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Debrecen is the "Capital city of the Great Hungarian Plain", and the county seat and largest city of Hajdú-Bihar county in eastern Hungary. It is the second largest city in the country with about 200,000 inhabitants and historically the most important city in Hungarian protestantism.


The Great Church of Debrecen in winter

They used to ask "who in their sane mind would build a city in the middle of nowhere where there are no mountains, or roads?". Well, the answer is easy: thanks to the Great Plain situated in this area earlier there had been agricultural villages settled here. Step by step these villages were built together, a common administrative and cultural centre was created, and nowadays Debrecen is the second largest city of Hungary.

It used to be Europe's largest Calvinist city (was called "The Calvinist Rome"), and the Grand Church (Nagytemplom) is a reminder of the city's heritage.

Debrecen also has a university with all kinds of science areas. It has about 25000 students. The main building at the Nagyerdő is beautiful.

Get in[edit]

Main Train Station in Debrecen

By car[edit]

It can be easily accessed from Budapest by driving on the M3 highway and then the M35 (about at 186 km sign) highway but vignette is required. It is about a 2-hour drive. Or follow the main road 4 from Budapest or anywhere except east (more than 3 hours travel from Budapest), but it is not recommended because main road 4 is overcrowded and accidents are common.

By plane[edit]

The Debrecen Airport [1] is the second biggest of the country and after many years of operation [2] currently serves planes to several cities of Europe directly. Wizz Air flies from Eindhoven, Brussels, Malmö, Paris, Milan and London Luton. Lufthansa will fly to Munich starting April 2016I on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Through this destination most of the world's big cities are accessible with a single layover. Charter flights are available to Erfurt, Crete, Burgas, Corfu and Antalya. The airport is evolving into a multimodal logistics center with direct access to railways and roads.

By train[edit]

There are trains from Budapest to Debrecen every hour during the day. InterCity trains, the fastest option, takes 2.5 hours to reach Debrecen, and also stops at Budapest Airport (Ferihegy station). Cost is HUF 4605 (2nd class) or HUD 5595 (1st class). The best option is to leave Budapest from the Budapest Nyugati railway station because even tough there are trains from the Keleti as well but the travel time is over an hour longer. Starting from 2015 Debrecen is directly connected to Wien as well with the Hortobágy EuroCity train for 19 € for a single way ticket (buying in Hungary the ticket has a significant discount, buying in Austria will be more expensive).

Get around[edit]

Tram outside of Debrecen Train Station


The city center is just the right size to walk around but there are places where it is comfortable to drive. The road conditions are good but during peak hours some of the major intersections will get crowded, os expect some delays around 8-9 am and 4-5 pm. Sixt, Hertz and Avis are available in the city if you want to rent a car. It is also possible to order your rental to the airport.

Public transportation[edit]

Public transport uses local tickets. Don't try to use Budapest tickets; they won't work.

The tram [3] carries people to the most visited places. It starts from the railway station, goes along the main street, turns at the Grand Church a bit, goes to the Old Forest, the Zoo, Theme Park and Public Bath, then around to meet the Universities, then back. A cheap way to see most of the city is to get a ticket at the train station, get on, and enjoy the trip until you're back where you started.

Bus [4] lines are fair. You may expect to be able to reach nearby places fast.


There are many nice streets around, however there are many less attractive ones as well. Test your luck.

Try Nagyerdő (the Big Forest): it is beautiful.


Despite being the second largest city in the country, Debrecen has very few attractions to show for it. The Nagytemplom is a must see and easily accessible. As for museums, the Déri Museum is definitely worth a trip, but all the others really depend on how much Hungarian art interests you. Most of the major attractions are in the city park, or Nagyerdő, where you could easily spend a pleasant afternoon.

Places of Worship

  • Nagytemplom (Great Church) on Kossuth tér is Debrecen's most recognizable building and a symbol of the city. It is the centerpiece of what was once called "Calvanist Rome." Visitors can tour the interior, as well as go up in the tower to see the Rákóczi bell, the largest bell in Hungary, and excellent views of the city.


The Déri Museum, the largest museum in the city
  • Déri Museum [5] on Déri tér 1. (right behind the Great Church, take tram #1) is a place to see. It's a national museum with all kinds of arts. There is a nature display showing the animal life of the region, another collection featuring historical items from the region, and an art gallery featuring works from Hungarian artists. It's most famous work is Hungarian Mihály Munkácsy's Christ trilogy, three large paintings depicting Christ before Pilate, the Crucifixion, and Ecce Homo!
  • Ferenc Medgyessy Memorial Museum [6] on Péterfia u. 28. (just behind the Debrecen Plaza and most easily reached by tram #1) displays the works and life of the artist.
  • László Holló Memorial Museum [7] on Holló László sétány 8. (located in Tócóskert, take bus #19) is housed on a one-acre park featuring a cottage housing the artist's works and a statue garden.
  • Delizsánsz Kiállítóterem - Postamúzeum (Post Museum) [8] on Múzeum u. 3. (across the square from the Déri Museum in the main post office).
  • Debreceni Irodalmi Múzeum (Debrecen Literary Museum) [9] on Borsos József tér 1. (just north of the downtown, take bus #12, 15, 31 or 32) has a permanent exhibit from the 1890 Csokonai literary circle. It also houses occasional temporary exhibits.
  • Kölcsey Központ (Modem) [10] - a recently built modern centre for high-profile art exhibitions and musical/theatrical performances.

Nagyerdő - The City Park

Located just north of the downtown is the 2280 hectare city park which offers fine walks as well as several opportunities for fun and entertainment.

  • Vidámpark (Amusement Park) on Ady Endre út 1. is not as large or impressive as the park in Budapest, but nevertheless boasts to be the largest such park this side of the Tisza. There are 15 rides including a fantasy castle, ferris wheel, and a children's railroad.
  • Állatkert (Zoo) on Ady Endre út, together with the Vidámpark forms the Culture Park.
  • Aquaticum [11] on Nagyerdei Park 1. is the major resort of the town. It features a water park, public pool, bath house, hotel, and restaurants.
  • Műjégpálya (Skating Rink)
  • DVSC Stadium [12] is where the local soccer team plays (nicknamed "Loki"). They most recently won the Hungarian championship in 2005 and 2006.
  • Kossuth Lajos University [13] located on Egyetem tér, just west of the park, is one of the largest universities in the region and good for a stroll, or for taking Hungarian language classes in the summer.


  • Debrecen Plaza [14] located just north of the city center and easily reached by tram #1 is a small shopping mall. There is, however, a multiplex movie theater, supermarket, arcade, and food court with McDonalds.
  • Forum shopping mall. A newer mall just a block east of Debrecen Plaza. It also has a food court and many stores - being larger and more diverse than Debrecen Plaza.
  • Flower Carnival (Virágkarnevál): 20th August, every year there's a whole day of celebrating the summer and national holidays, with moving pictures or statues mad of flowers, and lots of other mardi gras.
  • Military Band Festival (Katonazenekari fesztivál)


Exchanging money can be cheaper here than in Budapest.


There's Csokonai restaurant, main steak house of Hungarian style, located in Kossuth street, right in front of Csokonai Szinház (opera house).

Try Flaska restaurant by the Apollo movie theater in the heart of the city. They have nice Hungarian dishes. For desert, head to the Mandula cukrászda (one of the best bakery in town) near Ember Pál street.

Calico Jack Pub and Palma Sorozo are two of the best restaurants in the town. Very popular with people visiting the town on business. The latest restaurant, Cafe Melange located on Egetem Sugarut is a very fine restaurant with amazing decor.

There are three Indian restaraunts. Kashmir, the only Indian restaurant in Debrecen open in the evening is not too bad, if you've never had Indian food before. For those who have, do not have high expectations, and be prepared to be paying over the odds for food which all seems to taste the same.

Another is Govinda, which is a pure Vegetarian restaurant. However, it is only open for lunch.


  • 'Cívis Grand Hotel Aranybika [15] The Cívis Grand Hotel Aranybika is located in the heart of Debrecen, next to the Reformed Cathedral. The present Art Nouveau building was built in 1915.
  • 'Hotel Italia is actually a kind of youth hostel. Cheap, filled up with students. 10 min. walk from the station.
  • 'Stop Pension - situated in a calm and pleasant area in the centre of Debrecen.
  • Cívis Hotel Kálvin [16] lies in the historic city centre of Debrecen, near the Reformed College and the Great Calvinist Church.
  • Hotel Platán is the newest four-star hotel in Debrecen. It is located five minutes from the town centre, near the airport.
  • HUNGUEST Hotel Nagyerdő is situated in the green heart of Nagyerdő, the most beautiful part of Debrecen in idyllic and peaceful surroundings.
  • Sport Hotel[17] is right next to the DVSC stadium on Olah Gabor Street. Clean rooms, fairly inexpensive.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Nyíregyháza, a smaller city with several parks and squares and the water resort of Sóstó.

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