This region also benefits from being at the crossroads of Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. Őriszentpéter, with a population of 1300, is the largest village in the area, and a former seat of the Batthyány noble family, the namesakes of the first Hungarian prime minister Lajos Batthyány.

The nearby town of Körmend features one of the family’s manor houses, which now houses a museum commemorating another member of the family, the renowned local medic, Dr. Batthyány-Strattmann László. And the region has its share of architectural history. The Árpád-Kori templom is believed to date from around 1230.

Tucked away in the village of Őrimagyarósd, one of the characteristic villages of this region, is the 5erzek Hazak, or 5 senses guesthouse as it is known in English.

In the Őrség 45% of the area is forested, so it makes sense that many constructions here should be built with wood. Vilmos Hegyi is the patron of the 5erzek Hazak, and has been working on building up the guesthouse – by hand – for the past 25 years.

The Hegyi family put a lot of energy into the atmosphere of the place. Wooden carvings are dotted throughout the gardens, and in the whole of the region these Transylvanian-inspired carvings can be found. Indeed, many entrances are adorned with Székelykapu, gates carved in a Szekler style.


Guests can choose from an array of dwellings. Treehouse rooms built in a secluded forest area give plenty of privacy, and are popular with newly married couples. There are several wood insulated hotel-style rooms containing a fully equipped bathroom and additional baths intended for herbal bathing.

There is also a tent-room option with a strong outer frame situated in an energy point surrounded by trees, for those who prefer a taste of the outdoors. Rooms contain additional features such as hand-carved, glazed, wooden chairs and tables.


The whole guesthouse comprises 25 rooms and guests have plenty of space in the outdoor garden area to enjoy the weather on a sun lounger or at one of the shaded tables under a treehouse.

In fact, as Hegyi explains to me, his whole concept for the newly renovated guesthouse is that it should be a herbal retreat for visitors. The garden contains around 500 herbs, including mint, oregano and lemongrass, and the guesthouse has been newly renovated to incorporate this theme. Herbs are sometimes mixed with Paradji salt from Transylvania to have a soothing effect on the body.

Regional culinary specialities include the noodle-like Dödölle, Őrségi hajdinás vargányaleves, a mushroom and buckwheat soup. At the 5erzek Hazak, guests can choose from a generous breakfast of cold cuts and freshly cooked eggs, while dinner consists of regional specialities such as potato salad in pumpkin seed oil and a dessert called kukoricamálé, a delicious cornflour pancake fragranced with mint leaves.

The Őrség covers 192 square kilometres and comprises 18 villages. It is a medium-sized park in comparison with others in Hungary and the name may be a reference to the border guards who settled here to protect against German raids from the west.

Kástu thatched guard houses are a characteristic of the region, and an alpine climate with a Mediterranean influence means that the Őrség is not subject to the extremes that affect other parts of the country.

In addition, there are 460 natural springs in the area and a number of lakes nearby where visitors can fish or swim. There are plenty of signposted countryside walking paths for those who enjoy a ramble.

The Őrség is a good place for a weekend getaway or as part of a longer trip around Austria or Slovenia, and can be reached in just under three hours by car from Budapest.


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