylish yet practical array of options. Although both companies produce their bags by hand locally, their styles are very distinct. Racka’s designs often incorporate leather and use more subdued tones, while their counterparts at Blind Chic makes use of bright colours and waxed cotton. Whichever one you opt for, both will have you reminiscing about your days in Budapest every time you pack or unpack for your next adventure.
While mugs sporting the Hungarian Parliament Building or dancing chilli peppers are often a natural, go-to gift found in every souvenir shop, Budapest is home to several talented ceramists producing unique tableware. Self-taught artist Rebeka Rácz of Rebu Ceramics, for example, prides herself on her fascinating designs. Her handmade, one-of-a-kind, experimental ceramics are quirky, and according to her website, “randomness” and imperfection play important roles in her objects. As she described on her website: “I try to avoid being very accurate when it’s about a shape or a surface, and I accept the will of the clay.”
Although it is beyond easy to let friends know how beautiful and enjoyable Budapest is through social media, the somewhat old-school practice of mailing a postcard still retains its charm, and receiving one is always a surprise and a pleasure. The Budapest-based collective of graphic artists at Urban Sidewalker know this well, which is why they are continually expanding their collection of meticulously illustrated Budapest-inspired postcards and prints. If you are as enamoured and impressed by the city and its details as they are, be sure to stop by and check out their graphic works.
If you are in search of a notebook, leather-bound diary or photo album to record and celebrate your trip to the Hungarian capital, Bomo Art offers a wide range of stylish, instantly recognisable items illustrated in turn-of-the-century style. Some of Budapest’s landmarks and famous architecture, such as St Stephen’s Basilica or the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, can easily be spotted on some of Bomo Art’s nostalgic stationery.
If a precious keepsake is your kind of souvenir, Budapest-based artisanal jewellers such as Nalini and SAPI offer handcrafted rings, necklaces and earrings that are bound to bring back happy memories of the city each time they are worn. While Nalini’s pieces may be defined as somewhat mystical thanks to the semi-precious stones incorporated into the designs, SAPI’s style is more organic, often featuring motifs such as twigs, acorns or butterflies forged in silver.
While the Hungarian capital is renowned for its pastries and delicious desserts, fewer visitors are aware of its world-class chocolateries. The beloved Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé offers a stunning assortment of chocolate delights and prides itself on combining traditional chocolate-making techniques with international flavours. Pick up chocolates adorned with traditional Hungarian motifs, a ‘sushi’ bar flavoured with matcha, and bonbons filled with pálinka or earl grey.