If you like to visit antique shops, flea markets and second-hand stores, then you'll be happy to know that Budapest has a number of shops selling antiques that are worth a browse. The history of Budapest's antique shops dates back to 1772, when BÁV, Hungary's largest and still functioning antique shop was established. The licence was signed by Maria Theresa - the gilded, leather-bound document with the royal seal survived the changing times and is kept today in the shop's archive. These Habsburg-era pawn shops have evolved into today's antiques stores. Many of them are located along Falk Miksa utca, which is also nicknamed the Antique Row of Budapest. Under Communism, art dealing was illegal and antique shops were shut down. The antiques scene in Budapest underwent a revival during the past two decades with new shops opening almost every year. There are several shops and galleries to choose from, here are some suggestions.
Both, the 'Szent István Antikvitás' and the 'BÁV Ékszergaléria' are worth a visit. The first buys and sells everything from fine furniture to porcelain, oil paintings and silver plates, while the latter specializes in jewelry and coins. With over 200 years of history BÁV stores have an impressive collection. (Szent István Antikvitás: Szent István krt. 3, Budapest, District 5, and BÁV Ékszergaléria: Falk Miksa utca 21, Budapest, District 5)
This antique store is great for linen lovers. Traditional table cloths, bed linen, embroidery, beautiful lace-work and a selection of Hungarian national costumes are available here. The collection comes from rural Hungary as well as from Transylvania. Glassware, porcelain figurines, mirrors and lamps are also sold at Anna's. (Falk Miksa utca 18, Budapest, District 5)
This family business is over 40 years old. Darius Antiques has a large collection of fine Neo-Baroque and Biedermeier furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, along with paintings, sculptures and porcelain, like vintage Herendi bonbon holders and figurines. (Falk Miksa utca 24-26, Budapest, District 5)
Magyar Kerámia Galéria
Magyar Kerámia is a visual encyclopedia of Hungary's rich ceramic art. Statues, statuettes, vases, bowls, pots and plates by famous Hungarian artists, like Margit Kovács, are part of the collection. They also carry a large number of beautiful Art Deco ceramics. (Falk Miksa utca 24-26, Budapest, District 5, Art Deco outlet: Falk Miksa utca 17)
Virág Judit Galéria
Another gallery big on Hungarian ceramics is the Virág Judit Galéria, specializing in works from the Zsolnay factory. In fact, they hold the largest Zsolnay collections in the world. Their other specialty is high quality modern Hungarian paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. (Falk Miksa utca 30, Budapest, District 5)
This large shop offers a broad selection of antiques - carpets, chandeliers, silverware, clocks, jewelry and textiles, as well as antique furniture pieces ranging from Biedermeier to Art Deco. Spread over three floors, it's the perfect place for antique hunters. (Falk Miksa utca 10, Budapest, District 5)
This cute antique shop on Váci utca sells old glass and ceramic objects, silver plates, bronze sculptures, Zsolnay and Herendi porcelain, lamps, chandeliers and furniture pieces. (Váci utca 67, Budapest, District 5)
If you are into Communist-era memorabilia, Antik-Bazár on Klauzál utca carries an assortment, including matryoshka dolls and Soviet-era militaria. They also have retro posters, clocks, old toys, vintage cameras and original seltzer bottles. Antik-Bazár is more like a flea-market-type store. (Klauzál utca 1, Budapest, District 7)
Ecseri Flea Market
'Ecseri' is a great destination for antique hunters and it's truly a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. Here you can find everything from vintage clothes to Art Deco lamps and from retro signs to Herendi porcelain. Bargaining is a must. Saturdays are usually the busiest. Located a bit far from the city center, so you'll need to take the bus or join Fungarian's Ecseri Flea Market Tour for a fun way to explore this unique market. (Nagykörösi út 156, Budapest, District 19)
Note: Before you buy something valuable, be sure to confirm with the store or gallery that you are allowed to take it out of the country. Some antiques are considered 'Hungarian Cultural Treasures' and may be restricted. Galleries should have the necessary documentation on hand.