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St Stephen's Basilica

A neoclassical cathedral dedicated to the first Christian king of Hungary; his (alleged) right hand is housed in its reliquary.

TravelCurious Tip

Take a trip to the top of the dome for spectacular views from the highest perch in Budapest. It’s a mere 364 steps, or an elevator

Construction of St Stephen's Basilica began in the mid 19th century, and it took over 50 years to complete. This was mainly due to the dome collapsing during a storm, an act of God which set them back a long time. But when the building was finally completed in 1905, its beauty made it more than worth the wait.


It is the largest church in Budapest, holding up to 8,500 people. Although technically a cathedral, it was given the title of basilica minor by Pope Pius XI in 1931. Along with the Hungarian Parliament Building, it is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest at 96 metres. This was no accident: it was meant to be symbolic of the equal standing of worldly and spiritual matters. Current regulations dictate that no building in Budapest can be taller. The height of 96 metres is itself also significant: it refers to 896, the year when the Magyar tribes settled in the Carpathian Basin, leading to the foundation of Hungary.


Inside, the basilica is dark, sombre and beautiful. Many of Hungary’s most well-known sculptors and painters were called upon to contribute to the decoration of the interior. It’s certainly opulent, with more than fifty types of marble, exquisite little chapels and numerous sculptures — including one of St Stephen, naturally.


Right hand man

The Holy Right Chapel is perhaps the highlight of the basilica. It allegedly contains the mummified right hand of St Stephen, who was the first King of Hungary and namesake of the basilica. This relic was pinched during World War II but it was returned home soon after. It is supposedly incorruptible, and is paraded through the city every year on August 20th, the anniversary of St Stephen’s death.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Budapest
Andrássy út
A lovely boulevard named as a World Heritage Site, lined with spectacular Neo-Renaissance mansions and luxury boutiques.
Hungarian State Opera House
This Neo-Renaissance opera house on Andrássy út features world-class acoustics, and has seen many an important resident.
Great Synagogue
Europe's largest - and the second largest in the world - this imposing Moorish Revival synagogue dates from 1859.
Hungarian Parliament Building
On the bank of the Danube, this impressive building displays an eclectic mixture of architectural styles and is home to the Crown of St Stephen.
Fisherman's Bastion
Known as the Halászbástya, this stunning fin-de-siècle terrace is dedicated to the guild of fishermen who defended the city walls in the middle ages.
Buda Castle
The historical residence of Hungarian royalty, this impressive palace complex has seen a series of transformations since the mid-13th century.

Related Tours

Visit Pest: Urban Half Day Highlights with Private Guide
In this four hour walking tour, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the important historical and cultural sites of the Pest.

  • Explore the importance of the Danube to Pest in ancient times
  • Visit the Great Synagogue, Europe’s biggest place of worship for the Jewish faith 
  • Stroll the leafy Andrássy út boulevard, passing by the National Opera House 
  • Find out what drove Buda and Pest to unify as one large capital city
  • Discover Pest’s stunning array of architectural styles, from Turkish era to Art Nouveau
  • Snap pictures of St Stephen's Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral 
  • Enjoy the buzz of Pest, a vibrant cultural hub on the eastern banks of the Danube
  • Discover the significance of the monument at the heart of  Heroes' Square 
  • End your tour at  Széchenyi Spa, a colour-rich bathing complex in Art Nouveau style
Your tour will begin at the formidable Hungarian Parliament Building, which boasts a truly eclectic mix of architectural styles. Straddling the Danube, this stunning building is home to the Crown of St Stephen, a historically significant treasure of the Hungarian nation, bequeathed by Pope Sylvester II on Christmas Day in the year 1000. Another highlight is St Stephen’s Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral named after the first king of Hungary that is supposedly where his right hand is entombed. 

Budapest’s Great Synagogue - a statuesque landmark that ranks amongst the world’s largest places of worship for the Jewish faith - was consecrated in the city in 1859. A stroll down Andrássy út Boulevard will take you past the National Opera House built in glorious neo-Renaissance style. 

Towards the end of the boulevard, the Heroes’ Square is one of Budapest’s favourite public spaces: a popular gathering point with a monument dedicated to the Magyar (Hungarian) conquest at its heart. Your final destination on the half day tour of Pest is the largest spa in Europe, the mosaic-rich Széchenyi Spa, an immense bathing complex built in elaborate Art Nouveau style, where you have the option of purchasing tickets to explore the bubbling hot springs and steaming pools of curative waters, enjoyed throughout the centuries by around 100-million bathers.  
The Ultimate Private Full Day Highlights Tour of Budapest
In this seven hour tour with private transport, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of Budapest.

  • Commence your tour on Castle Hill, which offers phenomenal panoramas of the city 
  • Visit the Great Synagogue, Europe’s biggest place of worship for the Jewish faith 
  • Stroll the leafy Andrássy út boulevard, passing by the Hungarian National Opera House 
  • Enjoy the buzz of Pest, a vibrant cultural hub on the eastern banks of the Danube
  • Discover the significance of the monument at the heart of Heroes' Square 
  • Revel in the quietude of Buda and its characterful, storied streets.
  • Find out what drove Buda and Pest to unify as one large capital city
  • Discover Budapest’s stunning array of architectural styles, from Turkish era to Art Nouveau
  • Admire the scale and finery of the Hungarian Parliament Building 
  • Admire the elegance of St Stephen's Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral 
  • Explore the importance of the Danube to Budapest since ancient times
  • End your tour at  Széchenyi Spa, a colour-rich bathing complex in Art Nouveau style
Origins of Budapest

Budapest is blessed with some truly superb, grand buildings in Gothic, Art Nouveau, Romantic, Neo-Gothic and Turkish era style: a pleasing mix of genres that draws millions of culture buffs to the city each year.  The capital of Hungary is the administrative, cultural, economic, educational, financial and trade hub of the nation. The mighty River Danube, broad and sweeping, neatly dissects the city, with the old city of Buda extending into the hills on the west bank and Pest sitting in the lowlands to the east. As Hungary’s largest metropolitan hub, Budapest boasts more diversity in its ethnicity still, combined with the historical legacies of Asiatic conquer, Mongol invasion, Ottoman siege, German control and Soviet rule. 

From Castle Hill to Heroes’ Square

Immerse yourself in the unique character of Budapest with its beautiful buildings, fairytale towers, storied streets, Hungarian culture, quirky communist-era sites and gritty spirit. Stroll some of the streets to access treasures best viewed on foot and journey via luxury transport to the city’s far-flung corners. Your expert local guide will provide a narrative to your exploration of Budapest’s most compelling historical and cultural sites.Visit Castle Hill, an elevated focal point of Budapest’s history that is home to some of the city’s most iconic medieval monuments such as the fairytale towers at the Fisherman’s Bastion and handsome Matthias Church with its royal connections. Prepare to be wowed by the sheer size and scale of the Hungarian Parliament Building, which boasts an eclectic mix mixture of architectural styles. It is here that the Crown of St Stephen, one of the most historically significant Hungarian treasures, is held on behalf of the nation.

The St Stephen’s Basilica, an elegant neoclassical cathedral named after the first king of Hungary, is the most sacred of all Catholic church in the country and took 54 years to construct, finally opening in 1905. Similarly impressive is the Great Synagogue, one of the largest places of worship of the Jewish faith in the world. In the Pest area of the city you will be able to admire the National Opera House, a temple of acoustic perfection, in a building of resplendent neo-Renaissance style. Nearby, find Heroes’ Square at the end of Andrássy Street, a neatly paved plaza built in the late 1800’s that is now topped with a monument to Hungarian conquest. Our final stop is the Széchenyi Spa, an Art Nouveau bathing complex of grand decor filled with hot bubbling pools, outside baths and whirlpools. The largest spa baths in Europe, the Széchenyi Spa boasts iconic status in Hungary and is used by people of all ages, including families, for bathing rituals in its spring-fed curative bathhouse. You are free to enjoy the spa at your leisure at the end of the tour.
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