Lake Neusiedlersee, Austria:
Part IV: Tourism at the Neusiedlersee
After the opening of Hungary, tourism flourished around Lake Neusiederlsee and in most of the Burgenland. Thermal spas were developed and the National Park Neusiedlersee earned itself an international reputation for its unique flora and fauna. Many salt-tolerant plants can be found here, alongside with 40 species of mammals and more than 300 species of birds (over the course of the year), of which 150 breed at Lake Neusiedlersee.
In the region, you will also find Austria′s only tarantula species and some 1,500 species of butterflies. In 2001, the Seewinkel area - which can be found east of the Neusiedlersee - was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. A fun event that might appeal to tourists is the "Seedurchquerung", essentially walking or swim-walking through the shallow lake between Mörbisch and Illmitz.
This could have become a lot easier if the Austrian government had had its will in the 1960ies: Back then, a bridge was planned between the western and the eastern shore to connect the southern Seewinkel with the rest of the Burgenland and Austria. The iron curtain had cut off major road links and hospitals and other essential facilities were far away if one had to get around the entire lake. The project was stopped by environmentalists, which later organised into a committee that lobbied for the development of the national park. For emergencies, the southern Seewinkel is today covered by helicopters.
Tourism at the Neusiedlersee & Attractions Nearby
Since the 1980ies, tourism has changed from Viennese who would stay for two weeks to people from all over Austria who typically stay for a few days. Apart from the natural appeal, events and festivals attract a lot of attention. In 2006, the Neusiedlersee hosted the world championship in windsurfing and sailing. Podersdorf has become an important venue for sports events: Apart from sailing and various sorts of windsurfing, beach volleyball is particularly important. Horseback riding and fishing are commonly practiced in and around Lake Neusiedlersee and a big deal for the local tourism industry.
Cultural events are organised in the old Roman quarry in St. Margarethen; and there is a highly popular annual operetta festival on a floating stage in Mörbisch. The town of Rust and its surroundings are popular for the storks that nest there and because of the wine culture of the city. However, I noticed a steady increase in the tourist density in Rust, especially in spring and autumn over the course of the past few years. Therefore, be warned: Don′t expect to find the remoteness that the Burgenland was famous for as little as two decades ago. The most attractive time in the year for enjoying the Neusiedlersee are probably spring, early summer and autumn.
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