Roman paths in the Burgenland – Amber Trail East Route
© Burgenland Tourismus | Foto: Christian Krammer
For 400 years the Romans settled in Burgenland, that they then named "Province of Pannonia". An important trade route led through the middle of the province towards the Baltic Sea — the Amber Road. On the new Amber Trail, a long-distance hiking trail, you will embark on the search for traces of the Romans, who left many testimonies here. Their probably most important heritage is of course viticulture, which will accompany you on your thirteen-day hike on almost every stage through the gentle hilly landscape.
Thanks to the region’s mild Pannonian climate, you can hike the 13 stages from very early in the year until late autumn. The east route is 306 kilometres (190 miles) long and leads you once lengthwise through Burgenland and the west of Hungary. Starting at the Roman excavation site Petronell-Carnuntum, you will head for Lake Neusiedl, passing the unique steppe lakes of the National Park Neusiedler See-Seewinkel and continuing your journey south.
Next, you will cross from Illmitz to Moerbisch by boat and continue your hike into the wooded mountains of Hungary. You will cross the border several times during your adventure so you can experience the similarities and differences between the two countries first hand.
The Amber Trail runs through wide winegrowing areas and quiet forests, passing castles and quaint towns: Marvel at the spectacular scenery from the Geschriebenstein, the highest mountain in Burgenland and discover historic cellars and excellent wines such as the Uhudler. The trail finishes close to the Roman burial mounds in St. Martin an der Raab.
Lake Neusiedl and the end of your adventure are both well connected with public transport, so you can easily reach and return home from your adventure. Jennersdorf station is close to St. Martin an der Raab, the final destination. You could also start or finish via Parndorf, Deutschkreutz or Kőszeg stations.
The Amber Trail is a relatively simple hike, but you should be in good shape as some of the stages are quite long. We also recommend bringing sun protection and a valid passport for the border crossings.
No other place is better suited as a starting point than the Roman archaeological site Carnuntum: on the extensive grounds you can admire the reconstructed district with its visitor center, the impressive amphitheater or the pagan gate. You could almost run the risk of forgetting to actually hike.After an extensive tour you walk south. Without major incline, it goes along goods and hiking trails through colorful fields and past mighty wind turbines. The constant wind not only makes the countless rotor blades dance in summer, but also ensures a pleasant refreshment.At Rohrau you cross the rippling Leitha and can cool off your warm feet. You walk straight to Parndorf, where you will find a large selection of restaurants and cafés for a stop. On the southern outskirts, the Bernstein Trail then runs along the Parndorfer Bach and takes you through the first wine-growing areas of your long-distance hike.In Neusiedl am See you have reached your destination and at the same time the shore of Lake Neusiedl. The lido is the perfect place to end the day with a glass of wine.
The first section of the second stage leads you to the Calvary with its church of the same name. It is promising on the edge of Neusiedl am See and you can enjoy a wide view of the largest steppe lake in Central Europe. You will then hike through the wonderful wine-growing region on curved paths.Again and again you come to viewpoints and rest areas that offer a view of the winegrowing towns of Weiden am See, Gols and Mönchhof. Some of the most famous types of wine in Burgenland are grown in these vineyards.In Halbturn you have the opportunity to visit the impressive palace complex and take a break under mighty trees. We continue south through the center of Halbturn. Surrounded by wide fields, you march to Frauenkirchen, where the famous Basilica Maria stands on the heath. Before you look for a night's lodging, it is worth taking a look into the artistic interior of the church.
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The third stage is the flattest of the entire Bernstein Trail and takes you to the flat Zicksee from Frauenkirchen. The water of the small steppe lake is pleasantly warm in early summer due to its shallow depth and invites you to take a bath. On the shore you can find historic draw wells and thatched huts that used to be shelters for the shepherds.
A short time later you will reach the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park. You enter a different world at the Lange Lacke, because the shallow pools of water are a real bird paradise. You hike past observation towers, from which you have an impressive overview of this steppe-like landscape.
We continue to Zicklacke, where the information center National Park Neusiedler See is located. Here you can find out about the special flora and fauna of the national park before you reach your destination in Illmitz today. At the end of this stage, you can stop off at the rustic Pusztascheune restaurant and try regional dishes with live music.
Today a split stage awaits you, because you take the ferry across Lake Neusiedl. Coming from Illmitz you can walk through the heart of the National Park Neusiedler See - Seewinkel and its unique landscape. Alternatively, you can also take the direct route to the ferry via Seestrasse. Check the ferry times when planning your hike: neusiedlersee.com/de/aktivitaeten/sport-bewegung/radfahren/radfaehren.html. Usually they only start at the beginning of April.
The ferry dock, which takes you to Mörbisch, is located at the extensive seaside resort of Illmitz. During the trip you can enjoy a completely new perspective on Lake Neusiedl. Once in Mörbisch, you hike past the floating stage, where the famous festival takes place every summer. You reach the center of Mörbisch via the reed-lined Seestrasse. There is a large selection of restaurants and cafés waiting for you.
Afterwards, the Bernstein Trail leads you through gentle vineyards to the worth seeing Römersteinbruch Sankt Margarethen, a unique event location. The stones mined here were used in the construction of Carnuntum 2,000 years ago.We continue through picturesque vineyards before you hike to Rust in an arch. The colorful old town with its nice places to stop for refreshments is the perfect place to end the day in a relaxed manner.
You start in beautiful Rust and hike along the western shore of Lake Neusiedl back to Mörbisch. On one side of the path there is a sea of grapevines, on the other the "Sea of Vienna" with its wide reed beds.
South of Mörbisch you cross the border to Hungary. In the direction of Fertőrákos, you can enjoy the wonderful view of Lake Neusiedl one last time before you dive into the low mountain ranges of Hungary. In Fertőrákos it is worth a detour to the Roman quarry, which now houses a rock theater. The quarry is one of the most important relics of antiquity in this area.
Then you enter a shady forest area and march on beautiful hiking trails over the gentle hills. The mixed forest thins out and the Amber Trail takes you to the historic center of Sopron. In the picturesque old town, narrow streets, artistic churches and traditional restaurants await you.
At the beginning of the sixth stage, you can once again admire the historic old town of Sopron with its impressive buildings such as the Petőfi Theater. Through the adjoining residential area you come to the Ödenburg Mountains, a forested low mountain range that borders directly on the city.For the first time on your long hike you make up a few meters of altitude and climb up to Karlshöhe. A fantastic panorama awaits you from the lookout tower there. On the dense network of paths in the Ödenburg Mountains, you hike through quiet beech and oak forests until you reach the Sopron-Várhely burial ground. The burial mounds from the Hallstatt to late Latène period provide interesting insights into earlier death cults.
After this interesting site, we continue through the extensive forest to the border between Austria and Hungary. You march a bit along the border - until you switch between Harka and Neckenmarkt to the Austrian side. You enter the Blaufränkischland with its wine slopes and hike on quiet goods paths to Neckenmarkt, your today's destination.
From Neckenmarkt you hike across flat, agricultural areas and through wide wine-growing areas to the south. The route takes you through quaint villages such as Raiding, Großwarasdorf or Großmutschen, where traditional restaurants and wine taverns await you. In Nebersdorf, a detour to the castle of the same name with its idyllic park is worthwhile. You can also visit the magnificent interiors.
In addition, you move pretty precisely on the route of the ancient Roman amber road. Display boards along the way keep pointing this out and if you find a relic, the street in Großmutschen used in ancient times, you can find out more about it.
Shortly before Lutzmannsburg, the trail runs through the hilly wine-growing region of Mittelburgenland with beautiful views of the already close stage. With the well-known Sonnentherme, Lutzmannsburg invites you to relax or even take a full day off.
This stage starts in Lutzmannsburg and takes you to Hungary east of the Sonnentherme. Shortly after the border you will pass Zsira, where you can visit Rimanóczy Castle. Through fields and the village of Répcevis we continue to Peresznye. The picturesque park of the Széchenyi Castle invites you to take a break under the mighty trees.You hike through an idyllic mixed forest close to the Hungarian-Austrian border. In Kőszeg you have reached your destination and can visit the impressive castle. Different exhibitions and historic walls await you. The ornate Sacred Heart Church is also worth seeing and you can find many good restaurants in the winding streets of the old town.
The ninth stage is dominated by the mountains of the Írottkö - Geschrittenstein Nature Park. After leaving the beautiful old town of Kőszeg, you hike up to the Óház-tető ruin. From the lookout tower there you can enjoy an impressive view of Kőszeg and the nature park. Here you always follow the marking of the Alpannonia path.
On the well-developed paths of the popular hiking area it goes up and down through the forest. You can reach a worthwhile rest area at the so-called Styrian Houses. In the renovated buildings you can visit the Forest Museum or simply enjoy the sun in the clearing.Passing the Hörmann source, you climb the 884 meter high writing stone. The summit is located exactly on the Austrian-Hungarian border and the lookout tower offers a fabulous 360-degree panorama.
On the other side of the summit, you then hike down a gentle forest ridge to the Geschrittenstein Straße. Either you follow the paths from the top of the pass to today's stage destination in Rechnitz or you call a taxi that will take you comfortably to your accommodation: taxiteamrechnitz.at
You leave Hungary's low mountain range behind and hike south from Rechnitz. At the beginning of the tenth stage, the Bernstein Trail follows the course of the Nussgrabenbach. Through an agricultural basin, it goes deeper into the south of Burgenland on flat country lanes.
At the village of Burg there is a small swimming pond where you can cool off. South of Burg, the landscape becomes hilly again and through a quiet forest area you climb up to the Eisenberg. From the "Weinblick" platform you can enjoy a varied view of the idyllic vineyards and winemaker buildings.The countless taverns and vinotheques along the way make wine lovers' hearts beat faster. The following section leads you on soft forest paths to the top of the Hochcsaterberg.Afterwards you hike on the sun-drenched southern side of the mountain past a unique collection of historic wooden buildings and cozy wine taverns that nestle against the slope. Here you can taste excellent wines and Burgenland delicacies. Your milestone is in Deutsch Schützen-Bergen, another idyllic wine-growing settlement.
This stage is characterized by the Weinidylle nature park and its gentle hilly landscape: You leave the vineyards of Deutsch Schützen-Bergen and walk through quiet forest landscapes to the hamlets of St. Kathrein and the Edlitzer mountains.
Alternating between wide fields and shady forests, the Bernstein Trail continues south. At the Gaaser vineyard, the rows of trees clear up and you can stop at the Herczeg tavern.
After a well-deserved break, you hike to Maria Weinberg and the pilgrimage church there. Numerous pilgrims come here every year to find peace and you can also pause briefly to admire the artistic interior of the church. Through alleys full of historical cellar floors you get to the Moschendorf wine and open-air museum. It provides interesting insights into the tradition of winegrowing in Burgenland.
The last section of this stage winds between colorful fields to Heiligenbrunn without major differences in height. The place is known for its traditional cellar district, where you can taste delicious wines from the region.
The start of this stage leads you through the picturesque basement alley of Heiligenbrunn to the stream of the Strem. Accompanied by the babbling of the stream, it always goes along the bank to Güssing. Sometimes you hike in the shade of trees and bushes, sometimes in the open corridor. The closer you get to the city of Güssing, the more impressive the view of the mighty castle, which is perched on a hill in the middle of the small town.
As a result, you climb directly to Güssing Castle and can explore the historical rooms, beautiful viewpoints and the chapel. The rustic castle restaurant offers you many delicious reasons to stop by. Strengthened you descend from the Burgberg to the Güssingen fish ponds, which are designated as a Ramsar conservation area. Along these you reach the hamlet of Rosenberg on a hill and continue hiking through beautiful deciduous forests.
On the Hochkogel there is the possibility to take a break in the traditional "wedding tavern" to try the regional wine variety Uhudler. Your goal is in Eltendorf in the idyllic Uhudler district.
The last stage of the Bernstein Trail shows you the whole idyll of southern Burgenland: First you hike on dirt roads to the banks of the Lafnitz and follow its course a short distance. South of the Gotziberg it goes up to the promising hamlet of Krobotek.
You take turns marching through quiet forests and across wide meadows. You can enjoy a particularly beautiful panorama over the hilly landscape from the pilgrimage church Maria Bild, whose artistic interiors are worth a closer look. In the adjoining Gasthaus Janitschek you can stop off and enjoy Burgenland specialties.
The Bernstein Trail leads you from Maria Bild down to Weichselbaum and through the Raab river plain to the "Römerweg" near St. Martin an der Raab. On the interesting themed path you walk to the actual destination of this long-distance hiking trail, the Roman burial mounds.Thirteen varied stages are now behind you. Either you spend another night in St. Martin an der Raab or you hike to the train station in nearby Jennersdorf, from where you can best start your journey home via Graz. You can find timetable information at fahrplan.oebb.at/bin/stboard.exe/dn?ld=19&.