Why visit: indoor market, architecture, paprika, souvenirs, food court
Things to Do and See at the Central Market Hall
Built at the end of the 19th century, the Central Market Hall (officially called 'Központi Vásárcsarnok' in Hungarian) is the largest indoor market in Budapest. Among other things, on the ground floor you'll find a large selection of sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor, there are food stands and plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery, chessboards and other souvenirs. Paprika and Tokaji are also sold here. In the basement, there is a fish market, a small Asian grocery store, a supermarket, and a small drugstore. While focusing on Hungarian products, on International Gastro Days (held on Fridays and Saturdays), the Central Market Hall also features the food and cuisine of a foreign country.
The building also has some architectural significance. The metal roof structure is still the original, and the roof is covered with decorative Zsolnay tiles. There are four other markets like this in Budapest, which were all built in the same style (these are in Klauzál tér, Rákóczi tér, Hold utca and Hunyadi tér). An interesting fact is that all five buildings opened on the same day, on February 15th 1897.
Because of its location and size the market hall on Fővám tér was chosen to be the ‘central’ market hall by the city as opposed to the other markets ranked as ‘district’ markets. When it opened ships sailed right into the building using special docks. The old customs house across from the building is now part of the Corvinus University. Today, the Central Market Hall remains a wonderful food market and a must-see, even if you don’t buy anything. It’s often visited by celebrities and foreign dignitaries.
Getting to the Central Market Hall: Take Streetcars 2, 47 or 49 to Fővám tér
Mondays: 6 am to 5 pm
Tuesday - Friday: 6 am to 6 pm
Saturdays: 6 am to 2 pm
Insider Tip: Whet your appetite with a tour of the famous Central Market Hall, and then prepare and enjoy a Hungarian meal at Chefparade Cooking School. To get an insiders' perspective, consider joining a market tour guided by Taste Hungary, a local foodie expert. Check out their Culinary Walking Tour.