Only an hour away from Vienna – and bang, hello holiday feeling! It is not for nothing that Lake Neusiedl is nicknamed the “sea of the Viennese”. The sunsets on the shore of Lake Neusiedl are simply legendary.Cozy sundowners are by no means the only highlight of the region. The national park with its infinitely wide, unique steppe landscape is located around Lake Neusiedl .
In this blog article we will tell you our personal tips for a perfect weekend at Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland. Spoiler: There’s a lot to explore and it’s definitely worth staying a few nights.
1. Lake Neusiedl: First travel tips & information about the region
Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland: Exciting facts at a glance
- Lake Neusiedl is Austria’s largest lake.
- Its area stretches across two countries: Austria and Hungary, with Austria having a significantly larger part.
- Lake Neusiedl is a steppe lake and therefore very shallow – the maximum depth is less than 2 meters. 80 percent of the lake is fed by precipitation.
- The current climatic situation is therefore also a major threat to Lake Neusiedl and its wildlife. In particular because the national park with its salt lakes is located around the lake , in which an impressive variety of animals and plants can be found.
The most beautiful season for a holiday at Lake Neusiedl
The short answer: absolutely any! We have really been to Lake Neusiedl in very different months and every season has its own charm.
In spring , apricot, cherry and apple trees bloom and provide beautiful splashes of color in the landscape. Thanks to the well-filled salt lakes, this season is very diverse in the bird world.
Summer is the best travel time for beach days and sundowners on the lake shore. The hot season is not quite as suitable for animal observation, as the salt lakes gradually dry out. You can still watch storks (e.g. in Rust) until mid-August, which then embark on their journey to Africa.
From a culinary point of view , autumn is definitely worth a trip. A huge wine-growing region stretches around the lake. You can also experience some special features in the national park, such as the geese in October and November – that natural spectacle when thousands of geese move across the sky.
And last but not least (often forgotten, but definitely something very special): Winter! With a bit of luck you can experience a special spectacle: a frozen Lake Neusiedl!
Bucket List Neusiedlersee: You can experience it
Before we present you with detailed information about activities around Lake Neusiedl in the next few chapters, we would like to give you a brief overview of what to expect. Here is our small but fine bucket list for your trip:
- Explore the Neusiedler See – Seewinkel National Park by bike and marvel at the wildlife.
- Experience the sunset at the lighthouse in Podersdorf – probably the most famous photo motif on Lake Neusiedl.
- Sip a sundowner in one of the beach bars.
- Watch storks and their young in Rust – as long as they are there.
- Stroll through the Kellergasse in Purbach.
- Taste regional wines , ideally in the midst of the vines with a view of the lake.
2. National Park Neusiedler See – Seewinkel: tips for visiting
In our opinion , it is absolutely a must when you are in the region: a visit to the Neusiedler See – Seewinkel National Park. It is not without reason that the national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is the endless expanse of nature that makes the flair of the national park so special. The steppe-like landscape, the many salt lakes, the reed belt and the incredible variety of plants and animals – all of this inspires us anew every time.
Our tip: cycle through the national park
The best way to explore the national park is by bike. In this way, you are reasonably quick on the road, but you can also reach those areas that are closed to car traffic. (Yes, there are also destinations in the national park that you can drive to. But we can only warmly recommend not to use the car!)
There are a few bike rentals around Lake Neusiedl. We can only warmly recommend the Mürner bike rental. We have already rented bikes there twice and were very satisfied each time. Value for money, quality and the friendliness of the staff are great!
You can find more information here: Mürner bike rental
Interesting destinations in the national park
- National Park Centre: Here you can get advice before visiting the National Park or take a look around the small exhibition.
- Hell: Probably the most well-known area of the national park is curiously called “Hell” and is a naturally formed sea dam. Here is one of the most famous lookouts.
- Sandeck: In the very south, on the border with Hungary, lies the Sandeck, a sandy area that is home to the famous white donkeys.
- Observation tower at the Graurinderstall: The observation tower at the Graurinderstall is a really great place to watch the sunset.
And of course the most important tip: Always keep your eyes open! Whether horses, greylag geese, rabbits or ground squirrels – there are so many animals to see in the national park. Bringing binoculars is recommended!
You can find more information here: National Park Neusiedler See – Seewinkel
3. Places worth seeing around Lake Neusiedl
Rust: Old Town & Storks
In our opinion, Rust, located on the west bank, is one of the most charming places around Lake Neusiedl. Rust has a very pretty, listed old town with numerous Baroque and Renaissance buildings.
The Fischerkirche, the oldest building in the city, and the main square in Rust , which is right next door , are particularly worth seeing . A little tip: If you want to see Rust from above, you can climb the steeple of the Catholic parish church.
In spring and summer, Rust is home to numerous storks, which raise their offspring in the nests on the chimneys. Stork spotting is one of the absolute highlights in the region at this time of year.
Purbach: The most beautiful cellar lane
Little Purbach is also worth seeing, especially its historic cellar lane. Small, historic press houses and wine cellars are lined up in so-called cellar lanes like a string of pearls.
In the Kellergasse Purbach there are a few wine taverns that are ideal for a stop. We can particularly recommend the friendly wine tavern “die Sandhofer”. You can find more about this further down in this blog article in our local tips.
Podersdorf: The famous lighthouse
Podersdorf is, so to speak, the tourist center on Lake Neusiedl. There is a lot going on here, especially in the summer months.
In Podersdorf, the focus is not on the historic old town, but rather on the extensive shore area. And this is home to one of the most beautiful photo opportunities around Lake Neusiedl: the iconic lighthouse.
We definitely recommend coming at sunset , when the low sun bathes the area in beautiful light. If you want to see the lighthouse without people, you have to get up early and come at sunrise.
4. Swimming in Lake Neusiedl: information & tips
The most important information in advance: Lake Neusiedl is different from other lakes in Austria. It is a steppe lake. Therefore, the lake is very shallow. (We remind you: the maximum depth is two meters!) And on the other hand, it is not as deep blue as other lakes in Austria, but brownish. This is because the bottom of the lake is not gravel but mud.
Nevertheless, you can of course swim in Lake Neusiedl. The water quality is excellent (other than what the color might suggest) so don’t worry! Incidentally, due to the prevailing winds, Lake Neusiedl is one of THE destinations in Austria for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
The water level can actually be very low at times, as 80 percent of the lake’s water comes from precipitation. On very hot days, the level drops by about a centimeter due to evaporation – and you can calculate what that means at the end of summer.
If you like jumping into the lake and prefer crystal-clear water, you won’t really enjoy swimming in Lake Neusiedl. But it’s enough for a cool down.
The most beautiful beach baths
Around Lake Neusiedl there are a lot of lidos, all of which are quite similar, but somehow very different. Here are a few tips:
Jois: A manageable, natural and free seaside resort. You can swim relatively well here. Before or after swimming, you can stop off at the Seejungfrau restaurant.
Weiden: A rather small seaside resort with a jetty that leads into the water. After swimming, you can stop off at the neighboring Das Fritz for a sundowner.
Podersdorf: The largest lido on Lake Neusiedl with lots of action and a huge range (children’s playground, beach volleyball, table tennis, water sports). It’s quieter in the south.
You can find even more information and tips here: lidos on Lake Neusiedl
5. More tips & recommendations for Lake Neusiedl
Wine tasting / picnic in the vineyards
What many people don’t know is that there are plenty of vineyards around Lake Neusiedl, which are shaped by the climate of the Pannonian lowlands. It is therefore a good idea to take part in a wine tasting .
We chose the Weingut Pasler, which offers tastings and wine picnics in the most beautiful surroundings. The Platzerl is in the middle of the vines with a view of Lake Neusiedl. Splendid!
What we particularly like: The wines come from organic, sustainable viticulture – and they taste great! Big recommendation!
You can find more information here: Weingut Pasler
Halbturn Castle is about 15 minutes by car from the eastern shore of the lake. It is the most important baroque castle in Burgenland and an extremely popular destination – for example on rainy days or if you feel like some culture.
The premises of the castle accommodate changing exhibitions. Currently (as of summer 2022) the exhibition “Sisi – Clothes of an Empress” will be shown until autumn.
After the visit, we recommend a stop at the Knappenstöckl restaurant, which is located directly in the beautiful courtyard of Halbturn Castle.
You can find more information here: Halbturn Palace
Opera in the Quarry
Admittedly, we don’t count ourselves among the classic opera visitors. But the scenery in the opera in the quarry in St. Margarethen is so impressive that even non-opera-goers will be enthusiastic. Promised!
As the name suggests, this open-air opera event takes place in the Sankt Margarethen quarry , which is still an active quarry. During our visit (summer 2022) Nabucco was performed, next year (mid-July to mid-August 2023) it will be Carmen.
A little tip: Half-hour stage tours take place before each performance. Perfect for anyone who wants to take a peek behind the scenes and take the stage.
You can book tickets here: Opera in the quarry
Provence or Burgenland? When you stand in front of the blooming lavender fields , you could almost think you have landed in France.
Scented plants from all over the world grow in the fields of the Dufthof – many of them we didn’t even know existed. After harvesting, essential oils are made from the plants.
You can explore the fields as part of a so-called fragrance safari . You “only” want to see the lavender fields? Then you can reserve the location for photo shoots. Important to know: The best time for blooming lavender fields is early summer. After that, the lavender slowly blooms and is harvested.
Here you can find more information: Steppe scent
6. Food & Drink: Restaurants around Lake Neusiedl
There are countless wine taverns and great restaurants around Lake Neusiedl. Of course we don’t want to withhold some of our favorites from you.
The Sandhofer: A very great, modern Heuriger in the Purbacher Kellergasse. There are many vegetarian options on the menu. Our tip: ask for a seat on the beautiful terrace under the vine arbor.
Gut Oggau: This chic, quite expensive wine tavern is located in the picturesque inner courtyard of the winery of the same name. The wines are also something special.
Das Fritz: One of the in-bars, which is located directly on the lake shore in Weiden am See, next to the lido. We have always eaten very well here. Definitely come before the sunset – it is gorgeous here. Reservations are definitely recommended!
Mole West: The absolute classic for a sundowner. The huge, partly covered terrace with a view of the sunset is filled to capacity on hot summer days.
The Quarter: One of the new additions to the Scheiblhofer winery. International dishes with a regional touch are served here in a modern ambience.
Seewirt Karner: Inn in Podersdorf with a view of the water, serving traditional cuisine. There are surprisingly many vegetarian and vegan options.
Restaurant Knappenstöckl: If you want to stop off at Halbturn Castle, then this restaurant in the inner courtyard is ideal. For dessert you can try the famous Esterházy cake.
7. Overnight stays at Lake Neusiedl: Our accommodation tip
Of course, the perfect accommodation is also part of the perfect weekend at Lake Neusiedl. Here we have a very special tip for you: The wonderful time out Koppi .
You spend the night here in a lovingly renovated historic country house that only has two holiday apartments. The entire courtyard is incredibly idyllic and the background noise is second to none: the chirping of birds, the splashing of the fountain and the crowing of the roosters ensure you slow down.
The apartment is very high quality and comfortably furnished, so that you feel comfortable from the first moment. You can immediately feel the attention to detail: from the fragrant soap to the top coffee machine, everything has been thought of here.
The excellent breakfast deserves a very special mention. It is served in the form of a breakfast basket that really leaves nothing to be desired and can also be put together according to your own preferences.
Our conclusion: An absolute feel-good accommodation that we can only warmly recommend. The location in Apetlon is perfect for exploring the national park and it is only about ten minutes by car to the lake shore.
You can book accommodation here: Auszeit Koppi
This blog article was created in cooperation with Burgenland Tourismus. Thanks very much! Of course we are free to report. This cooperation has no influence on our honest opinion.