What to See in Eisenstadt and Bad Gastein (Austria)
According to commit4fitness, Eisenstadt is the capital of the province of Burgenland. This small town is located in the east of Austria. In translation, its name means “iron city”. For the first time in history, it is mentioned under the year 1264. The heyday of the city came in the 17th-18th centuries, when Eisenstadt became the residence of the influential Hungarian princely family of Esterházy and became one of the cultural centers of Austria-Hungary. In the second half of the 18th century, the great Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was the court composer and chief bandmaster of Esterhazy, so Eisenstadt is often associated with his name.
The old town of Eisenstadt – Altstadt – is riddled with cobbled streets with old houses. Its main attraction is the Esterhazy Castle ., which was rebuilt in 1622 from a defensive fortress from the 14th century. The facade of the castle is decorated with busts of members of the Esterhazy family. The castle consists of 200 rooms and 6 halls, most of the rooms today are given over to offices for officials, but still some rooms are intended for tourists. Here you can see collections of armor, weapons, portraits of members of the Esterhazy family, jewelry and ceramics.
Other sights of the city include the Haydn Museum, the Haydn Mausoleum, the Bergkirche Church and the Franciscan Church, where representatives of the Estehazy family are buried. In September, the International Haydn Music Festival is held in Eisenstadt.
15 km east of Eisenstadt is the largest lake in the country – Neusiedlersee with an area of 315 sq. km. The lake is elongated from north to south for 36 km, its maximum depth does not exceed 2 m. The water in the lake is salty, and its surface is covered with reed thickets, among which about 300 species of birds live, including the most diverse types of herons. Lake with reed beds, marshes and surrounding meadows are protected by the Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park. Tourists can go on an excursion along the only path of the park, laid along the lake, and watch the birds. In the summer, steady northwest winds blow here, which make it possible to practice windsurfing. Also, beaches are equipped along the shores of the lake, the beaches of the eastern shore are especially good. The tourist season lasts on the lake from May to early October, at which time restaurants and bars open and tourists are transported across the lake in special boats. In addition, fishing is allowed on the lake, for which a license is required. The lake is home to such fish as loach, pike perch, pike and carp.
Bad Gastein (Austria)
Bad Gastein is one of the most famous thermal spas in Europe. It is located 80 km south of Salzburg in the picturesque Gastein Valley. Bad Gastein gained fame back in the 15th century, when the Duke of Styria, Frederick, was cured of gangrene by local waters. After that, Bad Gastein became one of the “royal” resorts of Austria. The Empress of Austria Elisabeth, known as Sissi, the last Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and the German Emperor Wilhelm I with his chancellor Otto Bismarck were treated here. Total in Bad Gastein there are 18 thermal springs enriched with radon and nitrogen, with a water temperature of + 47 degrees. These waters help in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract, musculoskeletal system and joints. In Bad Gastein, right inside the mountain, there is a unique thermal complex “Radon Galleries”, which was opened on the site of worked-out silver mines. The air here is also filled with radon.
8 km north in the Gastein Valley there is another resort – Bad Hofgashain. Bad Hofgastein is a more modern resort than the aristocratic Bad Gastein. There is an ultra-modern Spa Center with thermal pools, massage rooms and saunas. Between the two resort towns through the mountains there are hiking trails that can be overcome in 2 hours.
In addition to their healing springs, Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein are famous for their ski slopes. The Gastein Valley is part of a grandiose project – the largest ski region in Europe – Ski Amade, which combined 860 km of ski slopes in Styria and Salzburg. In the Gastein Valley, at altitudes from 830 to 2700 m, there are about 200 km of slopes, 47 lifts, equipment rentals, ski schools, restaurants, bars, shops, sports centers and much more. From here you can go to the “Salzburg Sports Ring” located to the north, the center of which is the Flachau ski resort. The Gastein Valley is located on the northern slopes of Austria’s highest ridge – the Hohe Tauern – on the outskirts of the national park of the same name. There are several mountain peaks here, more than 3000 m high, including Mount Grossglockner (3798 meters) – the highest peak in Austria. The largest national park in the Alps – Hohe Tauern National Park – extends over an area of 1815 sq. km on the territory of three Austrian lands: Salzburg, Carinthia and Tyrol. 10% of the park’s territory is covered by glaciers, among which the largest glacier of the Eastern Alps is Pasterze, more than 10 km long. They are surrounded by alpine meadows and pastures, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. There are about 1,800 plant species and about 10,000 animal species in the park, including the “alpine five”: chamois, ibex, griffon vulture, golden eagle and bearded vulture. An alpine highway runs through the park, which leads from Salzburg to the south of Carinthia.