DECODED BY NATIVES
Western Transdanubia (Nyugat-Dunántúl), Hungary
Perhaps the most dynamic region of Hungary after Budapest is the Western Transdanubia where the nearness of Austria and the unique natural resources, together with the regions history and traditions enabled the area to establish prosperous industry and tourism.
Ethnic minorities living in the region (Germans, Croats) take pride in their tresaures and traditions and manage to preserve them which add a special atmosphere to Western Hungary.
Map of Western Transdanubia
Western Transdanubia consists of 3 counties which are form North to South:
The most precious work of Hungarian goldsmith art the Szent László Herm (Szent László was a Hungarian king) form the 15th century is kept in the Héderváry chapel at the Basilica. The Győr-Rába Quelle wellness complex has a range of recreational facilities: jacuzzi, stem cabin, saunas, massages. The Győr Summer International Festival with dance, theatre and folk performances is an excellent event to which to time your visit to the city.
Another World Heritage place awaits you at Pannonhalma, south of Győr. The more than 1000-year old Benedictine Abbey houses one of the most valuable Hungarian libraries with around 3,000 volumes including the earliest proofs of written Hungarian. Today it is still an operating monastery. Its boarding school is one of the best schools in Hungary. Wine production looks back to great traditions in the area expoliting the benefits of the favourable climatic and geographical conditions.
You can take a tour in the stately rooms and admire the huge, gilded mirrors, chandeliers, statues, tapestried furniture. From June to October you can enjoy classical music concerts, too. You can take a rest in the beautifully designed park surrounding the building.
Baroque and Classical buildings from the18th-19th century make the cityscape memeorable like the two-towered cathedral or the bishop's palace.
If you're not after historic and cultural sights, but prefer activities in fresh air Western Transdanubia is the perfect vacation spot for you.
The foothills of the Alps, the river Rába, Lake Fertő, the hills of Zala county all provide plenty of opportunities for active recreation: kayaking, canoeing, hiking, hunting, fishing, cycling, hunting, riding. The slightly cool and damp climate makes the area an even more favourable active holiday destination.
Lake Fertő in the the northwestern corner of is an UNESCO World Heritage site the largest part of wich belongs to Austria.
Reeds, muddy areas, and open water gives home to around 260 bird species. Other animals and plant life also thrives in this wildly beautiful waterland which is part of the Fertő-Hanság National Park. Towns around the lake date back to medieval times (Balf, Hegykő).
The Danube arrives Hungary in the northern corner of Western Transdanubia where well-kept camps and bycicle routes welcome adventure seekers in the Szigetköz area, the land of untouched natural beauties.
Besides the Fertő-Hanság National Park the Őrségi National Park guard the national treasures of Western Hungary.
Írott-kő Nature Park
In Őriszentpéter, the centre of the area stands a Romanesque church. The Őrség National Park was established to preserve the natural treasures living here (pine, ferns, beeches, wild aninals, wild flowers, bog habitats).
Bath culture in West Hungary is founded on more than 1000-year old spa tradition of the Romans living in the area. Famous spas have been welcoming both Hungarian and foreign guests for decades.
In Vas county the at Bük and Sárvár are the best known thermal resorts, even outside Hungary. Balf near Sorpon also has great spa traditions.
Kehidakustány is the latest complex of the growing spa centers of Zala county. Its sulphuric, radon-free water is beneficial to problems related to locomotive system, nervous system and to gynaeological disorders. Just to make your choice broader, Zalaszentgrót and Lenti (close to Letenye near the Croatian boarder) also have excllent thermal bath facilities.
Delicious Rural Dishes
In Őrség in Vas and Zala counties you can taste simple but delicious peasant foods. The forrests abound in wild mushrooms and game, the rivers and lakes in fish.
A typical meal in this area starts with a hearty soup, followed by roast meats with piquant sauces, or some kind of stew.
Pastries, both sweet and savoury (strudel ground poppy seed and vegetable marrow, filling, cabbage filling), milk loaf, and other bakery products are a must when you want to have a taste of West Hungarian gastronomy
Garnishes made from grains, French wheat, barley (hajdinakása, árpakása) are characteristic of the region's cuisine.
Dödölle, a potato dish made from boiled potatoes and served with sour cream and bacon cracklings is peculiar to Zala county.
Production of slightly tannic reds became prevalent in the Sopron Wine Region. Wines made here have strong characters. Main varieties are Kékfrankos, Cabernet Franc, whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Királyleányka, Green veltelini. The subalpine climate is favorable for producing late harvested sweet whites too.
Although not the most famous of Hungary's winemaking regions, wines produced in Zala Wine Region can stiil delight the thirsty traveller. Hard working wine makers work hard to make the best of climatic and geographical conditions in order to produce quality wines. Mainly whites are produced in the area with high acid conten: Italian riesling and Rizlingszilváni.
Regions Nearby Western Transdanubia