Lake Neuseidl

& its outstanding nature

The great lake Neusiedl and the surrounding area is a beautiful place to visit in the Spring time.


It has a feeling of being very far away from it all and in the Spring there's so many different species of birds. Some birds are resident there, others are they for a short stay before flying on again.


The area is has earned the label of a World Heritage Site and is located in the very eastern part of Austria, right on the  Austria/Hungary country border.


The lake itself is huge 315km2, of which 240km2 is on the Austrian side and 75km2 on the Hungarian side. The lakes surrounding drainage basin which is a great, wildlife sanctuary is a staggering size... 1120m2.


From north to south the lake is about 36km long and its between 6km & 12km wide from east to west. The surface of the lake is 115mtr above the Adriatic Sea and the lakes average depth is 1mtr, and is no deeper than 1.8mtr at its deepest regions.


In 1768 after significant floods the lake enlarged to the maximum documented size of 515km2.


Stratigraphy shows that the lake bed has totally dried up at least 100 times since its formation which was between 18,000 - 14,000 years B.C.


In 1866 the private diary of a local, Gottlieb Wenzel, noted that he crossed he bed of the lake on June 4 without soiling his boots.


During this time of the waters disappearance, parts of the lake bed were claimed for agriculture; wheat and turnips being planted. However, in 1871 the lake slowly started to return and by the spring of 1876 the lake was full to its usual size.


The last recent drying out occurred in the summer of 1949 when the northern part of the lake bed dried up for a few weeks. There was also a partial drying out in April 2023 but nothing on the scale of old times.


In times gone by the lake was often referred to as a `swamp´ in regard to its shallow water and huge expanse of reeds. 



Nature & Wildlife

The surrounding reeds which serve as a habitat for wildlife (which makes the place an important resting place for birds), are harvested in winter as soon as the ice is solid enough. The reed harvesting is very important for the upkeep of the lake as the reeds would otherwise decay and pollute the lake if left.


The whole area is abundant with frogs, newts and harmless grass snakes. Its also a good place to see otters and badgers but the highlight is the vast variety of birds in the area.


Some say this area is the bird paradise of Europe with many birdwatchers, from as far as the UK travelling to the lake during Spring and Autumn months


Eastern imperial eagle, sea eagles, storks, buzzards, many types of falcons and literally hundreds of other species of birds are living and visiting this area.


The small cliffs in some parts of the area are protected European Bee-Eater colonies. these wonderful birds catch and eat bees on the wing.


Its a wonderful place for Nature lovers, or anyone wishing to just simply get away from everything.

The lake is about an hour train journey South East from Vienna, the villages of Illmitz and Neuseidl both have plenty of shops for supplies, and reasonably priced hotels if needed.

Peter Carvello,

January 2024.