Sopron, a city in Hungary on the Austrian border at the foot of the Alps, offers visitors a charming combination of a historic Old Town and natural beauty.
Its preserved historic buildings, squares and narrow cobblestone streets gives Sopron an enchanting atmosphere making it ideal for romantic strolls and just generally exploring on foot. While the city can trace its roots back at least to the days of Rome, most of the buildings that you will see today are a blend of Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque structures, many of which are now home to restaurants, taverns, and cafes.
When is the Best Time to Go to Sopron?
The best times would be from April to September, with July and August being the hottest (mid to high 20’s Celsius). The busiest tourist period, as it is with the rest of Europe, is June through early September where prices for hotels are the most expensive. We were there in early September and the weather was warm and sunny with the evenings perfect for dining outside and enjoying a glass of wine later into the evening on the street-side patio outside our hotel.
Best Things to do in Sopron
Old Town Sopron (Várnegyed/Burgviertel) is fairly small so easily explored on your own, on foot. These are some of our highlights.
At the northern end of Sopron’s Old town lies a common European essential, the Main Square, with its landmark the iconic Firewatch Tower. Around the sides of the Main Square are some magnificent buildings such as City Hall, and other well-preserved buildings. Gracing the square centre is a detailed and graceful trinity column, found in other old towns of Central Europe.
The Church of the Assumption (its actual name) however, popularly known as “the goat church” has quite has an interesting story of origin. According to legend, a local goat herder uncovered a treasure on the site of the church, which led to the building of the church on that spot (therefore the stone goat being huddled by an angel on a pillar). Built around 1280, it is said to be one of the most outstanding works of Hungarian Gothic architecture.
Firewatch Tower (Tuztorony),
A true icon of the main square is the Firewatch Tower which rises 190-feet and is topped by a multi-tiered dome. The tower and its gates date back to the 13th-century where it functioned as the northern entrance into the town and as a watchtower, safeguarding the city against fires and invaders.
Climb the 116 steps to the top for views of the main square, old town and surrounding area.
The Baroque corner house, Storno House,with its bay window is one of the most attractive buildings of the Main Square. Today this is a museum featuring the impressive art collection of the Storno family, who were passionate collectors of art and antiques.
Sopron Town Walls
Sopron was a walled city, with several rings of walls dating back to the Roman period, that were used to defend itself. Today, only sections remain as urban growth has resulted in houses hiding the wall form view.
An interesting stroll is to walk along sections of the walls on the Bailey Promenade which has information boards along the way.
We do enjoy good food and took full advantage of some of the Sopron’s really great restaurants! You’ll find that the cuisine ranges from traditional Hungarian goulash type meals to Austrian and German schnitzels, chicken cordon bleu and game dishes through to pasta, pizzeria and Mexican type dishes.
More to see
There are many more things to explore and experience restricted only by the time you have; the above are merely some of our highlights.
How many days do you need to visit Sopron
You can comfortably see Old Town in a day which makes it a great option as a day trip from Vienna, but we chose to stay one night, which gave us enough time to wander around explore Old Town and enjoy a couple of meals.
Is Sopron Safe for Tourists?
Sopron is no more dangerous than other European cities, and like everywhere else, use normal precautions.
Getting to and Around SopronSopron is quick (1 hour, 20 minutes) and easy to get to from Vienna’s Main Train Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof). Take the REX (Regional Express) towardsDeutschkreutz Bahnhof and get off at Sopron’s Central Train Station (GYSEV Station). Once you get off in Sopron, Old Town is less than a 15 minute walk from the station.