Last week we put together a day trip itinerary for Pécs. This week we have created a guide for visiting Debrecen in a day. It is part of a series of articles that hopes to encourage visitors to Hungary to explore the country beyond Budapest.
Located on the plains of Eastern Hungary, Debrecen is the country’s second biggest city. It was one of the first settlements to be established after the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Known for its famous flower festival, Debrecen is definitely worth visiting on a day trip from Budapest!
How to get there
Visitors can take a train from Budapest-Nyugati Station to Debrecen. The journey takes between 2 to 3 hours, which is slightly longer than if going by car. Return tickets can be purchased under €30 and can be bought on the day of travel.
It is a little known fact that Debrecen actually has an international airport. A range of airlines connect the city to the rest of Europe, including WizzAir and Lufthansa.
Things to see
The Great Reformed Church is the largest Protestant Church in Hungary (featured image). Debrecen is the centre of Protestantism in the country, and the Great Reformed Church of Debrecen is the city’s most famous landmark. Built in the 19th century in a neoclassical style and making use of baroque elements, is also the symbol of the Hungarian Protestant faith. The church tower also has a great view of the city below.
- Go walking in the Great Forest (Nagyerdei) Park. Established as a protected area in 1939, it has wonderful paths meandering between trees that are hundreds of years old. The park is home to a range of wildlife including the Northern goshawk, the marten and the wild boar.
- Check out the Déri Museum. Housing a range of historical artefacts and art collections, the museum is one of the most beautiful buildings in Debrecen. In the museum garden visitors can admire four Ferenc Medgyessy sculptures which won an award at the Paris World Exhibition in 1937.
- Admire St Anne’s Cathedral’s architecture. This Baroque Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in the 19th century and it is the most important such building in North-eastern Hungary. The towers of this impressive structure were actually rebuilt in 1834 after a fire in 1811.
Wander through the University of Debrecen’s botanical garden. It houses and displays a range of native species from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as plants from around the world. It is definitely an unmissable stop for visitors who want to learn about local plants and ecology.
- Just walk around the historical downtown area! The best way to experience a city is by just strolling around its streets. See what catches your eye. Due to Debrecen’s importance to the Hungarian Protestant faith, there are numerous smaller religious buildings dotted around the city.
Where to eat
The best known restaurant is the IKON Restaurant and Lounge. Located in the downtown area, it serves traditional Hungarian dishes using locally sourced ingredients.
This week a study showed that Budapest has one of the cheapest transportation system in Europe.