Bernstein: More than a just a Pretty Name
Bernstein is the German word for "amber", but in the case of the town Bernstein in the Burgenland, it is more than just a pretty name. Amber is part of the town′s heritage, as is located by the "Bernsteinstraße" or "Road of Amber". This ancient trade route connected the Mediterranean with the Baltic area, from where most of Europe′s amber originated. Today, the amber trade has long ceased and Bernstein is better known for serpentine.
Serpentine is mined in Bernstein since the 19th century and was a very popular gemstone for all sorts of jewellery back then. The raw material is almost black, but once serpentine is polished, it gains a green dash. A local sculptor started the so-called "Felsenmuseum" or "rock museum". Here you can learn all sorts of things from local geology to jewellery manufacturing. Needless to say, you can also purchase some samples of local craftsmen′s work.
Amber Road Sightseeing - full of Castles
Bernstein makes a great stop-over destination if you follow the "Road of the Castles". In the respective article, I have described the nearby castles of Burg Bernstein, Burg Lockenhaus and Burg Schlaining. Two more references to other articles dealing with nearby attractions: The one of thermal spas will provide information about the nearby spa town of Bad Tatzmannsdorf, which is only some 10 kilometres from Bernstein.
And the article on Austria′s open-air museums lists the "Burgenländisches Freilichtmuseum" in Bad Tatzmannsdorf. Here you can learn more about the rustic history of this chunk of Hungary on Austrian territory. The buildings "on display" are mostly farms and related houses from the 19th century and there is some live-stock to make things look a bit more realistic (adds appeal to those travelling with children, too).
Other nearby attractions are rare, but if you travel by car, you should be able to make it to the scenic Günser Gebirge, to Gerersdorf and Güssing. The area of Styria that borders the Burgenland has also some charming spots to offer, such as Hartberg or the area around Blumau (yet another spa town) and Fürstenfeld.
Back to "Burgenland Sightseeing Guide"