The Austrian state of Burgenland runs down the eastern side of the country, bordering Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. It is the least populated state with 285,000 inhabitants and is divided into seven districts: Jennersdorf, Gussing, Oberwart, Oberpullendorf, Mattersburg, Eisenstadt-Umgebung and the administrative center at Neusiedl am See. The two main administrative statutarstadte cities are Rust, a charming walled city which is famous for its storks' nests, and Eisenstadt.
Burgenland was inhabited around 3300 BC and was once part of the Roman Empire, the Hun Empire, the Kingdom of the Italian Lombards, the Hapsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire among many others during its long and turbulent history. This border state was only created in 1921 from the German-speaking areas of Hungary and it is still referred to by many different names.
Not surprisingly, Burgenland has a rich cultural diversity. Many locals still wear traditional dress on Sundays and the cuisine is typically Hungarian, featuring delicious goulash, strudels and wild game.
Burgenland is separated from Hungary by the Neusiedler See, the largest lake in Austria which is home to many birds in its shallow reedbeds. It is the only steppe lake in central Europe and Illmitz is a delightful old village and tourist attraction nearby. The lake attracts many sailors and ornithologists to stay in the charming zimmer country lodgings and bed and breakfasts in this delightful region.
Burgenland is a rich agricultural region, famous for its vineyards and wines. It has a wonderful climate with hot dry summers and relatively mild winters, making it ideal for summer vacations. Highlights include the many fortresses and castles that dot the landscape such as the grand Schloss Esterhazy and the Forchtenstein Castle, built in the 13th century.
The area is best known for hosting the Seefestspiele Morbisch and the Nova Rock Festival each summer, when hotels and vacation rentals can get fully booked up.