Just short of an hour from Vienna you can reach the second largest lake in Austria – lake Neusiedlersee. The lake with reeded shores is famous for it’s limited depth and almost constantly blowing winds. A perfect playground for kite surfers, sailing aficionados, but also the occasional pedal board renters. Yet, it has so much more to offer! Last weekend we made a day trip to lake Neusiedlersee to get ourselves a small dose of holiday feeling, and let me tell you – this did feel like a bit of a Mediterranean escape.
5 tips for a day trip to lake Neusiedlersee
- Start with a boat ride at the Western shores of Rust
- Eat lunch at Heurigen Gut Oggau
- Make your way up to Jois – the most relaxed bay at the lake
- Drink iced coffee in the Seejungfrau
- Watch the sunset on the Eastern shores of Podersdorf
Along the shores of lake Neusiedlersee you’ll find many restaurants with boating docks – this is the Seejungfrau in Jois.
1. Start with a boat ride at the Western shores of Rust
Initially we had planned to take the sailing boat for a first spin this year, but unfortunately lake Neusiedlersee is currently in a phase of “draught”. Only boats with limited draft can go out these days, as the water is too shallow. Luckily there’s still any water left in the lake (from 1865 to 1871 the lake was completely dried out!). Instead of sailing we did a few maintenance works at the boat. If you still want to go boating make sure to check water levels or simply rent an electric boat alternatively. In Rust the boat rental offers electric boats to rent.
It seems that many sailing boats in the harbour of Rust are waiting for the water levels of lake Neusiedlersee to finally rise this year!
The town of Rust is also worth a visit if you have time for a short stroll. You can grab an ice-cream at “Heiling Eismacher” or stay at the harbour and eat lunch at the “Seerestaurant Katamaran”. We opted to leave the shores for a bit to have lunch at one of the more original locations of the region – at a so called “Heurigen”.
2. Eat lunch at Gut Oggau
Oggau might be one of the villages that is more often overlooked when it comes to the region of Neusiedlersee. It doesn’t have a fancy marina restaurant or a particularly charming main square. But there’s one place that justifies a visit: the vinery & Heurigen “Gut Oggau”. In fact it’s more than just a vinery. The family owned business is now in the hands of the next generation who switched to fully biodynamic viticulture. The young couple Stephanie and Eduard Tscheppe-Eselböck live in the family owned house with their three children and open up the courtyard for guests. But: only on a few select days in the season (check their “Heurigenkalender” for the opening dates!).
The courtyard at Gut Oggau is a wonderful place to spend a relaxed afternoon and watch the stork on the rooftop!
Make reservations for a table and order the “Gute Auswahl” selection for 19 Euros per person. We opted for a vegetarian version and got spoiled with a three-tiered server each filled with different local and handmade products from shaved cucumber marinated in elderflower vinaigrette to a veggie quiche, olives, a cheese selection, pickled beetroot and of course – a loaf of the best handmade sourdough bread at 4 Euros a piece. Sharing is caring here!
We initially only wanted to stay an hour here at Gut Oggau, but ended up staying a lot longer – it’s one of those places that makes you just forget time…
3. Make your way up to Jois
A 25 minute drive later you reach the Northern tip of lake Neusiedlersee. Jois has one key argument to support a visit – a very calm and relaxed bay. While Podersdorf is like the Lignano of Burgenland – with many restaurants, bars, a fenced off beach club and a lot of action – Jois is the complete opposite. Here you can park your car for free and chill in the beach club – again, completely for free. We saw people take a swim (bear in mind, the water is currently at 17-18 degrees C, so not exactly super warm). We opted for a walk instead. If you pass by the yacht harbour you can make your way along the water canal and watch the boats.
4. Drink iced coffee in the Seejungfrau
While at the harbour of Jois we recommend to take seat on the terrace of the restaurant “Seejungfrau” and order an iced coffee or cake and simply enjoy the view. If you’re up for a romantic dinner you can reserve a separate table at the wooden runway, right next to the boating dock.
The location of restaurant Seejungfrau in the harbour of Jois is protected by reed and offers great views of the yacht harbour and the sunset.
5. Watch the sunset on the Eastern shores of Podersdorf
The last stop of the day brings us to the East coast of lake Neusiedlersee. While Podersdorf isn’t our favourite village, because we feel it’s overly commercialised, the lighthouse is probably the most iconic place to watch the sunset. Many people gather here to watch the spectacle when the lake turns all colours from yellow to orange and pink. Visitors stroll along the runway all the way to the tip where the lighthouse stands, sit down and just watch the last boats return from their day trips or eat another cone of ice-cream. We even watched a group of Polish photographers perform light painting!
Ideas for our next visit of lake Neusiedlersee
Although we’ve been to the Neusiedlersee region many times before, we still have a lot of things that we never documented with a camera! 🙂 Therefore we plan on returning sooner than later. Next time we hopefully also get to ride the boat when the water levels are finally high enough! Other than boating these are some of our ideas for the next experiences:
- Rent e-bikes in Illmitz to discover the UNESCO world heritage national park “Neusiedler See – Seewinkel”
- Visit the white donkeys in Illmitz (yes, there’s a farm specialised on white donkeys and they look super cute!)
- Go on a bird watching safari
- Re-visit the baroque castle Halbturn
- Find lynx at the “Steppentierpark Pamhagen“
Which are your favourite places along lake Neusiedlersee?