ŐRSÉG NATIONAL PARK
A hilly landscape formed by rivers and streams is home to pine forests and alder groves, peat bogs and moorland, family-run orchards and a bewildering variety of butterflies and dragonflies, not to mention the wild and winding a Rába River. The attractive local villages consist of whitewashed houses with traditional peasant covered doorways, as well as log huts and constructions with bell-shaped wooden roofs. The Őrség may have a damp sub-Alpine climate and see the highest rainfall in Hungary, but you are always guaranteed a warm welcome. The famously friendly local people will be more than happy to introduce you to the local grasses, trees, flowering plants and birds.
Ság-hegy Historical Heritage Exhibition (Ság-hegy – Celldömök)
The former basalt volcano known as Ság Hill is the westernmost in a series of volcanic cones formed five million years ago to the north of Lake Balaton. Its age-old natural world has been preserved, despite the scars left by mining. An exhibition housed in a former mining building has plenty of tales to tell about local archaeological findings, the diversity of the wildlife on the hill and local mining history. It is also a memorial to the geological research conducted in the area and famous Hungarian scientist Loránd Eötvös.
Chernel Bird Watch Site and Museum (Kőszeg)
Out in the garden, an exhibition presents the geological properties and wildlife of the Kőszeg Hills. Inside, the memorial museum commemorates the work of István Chernel and István Bechtold, two leading Hungarian ornithologists. The botanical gardens in the western section of the town were established by Chernel in the late 19th century.
Moor Grass Nature Conservation Study Centre (Őriszentpéter)
This study centre can serve as a venue for summer camps, school trips, woodland schools, and a refuge for exhausted hikers, but it is also perfect for conferences and presentations. The Őrség National Park office also sells brochures about Hungary’s youngest national park.
Ság-hegy Geological and Natural Study Trails (Celldömök)
These study trails offer an insight into the geological and natural treasures of Ság Hill and provide a wealth of information on the emergence and activity of the former volcano, the process of mining basalt and its present cultural and natural significance.
Open to visitors at any time.
Botanic and Bird Conservation Trails (Kőszeg – Chernel Gardens)
A hike in the Chernel Gardens of Kőszeg offers a variety of study trails, but you cannot go wrong whichever you choose. You can immerse yourself in the secrets of the vegetation inhabiting the neighbourhood of Kőszeg, take a peak at spectacularly colourful birds or close your eyes and just listen to their cheerful chirping. You will be left in no doubt as to why Hungarian ornithologist István Chernel lived and worked in these gardens. The Csillaghúr and Királyvölgy Study Trails, as well as the ornithological and bird conservation trails, are open to independent visitors and guided tour parties with advance bookings.
Rezgőnyár Study Trail
The study trail alongside the Moor Grass Nature Conservation Study Centre takes you along a 400 metre stretch typical of the local flora and fauna of the Őrség region. It also illustrates the development of its woodland, forestry practices, the role of the forest fringes, the wildlife and vegetation along the tree-lined avenues, the local stock of original domesticated animals, and the flora and fauna of the area’s lakes and ponds.
Open at any time, advance bookings are required for guided tours.
Yellow Lily Study Trail
The walking tour departs from Velemér and follows a 6.2 kilometre path to Magyarszombatfa. Along the way, there are ample opportunities to observe the natural and cultural assets of the Belső-Őrség, an area which is relatively unknown and not yet popular with tourists. The study trail and information provided at each stop-off point are designed to enable visitors to discover local nature, architecture, landscape and cultural history without disturbing sensitive areas. Open at any time, advance bookings are required for guided tours.
Carved out by rivers and creeks, the rolling hills of the national park offer a wide variety of natural and cultural sights. Adventurous hikers will enjoy walking in the pinewoods among junipers, common birches, blueberry and cranberry, ground pine and pyrola (wintergreen), or touring the alder park forests along the creeks, home to the extremely rare ostrich fern. You can also work your way through the high moors covered in moss and marvel at the rich colonies of butterflies, one of the largest in Hungary, and some red-listed and highly protected dragonfly varieties.
If you prefer folklore and cultural heritage, the Őrség region has plenty to keep you happy. You will be enchanted by the traditional timber buildings in the villages and the typical elements of folk architecture, including skirted wooden belfries and churches built during the Árpád Dynasty, whose thick walls give them the appearance of fortresses.
Őrség has something for every visitor and the assistance and guided tours offered by the Őrség National Park will reveal the secrets of Velemér and the medieval churches in Őriszentpéter, with their thick walls and narrow archers’ slits as evidence of their stormy past as fortifications. The thatched and shingled belfries in Gödörháza, the museum of local pottery in Magyarszombatfa – where you can also try your hand at the wheel – are also well worth a visit. Tours are also available to the moors of Szőce, blanketed in peat moss, the Hampó Valley, the villages of Felsőszölnök and Szalafő, the three-borders stone and the village museum in Pityerszer
Őrség National Park Directorate
Cím: 9441 Őriszentpéter, Siskaszer 26/A
Telefon: 06-94/548-034 I fax: 06-94/428-791 I E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
9941, Őriszentpéter, Siskaszer 26/a.
+36 94 548 034