Neusiedler See - Seewinkel
National Park

Neusielder See - Seewinkel National Park

So far.
So good.

Located at the edge of the Alps and western fringe of the Pannonian lowlands, the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park protects a biological border region of rich biodiversity. For thousands and thousands of migratory birds, the only steppe national park in Austria means one thing above all else: an essential stop off between their winter habitat and breeding ground.

Size

The National Park in Burgenland covers an area of 9,673 hectares. Another 23,721 ha are protected on the Hungarian side.

Structure

43% reeds

30% meadows & pastures

27% lakes & pools

Roots

The Austrian section of the National Park was established in 1993, recognised by the IUCN in 1994 and declared a world heritage site in 2001.

 

Good to know

Extreme habitats can be found in the National Park in the salty, regularly dehydrating soda pools.

 

Birds in the water with plants
(c)Christina Rittmannsperger
(c)Sabine König

Natural Environment Neusiedler See - Seewinkel

The Seewinkel combines elements of various types of landscape thanks to Alpine, Pannonian, Asian, Mediterranean and northern influences: large wetlands, grazing areas, meadows, dry grasslands, sand steppes and salt sites are situated directly next to one another here and are reminiscent of a kind of mosaic.

It’s bodies of water in particular that dominate the natural environment: in addition to the most westerly steppe lake in Europe, you can also find numerous soda pools in Seewinkel. They are unique to inland Europe and are considered rarities even when you compare to the rest of the world. Around 30 of these kinds of bodies of water can be found between the eastern bank of Lake Neusiedl and the Hanság.

 

A bird sits on common reed and sings
(c)Rupert Kogler
A bird flies over the water
(c)Rupert Kogler

Fauna of the Seewinkel

A variety of Alpine, Pannonian, Asian, Mediterranean and northern influences provide the Seewinkel with biodiversity that is almost ingenious. The list of animal inhabitants of the national park is just as long.

Its essential role in European-African bird migration and diverse biotopes also make the National Park territory a hotspot for birds: herons, spoonbills, waders, great bustards, plovers, sea eagles, greylag and white-fronted geese and bee-eaters are just some of the species that have been found here.

Thanks to area management, it is also possible to encounter old domestic animal breeds (such as Hungarian grey cattle, white donkeys and water buffalo) in the conservation zone. In this way, the National Park succeeds in protecting both natural and cultural heritage at the same time.

A bird on the sandy soil with plants
(c)Klaus Schneider

The Kentish plover is linked to salty sites and therefore to coastal habitats. The ponds and alkaline areas of Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park are it’s only breeding ground in Austria, and as a result we are particularly committed to preserving these habitats. Kentish plovers can best be observed in the “Geiselsteller” region.

A toad in the water
(c)Kreinz

The fire-bellied toad can be found in clear, non-cloudy waters in the Seewinkel. The amphibians, which grow to a maximum height of five centimetres and are active day and night, can primarily be observed in the Zitzmannsdorfer meadows as well as at Lettengrube. Keeping the riverbank open through natural grazing plays a large role in the conservation of the species.

Two geese and chicks in the meadow
(c)Hannah Assil

Greylag geese can be spotted in almost all areas of the National Park during spring. Breeding grounds at Lake Neusiedl contain over 1,500 breeding pairs – making them the largest in all of Austria.

A plant with pink flowers
(c)Archiv NPNSS
A flower in the colour purple
(c)Sabine König

Flora of the Seewinkel

With species such as the spiny restharrow, the green-winged orchid or the woodland sage, the protected area is home to many rare salt-tolerant plants (halophytes), dry grassland species and orchids. These have had to become “specialists” at adapting to the conditions of their habitat and at reacting sensitively to change.

With the distinctive reed belt of Lake Neusiedl, the protected area also has the second-largest contiguous reed population in Europe.

(c)Alois Lang

The sea aster covers the autumnal Seewinkel in a carpet of lilac flowers. The fact that it can tolerate more salt than most other native plants gives the species a decisive competitive advantage on soils that contain soda around the salt ponds. The endangered plant is an important, late source of food for insects.

(c)NPNSS

The purple mullein is a highly endangered species of the Seewinkel. The fact that it is becoming increasingly rare can be attributed to the decline in semi-arid grasslands. Targeted grazing by herded herds of cattle ensures the preservation of their habitat in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park.

Purple Flowers in a meadow
(c)Archiv NPNSS

The green-winged orchid is the most common orchid species in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park. However, the frugal plant does not display its reddish-violet, pink or white flower every year because in some seasons it grows as a leaf rosette.

Discover Nature

Enjoyable
Downtime

Bird-watching, canoe trips, solar-powered boat tours or bike trips: the expanse of the Neusielder See - Seewinkel National Park can be experienced in many different ways.

Lots of aquantic plants in the lake
(c)NPNSS
Birds in the water with plants
(c)Christina Rittmannsperger
A path in the meadow with trees
(c)Hannah Assil
The entire richness of the National Park

Experience even more

Visitors on a tower watch the birds and the landscape
(c)Sebastian Freiler
(c)Sebastian Freiler

Observation Tower at Sandeck

The reconstructed watchtower at Illmitzer Sandeck provides a view over the mighty reed belt of the National Park nature reserve. As well as gazing at amazing views, visitors may also get the chance to spot some white donkeys. The breeding project, which is intended to protect this old breed of farm animal from extinction, also promotes sustainability of the biotope quality of the lake dam.

(c)Alois Lang
A lake with plants in the water
(c)AL Archiv NP Neusiedler See

From the Lake Dam to the Stinkersee Lakes

It’s easy to drive into hell in the Seewinkel. This section of the National Park conservation zone (which is named “Hölle”, the German word for hell) is far-more inviting than its name suggests. With the large salt ponds of the Upper and Lower Stinkersee, it even includes a particularly gentle landscape with various opportunities for bird watching.

(c)Archiv NPNSS Klaus Schneider

Great Bustards’ Courtship Display in Waasen-Hanság

The courtship display of the great bustard is a real highlight for bird watchers. This takes place in the fen region of Waasen-Hanság from the beginning of April until the middle of May and can be observed very clearly from the heights on the Andau and Tadten side. The cockerels raise their white plumage during the courtship display, transforming them into something resembling a white shuttlecock.

Experience even more

The Best Start
to Experiencing Nature

So far, so good: the range of information and visitor activities available at Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park is the perfect way for visitors to enjoy these special experiences of nature.

(c)Hans Ringhofer

National Park Centre Illmitz

Located at the northern edge of the town of Illmitz, the National Park Centre provides information on the flora and fauna of the Seewinkel all year round. In addition to the exhibition, observation tower and events centre, the visitor facility also offers the opportunity to book excursions to the National Park area. The education centre located right next to the National Park Centre plays host to a number of school trips and exciting project experiences.

 

Contact

National Park Centre & Education Centre

Hauswiese, 7142 Illmitz
Tel.: +43 (2175) 3442

office@npneusiedlersee.at

Many children look for animals in the water
(c)Sebastian Freiler
Children and a Ranger explore animals
(c)Sebastian Freiler

Education Centre Illmitz

The educational centre, located directly next to the National Park Centre, is the first address for school excursions and exciting project days. It offers programmes for children and young people interested in nature. The participants explore the animal and plant world in a playful way and experience exciting adventures in Austria's only steppe national park!

 

Contact

Education Centre

Hauswiese, 7142 Illmitz
Tel.: +43 (2175) 3442

office@npneusiedlersee.at

Contact and Directions

Nationalpark Neusiedler See – Seewinkel

Hauswiese, 7142 Illmitz
Tel.: +43 (2175) 3442

office@npneusiedlersee.at

 

Supported by the Federal Government and the European Union.

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