For a fabulous weekend or day trip head to Sopron for historic sights and natural beauty. Explore Sopron Old Town for the morning, have lunch at one of the many authentic restaurants. Then head to Fertő-Hanság National Park to enjoy the natural beauty that Hungary has to offer.
Overview and History
The city of Sopron is located on the Austrian border, near Lake Fertő (also know as Lake Neusiedl). This lake is part of an expansive national park rich in birds and local flora.
The town itself was originally a roman city, it was then claimed by the Hungarians before eventually being occupied by the Ottomans. The town suffered severe damages from bombings during WWII, but the medieval town centre still exists. The rest is largely industrial.
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Sopron is a bilingual city and most signs are written in both German and Hungarian. In addition, Sopron is known as the dental capital of the world. It has more than 300 dental clinics and brings in a lot of dental tourism from Western Europe and Russia.
It is a short two-and-a-half-hour drive from Budapest. Going by car makes accessing the national park particularly convenient. If you don’t want to drive there are both train and buses. We recommend taking the train since it is reasonably priced and more comfortable. It leaves from Keleti several times daily.
If you’re on your way to Vienna, Sopron can be the perfect stop-over town to rest in for a couple hours.
Sopron was, of course, much more peaceful than bustling Budapest, but what is most surprising is how culturally distinct it feels from Central Hungary. Its proximity to Austria means that the cultural link is felt particularly strongly.
Because of this, Sopron is one of the few places in Hungary where you can see many examples of medieval architecture. This makes it a unique spot to visit and well worth the drive if you’re particularly enthusiastic about architecture. Sopron is small, making it perfect to explore by foot and just the right size to cover in one day.
What to See
Sopron Old Town – Cute, quaint, and cobble stoned.
Fire tower– This is the iconic historic landmark of the city. It was built on the ruins of a Roman wall and reconstructed after a fire in 1676. Ironically, it originally served as a fire watch tower.
Központi Bányászati Múzeum- Covers the history of mining in Hungary. Interesting if you like local history.
Fertő-Hanság National Park- If the small-town escape isn’t enough for you head over to this nature reserve for more relaxation. The park is 236 square kilometres and encompasses both Lake Ferto and surrounding meadows. Its microclimate makes it home to many species of birds and is ideal for wine making.
Where to Eat
Erhardt – For upscale, traditional food that is beautifully presented. This restaurant is for when you want to treat yourself.
El Gusto Cafe & Bistro– Head here if you’re craving simple food and a friendly atmosphere.
Langos House Sopronbanfalva– Ideal for enjoying the classic Hungarian langos or other street foods at affordable prices.
Perfectly sized for a day trip, Sopron offers a relaxing atmosphere with just enough to do to keep you entertained. A charming and historic centre will quench your thirst for exploration, with the national park available nearby for you to take in some natural beauty.