Budapest’s Váci Street
Extending from Vörösmarty Square down to the Great Market Hall of Budapest, Váci Street is ranked among the most glamorous shopping streets of Europe.
Whether you’re here to purchase something for your loved ones back home or immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of downtown Budapest, you will not leave the area disappointed.
The pedestrian-friendly street is the epicenter of the glossy commercial life of Budapest– but not only that; very much like the city itself, being the fusion of the old and the new, Váci Street is divided into two parts. One is packed with fashionable stores offering a wide range of international brands from all around the world whereas the other takes you on a fabulous culinary and cultural journey into the Hungarian spirit. Even their vibe is completely different; one is buzzing with life, the other is peaceful, quiet, centered around local life. It is the contrast between the two parts that gives Váci Street a truly unique ambience.
The direct vicinity of the street has always been a convenient vantage point. Located only a stone’s throw away from the Danube, the Romans built their military fortifications here. By the Middle Ages -with the comings and goings of foreign vessels on the river- this area had become an important trading and industrial centre situated in the outskirts of Buda. In 1873, the merging of Buda and Pest made Váci Street a popular destination among the members of the Hungarian upper class – an occasional appearance or purchase was a display of social rank and prestige. Most of the buildings that line Váci Street were built in the 19th century and are still standing, that is why some of the most famous architectural gems of Budapest are hidden in this area: the art noveau Parisienne Courtyard or the eclectic Klotild Palaces allow us to travel back in time and feel nostalgic about the peaceful era of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
Seeing the glamorous stores of Váci Street today, it will not surprise you to hear that all the big food chains wanted to have a restaurant here when Hungary opened its gates to the west in 1989. (Find out from your guide how the locals welcomed the new trends and how they affected everyday Hungarian life.)
The Vörösmarty Square is often referred to as the centre of tourism in Budapest. With its wonderful architectural heritage it is a must-see for every traveller who hits the capital. This square is famous for two illustrious confectionaries (Gerbeaud and Szamos) and a UNESCO listed Christmas fair which attracts thousands of people from all around the world every year.
VÁCI STREET INFORMATION
The name is easy to pronounce – wahtzee. Though the locals will probably point it out to you on the map before you say anything.
Opening hours of shops: Mo-Sa : 10-21. Bear in mind that the bigger stores are closed on Sundays.
Accessibility: Metro Line 1 – Vörösmarty Square
Metro Line 3 – Ferenciek tere
Metro Line 4 – Fővám tér
Tram No. 4 – Vigadó Square
Bus Lines – Ferenciek tere 5, 7, 7E, 8, 112, 173, 173E, 178, 178A, 233E, 239
Christmas Market opening times: Late November to early January.