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Slow travel in Southern Burgenland

© by Arnold Weisz

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.

Slow travel

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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Wine country

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.

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Hiking

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.

Borderlands

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.

Spa resorts

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

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Written by Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia has traveled the world, but fell completely in love with Austria. She loves the dramatic mountain landscape, the phototastiske lakes and the captivating castles. Moreover, a real Wienerschnitzel is always on the menu when she explores the alpine country.