The Best of Burgenland

Mighty castles, delightful wines and a sunny countryside make Burgenland the best escape from bustling Vienna. Its gentle hills and plains are punctuated with an assortment of castles (Burgen), vineyards and shallow lakes that warm quickly in summer. With some 300 days of sunshine a year, Austria’s Burgenland is an important agricultural area, notable for a vibrant selection of wines like Blaufränkisch as well as a wide variety of rare tomatoes. Visit Burgenland to truly see the best.

Schäferhof 13, 7132 Frauenkirchen, Austria
By Patti McCracken

Burgenland, Austria’s easternmost state, has a fairy-tale backstory of emperors and castles. Its modern story is more delicious. The sunny countryside produces rare tomatoes, organic lamb, and 90 percent of the country’s wine.

Erich Stekovics studied to be a priest before turning his devotion to tomatoes. He has spent years combing the globe for near-forgotten seeds and now cultivates more than 3,200 varieties. For summer, Stekovics recommends the sugary black plum tomatoes, which you can pick up, along with chutneys, at his farm shop. Farm tours at 4 p.m., July 13 through September 9. Call for reservations. This appeared in the July/August 2012 issue.

Lisztstraße 46, 7321 Raiding, Austria
It is hardly a secret that Austria was and is home to some of the most reputable composers in history. While many music lovers flock to Vienna or Salzburg for their taste of Austria‘s achievements in the classical world, the Franz Liszt Museum and Concert Hall are a little off the beaten track. The province of Burgenland pays tribute to one of its greatest sons with the renowned Liszt Festival, which is held in the modern and architectually dynamic setting of Raiding. But this little sight is worth a visit all year ‘round. There is always something to see and do - even if it is just to tread in the footsteps of a musical genius.
Esterhazyplatz 1, 7000 Eisenstadt, Austria
Of all the grand palaces in Austria, Esterházy is one you definitely don’t want to miss. It’s second, perhaps, to Schönbrunn. The 13th-century palace was acquired by the Hungarian family in 1622 and remains in their care. Magnificent rooms like the Empiresaal (dining hall) and the acoustically perfect Haydnsaal, a concert hall named for the composer who worked for the family for 40 years, are simply stunning. If the family’s wealth and importance wasn’t clear, one needs simply to visit the palace chapel where they’ll see the relics of St. Constantine.
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