Northern Burgenland clearly offers too much to waste precious time. That's why we start a long weekend already with an overnight stay to enjoy Friday to the fullest. An ideal starting point for exploring the Seewinkel is the "Wellnesshotel Vila Vita". After a restful night we start the day with a "Mole West" breakfast. With Thum leg ham, baked beans, fried bacon and "Öfferl" original grain bread we enjoy the view over the lake and plan the route for the coming days: We start right away with a highlight, the village museum Mönchhof. In the 35 reconstructed houses, everyday village life and rural life in the Heideboden region from around 1890 to the 1960s is brought to life. From the grist mill to the workshops and the pond, everything that was important at that time is present.
The preservation of old values is also important in the "Gratitude" restaurant. Here you can enjoy classics with excellent in-house wines in the beautiful guest garden. Well fortified, we continue to Halbturn Castle with its beautiful park, which is worth a visit not only because of the exhibitions and concerts. Afterwards our tour leads to Frauenkirchen and we quickly reach our destination: The olfactory source is the fragrance manufactory Steppenduft by Stefan Zwickl. The various plants cultivated here are used to produce entirely natural essential oils. In addition to room sprays and fragrance crystals, you can also take home educational information, as you can get to know and smell the sea of blossoms and herb kingdom in the course of a fragrance safari.
And even though we would like to end the rest of the day here, the Designer Outlet in Parndorf is still on the agenda - a unique paradise for bargain hunters in Europe, which is open until 9 pm on Fridays. After the shopping tour we let ourselves be spoiled by the chefs of the lakeside restaurant "Zur blauen Gans" under the culinary direction of Oliver Wiegand in Weiden am See and end the day with a good glass of wine. The fish here comes directly from Lake Neusiedl, the beef and vegetables from local farmers and the herbs from the adjacent meadows and forests. In the reduced, stylish ambience, you can indulge in the wonderful regional cuisine.
Visit to the baroque jewel
On Saturday we are spoilt for choice as soon as we get up: at our breakfast in the fine café "2Beans" there is a huge selection of 60 different, delicious coffee recipes made from home-roasted beans in addition to great pastries from the house. An excellent pick-me-up for our next item on the agenda: the old town of Eisenstadt and Esterházy Castle. The former princely residence is one of the most beautiful baroque castles in Austria. In addition to the exciting architecture, the many events and exhibitions make it Eisenstadt's cultural hotspot. The Haydn Hall, world-famous for its unique acoustics, is certainly one of the highlights. This prominent naming was of course not purely coincidental: just a few houses away in Eisenstadt you will also find the Haydn Church, actually called the Bergkirche, which houses the composer's coffin. The master's former home, which is now a museum, is also nearby.
Not far from there we fortify ourselves in the restaurant "Die Alm", where Michael Rabina spoils us with international delicacies. However, if you are more in the mood for a hearty snack, we recommend the Genusswelt of Hans Bauer in Pöttelsdorf: In addition to their own wine, they also produce excellent prosciutto. For the air-dried speciality pickled with sea salt, a special breed of pig has been bred: the Heidewuggerl, which is kept in a free-range barn in the true sense of the word. Well fortified, we continue our walk through the old town of Rust, where we are welcomed by the famous white storks, the heraldic animals of the medieval free town. Before we settle down for the night in the neat "Art Boutique Hotel Bürgerhaus", we let ourselves be spoiled by an excellent Brettljause with selected sausage specialties and cheese variations at the "Buschenschank Schandl".
Conquest of the castle
Sunday brings us high up to one of the most important landmarks of Burgenland, Forchtenstein Castle. Built in the early 14th century, the castle survived the Turkish invasion of Vienna in 1529 unscathed and came into the possession of the Esterházy princes in 1622, who completely rebuilt the fortress and gave it its present appearance. Its name "Esterházy vault" comes from the valuable family treasures, such as the baroque treasury pieces and collections of military booty.
After the tour we stop at the newly built "Café Restaurant Grenadier". With Pannonian cuisine we enjoy the breathtaking view. The cultural conclusion of our long weekend in Northern Burgenland is the impressive open-air museum in Winden am See, where large sculptures by the sculptor Wander Bertoni can be admired all year round. Here, on old cultural ground, an art venue has been created that is unparalleled anywhere in Europe. But before that we get some provisions for the journey home - a sausage at the "I am Würstel-Sepp" vending machine in Zemendorf - and stop at the "Ziegelwerk" in Wimpassing. The Tschiedel brothers have transformed the former factory into a great inn.
Northern Burgenland Shortlist
Celebrity tip from Dominik Thiem
"For someone like me who is on tour almost the whole year, time off has a very special significance. For me, the days I spend at home in Burgenland in between are like a holiday. My hotspots: to the 'Fritz' for breakfast (chive bread, egg dish and great coffee) - the view is insane. For lunch I like to go to the 'Blaue Gans', because they also offer a whole vegetarian menu and the ambience is great. My favourite place to chill out? Definitely, the 'Mole' at sunset."
ERSCHIENEN IN Burgenland Special 2019