Őrség (Sentries) is located in the southwest corner of Vas County. The name goes back to the period when the first Hungarian tribes entered the Carpathian Basin and our ancestors planted sentries to defend the western border of this wonderful land full of scattered forests and boskets. During the centuries, the people developed the landscape in harmony with nature and maintained its perpetual diversity by tilling small parcels and by building their homes fitted into the environment. Őrség is the westernmost part of Hungary where rolling hills and valleys cut by creeks and embellished by deciduous and evergreen trees, green hayfields and marshy meadows rich in plants holding up since the Ice Age, crystal clear brooks and rivulets can be found alternately. The silence and fresh air, the unchanging folklore traditions, the hospitality and the produces supplied by the self-sufficient peasant farms constitute irresistibly appealing features. The lovers of ethnographic values are awaited by the group of Rustic Monuments of Őrség, the Paysage House of Nagyrákos or the Potters' Museum in Magyarszombatfa. Major components of the preserved medieval sacral buildings include the Velemér Church (built in the Árpád age) with its murals painted by John of Aquila in the Middle Ages, and the church of Őriszentpéter. The coffered ceiling of the Calvinist Church of Szentgyörgyvölgy is remarkably characteristic of the rustic ornamentation. From among the belfries in perfect harmony with the landscape the skirted belfry of Pankasz represents the classic Őrség style and belongs to the group of "mustsee" attractions, together with the blacksmith workshop with wooden walls.
The National Park designed special programs as to help exploration and promote protection of nature: you can go on foot, by bicycle or by car. The famous potters from Magyarszombatfa to Szentgyörgyvölgy who convert the "gold" (clay) of Őrség into pottery await the visitors. Lovers of bathing, swimming and angling can have a great time on the shores of Lake Vadása and Lake Borostyán. Special events (e.g. Pumpkin Festival, the Őrség Fair, the Blossom Days, the Land of Seven Meadows, Potters' Days and the Viaduct Fair) offer joyful entertainment.
Best emerging rural destination in Hungary, 2007
Peerless harmony of the landscape, ancient traditions and natural as well as cultural values provided well-grounded reasons for classifying this region among the excellent European destinations and the "seven wonders of Hungary". The local people and the Directorate of the Őrség National Park cooperate to preserve the region's natural and cultural values. Visitors interested in learning about the region's values shall be assisted by the Tourinform of Őrség furthermore well-maintained and identified trails and educational paths help the hikers in this wonderful area.
Finalists in 2007
The town of Balatonfüred, the town of Lenti, the Mátra Mountains, the Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey, Lake Tisza, the town of Tokaj, the Villány-Siklós Wine Route