What to see in Kőszeg? Sights are difficult to run out of the town, but once you’ve seen everything, explore the area.
Sights of Kőszeg and its surroundings
1. Old Town
5. Heroes Tower
7. Town Hall
8. Main Square
11. City Fountain
13. Sulejman Hill
16. Cák cellar row
17. Nádasdy Castle
18. Kossuth Square
20. Boating lake
21. Sárvár Arboretum
Sights of Kőszeg
It is a city in the western part of Hungary, in the county of Vas, close to the Austrian border, where Hungarian, Croatian and German cultures can peacefully coexist.
What’s more, it not only fits in but also gives the city an atmosphere that cannot be found in other cities. Kőszeg is in such a fortunate position that, due to its amazing location, it is surrounded by unique natural treasures.
So it’s worth taking a look around and exploring the sights. There are plenty of them.
Kőszeg has always been an important player in the country throughout history, and it was awarded the title of the royal city very early on.
There are many monuments in the historic Old Town that preserve the memories of the glorious age. Within the old city walls, with its walk a mile in, narrow and cobblestone streets, the place invites you to a true time travel.
The city survived many wars and tribulations, which rather reinforced it. One of its most famous inhabitants was Miklós Jurisics, captain of the castle, after whom many monuments and buildings were named in the area.
The wearer of the name of the famous castle captain is a famous sight of Kőszeg, which in itself promises a lot of excitement.
Not only is the castle in good condition, embracing several eras but also the exhibition elements built in it and around it are worth a visit. The building of the Old town marks dates back wearing many periods: the earliest dates around 802.
It was at this time that its structure consisted of two parts, the fore and the inner castle, once surrounded by a gutter.
It was certainly not reinforced with everyday protection. It also needed it because, starting with the Turks, many people were trying to make it.
At eleven o’clock, in memory of these heroic castle defenders and Captain Miklós Jurisics (the last Turkish soldier left the castle according to legend), the bells are heard, these remind the people of Kőszeg of the glorious day when the Ottoman troops were repelled.
Today, with numerous exhibitions, the organizers try to make the venue interactive, giving a unified picture of the era, which lasted until 1931, when the Eszterházy family owned it. At that time, it was called Eszterházy Castle.
For those who do not like typical museum visits; I can definitely recommend the Weapon Room. Here, you can interactively learn about weapons and combat clothing of the time, and even try some of them to take you in your hands.
I would like to draw special attention of movie enthusiasts to the modern projection hall created inside the castle. Here, you can watch longer and shorter films about the history of the castle and its interesting features.
There is also a permanent exhibition titled “The Centuries of the Kőszeg Castle”: from the Árpád Age through the great siege of the Turks in the 15th century to the Eszterházys. Each room tells an era or story.
For wine and winery enthusiasts, you can pay special attention to the Golden Room, where you can see the Book of the Grape’s coming, which has been preserving drawings of grape acceleration for centuries. It also talks about the area’s famous wines, making it the perfect place to get to know its history and, of course, its traditions.
If you have wine, you should not miss a little gastronomy, which is served by the laird’s Table and Kitchen Exhibition.
Another must-see point of the castle is the western tower, which offers perfect views not only of the Old Town but also of the surrounding countryside and mountains.
Those who do have a small child, do not have to worry because there is a play area, a playground, and archery waiting for the saplings.
For those who like culture, I have to mention the Kőszeg Castle Theater, which awaits the visitors with great performances.
There are few multicolor medieval castles so diverse, for sure.
For those who love their real success story, I can only recommend the Forintos bastion, located in the southwest of the castle.
During the Turkish siege of 1532, it was defended by Miklós Jurisics’s blaster Mátyás Forintos against the Turkish miners, successfully.
The dense tower, with its small portholes, sheds light on history. From here, you can also walk around the cannon bench from the south of the castle.
I would like to emphasize the atmosphere of the bastion in particular; let’s try to imagine ourselves as Hungarian defenders as they are fighting against the overwhelming Turkish troops. If those walls could tell …
Kőszeg has always been a typical castle town, and its image is preserved to this day. Its old city wall is almost intact to this day. The Jurisics Square also retains this medieval structure, but its appearance already has distinctive Baroque features.
The square can be accessed from the main square through the southern city gate. It used to be the center of the city, it was the market, the assembly forum, but even the punishments were executed here.
One of the most beautiful squares of Kőszeg is a real organization facility. On the left are the administrative and law enforcement buildings, followed by the church buildings, and in the upper corner are the civil houses.
In the center of the square is a statue of Mary, but here you will also find the beautiful Renaissance Sagraffito House. It was built around 1560 and it was named after the special sagraffito decoration.
I would also highlight one of the oldest buildings on the square, the Parish or the Lada House, where the town judge György Lada used to live. The richly decorated Baroque building is one of the gems of the square.
One of the characteristics of Kőszeg is that its former medieval city wall is still visible and the structure of the center has hardly changed. It is part of this former city wall, the former central gate of the south.
Then the Heroes’ Tower was built on the foundations of this southern gate of the Árpád Age, which has since become almost a symbol of the city.
The South City Gate or Lower Tower used to be the city’s most important entrance. On the 400th anniversary of the repression of the Turkish siege, the more modern copy, Gate of the Heroes was finally erected.
From the top of the gate of Jurisics Square, you can see the whole Old Town and the mountains, and the good view is no wonder as there is a 27 meters high tower.
On its sidewalls, they pay salute to those who died in the repression of the Ottoman troops and to the heroes who died in World War I.
Next to the Heroes’ Tower, the General House is almost integrated with it. It also houses the City Museum Center with offices, data, books and photo galleries, among others. The museum also has a permanent exhibition.
The house was built in 1617, and from 1719 it became the center of local military administration. More specifically, it was the home of a general horse garrison stationed in the city, which is why it was called Generalhaus.
The building was burnt down during World War II and later when renovated they found an exciting artifact: a killer walkway built inside the city wall. After that, the former military accommodation began to function as an exhibition space.
The General House houses a permanent exhibition, such as Kőszeg’s Crafts and Guilds, which also contains unique finds in the country. The exhibition, similar to the one in Central Europe in Prague, shows crafts, such as watchmaking, comber, butchers, and also deploys weapons and other iron items.
I call the attention of sports fans presenting at the same place to the city’s sporting history, the Kőszeg famous athletes exhibit.
Not many cities can boast of such a well-crafted old-established Town Hall, which had its present form in 1820, as the City of Kőszeg. In such a location, even the day-to-day handling of everyday affairs is a little less commonplace than elsewhere.
This was the only place in the country where the city leaders, who consulted constantly, were judging even in the 14th and 15th centuries.
For us Hungarians, wine has always occupied a special place in our hearts, so I am not surprised to find that at the same time even a part of the wine of the village was kept in the cellar here. Indeed, straight from the Town Hall, the fine drink got to the bartenders and from there to the citizens’ cups.
Many times, in many ways, the site was transformed, including a butchery and blacksmith’s shop, but since 1990, it has again been a mayor’s office.
It is worth to look at the building from the outside as well: find the coat of arms of the Jurisics family, the small coat of arms of historic Hungary and of course the historical city coat of arms of Kőszeg.
Like the city itself, this building is diverse: it has Gothic, Baroque, and even Classicist and Renaissance style features.
Kőszeg’s Main Square is located outside the city walls surrounding the Old Town, where the past and the present meet at the same time.
The peculiarity of the city has been its triple division since the Middle Ages, so we can distinguish between the medieval inner city, the Hungarian suburb to the south and the German suburb to the north. Nowadays, in the southern Hungarian suburbs, we mean only the Main Square and the Castle District.
Not only are there so many monuments and priceless buildings, but also the business line is here too. So if you want to take home a little memory of the city or like to shop, I can definitely recommend that you visit here. Beyond spending money, I know a few reasons why the Kőszeg Main Square cannot be missed.
The side closer to the Old Town is the oldest one, as it is based on the former water ditches and there are many interesting things to be found here.
I’m not exaggerating to say that the street scene hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages, as the houses on the other side of the street have been here since the 15th and 16th centuries.
Of course, since then, many renovations and restorations have taken place, but the historic atmosphere and street scene characteristic of the Main Square have been preserved.
One of the highlights of the square is the Arany Strucc Hotel (Golden Ostrich Hotel), one of the oldest hotels in the country, operating since 1597.
I would also highlight the smallest baroque building in the country, which can be found under number 13.
By the way, the Main Square is a popular venue for city events, but it is good to just walk around or sit down for a good wine of Kőszeg.
As in the Middle Ages worldwide, in Hungary so Kőszeg has been devastated by plague epidemics. This trinity statue was erected in 1713 after the outbreak was eradicated, commemorating the difficult period. It also honors one of the country’s oldest Trinity-themed creations.
The material of the limestone sculpture in Fertőrákos is quickly and easily eroded by time, so it needs relatively frequent restoration. We can admire the work on the main square of Kőszeg and divide it into three parts: foot, column, and statue.
The work presents many saints and mythological figures, including St. Roch and St. Rosalia, but the creator is also generously treating the kupidos. A Latin text is reminiscent of the plague that caused the extreme destruction, which claimed the lives of 600 in Kőszeg, out of only 2,500 at that time.
Unlike most Trinity compositions, the artist placed the Holy Spirit dove beneath the two main figures, Father God and the Crucified Son.
Heart of Jesus parish church
The neo-Gothic church, which is located on the main square in the city’s historic downtown, is the second-largest church in Vas County, only Szombathely church is ahead of it.
The existence of the church can be attributed mainly to the parish priest János Győri, who died in the 1800s, as he donated most of his fortune to rebuild it. Built from the plans of the Viennese architect Ludwig Schöne, the 57-meter-tall church is the tallest building in the city.
The extremely spectacular three-boat interior hides many attractions. Let’s start by painting the multicolored polychrome wall, column, and ceiling using 10,000 egg yolks.
It’s amazing, even to think about it. What would definitely be highlighted are the stained glass church windows, but the real attraction is the Rieger organ.
If we are lucky enough, we can hear a modern version of the tower music of Kőszeg: a transcript of the opera by Handel and Saul. And the church is now a regular venue for organ concerts.
Wells are rarely mentioned by tourists, but the City Fountain of Kőszeg is an absolute exception.
The fountain on Jurisics Square was built on the site of a chain fountain made in 1766. The plait-style well was initially closed, as evidenced by several photographs.
In the mid-1800s, however, it was redesigned, for example, to expand the openings in the classicist style of the time. Finally, it underwent several modifications by the time it reached its present form: the well house in the middle of it was built in the 1970s.
The beautifully crafted fountain is a worthy jewel of the square.
The former synagogue can be found under the Castle circle, but unfortunately, it is only a spectacle nowadays since there has been no religious community since 1951.
The romantic-style synagogue, created in 1856, can be attributed to Ferenc Schey, who also helped to create the first kindergarten and the house for the poor.
The story of the better fate summoned building is adventurous, it has been in private hands several times, and even once it has been transformed into an Irish pub.
Its condition has continued to deteriorate and needs urgent renovation, but it is, nevertheless, an unavoidable and inevitable point in the city.
Sulejman Hill, Sulejman Viewpoint
Certainly, one of the most significant periods of Kőszeg dates back to the Turkish rule. Many memories preserve this period – even nominally – like the Sulejman Hill and the viewpoint tower.
Kőszeg was given a great task at that time, as Sulejman’s huge army had to be stopped toward Vienna. The Turkish armies had no idea how deep their ax had cut into the wood because they had a numerical superiority that seemed impossible to surmount.
Just to say the numbers, it is enough to say almost 50-60 Ottomans fell on every Kőszeg people. Knowing these, the subsequent victory seems even more incredible.
According to a legend, the Sulejman viewpoint was named after the Sultan looking out for the armies and the castle from there. We can find the viewpoint connected with a pleasant walk toward the Királyvölgy (Royal Valley).
I also recommend the venue for the less warrior souled, as the view is amazing. I especially recommend a viewpoint to admire a little romantic sunset. We will not be disappointed.
The viewpoint is not far from the town and the Kőszeg Castle. And here is the remnant of the chestnut tree that once stood on the hill in enormous proportions.
This tree is interesting, not only because of its size but also because it dates back to the time of King Matthias, who was one of our greatest kings. Not in size, but in heroism and personality. 🙂
It eventually completed its “career” in the midst of a change of the regime, even though it still also escaped World War II. The remainder of the stem is about 10 meters in circumference, so we can imagine the gigantic size of the much-lived plant.
Írottkő (Written Stone)
Kőszeg and its surroundings are famous not only for its sights but also for its beautiful landscapes, so during the days spent here, the excursion is a must.
The 884-meter natural formation is not only the highest point of the Kőszeg Mountains but also of Transdanubia and Burgenland. Its existence was mentioned already in the 14th century: at that time it was called Fenyőhegy. The name of today’s Written stone is said to be inscribed on the inscriptional border of Batthyány-Esterházy.
From the late 1800s, a wooden viewpoint was built here to admire the view. Being located on the Austro-Hungarian border, the facility was moved to the Austrian border after the iron curtain was pulled up.
Before entering the Schengen area, there were backstop points along certain sections of the hiking trail, one of which was at the viewpoint. Spontaneous hiking was unimaginable until 2007, but you don’t have to worry about it you can enjoy the scenery ever since.
Wine tasting in Kőszeg
We Hungarians, if we really love something, are good wines and offering good wines.
There is no household where drinking is not started during the holidays and every family has at least one oenologist or at least one who imagines to be.
As a joke, due to the geographical location of the country, it is suitable for growing very good grapes in many places, and Kőszeg is no exception. From good grapes, though, it would be a sin not to make good wine.
Kőszeg has a long history of viticulture, which has been practiced here since the 13th century. However, there are legends that the history of wine on the table of kings goes back to Roman times. Surely in the area, but even Germans and Czechs were happy to consume wine from here.
Nowadays, mainly family wineries are engaged in wine production. In terms of type, the Kőszeg wine is mainly red and its favorite varieties are Kékfrankos, Zweigelt or even Blauburger.
The Kőszeg Wine Route was established in 2004 and the Kőszegi Wines House in 2006. The purpose of the wine route is to map local viticulture areas, cellars, and better wines. This great initiative was created thanks to the collaboration of local winemakers and covers the following route: Kőszeg-Cák-Velem-Bozsok-Felsőcsatár-Vaskeresztes.
If you do not only want to taste the drink but also want to know the history of local wine-growing, visit the House of Wines. Here, you can find out all about the local wine culture and its development, and of course, you can also get acquainted with the wine selection.
This small village at Kőszeghegyalja has a lot of beauty and it is a must for those who really want to know the surroundings.
Roman tombs testify to the fact that people lived here very early. The village has been ravaged for centuries, sometimes by the Turks and sometimes by natural disasters.
Still, the charming settlement has survived, and thanks to, among other things, the viticulture and for its natural treasures, many tourists come here.
Cák cellar row
In the Kőszegi Mountains, next to Cák, like a small fairytale village, there is a row of cellars in the chestnut garden. The cellar row currently is an impressive skansen under monument protection tangled and lies on the hillside.
Guests can also get to know the wineries in an authentic setting, from the grape press to other tools. In one of the cellars there is even a hooper exhibition: they were the ones who made the barrels, in which they stored the wine.
I did not exaggerate when I said the place is authentic, as there are real houses with slate roofs, clay floors, chestnuts, and oak beams. In this way, we can see not only the tricks of viticulture but also we can look into the everyday life of the real old Hungarian village world.
It’s a great family program, for everything from craft to archery to the petting zoo, there is everything. Of course, the organizers also thought about the fun of the adults, so being at a cellar row, you can’t miss a little wine tasting.
Another popular holiday resort in Vas County is Sárvár, not far from Kőszeg. Not only does it attract tourists with its sights but also its spa is really inviting, and it is no wonder that it is the 7th most popular city in the country in terms of the number of guest nights.
The area was already inhabited in prehistoric times, as evidenced by several Neolithic dishes, bronze tools, and cemeteries.
Later, the Romans discovered the area themselves and established a settlement north of it. Sárvár did not have a very relaxed history either: names such as Ferenc Nádasdy, “black bey”, for example, are associated with it.
People love mystical stories, and the Nádasdy Castle in Sárvár is full of them. Ferenc Nádasdy lived and ruled in an intact medieval castle. Also known as the Turkish black bey, Ferenc Nadasdy lived with his wife, Elizabeth Báthory, about whom people spread dreadful rumors.
The first written records of the castle are from the 1300s, but from the 15th century, it was owned by the Nádasdy family.
During the Turkish occupation, the defenses of the castle were strengthened year by year: 5 Italian bastion fortifications and wide ditches protected the people.
After losing its military importance, it was inhabited by various noble families, who often transformed it. But thanks to this, the castle, which today functions as a museum, is in excellent condition.
In the building, the Ferenc Nádasdy Museum was equipped on 1300 m2, which houses many exhibitions. The hall features the largest series of historical wall paintings of Hungarian Baroque art by Hans Rudolf Miller.
Most of the pictures depict the battles of Ferenc Nádasdy the magnificent, with the Turkish black bey. We cannot only see into the life of the dreaded bey but also into the rumors surrounding his wife.
This is where Elizabeth Báthory lived, and in the minds of many, she had kept herself young with the blood of virgin girls. Following the execution of the bey, the widow was confined to the Csejte castle in the Highlands, where she was imprisoned until her death.
We already know that the mystery of eternal youth is not to be found in the blood of the virgins, as evidenced by Elizabeth’s sad life story.
Beyond these, the museum holds much excitement. Here, you can see not only the Hussar exhibition in Europe and the cartographic exhibition of Carta Hungarian but also the history of Sárvár and the Nádasdy family.
Many things are certain in Hungary, like the midday bell, say that every city has its own recipe for the best stew and that everywhere something is named after the famous Hungarian politician, Lajos Kossuth.
Sárvár’s Kossuth Square also has many attractions. The refurbished downtown area is worthy of pride in this square: besides the bell-ringing of the town hall, in the summer, the light play of the fountain entertains the walkers. The memorials of World Wars I and II are located here.
The town hall, completed in the late 1800s, is the main work of Louis Geschrey, but the balcony overlooking the main square was added only in the 20th century. It is especially worth visiting in the summer, as it is home to many events and programs.
Sárvár Adventure Park
If you want to test your courage or want a little exercise, I can only recommend the adventure park next to the Spa and Wellness bath.
A bit about the numbers: 120-wire forest ropeway, a 10-foot climbing wall, and an archery track await adventurers. The trails have different difficulty levels, so you don’t have to be a professional mountaineer to enjoy the task.
If you do not like the altitude, you can try air rifle shooting, archery or even box building. And for real treasure hunters, there is the gold-washing. The Sárvár Adventure Park is a really busy and a pulse-boosting program.
A four-part lake system close to the thermal bath is a must for water lovers.
On 9 hectares of water, you can go boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter, so you are welcome all year round.
The lake system is almost completely circular: the five islands are connected by five bridges. It is perfect for both active and passive recreation. Not only can you run and go boating here, but also you can relax, go fishing or watch water birds.
I don’t know who is with it, but I can really recharge in nature, the plants of the Sárvár arboretum and its environment are perfect sources of energy.
The arboretum is located next to Nádasdy Castle on almost 9.2 hectares. The Sárvár Arboretum is one of the oldest collections in Hungary; its predecessor was founded in 1546. It used to be an orchard and a super vegetable garden.
Gardening lasted until 1671 when Ferenc Nádasdy was executed, after which there was a slight decline in the area as it was neglected.
In the 1800s, the arboretum was re-established in the person of Archduke Ferdinand Habsburg of night Modena. From this point on, the area began to blossom in every sense of the word: one part was an orchard and the other half an English-style park.
Thanks to the magnificent work, we can walk among hundreds of years of sycamore trees and oak trees and other special tree species such as Japanese acacia.
Many people think that the healing effects of the trees are much stronger here, so if you are not satisfied with the walk between them, you can hug them. Just in case. No one here will look you crazy about this.
The arboretum can be divided into two parts. One is the nearly 400-year-old oaks surrounding the fish pond, the hardwood remains of a fragmented, and the traditional arboretum built on the grounds of English Park. Here, you will find special and centuries-old plants.
Many hikers come here for a little Nordic walking or a stroll, then finish off the day with a little spa. Perfect program.
One of the most popular tourist destinations is in Vas County, which is not only due to its medicinal water but also due to its natural conditions. It is also a good program for excursions.
The settlement has a long history, dating back to the 1200s. The construction of the railway in 1865 brought a great change in the life of the city.
At that time, the three villages, previously operating as separate administrations, were merged: lower, middle and upper Bük.
1957 was a defining year in the history of Bük, although they were looking for oil, they found something completely different, medicinal water.
The locals soon realized the importance of this and built a bath in the hot water well. At first, it operated with only one pool, then in 1965, it was officially declared as medicinal water and from that time the success has been unstoppable.
Today it has grown to become the second-largest spa in the country, with hotels, restaurants and other hospitality units around it.
The healing water has a unique composition: it is high in calcium, magnesium, and fluorine. It is especially recommended for reducing inflammation and has a positive effect on bone metabolism and muscle and blood circulation.
The medicinal water also has a beneficial effect on drinking, as it helps to cure gastritis, indigestion, and other stomach problems. Famous for its European reputation, Bükfürdő offers not just any recreation: the 14-hectare spa complex has 34 pools, a sauna world and a wellness center.
All ages will find the right place to relax; besides the thermal water pools, there are a beach, adventure pools, and a playground.
Crystal tower adventure park (Kristálytorony kalandpark)
For adrenaline addicts, this is an unmissable 3-level adventure course in Bükfürdő, unique in Hungary, which is made by the 90 elements even more exciting.
The organizers put great emphasis on freedom. We have complete control, we decide where we go and, optionally, omit the heavier elements.
The course is not short of exciting stages, but even a 200-meter Flying Fox glide can be tried by those who want to scream.
For the really extreme, I recommend the giant swing or the high-altitude bike on the 17-meter-high climbing track. By the way, the track winds for 1 kilometer in the air, which is not an ordinary thing in itself.
Répce river side trail
The area around Bük and Bükfürdő is rich in excursion destinations: for those who do not want to leave the city for a little excursion, it is enough to walk to the Mayor’s Office.
Here you will find the nature trail of the magical Répce region, which imitates the main information with the help of tables, imitating the winding countryside.
The hundreds-square-meter path introduces wildlife in an interactive way. Thanks to Adrien Szili, horticulturist and hikers can learn about the vegetation and its variegation.