Growing up in a country that is known for its high-quality and tasteful wines, I had to learn everything about fermented grapes at school already. Even though I didn’t grow up in one of the main wine regions of Austria.
I guess you can say that we Austrians are really proud of our wine and that is definitely true!
Every now and then I love to enjoy a good glass of wine and there’s no better way to do so than in the part of Austria with the most wine: Burgenland!
I spent the last weekend in two of my favorite places in Burgenland and couldn’t resist trying countless different types of wine.
But before I start writing about my awesome weekend adventure I want to share some knowledge about the winegrowing tradition in Burgenland in particular.
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Viticulture in Burgenland
Viticulture is one of the oldest traditions here in Austria. Around 2,500 years ago, people already knew how to make wine. The country has three major wine-growing regions: Lower Austria, Styria and, last but not least, Burgenland.
Even though Burgenland is one of the smallest federal states of Austria, thanks to its perfect climate it’s the wine hotspot per se!
Because of the hot, continental Pannonian climate, you can find more than 15 different sorts of wine there. About 55% is red wine, the rest is white wine.
Probably the most well-known and cultivated red wine is Blaufränkisch, followed by Zweigelt. The most famous white wine types are Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Chardonnay, and Weißburgunder.
Although the majority of wines produced are dry ones, you can get some really lovely dessert wines too. This is possible because the large Lake Neusiedl creates a high amount of humidity.
If you do have a little knowledge about wine already, then you probably know it’s necessary to have a noble rot to produce great sweet wines.
The humidity encourages the development of Botrytis cinerea (noble rot) which enables the production of dessert wines such as Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.
Thanks to viticulture, Burgenland is a perfect autumn destination in Europe. It’s mostly around September or October when the grapes are harvested and the finest wines are produced.
I guess you got a really nice overview of wine-growing in Burgenland. Now I want to tell you how I spent my weekend in wine paradise!
My Weekend in Burgenland
I had been to Burgenland many times before and even lived there for a few months when I did an internship in Podersdorf four years ago.
Since then, the eastern part of Austria has become one of my favorite places in the country.
I used to go there several times per year but stopped doing it as I started traveling abroad rather than in my own country. That’s why the last time I planned a trip there was a couple of years ago … until last weekend.
First Stop: Rust
My first stop after arriving in Burgenland was a small town called Rust. With less than 2,000 inhabitants, the entire place only consists of the old town, small shops and numerous wine taverns.
What I love most about this little town and why I enjoy being there so much is the tranquillity you can feel there. It’s no doubt that Rust is one of the better-known places in Burgenland and thus many tourists go there.
However, it still keeps its small-town charm and doesn’t feel crowded at all.
Exactly like many other towns and villages in Burgenland, Rust is home to endless small, privately-owned wine taverns. Those wine taverns are typical for that region in Austria.
Most of them look more or less the same from the outside. The actual tavern where you can sit – usually an inner courtyard – is hidden behind a gate. If the wine tavern is open, the gate will be so too and a sign will invite you to come in.
Enjoying a glass of lovely wine in those traditional taverns is definitely a thing you shouldn’t miss in Rust. Usually, the people there are very friendly and eager to tell you more about their wine culture.
Besides wine taverns, Rust has another really awesome and unique attraction to offer: Storks!
Yes, you heard right. Those long-legged, sharp-beaked birds that (apparently) deliver babies. 😉
So why is this town famous for storks?
Every year after the first blossoms begin, those birds leave their winter grounds in Africa. Arriving in Rust, they build their nests on chosen rooftops and rear their babies.
When winter arrives here in Austria, they head off once again to the warmer African continent. The storks repeat that cycle from year to year, always coming back to this little town.
People told me there are 14 pairs of storks in Rust this year.
My Tip: If you want to relax and enjoy watching those birds, head to the Café Kaiser. It’s located on the main square and while sitting on the terrace, you have a great view of all the nests.
I could spend hours watching those birds playing and flying around!
What Did I do in Rust?
When I arrived in Rust the first thing I did was head to the so-called “Storchenwiese” which means stork meadow in English. I was really excited to see some storks but when I finally got there the only birds I spotted were grey geese.
Afterward, I made my way to the old town, passing lots of wine taverns, small cafés, and shops.
On the main square, I went to the Café Kaiser, sat down, and watched the storks on their roofs while sipping a glass of wine. I mean honestly, you can’t go to Burgenland and NOT drink a glass of wine during the day! 😉
Then I continued exploring the place a bit more by wandering around. I found tons of cute local shops selling hand-made things such as wine coolers made out of clay or decoration stuff.
That’s basically all I did. Doesn’t sound a lot but Rust is really not big at all. A few more activities you can do there are for example taking a boat tour on Lake Neusiedl or renting a bike and going on a bike tour.
Second Stop: Mörbisch am See
The next day I went to another town I’ve been to so many times before in my life: Mörbisch
My family and I used to go there very often as my relatives live there. And of course, I visited them during my time there!
Mörbisch isn’t really big either. Around 2,200 people live in the town located right at Lake Neusiedl and very close to the Hungarian border. It’s that close, you can even walk to the border and cross it.
That’s pretty awesome and you should definitely do it while being in Mörbisch! Then you can tell everyone you walked from Austria to Hungary hehe. 😉
The Wine Trail
Surrounded by endless vines to its left and Lake Neusiedl to the right, Mörbisch is a really picturesque town in the middle of Burgenland.
Although I’ve been there many times before, I never really explored the area that much. But when I heard about a wine trail going between all the vines I needed to check it out.
The wine trail is basically a wandering route starting in Mörbisch and leading all the way to another town called St. Margarethen. I decided to follow it a bit and got rewarded with lots of really scenic views.
After following it for a while I passed a special place that shows how proud we Austrians really are about our wine culture: There’s a particular monument dedicated to wine!
The monument is basically a circle consisting of a stone table and vine branches formed into an alley. At every single vine branch, there’s a sign telling you a bit more about different wines cultivated in Burgenland.
You can find the exact location of it on Google Maps.
At Lake Neusiedl
After walking along the wine trail for about an hour I made my way to the lake. The lakeside is one of my favorite places in Mörbisch and there’s a lot to see and do for example a really nice swimming bath.
In addition, they offer boat tours and every summer they build up a huge open-air stage where various theatre pieces are shown. The whole spectacle is known as Seefestspiele Mörbisch.
It was possible to visit the stands and have a closer look at the stage from there. It was really nice to watch all the workers build up the props for this year’s plays.
The last thing I did on that day was to go for a
Where To Stay
If you’re heading to Rust I can recommend staying at the Seehotel Rust. The 4-star hotel is located right at the lake and offers everything you need for a perfect holiday.
Since Rust and Mörbisch are located right next to each other I decided to stay in Mörbisch at the Landhaus Pannonia.
The Landhaus Pannonia is a 3-star privately-owned hotel run by Michaela and her husband. I really enjoyed my stay there so much and had the most relaxing time ever as they really care about their guests!
Honestly, I had a really great weekend in Burgenland. Every time I’m going there, I’m in such a holiday mood because of the warmer climate and all the great wine.
I really hope you see now, why it’s one of my absolute favorite parts of Austria.
Tell me, have you visited Burgenland before?
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Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.