Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary after Budapest. Debrecen is the regional center of the Northern Great Plain region and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar county. It’s still preserved traditions mixed with the most recent technical and scientific innovations are what makes this city so unique and renowned. The city has outstanding architecture which perfectly represents this blend of traditional and modern.
Two of the most popular sites of Debrecen are the downtown and the Great Forest area. The downtown is famous for its events, from several excellent art exhibitions and concerts to many sports and leisure events, and of course for its colorful palette of restaurants. The Great Forest is known for its beautiful parks which besets the University campus and it’s also famous for being one of the largest center of mineral thermal water in Europe. The city’s stadium and its sport centers can be also found in this area which has been hosting several national and international sports events, carnivals, concerts and in 2018 it will give place to the FIRST® LEGO® League Open Invitational Central Europe.
All these sites and flourishing cultural, scientific and social life creates an outstanding and marvelous atmosphere in Debrecen the "Capital of the Great Plain".
Tourism attractions in Debrecen
There are several sights to visit and explore, while you are enjoying your stay in the city of Debrecen. For a first overview you can visit http://tourinform.hu/
In addition to that, we have listed for you the most recommendable sights and the best spots in town:
Great Church (Nagytemplom)
The Reformed Great Church of Debrecen is one of the most significant classicist historic buildings of Hungary. It was designed by Mihály Péchy, and built between 1805 and 1822. The towers are 61m high. The famous "Rákóczi-bell" – weighing 5 tons and donated by György Rákóczi in 1637 – can be seen by tourists in the western tower.
The main square of Debrecen was handed over to the public on 7 July, 2001. During the past years the square has become a real community space. The downtown pedestrian zone including the square is the scene of a number of interesting events such as the Turkey Days, the greatest gastronomic programme in the summer; the Cívis Promenade organized over the weekends in July; the Flower Carnival, the best-known and large-scale festival of the city as well as the Béla Bartók Choir Competition of international fame.
Agora Science Centre
The centre is a new attraction in the life of the region; it offers exciting adventures and lifelong experience to all age-groups. Play and entertainment are combined with learning in Agora; children and adults may get acquainted with special instruments, scientific curiosities and may be part of unique and spectacular experiments. In the laboratories of the three-storey modern building the visitors can gain insight to the miracles of physics, chemistry, biomedics, hydrobiology, botany and robotics, but also can examine the phenomena of the sky in the observatory.
It is a home to a whole world of entertainment options from spring through fall. Not only its 34m high observation point gives fantastic views of the surrounding area. A special telescope will also open a visual channel to bygone eras. Nourish your mind and body, respectively, at the permanent exhibitions and eateries. If you crave some physical exercise, check out the climbing wall built in the tower's structure. The day's adventures will culminate in the night light show.
University Calvinist Church
The church next to the main building of the university was built in 1940 in classicist style. It was used as a library of journals, periodicals and music. Since 2006 it has been in the possession of the Reformed Church.
Right next to the Nagyerdei Arena, a one-of-a-kind attraction beckons from spring to fall. The multimedia fountain, or “Mist Theatre,” boasts a 30×10-m, fan-shaped curtain of water vapor which can be used as a functional movie screen to show clips of Debrecen as well as special laser installations. The more adventurous might want to try the stepping stones across the basin on sweltering summer days.
The first sundial of Debrecen was unveiled on this square on 10 July, 2009—40 days before the 40th Debrecen Flower Carnival, on the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birthday. The flower clock is in fact a sundial. Its axle is a carved prismatic limestone column. The clock-hand is a long metal rod with metal arches under it referring to the astral orbits. The end of the hand is decorated with the wing of the phoenix which is the symbol of the city. The construction as a whole recalls the shape of the sweep-pole well evoking the world of the “puszta.” The place of the sundial was once occupied by a house in which lived Ferenc Kölcsey, the author of the original poem which became the Hungarian national anthem. The column and the sundial refer not only to the flower carnival but also to the poet.
Debrecen ZOO and Amusement Park
The Zoo and the Amusement Park are located in a natural reserve surrounded by trees. The garden presents over 1300 animals of 160 species. Since 1961, the "Ludas Matyi Amusement Park" awaits its guest together with the zoo as the "Culture Park in the Great Forest". The institute with its 17 games (Magic Castle, Dodgem, ferris wheel, children's train, etc.) is the largest permanent amusement park in the region.
Nagyerdő old Oak forest in the Botanical Garden
The Arboretum features the natural flora of Hungary. The primeval Nagyerdő Oak forest can be found on 2 hectares. The Greenhouse harbours the richest collection of succulent plants throughout Central-Eastern Europe. So if you want to take a break and go for a walk in nature, you should definitely pass by the Botanical Garden in Debrecen.
Guided sightseeing tours
The Debrecen tourist service office will offer guided sightseeing tours in Debrecen on the following days:
- Tuesday, May 15, 14:30
- Wednesday, May 16, 9:00
- Thursday, May 17, 9:00
Meeting point: Old Town Hall (Piac Street 20)
Planned duration: 2 hours
Participation fee: 1.500 HUF / person
Payment: only cash