Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel National Park
Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel National Park, which straddles the frontier with Hungary, was founded in 1993 and has a total area of about 300 km², of which c. 100 km² is on Austrian territory. The Lake Neusiedl area is for Austria a unique natural environment. Because of its location at the eastern edge of the Alps and at the western edge of the Little Hungarian Plain it is a border area from the historical but also from the biological perspective, in which plant and animal species from Alpine, Pannonian, Asiatic, Mediterranean and Nordic areas are to be found. Without the diversity of habitats this wealth of species would not be possible: Like a mosaic, extensive and varied wetlands, grazing areas, meadowland, grassland, sand steppes and salt sites exist side by side here.
Diversity of species
The international importance of this natural environment lies both in the extraordinary diversity of species, and also in its essential function for European-African migration. Here untold thousands of migrating birds from more than a hundred species rest, eat or moult on their way between their wintering grounds and breeding places. The Lake Neusiedl Region is also important as a breeding area. Species like the great white egret, Eurasian spoonbill, avocet, great bustard and bee-eater nest here.
Visitor programme and guided tours
Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel National Park provides guided excursions throughout the year, on which trained guides explain about the habitat and the species present at the time. The excursions take place on fixed dates and last about 3 hours. In addition visitors are free to explore the natural world in and around the National Park on their own. Pamphlets, cards and information about the options for bird watching are available in the information centre in Illmitz, which is open throughout the year. The information centre also offers changing exhibitions and video presentations.
With the opening of the Ecology Centre in 2010 significantly expanded opportunities became available for school classes, children’s and youth groups. The options on offer in the education programme cover half-day to full-day programmes, to events lasting several days or project weeks. There is a choice of various themed topics, which can be combined within the framework of events lasting a full day or several days.