I always enjoy taking a stroll in downtown Debrecen. At the foot of the iconic Reformed Great Church I can admire the main square’s beautiful panorama sitting on the terrace of Árkád Café with a refreshing lemonade or a coffee in my hand. A few meters down the road I can go for a lunch or a dinner if I wish. Déri Museum’s park that is close to my heart can also be found in the city center not far behind the Reformed church. This lovely little park was the place of many gatherings with my friends and romantic dates when I was younger, so I keep dear memories of this park just like of my other favorite place in Debrecen, Nagyerdő. The downtown pedestrian zone is popular not only among locals but tourists alike as restaurants and bars follow one another with street terraces full of people. I particularly like Simonffy Street and Hal Köz where on a summer night I likely bump into friends.
I love Debrecen’s international atmosphere, with a population of almost 6000 international students from 113 different nations, most of whom study at the University of Debrecen. I believe that gastronomy is one of the best ways to get to know other cultures. In Debrecen, the best occasion for this is the International Food Day held every year in May in front of the main building of the university where you can taste the traditional national dishes of international students. The food is prepared and served by the students by themselves, usually wearing their national folk costumes. Besides culinary delights, live music and dance performances entertain the public. If you like trying new flavors and experiencing different cultures, don’t miss this festival!
As an expat living and working in Debrecen for several years, I have an outsider’s perspective to living and working in the city. Since moving here for work reasons, I have come to love the city and how family-friendly it is. My wife and I can often be found at the Great Forest Park at the Froggy playground, talking while our son plays. Afterwards, we like to treat ourselves to lunch at “Krudy” a restaurant nearby which is known for their great daily specials which are always good. Opposite the restaurant is the thermal baths we often visit to ease away our aches and pains. There is always something to do in the city if you know where to look.
I love walking in the old town of Debrecen. Szentlászlófalva, which is situated between the downtown and the Great Forest, reminds me of the old Debrecen. The winding streets, the expressive street names, the old civic house fronts and the spirit of the beautiful gates fascinate me every time. After a pleasant walk, I like sitting in the Incognito Bar on the corner of Eötvös and Rákóczi Streets, which was converted from an old civic apartment. There is always a good chance to bump into an intimate concert here in the evenings.
In the very heart of Debrecen, there is a street called Simonffy with a row of bars and restaurants that feels like an Italian piazza. Here you will find a bar called Maszek, which has been my favorite place from the moment I first set foot there. Besides the vintage interior design and the cozy atmosphere, you can find a great selection of drinks and fine meals prepared from fresh and seasonal ingredients, so I gladly go there for a meal with my boyfriend or for a chat and drink with my friends. They offer a lunch menu too, so it is also a good choice for a quick lunch. I recommend Maszek to anybody who would like to enjoy traditional flavors in a modern and trendy environment
In the main street of Debrecen, there is a coffee shop called Volt Egyszer (“Once Upon a Time”) where I often start my day. The divine coffee specialties are always accompanied by kind and flexible service, so refreshment is guaranteed. Sitting behind the huge glass shop window, I usually admire the continuously developing city center, mothers pushing their prams and children running around the fountains. However, if I am in a hurry, I prefer their coffee-to-go service.
I grew up in the Great Forest. I used to go there to attend football matches and athletics training when I was younger. As I returned to Debrecen a couple of years ago, now as a grown-up, I try to spend again as much time in the park as possible. My favorite place is the running track around the Great Forest Stadium, where a lot of people run their laps at twilight. Young and elderly runners, local people and tourists alike, no matter if they are active athletes or just hobby joggers, are guaranteed to have a good time. On the northern side of the running track, you can even run at the level of the tree leaves and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the surrounding natural environment while running.
I like wandering around the city, in the old streets and hidden squares of the historic city center that is full of beautiful old buildings and lovely fountain displays. One of my favorite public squares is Ady Park, right behind the Csokonai Theater, because its centrally located fountain display provides a nice atmosphere in the summer and I can taste delicious cakes and ice-creams in one of Debrecen’s oldest confectioner’s, Kismandula (“Small Almond”) there. I also love Hal köz, again to be found in the city center, where I often meet my friends in one of the trendy bars or just drink a cup of coffee on a lovely terrace while admiring the spectacular arcades of water of the square’s central fountain display. The most spectacular water attraction of Debrecen is definitely the Mist Theater in the Great Forest Park where you can enjoy amazing lightshows in the summer at night. It is also a must-visit selfie-point.
The most beautiful moments of my life are connected to the Reformed College of Debrecen, as it was the venue of our wedding’s civil ceremony and our wedding photos were also taken there. Personally, if I had to choose one from the great number of sights of Debrecen, it would definitely be the wonderful Grand Library and the historical Oratorio of the Reformed College of Debrecen. The Grand Library is listed among the most beautiful libraries of the world due to its amazing sight and its collection of 600,000 books, while the Oratorio is a place of historical importance for all Hungarians as it was for two times the venue of the sessions of the Hungarian Parliament.