Visiting Budapest’s largest market: treasures in the Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall is Budapest's largest market and an unmissable stop for many tourists.

If you visit Budapest, the Great Market Hall is the perfect place to get to know more about Hungarian culture and cuisine. The magnificent building looks beautiful from the outside, and it hides real treasures on the inside.

Visiting Budapest’s largest market: treasures in the Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall is Budapest’s largest market and an unmissable stop for many tourists, where Hungaricums, local products, and traditional dishes await.

If you visit Budapest, the Great Market Hall is the perfect place to get to know more about Hungarian culture and cuisine. The magnificent building looks beautiful from the outside, and it hides real treasures on the inside.

The Great Market Hall

At the Liberty Bridge’s Pest side abutment is located the Great Market Hall of Budapest. It is the main city’s largest indoor market. The Zsolnay tile-roofed building opened in 1897. At that time, fresh goods arrived non-stop through a canal.

Today there is no channel, but fresh vegetables, fruit, quality meat, salami, and other products from domestic producers remain. The hall is a must-visit area for tourists, so it is not surprising that there is no shortage of souvenirs. Upstairs, a buffet line offers fragrant Hungarian delicacies.

Hungaricums

The Great Market Hall has three floors, and visitors can see a piece of Hungarian culture on each floor. The stalls offering Hungaricums have their corridor: a 140-meter-long Hungaricum “street” was created on the basement level.

The basement showcase of Great Market Hall features such Hungaricums as Tokaji aszú, Béres-drops, Unicum, paprika from Kalocsa, sausages from Csaba and Gyula, Herz and Pick salami, Kalocsa embroidery, foie gras, soda-water, acacia honey, pálinka, Zsolnay porcelain, or onions from Makó. The dishes just listed are often used by Hungarians for cooking, but foie gras is a special delicacy that is mostly eaten during holidays. And unicum is a very dark-coloured alcoholic drink made from herbs, available in several flavours.

In addition to food and handmade products, you can also find special toys, such as the Rubik’s Cube. This 3D puzzle was originally invented by Hungarian sculptor and architecture professor Ernő Rubik in 1974. The tricky cube has to be rotated until all sides are the same colour, which is not an easy task. The logic game is very popular and known worldwide.

Hungarian secret boxes can also be found on the market. There is only one way to open them, and if you don’t know the special method, it is a hard task. It doesn’t work at all, as you might think at first glance, but it’s a lot of fun figuring it out. The helpful sellers will sooner or later give the solution to those who cannot figure it out on their own.

The marketplace

In the marketplace part you can choose from, among other things, meat products made from Hungarian grey cattle and Mangalica, and fresh Hungarian fruits and vegetables are lined up in front of the vendors. You can even come across dairy products from local producers like goat or cow milk, cheeses, and yogurts. In the stairwell space, you can get to know the Hungarian wine regions and wine varieties.

Frequently, there are themed national days at the market when you can buy unique products from another country. For example, France, Italy, Germany, and so on. They also organize a group tasting to get to know the stalls’ delicacies.

Hungarian cuisine

On the top floor is a dining area, where you can try out the delicious Hungarian cuisine, which is made from fresh products. In Hungary, it is common to use Kalocsa paprika powder to flavour meals—the powder can be sweet or hot. Usually, Hungarian dishes are spicy, if you try one out, you will see.

In addition to lángos, which is kind of a Hungarian fast-food, that is available in many flavours, (traditionally made with garlic sauce, spread with sour cream and topped with cheese), goulash soup, stuffed cabbage, and Hortobágy pancakes are constantly present on the side tables of side-by-side buffets.

Of course, for those who want to try out the specialities in nice restaurants, they can choose to visit Budapest downtown, leaving the Hall and boarding the 47 or 49 tram, because there are many options to taste a wide range of Hungarian gastronomy.

How to get to the Great Market Hall in Budapest?

The Great Market Hall is on Vámház Boulevard 1-3. It is not difficult to find because its tall building can be seen from afar. The Gellért Thermal Bath is on the opposite side of the Danube, with the Gellért Hill next to it.

If you want to visit the ever-busy, fragrant Market Hall, the easiest way to get there is by tram number 2. This tram is also called the “panoramic tram,” because it runs along the banks of the Danube on the Pest side, and passes by many interesting sights.

But the Great Market Hall in Budapest can be reached in several ways, including trams 47, 48 and 49, whose final stop is at Deák Ferenc Square, which is one of Budapest’s most important transport hubs.

The Market Hall is a great place for someone who wants to take a special gift home as a souvenir for their loved ones, but it is also perfect for getting a taste of the Hungarian way of life—literally!

If you feel like visiting Budapest, contact me and let’s explore the city together!