Introducing Neusiedler See
Neusiedler See, Europe’s second-largest steppe lake, is the lowest point in Austria. But what it lacks in height, it makes up for in other areas. Ringed by a wetland area of reed beds, it’s an ideal breeding ground for nearly 300 bird species – its Seewinkel area is a favourite for bird-watching. The lake’s average depth is 1.5m, which means the water warms quickly in summer. Add to this the prevailing warm winds from the northwest and you have a water enthusiast’s dream come true. Thousands of tourists flock to the lake for windsurfing and sailing during the summer months. The best swimming beaches are on the eastern side of the lake, as the western shore is thick with reed beds.
The area is also perfect for cycling: a flat cycle track winds all the way round the reed beds, the ferries scuttling across the lake carry bikes, and most hotels and Pensionen cater well to cyclists. It’s possible to do a full circuit of the lake but the southern section clips Hungarian territory.
To top it all off there are acres of vineyards, making some of Austria’s best wines. Rust, on the western shore of the lake, is a perfect place to sample wine in a Heuriger.