The one thing that immediately stuck out in Sopron was the vast jungle of dentist offices everywhere. I mean, even the apartment we were staying in was on top of a dental office. It was a bit weird, but not as weird as being on top of the plastic surgery clinic in Brno.
So what gives? Well, Sopron sits on a peninsula of Hungarian territory that juts in to Austria so much like San Francisco is surrounded on three sides by water, Sopron is surrounded on three sides by Austria. This made things no fun for them in WWII. The other big thing is that Hungary is still on the Forint and Austria is on the Euro. Because of this, the exchange rate is very much in favor of the Austrians thus, they all cross the border to get dental work done. Apparently it’s somewhere around half price.
This is not really anything new. The British have been doing this in Zagreb, Croatia for some time now where even the cost of flight and hotel makes taking the trip to the Balkans a good value.
The end result are all the dental offices we saw, as well as other therapeutic services. Once we figured it out though, we did realize that the vast majority of “tourists” we saw in town were actually cheap Austrians on day trips. As for real tourists like us, there were quite few, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed Sopron a great deal.