A cultural visit to Southern Burgenland: Top Travel Tips during Summer

The local address “Am Teichwald 1” (literally “Forest Pond Nr. 1”) does sound tempting. It makes me picture the green, gentle nature of southern Burgenland, the grace of a quiet pond, the cool shaded location in the heat of a midsummer’s day. The open air restaurant KOI – “Kulinarik Am Teich” – has a lot to offer. All of us cannot help but fall for this beautiful spot. Everything fits around here, “I even got married here!” is what Andreas Gross tells us with a knowing smile, Andreas who has come here together with Burgenland Tourism’s managing director Mario Baier to welcome us. He is right, I think in silence, as we all settle comfortably at the restaurant. Together with my travel blogger colleagues Monika & Petar Fuchs, of Travel World Online, and Andreas Susana “Travelwriticus”, we are following a three-day creative cultural itinerary around the Burgenland. From the brilliant premiere of “The Marriage of Figaro” at Schloss Tabor near Jennersdorf up to the majestic Burg Bernstein castle in Bernstein, we experience many highlights of this beautiful region in the southeast of Austria. More often than not, it is the little details that capture most of my attention. Such as the charming accent of Burgenland, also called “Heanzisch” around here. Or the incredible taste of the local meals served below …

Ankommen & genießen: Das Südburgenland bietet mit KOI - Kulinarik am Teich eine edle Adresse für Feinschmecker & Genießer aller Art.

Arriving is a true delight here: KOI – Kulinarik Am Teich open air restaurant offers to spoil us to these magnificent starters.


Zum Haupttisch serviert mir das Team von KOI - Kulinarik am Teich dieses köstliche Moorochsenfleisch, welches nur hier im Südburgenland vorkommt und einzigartig gut schmeckt!

The main course I choose is this special beef stew that only exists in this part of southern Burgenland, the so-called “Zickentaler Moorochse”, a special cattle breed. Come and experience the incredible taste for yourself, is all I can say!


Zudem ist KOI - Kulinarik am Teich bekannt für seine berühmten Fischgerichte - die sensationelle Lachsforelle erwartet mich beim nächsten Besuch ...

KOI – Kulinarik am Teich is furthermore well-known for its excellent fish, such as the emblematic salmon trout which I must try upon my next visit …


... zu dem ich unbedingt auch (noch) mehr Zeit mitbringen muss: Genuss am "Teichwald 1" im Südburgenland.

… the next visit that has me bring more of this: TIME. To relax … enjoy … and let go of everyday life. Beautiful!


Geheimtipp des Teams: In unmittelbarer Nähe zu KOI - Kulinarik am Teich befindet sich das Schloss Rotenturm, welches gerade restauriert wird. Diese Architektur & Form - wer hätte das vermutet?

Another (secret) travel tip for luxury travellers in Southern Burgenland: Close to KOI – Kulinarik am Teich restaurant, you will find Rotenturm Palace which is currently being renovated. A true gem in terms of history and architecture!


Ein köstlicher Empfang:

Thank you so much for hosting us on the opening of our Burgenland culture tour: From left to right, I am standing here with Mario Baier, Managing Director of Burgenland Tourismus and his colleague Andreas Gross on the far left, as well as Petar & Monika Fuchs of TravelWorldOnline, Andreas Susana “Travelwriticus” as well as the team of KOI – Kulinarik am Teich restaurant. Thank you for an excellent afternoon !!


Top Culture Pick: The festival summer jOPERA in Jennersdorf with this year’s performance of “The Marriage of Figaro”. Save the date (and make your reservation) until August 17, 2014!

It is our good fortune – and that of the actors as well as many other guests who have appeared at this year’s premiere here at Schloss Tabor – that the weather is truly excellent. Three sunny days free of clouds & thunderstorms is what the Burgenland offers us during our cultural summer trip, all in accordance with the desination’s motto “on the sunny side of Austria”! What an atmosphere here on the open-air stands in front of the ancient castle, a glaring red sun slowly sinking beyond the forest on the horizon, the legendary blue hour dawning and the moon shedding its light over “The Marriage of Figaro“. Mozart’s famous “Opera Buffa” is both cheerful and lively, with all the amusing emotional turmoils hinted at by the musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in his congenial compositions. A true delight for all the senses!

Auftakt für "Die Hochzeit des Figaro" auf Schloss Tabor im Rahmen des jOPERA Jennersdorf Festspielsommer.

“Die Hochzeit des Figaro” is about to start at this year’s jOPERA Jennersdorf festival summer.


Die magische Abendstimmung tut das Ihrige dazu bei, uns die Atmosphäre "Ope(r)n-Air" zu versüßen!

What a delight to watch an opera such as this one against this beautiful open-air background.


Schließlich genießen wir die musikalische Erzählung rund um Figaro und seine Susanna ...

The story revolves around Figaro and Susanna, portrayed by a team of excellent (international) actors …


... auch Kinder & Jugendliche wirken als Nachwuchstalente in der Oper mit.

… with both children and teenagers acting on stage, too.


Ein lohnenswerter Besuch hier im Südburgenland!

A visit truly worthwhile. I am already curious about the programme for 2015!


Goosebumps. History. Strong feelings. Such are the cornerstone elements of the stories told by Elfriede Jaindl about Saint Emerich Memorial Church in Southern Burgenland, located right on the former Iron Curtain.

Can you imagine? I deliberately choose to write “on”, not “by” the former Iron Curtain – that is how close, and contested, the history of this church once dividing East from West is. The Burgenland, more than any other province in Austria, has always had to deal with the weight of history of the former Iron Curtain separating East & West. Today, we stand face to face with a lonesome, wonderfully restored church set by a clearing in the forest, complete with humming insects and fragrant flowers swaying in the wind. But the idyll is deceptive. Although there is not much left to see today, the pictures and stories that Elfriede Jaindl recalls are still very vivid and moving. As a child, she lived through the history of the Church together with her ​​family, still able to remember the time of the establishment of the Iron Curtain, her own personal lack of understanding as to why all of a sudden, the joint Fairs and Festivals of entire families and villages of “German West Hungary” should come to an end. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Elfriede Jaindl struggles to keep the history of the Memorial Church of St. Emerich alive, offering “a new home” to people who once had to leave this country (as well as the Church & Community) so many years ago. Moved to the point of tears in her eyes, she tells us the stories of refugees and former priests who barely managed to survive and whose history has turned into a role model for many others to follow. Several times I get goose bumps, standing there as if spellbound, listening to the excellent storyteller Elfriede Jaindl. Next thing I know, I really need a few minutes. To collect myself. And feel the experience this powerful place has upon me, taking a barefoot walk around the church.

Heute erinnert lediglich eine Fahne sowie eine kleine Gedenktafel an die Grenze des Eisernen Vorhanges, welcher direkt hier im südlichen Burgenland verlief.

Today, only a couple of flags as well as this small memorial display reminds us of the times when this part of Southern Burgenland was under siege along the Iron Curtain.


Beim Betreten der Gedenkkirche Sankt Emmerich ...

Entering Saint Emerich Memorial Church …


... begibt man sich am besten in die Hände von Frau Jaindl, welche wie keine andere die Geschichte dieses Ortes lebendig zu machen weiß.

… you are best advised to listen to dear Elfriede Jaindl, who like no other knows how to render the mighty history of this particular place.


Vor der Kirche erinnern weiters diese Grenzsteine an die ehemalige Trennung zwischen Ost & West ...

In front of the church, all that is left of the former border of the Iron Curtain are those two border stones …


... ich spüre die Geschichte des Ortes im Rahmen einer ganz persönlichen Wanderung ...

… while I choose to feel and live the history of this place by taking a slow, intense barefoot walk around the church …


... rund um diese heute wunderschön und dank vereinten Kräften wiedererrichtete Kirche.

… the church that, thanks to the efforts of many, has now been rebuilt after it was almost completely destroyed during war times.


Danke, liebe Eva Jaindl ...

Thank you so much, dear Elfriede Jaindl, for warmly welcoming us here at Inzenhof / Tschanigraben in Southern Burgenland …


... die Lebendigkeit, Klugheit und Achtsamkeit Deiner Äußerungen werden wir wohl allesamt so schnell nicht vergessen ..!

… I will never forget the vivid and detailed storytelling that made this place come alive for us ..!


The northern part of “Southern Burgenland” lures us with a visit to the unique Burg Bernstein and the Bernstein Rock Museum: Excellent stone carvers & happy hosts who like to cross beets instead of blades in the family coat of arms!

Host Alexander Almasy is a true “force of nature”. Him and his family, descendants of the famous Counts of Almasy, succeed in making you feel truly welcome. Just as Burg Bernstein has already been used as a filming location for the famous movie “The English Patient”, Alexander Almasy’s narratives are nothing short of those of a true adventurer either. “Outside, you may have seen my motorbike, fully loaded, that is! In just a month’s time, I will go on a three-month motorcycle trip to Iran!”

“We simply aim for making our guests feel welcome”, his wife adds in a gentle voice while we continue to praise the good food at Burg Bernstein. “We want to make our guests feel comfortable and also offer special cooking courses, such as baking on the traditional stove in the kitchen!” I talk to Mrs. Almasy about Creative Travel Burgenland & Creative Travel Austria, confirming the international trend towards such (inter)active cultural experiences. After the really excellent lunch at Burg Bernstein, Alexander Almasy is pleased to show us his castle, along with the 11 guest rooms. He leaves all other guests at the restaurant in the care of his wife and son, an engineering physicist with a penchant for the liveliness of a true host and restaurateur – just like his parents! This family truly deserves a visit, along with their castle and its very own historic charm.

Willkommen: Gleich bei unserer Ankunft auf Burg Bernstein treffen wir auf Lokalkoryphäe & Burgherr Alexander Almasy.

Welcome to Burg Bernstein castle: Meet the owner and local storytelling genius, Mr Alexander Almasy!


Zu Tisch werden wir auf das Herzlichste empfangen ...

Here, we are being led right into the historic restaurant for lunch …


... die frischen Steinpilze & Eierschwammerl zur Suppe als Vorspeise sind einfach ein Gedicht.

… the fresh mushrooms which are served with a clear vegetable soup are a true food lover’s delight.


Ganz zu schweigen von diesen saftigen Marillenknödel, welche mit zu den besten zählen, die ich je gegessen habe.

Let alone those beauties of typical “Marillenknödel” apricot dumplings that are so typical of our Austrian cuisine – probably the best I’ve eaten in my whole life together with those of our famous Wachau district back home.


Die Burg Bernstein selbst lädt zum idyllischen Rundgang ...

Burg Bernstein invites us for a stroll …


... inklusive Zimmer und Salons, die viel historisches Flair und Ambiente bieten.

… including a look at the historic rooms and halls offering lots of charm and flair.


Der Eingang in eines der Zimmer: Hier möchte ich gerne einmal nächtigen!

Wouldn’t you like to stay in one of the hotel rooms here at the castle?


Und hier vielleicht köstliche Marillenknödel und andere Leckereien zaubern? Der Ort für die Kochkurse im der historischen Burgküche von Burg Bernstein.

This is where the family offers to host some of their cooking classes, cooking traditional meals right by the ancient oven.


Auch die Ausblicke rund um die Burg begeistern mich: Blick hier Richtung Süden vom nördlichen Südburgenland aus gesehen.

Looking south from the main building, the gently rolling landscape of Southern Burgenland unfolds.


Am Fuße der Burg Bernstein erwartet uns mit dem Besuch des Felsenmuseum Bernstein noch ein weiteres Ausflugs-Highlight ...

Another highlight marks our visit to the small town of Bernstein, the so-called rock museum specialized in the display of mesmerizing semi-precious stones …


Hier gibt es einzigartige Steinschnitzkunst und Fotoausstellungen zum berühmten Bernstein ...

There is even a unique photography exhibition here focusing on amber as well as insects and minerals contained therein …


... der sympathische Inhaber Niko Potsch widmet sich hier auch der Kunst, die Steinverarbeitung des Edelserpentin in Kreativ-Kursen weiterzugeben.

… with local host Niko Potsch even offering to do stone carving workshops in his workshop and atelier.


My conclusion: The Southern Burgenland is a paradise that is unparalleled in the whole of Austria. Just over a year ago, I have already fallen head over heels with this “culinary-creative” southern district, its inhabitants and their unique stories. I really recommend you to come here and make sure you actually have time. Perhaps on an Ebike for the many winding and really beautiful routes (more about that shortly!). And of course, time for the people. Time for their narratives and stories, as they are what makes the Burgenland so unique, so colorful, so fascinating, and again and again, so exciting.


Disclaimer: We have been invited by Burgenland Tourism to travel in the Burgenland for this cultural summer trip. All opinions are my own.

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