Budapest Flea Market

Whenever we are Budapest, I love to go to the Bolhapiac (flea market) where most of the sellers are private individuals. 

Flea markets are such an interesting slice of culture--to see what people save, sell, and value.

If you'd like to join me, let's take a walk through the flea market. The entry cost is 150 forint (about 75cents), but I'll pay your way today, so come along and let's go flea-marketing together.

It's hot today which makes the sites and sounds and smells even more concentrated. Those rich, thick, unfamiliar sounds you hear all around you are the Hungarian language--it's a strange-sounding language for English-speakers.

cheap and exquisite items share the same tables: worn toys, costume jewelry, antique glass...

A table of miniature books. If you'd like to know why these are common in Hungary, read below.

"During part of the twentieth Century, Hungary was the leading producer of miniature books in the world, and substantial production of miniatures also occurred in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. The Communist influence had two very important effects. State supported publishers were able to issue books which otherwise could never have been published commercially. However, political considerations also influenced what was published, with a large number of political works appearing alongside exquisitely designed, printed, and bound volumes of national literature, history and art." 4000 Years of Miniature Books

And a former communist country's flea market is not complete without Communist paraphernalia like these busts of Lenin. 

One is sarcastically wrapped in a red scarf. 

That's because red scarves were worn by children in Pioneer Clubs, (clubs used to indoctrinate young people in Communist philosophy).

Do you know why they call flea markets "flea" markets?

No one is sure, but it's believed that it may have started at a French second-hand market that was known to sell items infested with fleas.

These bird figurines seem interested in the icons in front of them. Some sellers are neat and organized like the one above, but that's the exception.

This man was unpacking his old books from this wooden box, and I thought the box was as interesting as the books.

I collect prayer books, so this small one caught my eye, but I wasn't willing to pay the equivalent of $20 for it.

military metals and coins.
The crowds are small  this day and there aren't as many vendors because of the unusually hot temperatures.

And not all the items are used. This is a table of new bras! I've never bought a bra at a flea least not yet.

This dishware has typical patterns of Transylvania, the Hungarian area of Romania that was once part of Hungary but taken from it after WWI.

While some items are things you might see in the States, many are specific to Europe.

One older Communist era stacking doll (back right) and a number of new ones that are not especially artistic, plus one that pictures Clinton with other presidents inside.  If you like Russian nesting dolls, you might enjoy my 1-minute devotion called "Nesting Dolls." Some strands of beads (to the left of the doll) look like amber which is plentiful in nearby Poland.

Don't miss the 1-minute devotion I wrote called Flea Market Trash & Treasure.

Old comic books and magazines.
Flea markets are such a mishmash of items...piles of  costume jewerly, pottery, figurines, and silver at this table

Does anything strike your fancy?

"Minden 500" means everything is 500 forint (approximately $2.20 at the exchange rate this day).  I pondered a few items on that table, but decided to let them go.

Do you notice the Nazi magazine below the Stephen King book (lower left corner of photo)?

Some interesting old irons...They're really heavy. I had one when we lived in Budapest, but it was too heavy to bring back with me.

A violin next to a table of plastic toys.

Tins full of interesting things.

Orderly arrangement of everything from sunglasses to dolls.

Some of the vendors are as colorful as their wares.

I hope you enjoyed your tour even though you couldn't stop and bargain. Here's what I bought for approximately $30 total.

I love this typewriter! The vendor told me approximately $20 when I first looked at it. When I came back, she said it was $40. I held my ground and bought it for $20. It was heavy to get in our suitcase, but oh, so worth it. You can see it in many of my decor posts.

It's a Remington Portable typewriter from the 1920's with a Hungarian keyboard.

A Gerbeaud chocolate box. Gerbeaud is a very famous cafe in Budapest that you can still visit today. This is a description from Budapest Tourist Guide:

"Henrik Kugler established the coffee house in 1858. Since Kugler didn't have a heir he sold the cafe to Emil Gerbeaud descendant of a talented Swiss confectioner family. Gerbeaud expanded the cafe and developed into one of Europe's finest coffee house and pastry shop. He added new cakes to the menu and introduced modern confectionery techniques. Gerbeaud even founded a small chocolate factory where the legendary pralines and other sweets were made."

These figurines depicting traditional Hungarian costumes were made at A Quincum factory which is no longer operating. I like their modern retro style (is that an oxymoron?).

And this small book is a Hebrew prayer book reading from back to front.

Last is a coffee mill that has a brass plate that says "Balaton" which is the famous lake in Hungary.

To see how I incorporated these items into my home decor read "Vintage Hungarian Decor."

I hope you enjoyed our walk through this flea market. While you're here, why not check out my home page where I feature 1-Minute devotions to encourage, challenge and inspire you. Subscribe to have them sent to your email box each weekday. And check out my Marriage and Blogging Tips pages too. Thanks, Gail


  1. Wow! That was amazing! It's a good thing I can't go to one of those, or I would reclutter all the progress I've made decluttering my house. :) It sure makes you thankful for all the household gadgets we take for granted. By the way LOVED the miniature books!

  2. I really enjoyed looking through your flea market photos. Thanks for sharing them. It looks like a wonderful, historical place.

  3. Wow - I wish I could have been with you. We have something similar here - but not NEARLY as interesting. I loved your post on the nesting dolls. They are GORGEOUS!

  4. I am still loving "traveling" with you! :) Love seeing the pictures1 Thanks!

  5. Thanks for the tour of the flea market Gail. I probably would have bought the purple perfume bottle. Cool stuff!

  6. Thank you Gail it is great to be part of your travels through your blogs. I have never been in Europe...yet. It looks fascinating!

  7. Fun! I was so excited to see this post since I am Hungarian but living in California. A little bit of nostalgia! Thanks!

  8. That was fun walking with you through the flea market!! Ha! A type-writer!! That looks so similar (and about as old) as my typewriter that took me through college...what an antique when the smartest kids had the newer electric ones!!

    I have been literally toiling over getting social media icons up. I finally have some up for the time being. I cannot get the hang of Inlinkz but will keep trying as I have time. I would like to learn how to use it so that I can put the grab buttons at the bottom of my posts, and even do a link up party but that is just beyond me!! Thankfully I have had a lot of time lately. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I couldn't find a link for an email. I am sorry for posting this in a comment.

    You have been such a blessing and encouragement.

    I just read a few of your posts before logging off for the night.

  9. Thanks for the outing! I love FLEA MARKETS :) I like your purchases, especially the type-writer and chocolate box. I too have a little collection of nesting dolls, while some are in the modern forms of salt shakers and measuring cups…

  10. How cool! Enjoyed those photos! I am jealous! What a great adventure.

  11. The mini books are great! How fun to explore flea markets in another country.

  12. My first time in A Budipest flea market LOL thanks for the tour
    I like the hebrew prayer book

    Its nice to see different flea markets around the world

  13. How exotic. Great post. I found this through the Create and Inspire linky party. I linked in a rhubarb and banana jam I did to use up old bananas.


    1. Yes, I know that Transylvania is in Romania. I noted that it was once part of Hungary and is a section where many ethnic Hungarians reside. Thanks for that clarification.


    1. Dear Julia, I have visited Romania and I agree that it is a beautiful country. Thanks for commenting. Bless you, Gail

  16. I am drooling all over my keyboard at the items in this market; you write so well that the sounds, sights, and smells are real to me. I loved the little bird figurines. I have three Hungarian books - very small in size, and always look for them at book fairs. I did not know why they are so small. Loved, loved the tour! The typewriter with its Hungarian keyboard is so special!

    Thanks for coming over to visit my post!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

  17. I love the bra table. Never will buy one from there unless it was a last resort, but the table is hilarious!

  18. Wow that was amazing. My pick of everything I saw would have been the violin, if not too expensive I have one but I love vintage instruments. I am a history buff and appreciated all the info you tucked into your post. Have never been to Europe but been to many outdoor markets as a missionary in the Caribbean. Love the culture lessons from those spots. Blessings

  19. What an enjoyable tour; I especially love those dishes! So bright and colorful !!

  20. I truly enjoyed the tour! I have never been to such an interesting flea market! Very glad I found you at the Grand Social at Grandma's Briefs...looking forward to checking out your other posts!

  21. My grandma had a typewriter like that! It typed cursive, oh how I would love to find one!

  22. Fascinating! These tables were ladened with so many things - I am sure this was a marvelous experience - you found some nice treasures. I am so delighted you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,


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