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he summer months storks glide lazily overhead, make out with each other and clack their beaks from rooftop roosts.
Dozens of storks make their homes on chimneys in town, although it¡¯s wine, not storks, that has made Rust prosperous.
In 1524 the emperor granted local vintners the right to display the letter ¡®R¡¯ (a distinctive insignia as a mark of origin from Rust) on their wine barrels and today the corks still bear this insignia.
It¡¯s best to sample this history in one of the town¡¯s many Heurigen.
Sights & Activities Rust¡¯s affluent past has left a legacy of attractive burgher houses on and around the main squares.
Storks, which descend on the town from the end of March to rear their young, take full advantage of these houses (and their kindly owners, who have erected metal platforms on chimneys to entice the storks).
The clacking of expectant parents can be heard till late August.
Katholische Kirche CHURCH (Haydengasse; 10.
30-noon & 2.
30-5pm, closed morning Sun) This church¡¯s tower is a good vantage point for observing storks.
It¡¯s at the southern end of Rathausplatz.
Fischerkirche CHURCH (Rathausplatz 16; dawn-dusk Apr-Oct) At the opposite end of Rathausplatz from the Katholische Kirche, this is the oldest church in Rust, built between the 12th and 16th centuries.
Seebad Rust SWIMMING (www.seebadrust.
at; Ruster Bucht 2; adult/child €4/2; 9am-7pm, May¨Cmid-Sep) Access to the lake and bathing facilities is 1km down the reed-fringed Seepromenade.
The swimming is very reedy but refreshing.
HIRING BIKES Burgenland is a cyclist¡¯s dream.
Much of the landscape is flat or has gently rolling hills and is criss- crossed with well-marked cycle paths.
Local tourist offices can supply cycle maps.
From Neusiedl am See the 135-km Neusiedler See bike trail leads south, crossing into Hungary (bring your passport) for 38km before the path re-emerges in Austria just south of M?rbisch am See on the western side of the lake.
Nextbike ( 02742-229 901; www.nextbike.
at; per hour/24hr €1/8) Has over 16 stations around the Neusiedler See and in Eisenstadt where you can hire and drop off a rented bicycle.
The website explains the steps and how to register (which you need to do in advance on the website).
Fahrr?der Bucsis ( 02167-207 90; www.fahrraeder-bucsis.
at; train station, Neusiedl am See; per day €15; 8.
30am-7pm Mar¨Cmid-Oct) The bike path begins at its door.
Sleeping Storchencamp CAMPGROUND $ ( 595; office@gmeiner.co.
at; Ruster Bucht; camp sites per adult/tent/car €5.
50; Apr-Oct; ) With a large children¡¯s playground, cheap bike rental, close proximity to the lake and free access to the bathing area, this 200-pitch camping ground is great for holidaying families.
Ruster Jugendg?stehaus & Pension HOTEL $ ( 591; www.seebadrust.
at; Ruster Bucht 2; dm €29-34, s/d €44/76; Jan-Dec; ) This HI hostel is right on the harbour, forms part of the bathing complex and has modern, clean rooms.
Hotel Sifkovits HOTEL $$ ( 276; www.sifkovits.
at; Am Seekanal 8; r €90-130; ) Close to the centre of town, Sifkovits is a fine, family-run hotel with 34 large rooms, a lift and extras like its downstairs lounge with a bowl of fruit and a refrigerator stocked with free mineral water.
It also has a good restaurant and a soothing garden.
Cots and extra beds for kids are available.
Mooslechners B¨¹rgerhaus HOTEL $$$ ( 6162; www.hotelbuergerhaus-rust.
at; Hauptstrasse 1; ste €249-289; ) Popular for honeymoon nights and weddings, this exquisite hotel has spiral staircases inside a 1537 building.
Rooms are in Biedermeier style, some with vaulted ceilings and drapes around the bed.
Mooslechners B¨¹rgerhaus caters superbly for children, with cots on hand, and the option of an extra bed at a discount.
The restaurant downstairs (closed Monday) is top class and has a magnificent garden setting.
Eating & Drinking When in Rust, do as the locals do and head for one of the many Heurigen.
They¡¯re easy to spot ¨C just look for the Buschen (small wreath) hanging in front of doorways.
Some operate under restaurant licences and are therefore open throughout the summer.
For some of the finest formal eating in town, head to Mooslechners B¨¹rgerhaus.
Peter Schandl AUSTRIAN $ (www.schandlwein.com; Hauptstrasse 20; mains €6-12; 4pm-midnight Mon & Wed-Fri, from 11am Sat & Sun mid-Mar¨Cmid-Nov) You can enjoy game goulash and other warm dishes at this place with a restaurant feel, located just off Rathausplatz.
Weingut Gabriel WINE TAVERN $$ (www.weingut-gabriel.
at; Hauptstrasse 25; cold platters €12; from 4pm Thu & Fri, from 2pm Sat & Sun Apr-Oct; ) Don¡¯t miss this rustic wine spot on the main drag.
Not only is the pay-by-weight buffet brimming with delicious sausage and cold cuts, the wine is a treat, and in season the idyllic cobblestone courtyard is a wonderful vantage point to observe the local storks.
Information Tourist office ( 502; www.rust.
at; Conradplatz 1, Rathaus; 9am-noon & 1-4pm Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm Sat, to noon Sun) Has a list of wine-growers offering tastings, plus hotels and private rooms in the town.
Getting There & Away Hourly buses connect Eisenstadt and Rust (€3.
80, 25 minutes).
For Neusiedl am See (€3.
80, 40 minutes, every one to two hours), change to the train at Sch¨¹tzen am Gebirge train station.
Ferries cross the lake to Podersdorf, Breitenbrunn and Fert?r¨¢kos.
M?rbisch am See 02685 / POP 2300 M?rbisch am See is a sleepy community 6km south of Rust and only a couple of kilometres shy of the Hungarian border.
Soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and taking in quaint whitewashed houses with hanging corn and flower-strewn balconies is the order of the day here.
The town¡¯s tranquil mood changes dramatically during summer evenings with the Seefestspiele (www.seefestspiele-moerbisch.
at; mid-July¨CAug), a summer operetta festival that attracts some 200,000 people each year.
Its biggest competitor is the Opern Festspiele (www.ofs.
at; early Jul-late Aug), an opera festival held in an old Roman quarry near St Margareten, around 7km northwest of M?rbisch.
The local tourist office ( 8430; www.moerbisch.com; Hauptstrasse 23; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, to noon Sat & Sun) can advise on accommodation, the festivals and lakeside facilities, and give you a list of Heurigen.
Frequent buses go to M?rbisch via Rust from Eisenstadt (€3.
80, 40 minutes).
A foot- and cycle-only border crossing into Hungary, 2km south of M?rbisch, is handy for those circumnavigating the lake.
There are no border controls, but you do need to be able to show your passport on demand.
Alternatively, jump on the ferry across the lake to stay within Austria.
STAYING IN SOPRON If you¡¯re on a tight budget, staying just over the border in Hungary could save you a bailout of euros.
Accommodation in Sopron, just 14km from M?rbisch, can work out vastly cheaper than on the Austrian side of the border, especially when reserving through popular booking websites.
However, if you have a hire car and plan to sleep in Hungary, make sure your hire company permits clients to drive vehicles across the border.
It is possible to reach Austrian lake communities from Sopron using public transport by changing from
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