St. Stephen's Basilica (Svent István Bazilika)#7 in Best Things To Do in Budapest
One of downtown Budapest's most popular sights is St. Stephen's Basilica. Featuring two clock towers and an impressive cupola, this historical church, which was dedicated to Stephen I (Hungary's founder and first king) upon completion in 1905, took more than 50 years to build. Visitors flock here to catch a glimpse of its main attraction – the Holy Right. This mummified, jewel-adorned right hand of the property's namesake rests inside an ornate golden reliquary in the church's Holy Right chapel.
Past travelers praised St. Stephen's Basilica's stunning architecture and interior, as well as the breathtaking city views from the cupola's balcony. Visitors can explore the church on their own, but for more insight about its history, reviewers recommend paying for the guided tour, which includes looks at the Holy Right chapel, the on-site treasury and the cupola.
Entry to the church is free year-round, but a donation of 200 forints (less than $1) per person is suggested. English-speaking guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a fee of 1,600 forints (about $6) per adult and 1,200 forints (approximately $4.50) for each student. Travelers can also skip a visit to the cupola during their tour (discounted rates apply) or opt to only visit the cupola for 500 forints ($2) per person.
St. Stephen's Basilica welcomes visitors weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Other than restrooms and a small gift shop, no facilities are available on-site, but various restaurants, cafes and boutiques are situated within walking distance. Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út – the closest of multiple metro stations – sits a block away. A bus stop for several routes can also be found just outside the property. Visit the church's official website to find out more.
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#1 Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya)
Located in the historic district of Castle Hill, Fisherman's Bastion is a neo-Gothic terrace that looks like a structure taken straight out of a fairy tale. Designed and built in 1905 by Frigyes Schulek – the same architect who built the adjacent Matthias Church – Fisherman's Bastion is named after the medieval guild of fishermen who protected Budapest from invasion.
Visitors say Fisherman's Bastion's gleaming white structure provides panoramic views of the city: From here, you can snap some breathtaking pictures of the Danube River, Margaret Island and Pest. Also save time for exploring the sight's seven ornate turrets, which symbolize the tents of the seven Magyar leaders who settled the Carpathian Basin, ultimately leading to the existence of modern-day Hungary.
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