The Lake that disappeared 100 times - Neusiedler See

2 minutes to read

In the furthest east of Austria, on Hungarian border, you can find Neusiedler See. It is typical steppe lake, the westernmost steppe lake in Europe. With the 315 square kilometres, of which 240 square kilometres in Austria, it is the biggest water surface in country. Only Lake Constance is bigger than Neusidler See; however only a small portion of it is located in Austria. With 36 km length and between 6 km and 12 km width it is the largest endorheic lake, without outflow to other external bodies of water, in Central Europe. In times of low rainfall, there is a risk of dehydration. Since its formation the lake bed has totally dried up at least 100 times and most recently in 1866. The last partial vanishing took place during the summer of 1949 when the northern part of the lake bed fell dry for a few weeks. Over the last decades, this has occurred rarely since a sluice on Hungarian territory which controls the water level was built.

©iStock/Bertl123
©iStock/Bertl123

Summer activities

Neusidler See is a reminiscence of ancient Pannonian sea and has mild Pannonian climate with above average sunny days. The deepest point of Neusiedler See is only 2 meters and the average water depth is only 1 meter, meaning you can stand in many parts of the lake in the water. Therefore, Neusiedler See warms up quickly. In August, the water temperature even reaches 30 degrees Celsius making it perfect for bathing. Near town Podersdorf you can find beautiful and even sand beaches.

Also the water sports fans can find a lot to do: surfing, sailing or paddle boarding. Here you can find numerous surf clubs and surf schools, sailing clubs and sailing schools, boat rentals and kite surfing. The wind blows so frequently and the sun shines so often on Neuseidler See more than on any other Austrian lake! Because of the frequent wind in combination with shallow water the lake is perfect for sailing. The waves are short and fast. Because of these natural conditions Neusiedler Seet hosted the World Sailing Games in 2006.

©iStock/loeskieboom
©iStock/loeskieboom

Wildlife

The lake has a wide reed belt, which is a true bird paradise; around 300 different bird species can be found here. The lake also represents an important resting place for migratory birds. Because of its importance as a bird reservation and role of a meeting point for different plant and animal species its parts of the south-east bank are national park. Since 2001 the national parks Neusiedler See-Seewinkel and the Hungarian Fertő-Hanság are accepted as a World Heritage Site.

©iStock/pruscha
©iStock/pruscha

Lot of sunny days offer perfect conditions for wine growing, therefore this area is known for its quality wines. There are many campsites here and hundreds of kilometres of bike tracks. In winter the lake offers ice skating, ice sailing, ice fishing and winter hiking. No matter what, Neusiedler See will offer something for everyone. For shopaholic close to the lake, you will find the biggest Austrian designer outlet centre Parndorf. It is the place where citizens of three capitals Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest buy their favourite brands.


The author

Ogi Savic

Ogi Savic

I am Ogi. A journalist and economist, I live in Vienna and I am passionate about skiing, traveling, good food and drinks. I write about all these aspects (and more) of beautiful Austria.

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