St. Stephens basilica in Budapest Hungary

Getty Images/Flickr RM

Basilica of St Stephen

Top choice in Budapest

Budapest’s neoclassical cathedral is the most sacred Catholic church in all of Hungary and contains its most revered relic: the mummified right hand of the church’s patron, King St Stephen. It was built over half a century to 1905. Much of the interruption during construction had to do with a fiasco in 1868 when the dome collapsed during a storm, and the structure had to be demolished and then rebuilt from the ground up. The view from the dome is phenomenal.

The basilica is rather dark and gloomy inside. To the right as you enter the basilica is a lift to the 2nd-floor treasury of ecclesiastical objects. Behind the main altar and to the left is the basilica’s main attraction: the Holy Right Chapel, containing what is also called the Holy Dexter – the mummified right hand of St Stephen and an object of great devotion. It was restored to Hungary by Habsburg empress Maria Theresa in 1771 after being discovered in a Bosnian monastery. The chapel was being extensively renovated at the time of research and was not due reopen before 2020.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Budapest attractions

1. Basilica of St Stephen Treasury

0.01 MILES

The treasury of the Basilica of St Stephen contains ecclesiastical objects, including censers, chalices, ciboria and vestments, plus an unforgettable art…

2. Holy Right Chapel

0.01 MILES

This chapel in the Basilica of St Stephen contains the Holy Right (also known as the Holy Dexter), the mummified right hand of King St Stephen and an…

3. Basilica of St Stephen Dome

0.01 MILES

The top of Basilica of St Stephen dome offers some of the best views in Budapest. It can be reached via a lift and 42 steps (or 302 steps if you want to…

5. National Bank of Hungary


Southeast of Szabadság tér are some of the most beautiful buildings in Pest, including the National Bank of Hungary. It has terracotta reliefs on all four…

6. Underground Railway Museum

0.21 MILES

In the pedestrian subway/underpss below V Deák Ferenc tér, with its entrance within the main ticket office, the small, revamped Underground Railway Museum…

7. Antifascist Monument

0.21 MILES

This memorial dedicated to the 'victims of the German occupation' appeared at the southern end of V Szabadság tér in July 2014. It remains extremely…

8. Deák tér Lutheran Church

0.23 MILES

This very central church on the south side of V Deák Ferenc tér was designed by Mihály Pollack in 1799, It is one of the best examples of early…