It is the largest church in Budapest and has been dedicated to the first king of Hungary. Apart from being a splendid church, it also houses the treasury and the chapel where you can find the mummified right hand of St. Stephen (we skipped the treasury; entrance 400 ft / person) and offers stunning views from the viewing platform at 65 m (going to the tower costs 500 ft / person), but the total height of the tower is 86 m. We didn’t get to the chapel though (it was wayyyyyy to crowded for my taste). Entrance to the church itself was 200 ft/ person.
The church also houses various organ concerts. There was one on the New Year’s Eve but the prices aren’t exactly budget traveler friendly.
The church is one of the most important travel attractions in the city – which was hard not to notice due to the hordes of tourists. Construction started in 1851 and was completed in 1905. The church is 96 m tall, just like the Parliament.
How to get
There are two easy ways to get to the cathedral:
- M1 (yellow), get off at Bajcsy – Zsilinszky Ut (next stop after the Opera) and make a right to get to St. Istvan Ter (the basilica is big and yellow, hard to miss)
- M2 (red), get off at Deak Ter , follow Karoly krt and make a left on Jozsef Attila u.
We, however , took the long way …because we’ve been to the Parliament to get tickets for the tour and then decided to kill 3 hours walking towards Independence Square and then down October 6 street until we saw the Basilica.
Inside the church
The first thing that struck me was how HUGE it was. The Main Altar contains the statue of St. Stephen . The center of the main dome’s cupola is dominated by a fresco of God the Father.
The viewing platform
Technically the viewing platform is only open between April 1 and October 31 BUT probably because of the holidays we were lucky! So 307 stairs and a lot of huffing and puffing…but we made it. On the way back we took the elevator.
On a clear day you can see the entire city . And yes, there’s a 360 degrees panorama . We were unlucky as it was quite foggy that morning.