The Írottkő Nature Park

Best destination in "Tourism and protected areas", 2009

The Írottkő Nature Park formed in 1997 as the first nature park in Hungary.

Its area is 24 849 ha (248,49 km), number of its population is 21 260 people. Its settlements are Bozsok, Cák, Csepreg, Gyöngyösfalu, Horvátzsidány, Kiszsidány, Kőszeg, Kőszegdoroszló, Kőszegpaty, Kőszegszerdahely, Lukácsháza, Nemescsó, Ólmod, , Peresznye, Pusztacsó, Velem.

Its slogan is: Borderless nature, thousand years old culture

The idea of the creation of the nature park was conceived in the 1980's, but the EU Phare-program brought the dual solution in 1996. First the Geschriebenstein Nature Park on the Austrian side, a year later the Írottkő Nature Park on the Hungarian side was formed. The aim was the coordinated development of the natural and built environment, tourism, economy of the settlements and the subservience of education in nature protection.

The Írottkő Nature Park can be found in the Western-Transdanubian region, Northwestern part of county of Vas. It got its name from the highest peak of Transdanubia, the 882 m high Írottkő look-out tower that can be found on the Austrian-Hungarian border. 50% of the are of the nature park is natural area, 25% is Natura 2000 area (4945,73 ha) that shows 90% overlap with the protected natural areas. The Kőszeg Nature Reserve Area is 4303 ha and encompasses almost the whole nature park area. More protected natural fields are in the nature park that have national and local importance. Job of the Nature Park is the protection of natural and cultural heritages, tracing, saving and showing of local-individual values, creation of exhibition places, coordination of rural development plannings. Our results until now: eco-touristic developments (13 km long bicycle route, 15 study paths, new tour routes), regional marketing activity (brochures, information materials, representation in national and international exhibitions), information service (Tourinform), environmental education (Green Special Days), social days, (cleaning actions, „Adopt me"), organisation of cultural programs (walking-and bicycle tours, local history walkings, association events through the whole year), sending local products to the markets (creation of Nature Shop, organisation of local product events). In 2009 the Nature Park was awarded the „ Best destination in "Tourism and protected areas", and now the Nature Park is entitled to the use of honouring „European Destination of Excellence" (EDEN) title.

Vision of Írottkő Nature Park is the nature protection, rural development cooperation, coordinated development of the natural and built environment, economy of the concerned settlements, sustainable development, environmental education and continuous innovation of tourism/eco-tourism. There are forest school and more exhibition places (visiting center, arboretum), numerous of cultural-historical museums (pharmacy museum, water-mill etc.) are operated and maintained. New study paths were created in the last few years which show the different dimensions of the nature (bird study path, world of plants, rocks, springs, settlements). The Herbs-and Spice Garden is the place of the useful plants growing in this area, the Nature Shop shows the local products. You can find and buy here excellent kőszeg (mainly red) wine, acacia, colca and chestnut honey, gingerbread, marmalades, syrups from Lukácsháza, ceramics and pottery objects, textile specialities, straw-and husk weavings, produce puppets, dried flower and spice decorations, carvings and beadings, individual clothes and tiny handicrafts gifts.

Programs and events of Írottkő Nature Park serve the show of the nature, eco-tourism, values and traditions of wine-and gastronomy, variegation and heritage of culture. Our attractions can be visited and known during free guided walking and bicycle tours, local history walkings within the frame of „If it is weekend, then Nature Park…" programs (whole year), our local products can be seen in the „Tastes of Nature Park" – Gastronomy festival, Ursula fair. Our traditional events are  „The meadow is ours!" (Day of Birds and trees), Seven Spring Picnic, From EDEN to EDEN eco-touristic open day in Kőszeg, Advent in the Nature Park and the Advent in Kőszeg.

Address: 2. Fő tér, Kőszeg 9730; Tel./Fax: +36 94/563-120, e-mail: ine@t-online.hu

Webpage: http://www.naturpark-geschriebenstein.at/naturpark.html