There are so many naturally beautiful spots in Hungary, particularly lakes of which many are dream tourist destinations. However, there’s something very special about Lake Neusiedl, it is Hungary’s largest endorheic lake. This means that whilst other lakes drain into rivers, smaller lakes, or the sea, this lake does not drain at all. For the wet season, it creates swampy marshland with its overspill and during the dry season, its waters remain entirely within the basin. This gives Lake Neusiedl a particularly interesting environment in its surroundings, one that we’re going to explore here.
The Wild Environment
The lake itself and the vast swathes of reeds surrounding it provides a haven for wildlife. Many migratory birds call the lake their home, making nests out of the long reeds and wading in the shallow waters. Thanks to this, the lake has been made a protected area and many birdwatchers flock to its banks in the hopes of catching sight of rare birds such as mustached warblers, great bustards, and the Eastern imperial eagle. There are various different parts of the lake that all attract different birds. If you don’t mind about rarity and want a guaranteed sighting, then the best place to visit is the Hanság. This area is home to owls, harriers, bustards, and eagles, so your chances of a sighting are high.
The Cultivated Environment
The Austrian side of Lake Neusiedl is highly prized for its rich soil. There are a plethora of vineyards along this edge of the lake and from those vineyards come good quality grapes that make world-famous wines. Apart from the yearly harvest of reeds for weaving, the vineyards are the only surroundings of the lake that are cultivated. Although Austria is known primarily for its sweet white wines like Riesling, the banks of the Neusiedl are perfect for growing late-ripening grapes such as Blaufränkisch and Grüner Veltliner. These grapes are used for sweeter whites and dessert wines, whilst the hills a little way from the lake are more affected by the changing of the seasons and are better suited to growing for drier reds. Although Austria’s wine exports still have a little way to go before they reach the heights they saw in the mid 20th century, the vineyards around Lake Neusiedl could be what helps the country to get there.
The Human Environment
As the banks of the lake are protected, there isn’t a great deal of human interference close to the lake. However, as soon as you get a kilometer or so away pretty little towns and villages begin to pop up. There are plenty of tourist destinations around the banks of the lake, but one of the most popular is Casino Sopron. A favorite of locals and holidaymakers alike since 1989, the games selection here can even compete with some of the best online casinos. It’s well worth a visit if you happen to be passing. Of course, the other big industry in Sopron is wine production, so a tour around one of the factories is also a must. Once you’ve had a tour of the factory, take a glass up to the fabulous Taródi Castle and enjoy it in style.