Austria is so much more than the Alps, ski resorts, and Tyrolean houses. The nature, sunny climate and cultural landscape of Burgenland in the easternmost part of the country, is made for slow travel.
Southern Burgenland does not feature the same dramatic landscapes as the rest of Austria, where the Alps dominate. This in no way detracts from the region’s charm. Furthermore, the mixture of oak and beech forests, rolling hills and open cultural landscapes as well as a unique culture makes this part of Austria an interesting destination.
Short distances and good infrastructure makes this region perfect for slow travel. Make a lot’s of stops to enjoy the local scenery, wine and culinary delights. Leaving the beaten path is easy in Burgenland. We have often traveled the region by car venturing off the mains roads, exploring the countryside on the narrow (but often paved) farm roads. Moreover, we have also traveled by bus between some towns and villages. The Postbus company offers extensive network throughout Burgenland and Austria. This is a great way of allowing impressions to sink in and enjoy the moment.
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Austria’s eastern most state is often bypassed by foreign tourists. Except by those who are slightly above average interested in wine. On the south and east slopes at the border with Hungary you will find several wine districts; Eisenberg, Deutsch-Schützen, Moschendorf and Heiligenbrunn. Furthermore, the small wine district Eisenberg (DAC) located on the south and east slopes of the transition between the hill landscape and the Pannonian flatlands on the border with Hungary. Here they produce red wines from the Blaufränkisch grape, which is fruity and rich in minerals. In idyllic Heiligenbrunn you can stay in the middle of the wine landscape in a so-called Kellerstöckl, which are old wine cellars that have been converted into small cabins and restaurants. Moreover, this region also produces the unique Uhudler wine. Don’t leave without a bottle or two.
The small village of Heiligenbrunn in Burgenland is located in the transition between the rolling hills that characterize the south-eastern Austria and the vast plains that dominates western Hungary. Forests and vineyards dominate the landscape around Heiligenbrunn. Also the architectural traditions in this part of Austria differ greatly from the well known Tyrolean style houses […]
Although parts of the state are mostly flat it still hosts Burgenland’s highest “mountain”, the Geschriebenstein with its peak at 884 meters above sea level. For those who like to add hiking to their travel itinerary, there are fantastic hikes around the Geschriebenstein. The Geschriebenstein-Irottkö Nature Park spreads out on both sides of the border in Austria and Hungary. Large continuous forest areas cover the mountain landscape and offer great nature experiences. What’s more, over 500 km (310 mi) of marked hiking trails provide good opportunities for enjoying the nature and wildlife of the park.
Apart from a few kilometers border with Slovakia in the north, and a few kilometers towards Slovenia in the south, most of Burgenland borders Hungary. This characterizes the culture as well as the architecture of the area. From 1648 to 1921, the area which made up most of Burgenland belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary (which again was part of the Empire of Austria-Hungary). The first thing you notice when driving through the villages of Southern Burgenland is that they differ from the rest of Austria. Predominantly single-story houses are lined up along the main street, where there often are green stripes between road and house rows. Furthermore, the architecture is also different. The houses are often built with the long side towards the road and are located next door with few cross streets.
Castles and historic sights
Although the name Burgenland does not actually have anything to do with castles (burgen in German), there are of course plenty of medieval castles also in this part of Austria. Burg Schlaining and the small town of Stadtschlaining are well worth a visit. Other castles to visit are Bernstein Castle, Lockenhausen Castle and Gössing Castle. For some insights in the newer history, check out the guided tour along the “Iron Curtain” that was between Austria and Hungary, where you can see remnants of World War II bunkers, trenches, border bridge and border guard towers.
Southern Burgenland is also known for its spa resorts. The classic spa resort Bad Tatzmannsdorf and the newer resort town Stegersbach offer a range of wellness and thermal spa holidays. A great way to round of your slow travel trip is by relaxing a few days in a thermal spa with the beneficial and healing effects on body, mind and soul.
For more info: Burgenland Tourism
I arrived in Bad Waltersdorf a sunny and warm day in late June. Even though it was really too hot for a hike with 32 °C (90 °F), the local tourist office suggested a route which partly took me through small forests. And I did not regret taking up the tip, as the so-called Roman […]
If you are travelling on the A9 motorway from the south in the direction of Voralpenkreuz (A1) in the vincinity of Rottenmann, you cannot miss the castle at the top of the cliff. The red and white painted window shutters, defence walls and towers had fit well as a movie backdrop in a Hollywood movie. […]
The highest mountain of Lower Austria, Schneeberg (Snow Mountain), with its 2,076-metre (6.811 ft) high summit Klosterwappen, offers family friendly hiking and stunning views. Only about 80 kms (50 mi) from Vienna it’s a popular hiking destination for the Viennese, as well as for travellers. Hence, I boarded the yellow and green salamander train and headed up to Schneeberg. Arriving […]
We have been cruising the lakes in order to find the best boat trips in Austria. Passenger boats have been criss-crossing Austrian lakes for centuries. In the beginning to serve the communities on the lake shores, but since the 18th century also on tourist cruises. Some of the lakes still have historic cruises with steam […]