What to do in Őrség?

Őrség National Park Tourist program offer

 In the southwest corner of Vas County you can find this wonderful land with forests and meadows where guardians were settled during the Hungarian conquest. Its name derives from these: Őrség (in English: Guard or Watch post).

Since 1st March 2002 the Őrség National Park Directoate has been supervising the preservation of natural, ethnographical, culture-historical values which can be found on this wonderful land. The Őrség National Park consists of the Őrség, Vend country, the unregulated valley of River Rába, the Inner-Őrség and the neighbourhood of Szentgyörgy Valley. All together it covers 44 townships, on about 44.000 acres, whereof 3086 acres are particularly protected.  The whole territory of the national park is a Natura 2000 area under European Union-wide Protection.

This land is the westernmost part of our country, where hills and valleys engraved by brooks, deciduous forests and pinewoods, fresh and green meadows, marshlands preserving plants from the ice age, and crystal clean spring-heads and brooks vary. The silence and the fresh air, the cultural traditions and customs what are reserved in an unchanged way, the goods of the self-supportive peasant farming attract the visitors.

Due to the high annual precipitation this area is rich in springs and brooks. One of the most significant rivers of the territory is the Zala (Szala), which springs north from Szalafő and flows through the Őrség. The other one is the Kerka joining into River Mura.  On the North border of the National Park mainly the River Rába flows which is rough water, uncontrolled river.

63% of the Őrség is covered by woods and forests, which is 3,5 times more than the nationwide average, in this way their nature protection, economic and landscape forming role is determinative.

The remains of the cold climate after the ice-age are the sphagnum moors and moor fields, in the Őrség and Vend-country can be found the most of these in the country. Due to the much residue and high precipitation this area is the richest in mushrooms nationwide. You can find the delicious bolete, yellow chanterelle and various species of russula. Beside the well-known mushroom species real specialities can be found as well, as the Hygrocybe and Hygrophorus fungus which is the peculiarity of the Alps.

The fauna shows a variable picture as well. The richest butterfly fauna of the country live in this territory. On the land you can meet all the twelve frog species and all the four tailed amphibian (newt) species of Hungary here. Along the larger waters the strictly protected otter can be found. The valuable bird species of the countryside are the black stork, the honey-buzzard, the corncrake, the blue pigeon, the crossbill, the bullfinch and the firecrest. The game population is significant as well, wild-boar, roe and red deer also occurs there.

Őrség is also rich in folk architectural and cultural-historical relics. The settlement structure shows a unique picture, these are the so-called ‘szeres’ settlements. The ‘szerek’ are groups of houses built on the hill top, which structure comes from the time of Hungarian conquest. The most well-known house types are the smoky-kitchen houses, furthermore the so called rounded houses. These buildings can be seen at their original place and environment in Szalafő-Pityerszer at the Őrség Folk Monument Ensembles. Belfries also count as folk architecture masterpieces.

The Vend-country is characterized by the so-called sparse settlement structure. Wonderful examples for this are Kétvölgy, Orfalu and Apátistvánfalva settlements.

Building stone castles was not typical in the historical Őrség, the medieval fortress-type churches took over their role. Őriszentpéter and Velemér ancient monument churches are nice examples for these relics.

Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area
The territory of the landscape protection area which situated in Kőszeg Mountain and Kőszeghegyalja is 4.274 hectares. In the 17-18th century the hill feet was characterized by flourishing grape- and wine-growing and the mountain became a popular hiking place by the beginning of the 20th century. The ancient trades are still present, for example the basket spinning, pottery, and wood-carving. Typical local products are the mushrooms collected in the forest, blue berry and chestnut honey.

The Bechtold István Nature reserve Visitor Centre was founded in 2006 and deals not only with the presentation of general geology, flora and fauna of Kőszeg-mountain but also emphasise the fine illustration of bird life. Beside the abovementioned, those who visit here will find a bird watch experience path, and in the neighbouring Chernel-garden there is arboretum, bird protection sample yard and omnibus study path of protected plants.

Ság Mountain Landscape Protection Area
This is the second smallest landscape Protection Area in Hungary; its territory is 235 hectare, from which 24 hectare is highly protected.
The Ság-mountain is the westernmost member of the Balaton-highland volcano-line. The mountain which had been formed about five million years ago was ragged by the weather; its surface was eroded flat.  The mountain which once had a double truncated cone formation, was mangled by the intensive quarrying which had been started at the turn of the century and lasted for fifty years and eliminated a nearly 100 meter thick basalt coat. The remained part of the testimony mountain gives an extraordinary experience to its visitors as it reveals the invisible parts of volcano operation, magma canal, basalt bombs lowered into sludge and basalt formations crystallized in different ways.
In the former transformer house of the quarry there is a local history and natural science exhibition from the 15th April to 15th October, and besides two study path inform the visitors about the values of the mountain.

Bechtold István Nature Reservation Visitor Centre
In the visitor centre visitors can meet the typical flora and fauna of the neighbourhood. In our interactive exhibition room children can learn about the nature in a playful way. In the seven exhibition sectors life of the birds can be followed. A lecture room for 60 people is also part of the building. On the outside Crested tit experience path, due to the various toys, children can learn about the nature in a playful way. For groups and advance log in is suggested.
In case of an advance booking professional guide can be required.

Study paths
Our study paths can be visited freely, but on demand we can provide professional guide as well.

Study paths on the territory of Őrség National Park

Aspen (Populus tremula) study path
This study path is in Őriszentpéter, it was created in the forest line next to the building of the Harmatfű Nature Reservation Teaching Centre. It presents the forest succession, the typical flora and fauna in the Őrség National Park, furthermore the lives of the “tóka” (artificial pond). It can be reached from the centre of Őriszentpéter, or from Szalafő and Kondorfa, parking facility is provided. Length of the study path is: 300 m.

Yellow lily study path
The study path guides the visitors from Velemér to Magyarszombatfa, and presents the natural and cultural values of the less-known and visited Inner-Őrség. The study path starts from the bus-turning in Velemér, in this way it is easily reachable for those who arrive by bus or by car as well. The arrows which represent yellow lily provide an easier orientation. The first six stops of the path go through Velemér village so it does not require special hiking equipments, on the other hand the path between Velemér and Gödörháza – which follows the blue path – is a dirt road and calls for shoes adapted for cross-country. From Gödörháza we can go on along a bituminous road again. Length of the study path is: 6,2 km.

Study path along the Szala-brook
In the frame of a real cross-country program the visitors can meet the life along the Szala-brook. The study path starts from the centre of Szalafő and ends in Őriszentpéter, at the guesthouse of Őrség National Park Directorate in Keserűszer. It can only be toured on foot. Length of the study path is: 3,8 km.

Felsőszer study path
The study path leads the visitor from Szalafő-Felsőszer bus stop to Szalafő-Pityerszer. You can meet the special world of Őrség folk architecture by visiting the certain stations. The area in Felsőszer can be discovered by car as well, the ground stage to Pityerszer can only be accomplished on foot. Length of the study path is: 1,7 km.

Körtike (Pyrola sp.) study path
The study path presents the typical living places and natural values of the area of Szalafő. By starting from Csörgőszer to Pityerszer, it leads the visitors to the folk monument group. You can go on foot, by bike, by cart as well. Length of the study path is: 6,2 km.

Szomorócz study path
By walking along the study pat the visitor can get a view into the cultural historical values, past and present of a charming boarder side village, Kercaszomor, which ends at the Hungarian-Slovenian boarder. It can be toured on foot, by bike and by car as well. Length of the study path is: 3 km.

 Minnow study path
Starting from Kercaszomor the study path goes along and presents the Kerca-brook and its wildlife. The study path can be toured only on foot. Length of the study path is: 3,2 km.

Töllös study path
The study path presents not only the natural values of the Szentgyörgy-valley forest but also the old peasant exploitation forest and the modern Pro-Silva sylviculture. It is reachable from Magyarföld and Szentgyörgy-valley; it can be toured only on foot. Length of the study path is: 3 km.

Meadow orchids study path
The study path demonstrates the folk architectural reminiscences, touristical and natural values of Kétvölgy. The study path forms a loop; it starts from the built resting-place beside the firehouse building in Kétvölgy, Permise, goes along the settlement of Ritkaháza and arrives back to the same place. The route of the study path mainly follows an established, solid surface road. Length of the study path is: 6 km.

Sky-high classroom study path
The study path starts from the church in Apátistvánfalva and presents the natural and cultural values of the settlement. Length of the study path is: 5 km.

Hársas-lake study path
The study path at eight presenter places beside the Hársas-lake introduces the natural and architectural values and heritage of the Őrség and Vend-county.

 Study paths in landscape protection areas

Study path presenting protected plants (Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area)
The living study path in the Chernel garden presents the Hungarian plants endangered by extension.  It can only be toured on foot. Length of the study path is: kb. 300 m.

Csillaghúr study path (Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area)
Only a few kilometres from Kőszeg there is the Csillaghúr study path which lies along the way to Óház observatory and it presents the typical wildlife of Kőszeg-mountain. Length of the study path is: 3,5 km.
 

Királyvölgy Natural reserve Study path (Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area)
The study path aims to present the typical flora and fauna of Kőszeg-mountain. Length of the study path is: 1,5 km

Written stone study path (Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area)
The study path along the road to Írottkő observatory presents the settlements of Írottkő Natúrpark and the hiking places of Kőszeg-mountain. Length of the study path is: 2 km.

Route of giants study path (Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area)
The study path leads from Sibrik castle in Bozsok to Kalapos-stone presents the main rock formations, smaller caves along the ridge between the Széles-stone and Kalapos-stone. Length of the study path is: 7 km.

Cyclamen Forest Study path (Kőszeg Landscape Protection Area)
The topic of the study path is the forestry of Kőszeg-mountain. The study path leads the visitors from Saint Vid to the Stájer-houses. Length of the study path is: about 4,5 km

Geological study path (Ság-mountain Landscape Protection Area)
It presents the formation history of the mountain. Around the parking lot beside Eötvös Loránd Tourist House there are introductory signs about protected plant- and animal species of Ság-mountain. Every study path can be visited freely. Length of the study path is: kb. 600 m

 
Recommended hiking-routes
The hiking tours introduced below aims to give the experience of familiarizing the typical natural, folk, cultural historical values of the Őrség and Vend-county. The defined length of the tours is an average, counting with a 4 km/h walking speed and the comfortable acquaintance of the sights.

1. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – Szalafő Pityerszer– Szalafő Felsőszer  –Kondorfa  – Bárkás-lake  – Ispánk  – Őriszentpéter

Distance: 33 km Duration of the hiking: 8 hours

 
2. hiking route: Magyarszombatfa – Gödörháza – Velemér

Distance: 7 km Duration of the hiking: 3 hours

 
3. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – Bajánsenye-Dávidháza – Öreg-mountain – Kercaszomor

Distance: 18 km Duration of the hiking: 6 hours

 
4. hiking route: Apátistvánfalva  – Zsida-mountain – Zsida – Hársas-lake  – Farkasfa  – Apátistvánfalva

Distance: 25,8 km Duration of the hiking: 9 hours

 
5. hiking route: Kétvölgy  – Kakas-hill – Hampó-valley – Hármashatár ( mark)– Hampó-valley – János-mountain  – Kétvölgy

Distance: 25 km Duration of the hiking: 8 hours

 
6. hiking route: Kétvölgy  – Szakonyi-forest – Apátistvánfalva  – Orfalu – Kétvölgy

Distance: 22,4 km Duration of the hiking: 6,5 hours

 
7. hiking route: Őriszentpéter  – Ispánk – Valley of Lugosi brook  – Kondorfa – Szalafő - Őriszentpéter

Distance: 25 km Duration of the hiking: 7 hours

 
Recommended bicycle-hiking routs
Time for visiting the sights is included in the duration of the hiking routes.

 
1. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – Nagyrákos – Szatta – Kerkafalva – Csesztreg – Nemesnép – Márokföld – Szentgyörgyvölgy – Velemér – Gödörháza – Magyarszombatfa – Bajánsenye – Őriszentpéter

Distance: 52 km Duration of the hiking: 6-7 hours.

 
2. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – Szalafő – Farkasfa – Orfalu – Apátistvánfalva – Hársas-tó – Farkasfa – Szalafő – Őriszentpéter

Distance: 40 km Duration of the hiking: 6-7 hours.

 
3. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – Nagyrákos – Pankasz – Felsőjánosfa – Hegyhátszentjakab – Vadása-tó – Szőce – Őrimagyarósd – Viszák – Kisrákos – Pankasz – Nagyrákos – Őriszentpéter

Distance: 43 km Duration of the hiking: 6-7 hours

 
4. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – Nagyrákos – Pankasz – Kisrákos – Viszák – Ivánc – Csákánydoroszló – Ivánc – Ispánk –

Őriszentpéter

Distance: 44 km Duration of the hiking: 6-7 hours

 
5. hiking route: Őriszentpéter – from Őriszentpéter trough Baksaszer there is a dirt road to Kerkáskápolna – Magyarföld – Szentgyörgyvölgy – Velemér – Gödörháza – Magyarszombatfa – Kercaszomor – Őriszentpéter

Distance: 46 km Duration of the hiking: 6-7 hours

 
6. hiking route: Őriszentpéter (Siskaszer-Templomszer-Keserűszer) – on forest road to Szalafő (Templomszer-Pityerszer) – on marked hiking route ( mark) on dirt road to Primeforest – Farkasfa branching– Szalafő (Papszer-Templomszer-Alszer) - Őriszentpéter

Distance: 26 km Duration of the hiking: 3-4 hours

 
Exhibition places, museums

Őrség Folk Monument Group
12. Pityerszer Szalafő, 9942
The long-ago guards established their house groups from houses and agricultural buildings at the top of the hill, on a forest cutting, and now these form the “szerek”.  Szalafő is a protected settlement from village image point of view as well; it preserves probably the most folk values in the Őrség. To preserve and present this settlement formation, which keeps traditions of many centuries, the Őrség Folk Monument Group was established in Pityerszer, where three original home building groups are presented, and exemplifying perfectly the traditional living and cultural heritage of their inhabitants.
Opening hours:
1 April –1 November, Tuesday–Sunday, 10.00–17.00
1 June –31 August, Monday– Sunday, 10.00–18.00
On the museum’s territory there is a high standard handicraft shop and also a shed-buffet with wide range of gastronomic offers.
Inquire in the Harmatfű Nature Reservation Teaching Centre on the following e-mail address: orseginp@onp.kvvm.hu

Exhibition places, museums

Szikszay Edit Regional History Collection
Őriszentpéter, Városszer 55.
Tel.: +36-94/428-022   Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday 10.00-17.00, Wednesday 10.00-20.00, Friday, Saturday 10.00-22.00, Sunday 10.00-18.00

Őrség Hunting Exhibition
Magyarszombatfa, Fő út 9.
It presents the wildlife and the relation between hunting and the nature in the Őrség.
Opening hours: 1 April – 31 October Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-17.00, from 1 November to 31 March preliminary conciliation is required. (Tel.:+36-30/956-6231).

Pottery Museum
Magyarszombatfa, Fő út 52/A.
By showing the folk art relic type home in a professional way, it provides an insight into the everyday lives of craftsman-family, who used to live here. Opening hours: 1 May – 15 October: 10.00-16.00.

Clanking-apple Orchard
Őriszentpéter, Templomszer 18.
In the garden beside the Catholic Church there is the collection of land-types being native in the Őrség, can be visited all the year round.

Puszta cemetery
West from Kercaszomor there is a church place, it was a main orientation and reference point of the land as it is one of the oldest churches in Vas county.

Pável Ágoston Museum
Szentgotthárd, Hunyadi u. 6.
Local History and Nationality Museum. Permanent exhibitions: Pottery of Southwest-Transdanubia, Slovenians around and the Grave treasure of Szentgotthárd.
Tel.: 94/380-099 Opening hours: 1st January – 31st March, Tuesday: 10.00-18.00, 1st April –1st December, Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00-18.00

Dr. Batthyány Strattmann László Museum
Körmend, 9900 Körmend, Vár Pf. 12.   Tel.: +36-94/410-425
Opening hours: 1st April – 31st October, Tuesday-Friday: 8.00-12.00 and 13.00-17.00, Saturday: 9.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00
1st November – 31st March, every day except Tuesday-Saturday :10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00

Boarder officer Memorial
Apátistvánfalva, Fő u. 83.
The exhibition present the everyday lives of the boarder guides, from the bedchamber furnished realistically through the weapon site to the equerry of the trooper guides. Opening hours: according to preliminary registry: Monday-Friday 9.00-16.00, Saturday-Sunday 10.00-16.00. Inquiries:  Merkli László, phone number:+36-30-484-4347.

Villa Publica Ruin-garden and Salla Exhibition place of Göcsej Museum
Zalalövő, Kossuth u. 3.
With the title ‘Salla- Zala county in the Roman era’ it presents remembrances, gravestones, reconstruction of a hump-grave and a partial reconstruction of a column-hall house from the era. It can be visited: from Tuesday to Friday 10.00-16.00, furthermore on preliminary request on Saturday and Sunday (+36-99/314-537).

 Ground-castle
Hegyhátszentmárton
The place of the building which originates from the middle-ages is nearby the municipal cemetery. It can be visited all the year round.

Fishing, beaching possibility
Himfa-park forest, Himfa-lake - Felsőmarác
Vadása-lake - Hegyhátszentjakab
Hársas lake – Máriaújfalu
Borostyán lake – Zalalövő
Lake in Bajánsenye – only fishing

Sacral monuments

Saint Peter Roman Catholic Monument-Church and Medieval Brick burner
Őriszentpéter, Templomszer 17.
The inner church, which can be approached from the gallery and the old brick-burner on the south part provide a real culture historical treasure. It can be visited all the year round.

Trinity Roman Catholic Church
Velemér, Fő u. 54
The murals painted by Aquila János in 1377 can be visited all the year round, with a high standard presentation, from 9 am to 5 pm. Ask Mrs Szabó Elek for the key (+36-30/448-9276).

Reformat church
Szentgyörgyvölgy, Petőfi u. 33.
The huge church was built in 1787, in baroque style, on a rectangle layout. Its pecularity is the special painted ceiling. It can be freely visited all the year round, from Monday to Sunday, from 8.00 to 18.00.

Our Lady Cistercian church
Szentgotthárd, Széll Kálmán square 9.
It is the third biggest baroque church in Hungary, can be considered as the symbol of the town. The baroque church and the monastery was being built between 1748 and 1764 under the direction of the Viennese architect, Franz Anton Pilgram. The wall-paintings inside are the works of famous artists of the XVIII century baroque style. It can be visited on preliminary conciliation (+36-94/380-071).

Belfries

  • Bajánsenye
  • Csöde
  • Daraboshegy
  • Farkasfa
  • Felsőjánosfa
  • Felsőszenterzsébet
  • Gödörháza
  • Ivánc
  • Ispánk
  • Jakabháza
  • Kercaszomor
  • Kerkáskápolna
  • Kétvölgy
  • Magyarföld
  • Máriaújfalu
  • Orfalu
  • Pankasz
  • Rátót
  • Rönök


 
 

 

 

In the southwest corner of Vas County you can find this wonderful land with forests and meadows where guardians were settled during the Hungarian conquest. Its name derives from these: Őrség (in English: Guard or Watch post).
Since 1st March 2002 the Őrség National Park Directoate has been supervising the preservation of natural, ethnographical, culture-historical values which can be found on this wonderful land. The Őrség National Park consists of the Őrség, Vend country, the unregulated valley of River Rába, the Inner-Őrség and the neighbourhood of Szentgyörgy Valley. All together it covers 44 townships, on about 44.000 acres, whereof 3086 acres are particularly protected. The whole territory of the national park is a Natura 2000 area under European Union-wide Protection.
This land is the westernmost part of our country, where hills and valleys engraved by brooks, deciduous forests and pinewoods, fresh and green meadows, marshlands preserving plants from the ice age, and crystal clean spring-heads and brooks vary. The silence and the fresh air, the cultural traditions and customs what are reserved in an unchanged way, the goods of the self-supportive peasant farming attract the visitors.
Due to the high annual precipitation this area is rich in springs and brooks. One of the most significant rivers of the territory is the Zala (Szala), which springs north from Szalafő and flows through the Őrség. The other one is the Kerka joining into River Mura. On the North border of the National Park mainly the River Rába flows which is rough water, uncontrolled river.
63% of the Őrség is covered by woods and forests, which is 3,5 times more than the nationwide average, in this way their nature protection, economic and landscape forming role is determinative.
The remains of the cold climate after the ice-age are the sphagnum moors and moor fields, in the Őrség and Vend-country can be found the most of these in the country. Due to the much residue and high precipitation this area is the richest in mushrooms nationwide. You can find the delicious bolete, yellow chanterelle and various species of russula. Beside the well-known mushroom species real specialities can be found as well, as the Hygrocybe and Hygrophorus fungus which is the peculiarity of the Alps.