I must say, the morning our family spent at the Ecseri Flea Market in Budapest was a real treat! We were able to have a great time because my cousin is Hungarian and lives in Budapest, my aunt from Ohio also speaks Hungarian, and two cousins also speak some Hungarian. If our family group of mostly English-speaking Americans and Canadians had gone alone without people who know how to speak Hungarian, I’m not sure we would have enjoyed ourselves as much. Part of the fun at a flea market is haggling for a good price, and it takes at least basic Hungarian language skills to do this! Although some dealers spoke some English, it was my Hungarian cousin’s finesse with the language and Hungarian bargaining skills that got us the deals!
Although I know you can get to this flea market by taking public transit, I’m glad we were riding in a car that was being navigated by my cousin who lives in Budapest. We had a Hungarian GPS, and we got to the flea market with little trouble. By bus, I’m not sure how easy it would have been to get there!
I'm a flea market junkie, and have been to all sorts of flea markets in many cities around the world. I've managed to find flea markets in just about every city I've ever visited...some clean and well-run; others junky and disorganized. All are certainly interesting! This place was no exception.
The opening time for the market is listed as 8:00 AM, and we got there at 9:30 AM on a weekday in March. But this was way too early. Vendors didn’t start arriving until about 10:30. Of course, in the summer months, this is probably not the case, and you should arrive about 8:00 AM, especially if you visit on a Saturday. While we waited for booths to open, we ordered some cappuccino and pastries for breakfast at one of the food vendor booths. It was a surprise to get the coffee served in little clear-plastic cups!
I came away from the flea market with some very interesting treasures. For my twenty-something son, I found three original Communist-era merit pins from the 1960s for approximately 1500 forints [$6.50]. My cousin said that his grandfather and father had some of these pins that had been awarded to them for being good, hard workers.
Remember, you’ll need cash for all purchases...no credit cards accepted. And, if you intend to buy antiques that are over 50 years old, some other websites warn that a permit and special permission from the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest will be needed.
For me, I was able to find a great deal on a Herend Porcelain tea cup and saucer in the Queen Victoria pattern for less than half the going price at the official Herend store.
My cousin found a black-and-red leather foot stool to match two others in his apartment.
My aunt found two very nice porcelain Zsolnai vases for Christmas gifts, both at great prices. We saw lots of Herend porcelain, 1940’s factory-worker loyalty signs, antique dressers, paintings, other art work, Soviet era memorabilia, musical instruments, furniture, etc., etc., etc. We could have browsed for days!
Although the Ecseri Flea Market was a bit grungy and some booths were very disorganized, I’ll definitely go back for a visit on my next trip to Budapest. But, next time, I’ll set aside a whole day for this adventure.
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