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Őrség (Hungary)

Haystacks © Örség region

The Őrség region ( is located in the most western corner of Hungary. As its name suggests, Őrség means ‘defence area’, the region originally played a frontier-guarding role at the time of the Hungarian conquest. Őrség is the only region in Hungary where inhabitants have continuously been living in the same place. Throughout the centuries, Őrség’s inhabitants have created its characteristic landscape in harmony with nature. This unique landscape is characterised by a variety of natural beauties: hills and valleys, deciduous and coniferous woodlands, green hayfields, moors, springs and streams. Besides these beauties, the unchanged folk traditions and customs, traditional crafts and the products of self-sufficient farming and lifestyle also attract visitors.

Some examples of unique attractions in the region are:

  • Flora: the whole area of the Orség region is strictly protected. Guided tours, nature trails and educational centres for natural protection, all help visitors to acquire knowledge and a better understanding of the flora and habitat of this region. The number of species being protected here exceeds one hundred.
  • Fauna: The richest butterfly population of Hungary lives in this region. An internationally protected rare dragonfly species can also be found here. The occurrence of brook lamprey (Eudontomyzon mariae) is a real curiosity. There is also a substantial population of large wild game: wild pigs, deer and red deer are some examples. Orség also has several indigenous types of farm animals, e.g. bovine animals (Hungarian Red and White Cattle, Hungarian Grey Cattle), Murakoz horse, cigája sheep (Ovis ammon f. aries)
  • Agriculture: Indigenous fruit plants can be visited in the orchard of the Orség National Park, where one can participate in farm and garden demonstrations.
  • Gastronomy: Visitors can taste local specialities of gastronomy (mushroom soup, strudel filled with pumpkin and poppy seed, game dishes, buckwheat porridge, dödölle [potatodumpling], salads with pumpkin seed oil,) and typical drinks of the region (schnapps with honey, local wines) in the restaurants, pubs and inns. Visitors can also participate in organised pig-killing dinners, harvest festivals and gastronomic competitions (e.g. competition of pumpkin dishes).
  • Architecture: There is a typical settlement type in Orség. This settlement structure is called “szeres” and means groups of houses, which were originally inhabited by members of an extended family. The traditional houses and farm buildings are exhibited in an open-air museum in Szalafo. Tourists can also visit Magyarszombatfa where the typical household and lifestyle of a peasant are presented.
  • Handicraft: Local pottery products can be bought in the workshops of the craftsmen or in the chandler’s shop at Pityerszer or tourists can try to shape their own, self-made ceramic souvenirs.
  • Traditions: During their stay in Orség tourists can participate in horseback archery shows, traditional archery parades and training. There are also cultural programmes introducing the traditional music (performance of a traditional band playing the psaltery) and fairytale world (authentic fairy-tale evening) of Orség.

The protected areas of Őrség National Park assure the conservation of natural, cultural, historical and ethnographic treasures of this beautiful countryside. The number of species being protected here exceeds one hundred. Őrség is also an excellent place for those who are passionate about mushroom forays. In addition to the natural treasures, visitors will find a wide range of cultural treasures, including the typical settlement types of the region (so-called “szerek” consisting of 5 to 10 groups of houses, inhabited formerly by members of an extended family), traditional houses, belfries, Romanesque churches and an open-air museum of ethnography.

Rural accommodation facilities, pubs and restaurants with gastronomic specialties, a bright spectrum of services (e.g. journey on a cart, horseback riding, fishing and hunting, renting a bicycle, hot-air balloon riding, guided tours etc.), as well as the different museums and other exhibition facilities, are some of the elements that Őrség offers tourists. In addition to these offerings, a Tourist Information Office - Tourinform (, uniform signposting, maps and an adequately marked road network help tourists to find their way throughout their discovery tour in Őrség.

Őrség benefits from being a border region by having good relations with the Slovenian border settlements. Part of this cooperation is the cross-border project called “Őrállók útja” (Route of Watchers) which includes investments aiming at enlarging tourism, brochures presenting the attractions of the region and the implementation of study-tours. Development experiences of previous years, including elements of product development and training, are aggregated in the “Nature Park Academy” Programme.

Őrség’s tourism marketing concept is based on the objective to establish, develop and maintain a unique character and identity for the region. The image of Őrség can be described as the place where you can perfectly enjoy tranquillity, fresh air, silence and calm, inspiring you to take a deep breath and relax. The centuries-old harmony between local people and nature are reflected in the unique landscape features, such as woods, fields, pastures and large forests. These features are only a portion of what attracts visitors to this region where they can discover thousands of small miracles.

In order to establish and improve Őrség’s identity in the region, common actions and training programmes have been implemented in collaboration with the stakeholders of the local tourism sector. Furthermore, a thorough and systematic inventory of tourist attractions has been made in order to lay the foundations for the positioning of the region and to define the most important elements of its image. This provides the basis for the content and format of regional brochures as well as for the design of appearance at the different exhibitions.

Őrség (Hungary) pdf - 88 KB [88 KB] magyar (hu)

Last update: 01/07/2011 | Top