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Sopron / Bük & Sárvár region for Explorers - 3 days



Sopron region
How long it takes?
3 days
Best vehicle choice for this plan:
bus
public transport
bicycle
This region is famous for:
Thermal baths, Spas and Healing resources
Castles, Forts, Palaces
Culture and monuments
Natural values
Sopron / Bük & Sárvár region
Explorers
Day 1
A single stroll is enough to see everything in the old town of Sopron, starting from Fő tér.
Sopron and the Fire Tower

The tower is the symbol of the town, and had great practical use in the past: the guards who once served in the Fire Tower warned the citizens of the town if there was a fire, if enemy was approaching or if someone wanted to enter the town with foreign wine. Visit the Roman city walls found within the Fire Tower, then climb up to the top of the 58-metre high tower. The staircase that takes you up to the top consists of 200 steps, which are easily climbed. It is definitely worth the effort, since the full circle around the tower gives you a wonderful view of Sopron, Lake Fertő and neighbouring Austria.

Visit the Harrer Chocolate Workshop

Austrian confectioner dynasty Harrer has been delighting visitors for four generations now, and in 2009 they also added chocolate to their repertoire. They purchase cocoa beans from the best locations, then roast them themselves. All their products are handmade and they only use natural raw ingredients, adding only seeds, dried fruit and herbs to season their products. As a result of constant experimentation, the range of chocolates on offer is unique, and their products continue to win awards at prestigious competitions held around the world. Try the dark and milk chocolates, the bonbons, the truffles, the hot chocolate, and, of course, the ice-cream on hot summer days. Book an appointment for the chocolate tasting in advance.

Day 2
Castles and wine regions surrounding Sopron.
‘The Hungarian Versailles’ - Fertőd, Esterházy Castle

The building of the Esterházy Castle in Fertőd we see today was designed and created in the 18th century and the castle – with its 126 rooms – is a worthy match for Schönbrunn Castle in Vienna or Versailles in Paris. ‘The Hungarian Versailles’ was a place of music and splendour. It was regularly home to parties, and even Maria Theresa took part in one such magnificent ball. By the end of the 18th century, the castle became one of the cultural centres of the country, so it’s no wonder that even Joseph Haydn lived and worked here for two decades. After a walk through the contemporary history exhibition in the rooms of the castle, take a walk in the beautiful castle park.

Széchenyi Castle, Nagycenk

Nagycenk has become synonymous with the Széchenyi family. Ferenc Széchenyi moved into the palace in 1783, making Nagycenk the centre of the family estates. This is also where he kept his extensive collections, numbering in the tens of thousands of items (including manuscripts, books, coins, engravings, maps, etc.) Having inherited the castle, István Széchenyi, “the Greatest Hungarian” proceeded to apply all of the technical achievements and innovations learned during his travels abroad, including the installation of a bathroom and gas lighting.

The wines of the Sopron wine region

When you say Sopron, we say wine region and kékfrankos. Farmers in Sopron sold their wine to Napoleon’s soldiers for blue francs (kékfrank), which is how the wine came to be called kékfrankos. The wine cellar of the Erhardt Restaurant has a traditional vaulted ‘poncichter’ room, where you can taste the many wine varieties produced in the Sopron wine region, accompanied by expert recommendations and an excellent kitchen. If you visit the Bruckner Winery, you can take a peek into the life of a real ‘Buschenschank’, i.e. a place where the winemaker sells their wine from their own home, as permitted by Emperor Joseph II in 1784. The family winery offers cold food and dishes served on wooden plates to accompany their wine. Everyone in the region has heard about the Pfneiszl girls: Katrin and Birgit, daughters of an Austrian winemaker, took over the estate in Sopron from their parents. Today, they run an organic farm on 13 hectares and work in the vineyard 365 days a year. They produce wine with kindness, full of youth and feminine sensitivity, the way they like their life to be.

Day 3
Memorial Site of the Pan-European Picnic and Fertő-Hanság National Park
Memorial Site of the Pan-European Picnic

19 August 1989 was a momentous day in history, with an event that took place here in Sopron, more precisely in Sopronpuszta, a place near the border between Austria and Hungary. The borders were opened and hundreds of East German tourists entered Austria through here. Today, this breakthrough is remembered as the ‘Pan-European Picnic’.

The visitor centre at the Memorial Site of the Pan-European Picnic has a ‘time corridor’ displaying memories and relics of the former Iron Curtain and the moment of the breakthrough, while you will find stepping stones in the paths all around the park to remind you of the main historical events.

Fertő-Hanság National Park

Start your tour from Kócsagvár with a name that literally means ‘Egret Castle’ in Hungarian, which is most fitting, as the great egret is one of the characteristic birds you’ll find here. You can also go to Öntésmajor, just 7 km from Kapuvár, to visit the exhibit on the fauna of the Hanság region, as well as on the preservation of the remains of the former swamp and marshland. Sarród and Lászlómajor used to be one of the nerve centres of the great Esterházy estates, and you can visit to catch a glimpse of contemporary village life.

If you love active recreation, the canoe tour will be the perfect activity for you. The 6 km tour will take you through the channels cut into the contiguous thick layer of reeds on Lake Fertő to an almost untouched world that will definitely be an unforgettable experience.

If you don’t feel like paddling, board one of the specially designed solar boats to discover the fauna living in the reeds and the open water on Lake Fertő. The almost non-existent sound of the engine will not disturb the water birds and mammals that hide away in the vegetation or which are less tolerant of human presence.

The tours organised by the Fertő-Hanság National Park, to bring bird life in the region closer to tourists, affords you the chance to see several spectacular migrating and resident birds living in the Hanság region. Almost 300 migrating and resident bird species have been identified that use this place as a major resting, feeding and nesting location. The National Park is primarily known for the egret, which is also the symbol of the park. This bird has become extinct in the Carpathian Basin and in most of Europe.

 

Fertőrákos Stone Quarry and Cave Theatre

The rocks of the Fertőrákos Stone Quarry were used for various purposes back in Roman times: many of the buildings, residences, churches and palaces of Sopron and Vienna were built out of these stones. A prehistoric animal exhibit awaits you inside the quarry caves, with life-size prehistoric whales, sharks and dolphins. It also teaches visitors about the various types of limestone.

This is also where you’ll find the Cave Theatre, a stage with its own unique ambience. Thousand-year-old limestone formations serve as the backdrop for the various shows and concerts.

Finally, you should take a little walk to find a beautiful view of Lake Fertő and the memorial site of the Pan-European Picnic.

During your visit

Wine
Legend has it that the local Ponzichters (local German-speaking producers) would only sell this wine to Napoleon’s soldiers in exchange for their valuable ‘blue francs’, hence the name. It is a full-bodied wine, sharing this characteristic with the Zenit, also a local wine.
Gastronomy
Babsterc (also known as Bohnensterz) is a dish native to Sopron. It got its name from the Ponzichters, local producers who would grow beans between the rows of grapevines. Beans were a thrifty choice, as they did not cast shade on the vines, did not disrupt the harvest, and were also not taxed. Babsterc is prepared the same way today as it always has been: made with flour, fat or oil, and salt. It is best enjoyed with pörkölt (a Hungarian beef and onion stew), but is also excellent with sour cream, cucumber salad, or even as a sweet dish with any kind of jam.

Move around like a hungarian