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Thermals

Two of the most famous thermals in the area are just outside of Sopron. Balf Thermal (Fürdo sor 8. tel. 99/314-060) is only 6km (3.7 miles) outside the city. With the high hydrogen sulfide content of the water, it is used as a curative for rheumatic and a range of motion diseases of the limbs. Medicinal baths and thermal areas are open Monday to Friday 7am-5pm and weekends 9am-5pm. Local buses leave Sopron plaza regularly with Balf as the destination. Tickets cost 500 Ft, purchasable from the driver. Hegyko Thermal, located in the village of Hegykl, is part of the Ferto-Hanság National Park and the Ferto/Neusiedlersee, a World Heritage Cultural Landscape. The hours are the same as Balf Thermal. Located 20km (12.5 miles) outside of Sopron, it is easily reached by public bus that shows Fertod as the final destination. Bus tickets are 500 Ft.

Ferto-Hanság National Park at Rév-Kócsagvár Pf 4, Sarród (tel.99/537-620; www.ferto-hansag.hu) is located outside of Sopron, but it is adjacent to the Austrian Neusiedler National Park. Both are World Heritage Sites. This park is Hungary's seventh World Heritage Site, being so-named in 2001. Crossing the border of the two countries is the world's second-largest steppe lake, which covers a total of 315 sq. km (122 sq. miles), with only 75 sq. km (30 sq. miles), on the Hungarian side. Separated into three zones for environmental protection, the tourist zone has walking and biking trails. The park is known not only for the beauty of the forest, but also as a sanctuary for distinctive plant and animal life. It is said the air here has added oxygen coming from the Alps. Guided tours are available from April to December. Contact Sopron Tourinform for more information.

Fertod

If you need a castle fix, the Eszterházy Castle, Bartók Béla 2 (no phone), should fit the bill. It is the third-largest historical building complex in Hungary. Referred to as the "Hungarian Versailles," this baroque-style complex was the home of Miklós Esterházy the "Glorious." Reconstruction started in 1763 and was completed in 1766. Miklós and his wife, Countess Margit Cziráky, rebuilt what was once a 20-room hunting lodge belonging to József Esterházy. The owner's death, compounded by World War II, brought decrepitude to the complex. On the exterior, the baroque style is exemplified with all of its ornamental glory present. Music lovers will appreciate that Joseph Haydn was in service to the family from 1766 to 1790, composing a number of his most famous pieces within these rooms. Tours through a portion of the interior are available, but you will not have access to all of the 126 rooms, which is most likely a good thing. You can freely walk the gardens and the grounds afterward. Open March 15 to October 31 Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm; November 2 to March 14 Friday to Sunday 10am to 4pm. For more information about tours, contact Sopron Tourinform.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.