Antique shops & flea Markets

 
 
 

There are many antique shops on and around Váci utca, mostly geared to tourists (though some, nevertheless, have rather wonderful stuff).  Pleasantly, one of the major non-tourist antique stores is diagonally across the street from the apartment, just off Szervita tér.  As you come out the door of the building, turn left and cross at the first traffic light.  You’ll be standing in front of the primary BAV antique outlet.  BAV is the ubiquitous Hungarian private (formerly state-owned) pawnshop, and it sells a substantial amount of decent art and antiques, both in shops and at auction.  Its auctions are detailed at http://www.bav.hu  It has several other stores in the city as well, including a cavernous warehouse of unrestored furniture that often has interesting stuff (sometimes at reasonable prices).  The warehouse seemed to be headed out of business when I was there last, but is surely worth looking into if it still exists.


Here is a list of the BAV shops:


http://www.bav.hu/index.php?func=kerloc&pid=11&cid=27&lang=angol&id=3&varos=Budapest


The furniture listing on that webpage is the perhaps-defunct warehouse.  The shop listed under Galleries is the one across the street from the apartment.


And there is the major antique district, a span of Falk Miksa utca, running roughly from Parliament out to the körut.  On Falk Miksa you’ll find Pinter Antik (http://www.pinterantik.hu/antik/en/default.asp ), a subterranean marvel of linked basements (they say these were used as bomb shelters during the war, god knows which war) with seemingly endless inventory in condition ranging from stacked heaps of untouched detritus to beautifully restored sets of furniture.  It’s is very definitely worth taking a walk through even if you have no interest in antiques and no intention to buy anything.


On Vamhaz körut there is a second hand furniture/jewelry outlet that is off the tourist path, Klapka Antiques, where you can occasionally find real bargains (there is also an upmarket Klapka on Váci utca).  Other places scattered around the city sell used items, sometimes in unlikely settings.  There is, for instance, a thrift shop sort of store out behind the Central Markethall, just past the Borbirosag Restaurant, where we once found a very odd but quite appealing (to us) stained glass cake platter.


And then there is the Flea Market.  Saturday mornings are best, but it’s open every day (earlier tends to be better). The Flea Market can be difficult to navigate to unless you hire a car or are intrepid with public transit.  Basically, there is a bus that runs to the Market from Boraros ter, and it drops you on the opposite side of the Motorway from the Market.  The bus to take is the #54, whose starting point is Boraros ter so there are always some hanging around there.  It’s in the circular bus station at street level (you have to go downstairs from the other side of the street and come up a stairway that indicates the #54 bus is there; you will be staring at a giant MAXELL sign as you come up the stairs; do not come up onto the bridge or the sidewalk of on of the streets that emanate from Boraros ter; it is, admittedly, a maze).  Once there, the bus announces that the stop (Fiume utca) is the stop for the Flea Market (Ecseri, pronounced ETCH-air-ee) in three languages including English.  Get out, walk over the pedestrian bridge that crosses the motorway, and enter the market.  To return to Boraros ter, the bus stop is just outside the market entry, to the left.  Three buses stop there, all with the number 54 in their title (the 54, the 54 Red, and the 154; the 54 and 54 Red are identical in appearance, almost, though there’s a red box around the number for the Red; the main thing is to pay attention to where it says it is going: Bopraros ter is what you want; Kispest is what you don’t want (unless, of course, you are headed to Kispest for some unknown reason).


It’s daunting the first time, but even so, we’ve managed to find lots of wonderful things at the Flea Market and I strongly encourage finding your way there.


Other Antiques listings are gathered at:


http://www.firsteuropeanshipping.com/guided.html#a




 

Mining Budapest's shops for the gold nuggets scattered amidst the gravel in the rich flow of its antique shops, flea markets, second-hand stores, and pawn shops is one of my favorite ways to spend time.  There are second-hand stores almost everywhere if you keep an eye open, everything from sheets and comforters to tableware and antique tophats.  Ecseri is one of the last great European flea markets, and the porcelain, embroidery and lace on Falk Miksa are worth a detour.