St Stephen's Basilica

Price guide: Free

Szent Istvan ter, Budapest, 1051

Price guide: Free

St Stephen's Basilica
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By Adrian Phillips, your Budapest expert

I write for BBC Fast Track, BBC Radio .... Read more
#6 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Budapest
Expert overall rating:4.7 out of 5
Value for money:
0
N/A
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Couples, Culture vultures, Design and architecture

Expert review of St Stephen's Basilica

The city’s main church, and home of the country’s most revered relic.

The Basilica is a big beast of a church – the largest in Budapest and the second-largest in the country – and it took over 50 years to build (finally opening in 1905). Like the Parliament building, the church’s dome measures 96m in height – a symbolic reference to the arrival of the Magyar tribes in 896AD. Inside, the floor plan takes the shape of a Greek cross, and there are paintings and statues by 19th-century Hungarian masters including Mór Than, Alajos Stróbl and Károly Lotz. Perhaps of most interest to visitors, however, is an object in a bejewelled glass case in a chapel at the rear of the church – the mummified right hand of King Stephen himself. This is the country’s holiest relic, and on St Stephen’s Day (20th August) it is carried through the streets as part of a celebratory procession.

Price advice: 

Church free entry; Treasury 400 forints (adult), 300 forints (concessions), Panorama Tower 500/400 forints, guided tours in English 2,000 forints.

Expert tips: 
The viewing gallery running around the outside of the church’s dome offers some of the city’s best views. If you can’t brave the full 300 steps, you can board a lift that carries you most of the way.
There are concerts in the Basilica (and in the square outside during summer).
There have been occasional reports of conmen approaching tourists outside the Basilica and selling them entrance tickets. Be aware that the Basilica itself is free to enter (although you’ll need to pay to enter the Treasury and to access the outer gallery).

More information on St Stephen's Basilica:

Price guide:
Free
Type:
Religious site
Address:
Szent Istvan ter, Budapest, 1051
Telephone:
1 403 5370
Website:
http://www.basilica.hu
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Panorama Tower (Mar-Jun) 10am–5pm, (Jul-Aug) 10am–9pm, (Sep-whenever the weather allows) 10am–5.30pm; Treasury (Apr 1–Sep 30) 9am–5pm, (Oct 10–Mar 31) 10am–4pm. The Treasury is currently closed for refurbishment.
Indoor/outdoor?:
Indoor

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