Graz journey information | Issues to do in Graz, Austria
Graz is Austria’s second-largest metropolis, however it’s tremendous laid again – I’d go so far as describing it as a ‘grand metropolis with a countryside soul’. Surrounded by the fruitful farmlands and vineyards of Styria, it’s a Starbucks-free type of place the place impartial and sustainable social-impact shops, zero-waste eating places, and straight-from-the-harvester’s-hands farmers markets nonetheless rule the city.
Whereas many guests delve into Graz’s historic World Heritage-listed core, there’s far more to discover past the Outdated City. With a student-heavy inhabitants, a big deal with group and sustainability – over 60% of town is inexperienced – and loads of attention-grabbing up-and-coming districts to discover, I spent an prolonged weekend diving deeper into Graz, and will have fortunately stayed longer.
Awarded the European Capital of Tradition in 2003, town has seen loads of fashionable structure and creativity ooze into its already forward-thinking soul since then. It’s not a spot the place previous versus new, although; somewhat, a metropolis the place classics sit alongside the up to date in a complementary – somewhat than contrasting – method.
Right here’s every thing you must plan your go to to my favorite metropolis in Austria, and on this Graz journey information, you’ll discover my options for the most effective bars, eating places, resorts, points of interest, sights, close by day journeys, and the most effective issues to do in Graz.
What’s Graz well-known for?
Graz is legendary for its culinary scene – particularly being a gateway to the farmlands of Styria – and its design credentials. It’s one in every of solely two cities in Europe (the opposite being Berlin) which have been awarded UNESCO standing as each a Metropolis of Design and for its historical core, making it fairly distinctive architecturally and culturally.
The town has additionally performed a necessary function within the nation’s historical past and has seen a fair proportion of struggles. From its essential defensive place in opposition to the Ottoman Empire to the Napoleonic invasion within the early nineteenth century when necessary monuments had been destroyed, the previous hasn’t all the time been clean crusing. Although strolling the student-heavy and peaceable streets today, it’s laborious to think about the dramas of occasions passed by – that’s, till you go to the extremely well-equipped historic armoury of town, probably the most well-known issues to do in Graz.
What number of days do I would like in Graz?
In case you simply desire a fast overview of the principle points of interest within the UNESCO Outdated City and the highest issues to do in Graz, you would doubtless ‘do Graz’ in a single lengthy day. That mentioned, except you’re actually pushed for time, I’d recommend staying no less than two nights to take in town’s ambiance. Graz is a kind of locations the place it’s only a pleasure to be and discover slowly, and there’s loads close by to maintain you entertained in the event you fancy some day journeys.
Graz journey information: issues to do in Graz
Graz is a metropolis that deserves to be delved into, so when you ought to completely find time for the highest issues to do in Graz and town’s most well-known points of interest, such because the Clock Tower and UNESCO Outdated City, On this Graz journey information I’ve tried to additionally spotlight a few of the issues I actually cherished away from the historic core as I slowed down and explored sustainable Graz.
Tour the UNESCO-listed Outdated City and Courtyards
If Vienna has espresso tradition, Graz has courtyard tradition. This pleasant areas are linked along with Medieval shortcuts, normally with a tucked-away wine bar or cafe as reward for taking the subsequent flip. In reality, there are greater than 50 interior courtyards within the metropolis, and getting misplaced amongst them is one in every of Graz’s biggest joys.
The grandest of the all of them is Grazer Landhaus, the seat of the provincial authorities. A masterpiece in Italian Renaissance arcade structure, it’s right here you actually see town’s Mediterranean affect shine by.
Exterior of the labyrinth of enclosed squares, the remainder of the Outdated City dazzles in completely maintained glory. Primarily Medieval in look, most homes date again to between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries when Graz was at its peak. In contrast to some European Outdated Cities which AirBnB has taken over, Graz’s centre may be very a lot for the locals, which makes the ambiance much less touristy – one thing we will thank the lease controls for.
One other spot to only hang around is on Hauptplatz, the principle sq., which is flanked by extremely detailed and vibrant facades, the Rathaus (the city corridor), and is regarded down on by the Uhrturm.
Cross the Murinsel
Free (Cafe paid) | Open every day | Wheelchair accessible | Save on Google Maps
Flowing by the centre of Graz is the River Mur, house to its personal synthetic island, the Murinsel, now one of many high issues to do in Graz.
Initially designed and meant for the Hudson River in New York, the glass and metal floating construction hyperlinks the riverbanks banks by two bridges assembly at a central platform.
Positioned right here as a part of Graz’s European Capital of Tradition in 2003, it was initially meant to remain on a ten-year mortgage earlier than heading to the US. Although 20 years later, it stays; a testomony to how the locals have grown keen on the area, which now homes a restaurant, artwork shows, and serene seating areas.
Go to the Kunsthaus (Fashionable Artwork Gallery)
Paid | Open every day | Wheelchair accessible | Save on Google Maps
Graz’s Fashionable Artwork gallery – one other legacy of the European Capital of Tradition – triggered fairly a stir when it opened, a lot in order that residents had been actively invited to go to throughout the development stage to win them over.
On condition that Kunsthaus has since earned the nickname of The Pleasant Alien, it’s truthful to say it has now gained sufficient followers. With a singular exterior form, bursting on the sides and with curved ‘tentacles’ atop, it actually stands out in opposition to the classical buildings past and is among the causes Graz is a UNESCO Metropolis of Design.
It’s laborious to understand the design from the skin, however a bronze accessibility mannequin out the entrance lets you perceive the design. These mini-statues seem exterior all of Graz’s key points of interest, permitting these with eyesight impediments to really feel the form of town’s structure.
Inside, the multi-floored area is house to short-term and everlasting exhibitions of recent and up to date artwork, and the viewing platform on the highest ground has a few of the greatest views of the Outdated City. Each hour – or somewhat, 10 minutes to the hour – the constructing emits an odd noise, and by evening, the skin turns into an enormous LCD display. It’s now a agency favorite on most Graz journey guides, however for a superb purpose.
Discover the Gries and Lend districts
Graz’s ‘different aspect’ was lengthy an space prevented. If the Outdated City was for the Aristocracy and the prosperous, the districts of Gries and Lend had been traditionally seen as for the shady, with bars, brothels and merchants always passing by.
Whereas maybe not all of that status has totally dissolved, the districts at the moment are beginning to face gentrification. Nonetheless, they make for a welcome change of scene to the polished Outdated City, with impartial boutiques, eating places with flavours from world wide, and loads of second-hand bargains to be discovered.
This is part of town you enterprise to only to benefit from the ambiance somewhat than to tick off sights, however for me, no less than, that made it much more pleasing.
Admire Andrä Artwork Church
Free | Hours range | Save on Google Maps
You’ll discover loads of grand church buildings and non secular monuments in Graz – it’s Europe, in any case! – however the Andrä Artwork Church in Lend is one thing just a little totally different.
At first look, you’d doubtless suppose it was a decommissioned church was an artwork gallery, due to the phrases adorning the outside, however it’s nonetheless very a lot nonetheless in service.
Whereas it’s laborious to think about attending a Mass right here because of the crimson graffitied ceiling and conventional altar alongside the extra up to date artwork items, it’s a superb characterisation of Graz’s deal with group and youth.
For one thing just a little extra conventional, there are many different non secular monuments value visiting, typically billed as a few of the greatest issues do in Graz. Spots such because the Basilika Mariatrost, town’s Mausoleum, and the Gothic Franciscan Monastery – the backyard of the latter being a cool and peaceable place to cease and skim on a summer time’s day – are value a go to if time permits.
Head up the Schlossberg
Free | Open every day | Wheelchair accessible paid raise and funicular | Save on Google Maps
For hundreds of years the Schlossberg, a verdant 473-metre dolomite hill within the centre of town, was topped by a fortress constructed over 1000 years in the past.
Whereas Napoleon demanded the fortress be destroyed in 1809, leaving simply remnants at the moment, the area was reimagined a short while later as a inexperienced park proper within the metropolis’s coronary heart. With trails, bars and cafes all providing unimaginable panoramas over church spires and into the forests and farmlands of Styria past, the views are purpose sufficient for doing the climb.
Fortunately, there are a number of choices for attending to the highest, the simplest being an elevator and funicular, or you possibly can climb the zig-zag hill or the imposing 260-step staircase. In case you take the hill route, you possibly can nonetheless see a tunnel system utilized in WWII as an air raid shelter – now performing as a passageway and shortcut underneath the mound.
Try (and slide down from) the Uhrturm
Slide is paid | Open every day | Save on Google Maps
Graz is a metropolis large on custom and group, and maybe essentially the most distinguished image of that is additionally the image of town – the clock tower courting from 1560.
When Napoleonic troops destroyed the remainder of the Schlossberg, the residents all got here collectively to pay a ransom to guard their beloved clock tower from the identical destiny. Now, it stands excessive above, a without end reminder of a metropolis with not only a countryside soul however a proud one.
The clock tower has a number of curious options, most noticeable the face. Initially, it solely displayed hours, thus solely needing one lengthy hand, however when minutes had been added later, the choice was taken so as to add a small hand to take action, leaving it in reverse to a typical clock. If you’ve completed exploring the Schlossberg, there’s a slide simply by the Uhrturm you possibly can pay a number of euros to take to the underside – it’s a reasonably quick and lengthy trip down, and probably the most enjoyable issues to do in Graz particularly in the event you’re travelling with youngsters.
Marvel on the Styrian Armoury
Paid | Closed Mondays | Accessible raise, ramp bathroom | Save on Google Maps
The Landeszeughaus, or Styrian Armoury, was not on my agenda, although an surprising wet day led me to stroll inside. Whereas the ticket value is steep (maybe too steep), what awaits inside is spectacular, even when only for the sheer scale of the gathering.
Holding a 30,000-plus assortment of swords, defensive fits, helmets, weapons and extra, it’s the biggest historic armoury on this planet. Actually, it covers the constructing, from ground to ceiling, over a number of flooring. Housing items in use between the fifteenth to the 18th century, it’s all just about been preserved in place since Graz lastly discovered peace and put down its defensive baton in 1780. This can be a must-visit in line with most Graz journey guides, and whereas it’s would possibly spectacular – primarily because of the quantity of weaponry saved right here – it might get repetitive, so that you would possibly really feel the worth is just a little too excessive if it falls exterior of your pursuits.
Benefit from the music scene
You may’t point out Austria with out considering of the classical music scene, and Graz is not any totally different, with its decadent – if barely much less so than Vienna or Salzburg – Opera Home.
However the classics, as with every thing right here, aren’t all which might be represented, and town has an ever-growing underground music scene. Jazz additionally options closely on the annual live performance schedule, which is unsurprising as Graz College was the primary place to supply a devoted Jazz course in Europe.
In the summertime, free jazz live shows happen on Wednesdays within the Outdated City’s courtyards, offering some clean tunes to go with your Styrian wine.
Tour Eggenberg Palace
Paid | Park open year-round, state rooms solely in summer time | Complimentary wheelchair rental, gravelled paths | Save on Google Maps
On the outskirts of town, the Baroque Eggenberg Palace sits proudly within the centre of an in depth landscaped backyard. Whereas images aren’t allowed inside, that doesn’t imply there’s nothing value seeing – in truth, fairly the other.
This palace advanced is the second a part of town’s UNESCO World Heritage itemizing, making it probably the most common issues do in Graz. Consisting of State Rooms, the Palace, and a few museums, the constructing was constructed within the seventeenth century as an opulent assertion of political rule. Grand rooms adorned with intensive artwork lead from one to at least one, the magnificent ceiling work stealing the present.
Peek on the Double Spiral Staircase
Whereas this isn’t an attraction, I’d say to exit of your method for, in the event you’re close to the Burg (the Styrian regional parliament), then this uncommon Double Spiral Staircase, from 1438, is value a peek.
Tucked away behind an entrance door you would possibly suppose isn’t open to the general public at first look, this Gothic, twin-spiralling staircase is kind of the achievement in design and stonemasonry – simply put together to really feel just a little dizzy as you climb up and down.
Graz journey information: issues to do close to Graz
In case you’re spending a bit longer in Graz, you’ll doubtless need to head on some day journeys. Fortunately, there’s loads close to town itself, and with respectable public buses and trains offering common connections, these spots are simply visited and only a few options of the ample points of interest close by.
Open Air Museum in Stuebing
Paid | Open March by October | Wheelchair accessible, gravel paths | Save on Google Maps
As one of many main open-air museums in Europe – and Austria’s most intensive – this spot in Stuebing, simply 20 minutes from town, is a captivating journey into the nation’s previous.
With round 100 conventional homes relocated and rebuilt right here, some courting again so far as the thirteenth century, the grounds are a terrific place to see how Austria’s alpine and farmland communities used to reside.
If you wish to be taught extra about every constructing, decide up an English-printed information from the doorway or be a part of a guided tour to get the most effective of the expertise; in any other case, simply stroll freely between the primarily picket properties.
With some ‘interactive’ components to the park, equivalent to actors doing conventional handicrafts or working the ‘previous retailers’, on sure days, I believe this is able to be a enjoyable choice to maintain youngsters entertained whereas studying about Austria’s historical past.
Styrian Wine Roads
Linking collectively a few of the better of the native wineries, the Styrian Wine Roads are a community of routes which lead you thru fertile farmlands and vines to the great things. Designated drivers will doubtless be wanted for this one, though in the event you simply need to go to one winery, it’s attainable on public transport.
Cistercian Monastery in Rein
Paid | Guided tour | Principally wheelchair accessible | Save on Google Maps
In case you’d somewhat skip the countryside and dive into the structure, then Rein Abbey, courting again to 1129, is a good place to go and one of many high issues to do in Graz’s close by surrounds.
Boasting the title of the world’s oldest Cistercian abbey, the monastery remains to be in use by each monks, who’re hidden away, and in addition as a secular college. Thus, you’ll want to affix a guided tour to go to all of the rooms, however it’s greater than value it.
The library is an absolute literacy dream, with loads of Mediaeval manuscripts, whereas the inside of the Baroque church is an overload of color and ornament – ask in regards to the wine used to embellish the partitions; it’s a somewhat attention-grabbing reality.
The place (and what) to eat and drink in Graz
The meals scene within the metropolis is superb; I may write an entire Graz journey information nearly gastronomy. Usually touted as the most effective vacation spot in Austria for delicacies, you gained’t wrestle to discover a good meal at a good value. The town’s foodie credentials are huge, which have earned it the title of ‘Culinary Capital of Austria’ inside the nation’s borders.
Look out for the ‘Genuss Hauptstadt’ mark on restaurant doorways, which exhibits the merchandise are regional and well-sourced and maintain a watch out for native meals occasions throughout your go to. Probably the most well-known, the Lengthy Desk of Graz, which sees some 700-plus folks eating collectively exterior, requires a good bit of advance planning.
Framing town are the fertile farmlands of Graz, famed for varied scrumptious seasonal merchandise.
Gadgets to maintain a watch out for are pumpkin seed oil, which is further flavourful because of the kind and local weather, small and scrumptious alpine strawberries (Steirische Walderdbeeren), and Vulcano ham, from the volcanic lands close to town.
There are a number of farmers’ markets within the metropolis which are perfect for selecting up native specialities.
Austria may not be the primary European vacation spot that springs to thoughts for wine manufacturing, however Styria steps up and delivers some incredible choices.
In case you’re visiting round September, maintain a watch out for Sturm, a type of pre-wine which is constructed from Austrian grapes but to ferment absolutely – mild, tasty and one thing just a little totally different. One other native wine value making an attempt is Schilcher, a rosé crafted from grapes indigenous to the area.
Exterior town centre, heading in the direction of the Styrian wine nation, you’ll discover these rustic inn-style spots the place wine is the star of the present.
A protracted-running custom, these garden-based and normally single-room consuming spots provide the prospect to style farm merchandise and wines direct from the growers, although licensing restricts the sorts of meals they will promote, so count on chilly cuts paired with a current harvest somewhat than something cooked and hearty.
Fattingerhof is an efficient choice not removed from town, the place you’ll additionally discover a bio-shop promoting all of the farm’s merchandise, equivalent to jams and wines, to take house with you.
My absolute favorite restaurant in Graz, and the most effective meals I’ve had in a very long time, this zero-waste idea focuses on scrumptious Levantine delicacies.
For these unfamiliar with the menu, the Levant is the historic Ottoman space roughly overlaying Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Anticipate means a desk loaded with numerous small mezze-like plates. With a always altering menu to make sure little to no meals waste and loads of inexperienced credentials, this women-led restaurant is a must-visit in Graz.
Stammtisch am Paulustor
You may’t go unsuitable right here for effective eating in a whimsical setting. There’s an beautiful multi-course set menu with pairing if you wish to go all out or an à la carte menu for a much less indulgent (on the abdomen and the pockets) choice.
This family-owned chain restaurant has a number of spots in Austria, primarily in Vienna and Graz. It’s a cool affair, with loads of wine lining the cabinets and naked picket tables. If you wish to strive Backhendl – an area fried hen speciality – that is the place to take action.
Kastner & Öhler’s Rooftop Bar
A protracted-loved division retailer within the centre of the Outdated City, the rooftop bar right here is the place to return for a Spritz (the lavender one is unimaginable) at sundown, though opening hours range seasonally.
Search for the misspelt ‘Nigth-Membership’ signal out entrance of this crimson, ex-brothel constructing, and head inside for some masterfully blended cocktails and a boohoo vibe within the intimate neon-lit room.
The Thirsty Coronary heart
This respectable bar with a variety of craft beers, together with native choices, is dependable for a high quality pint.
There are a number of locations to seize a drink on the high of Graz, however I actually appreciated this backyard’s laid-back vibes and nice views.
The place to remain in Graz
Graz hasn’t seen the tourism increase of say Vienna and Salzburg, and the variety of lodge beds within the metropolis solely quantity round 6000, so that you’ll need to e-book forward. I’ve included a number of options on this Graz journey information, though there are actually extra upscale choices if you wish to splurge.
Sishaus Hostel €
Laid-back hostel with loads of mild wooden and ethereal vibes – one of many metropolis’s few extra ‘finances’ choices. Whereas there’s additionally an a&o hostel, I discover them a bit bland and all the additional expenses irritating, so I might pump for this extra charismatic choice. View on reserving.com
Lodge Gollner €€
A very welcoming family-run lodge, and it’s the place I stayed on my most up-to-date go to. Unfold out throughout a number of buildings the place it’s expanded through the years. It has a superb restaurant, a stunning rooftop with some views of the clocktower when standing, and actually pleasant workers. They’ll even welcome you with just a little cake within the form of town’s clocktower. View on reserving.com
Fashionable choice within the fashionable Lend district. The rooms are mild and spacious, there’s bike rent and a 24-hour desk, and a roof terrace to chill out on. View on reserving.com
The place to buy in Graz
Graz hasn’t been overwhelmed by chain shops and cheesy memento retailers, and shopping for native may be very a lot some extent of satisfaction for most of the metropolis’s residents.
Whether or not you need to pack your bag with native delicacies equivalent to Pumpkin Oil, or distinctive designer gadgets, there are many boutiques and impartial shops to select from. These are a number of of my favourites.
Combining each a social influence venture and classic clothes, Offline Retail shouldn’t be solely a spot to search out premium second-hand garments but additionally to assist employment and upskilling alternatives.
Established to offer coaching and jobs for individuals who have discovered themselves in a scenario of wrestle, it offers a constructive influence for each the surroundings and venture members.
I actually loved my visits to this farmers’ market, which is open from 6 am till 1 pm on weekdays and Saturdays. Whereas it’s primarily contemporary produce, you’ll discover a few of the stalls promoting gadgets to remove, equivalent to native wines and pumpkin oil, and it’s good to have the ability to purchase immediately from the producers and reduce out the intermediary.
I’m a sucker for bookshops, and this multi-floored literary hideout is a pleasure to browse. Whereas, in fact, nearly all of books are in German, you’ll additionally discover a respectable number of English and different language reads. It’s a wonderful place to choose up translated works written by native writers, equivalent to Peter Rosegger or Peter Handke, whose Repetition, a novel about his journey into Slovenia, I totally loved.
Luggage crafted from recycled supplies are the principle focus of TAG werk, a small boutique within the Lend district. Not solely are the merchandise serving to scale back waste, however the store serves a terrific goal as a youth employment venture, though the designs greater than communicate for themselves.
Gries and Lind’s Artisanal Shops
Among the finest locations to go for distinctive finds, handcrafted merchandise, and second-hand garments is throughout the river within the Gries and Lind districts. You’ll find loads of impartial shops right here, a lot of which have an upcycling theme.
Slightly exterior town centre (you’ll want a automotive) is Peaces, the store of Susanne Huber. Specializing in plant-inspired screen-printed garments, all of her merchandise are natural and truthful commerce, primarily utilizing Austrian linen and cotton. Susanne additionally produces garments from Tencel, a type of wooden material hailing from the Austrian metropolis of Linz.
How one can get to Graz
Maybe one of many causes Graz has remained much less touristy than Austria’s extra well-known cities is the dearth of direct flights. This makes it barely more durable to achieve from afar, though the reward is within the much less crowded streets than, say, Salzburg.
Flight free from the UK
To achieve Graz from London with out flying, you’ll want to permit almost a full day of journey.
The quickest, and costlier choice, is to journey by practice from London, beginning on the EuroStar. Going through Paris after which Germany will take round 16 hours and contain almost a handful of adjustments. In case you head to Brussels as an alternative, you possibly can join with the ÖBB (Austrian Rail) run sleeper practice to Vienna after which take an area connection to Graz. This can be a sensible choice in the event you’d somewhat sleep by a part of the journey and arrive a bit extra rested.
By bus, the journey shall be longer however cheaper, so that you would possibly need to take into account stopping elsewhere on the best way. A mix of RegioJet and FlixBus buses are the best way to go; simply examine for essentially the most up-to-date schedules to plan the place to cease and break up the journey. Alternatively, you should utilize the DFDS ferry from Dover to Calais after which proceed your journey by bus on the mainland.
Flying to Graz
Graz’s comparatively small airport (GRZ: Flughafen Graz) doesn’t have too many worldwide connections, primarily servicing cities in Germany and The Netherlands, that means a connecting flight with Lufthansa or KLM is probably going if you wish to journey by air. Direct flights between London aren’t at present listed on the 2023 schedule. Inexpensive and fast buses and trains join the airport to town.
Graz has good practice connections with neighbouring international locations and close by cities. For instance, I travelled to Graz by practice from the Czech Republic and departed on an evening practice to Italy, connecting through close by Bruck/Mur.
In case you’re already in Austria, then trains from Vienna (2:30 hours, direct ) and Salzburg (4 hours, direct ) are common and dependable. For the most effective fares, e-book upfront, or think about using FlixBus as a barely cheaper different.
How one can get round Graz
Getting round Graz is a breeze. It’s a comparatively compact metropolis and simply explored on foot. The one steep a part of town you’ll encounter is when climbing to the Schlossberg, although there’s an elevator up and even a slide down.
Within the core of the Outdated City, the pedestrianised streets are a delight to discover, as are the maze of courtyards. If you would like a break from strolling, hop on one of many trams. Between Hauptplatz and Jakominiplatz, the trams are free to make use of, with the included stations marked by a logo. Exterior of this space, tickets are inexpensive and could be bought at machines or are additionally complementary in the event you’ve bought a Graz Card.
Finest time to go to Graz
The very best time to go to Graz for essentially the most dependable climate is between Might and September. In summer time, daytime temperatures are normally round 26°C (79°F), dropping to 15°C (59°F) at evening.
That mentioned, summer time generally is a little busy, making low season journey in Spring or Autumn extra enticing – notably true throughout the autumn harvest (normally September by to late October).
With loads of points of interest within the metropolis, a wet winter go to can be pleasing – though, if you wish to discover the encompassing countryside, you’ll need to skip these months. Throughout December, you’ll have the bonus of the Outdated City Christmas market.
The place to journey in Austria past Graz
After Graz, why not discover the nation’s capital metropolis of Vienna, soak up all the most effective issues to do in Salzburg, or climb Austria’s greatest mountain trails to soak within the breathtaking nature?
Alternatively, as Austria is so properly positioned within the centre of the continent, you possibly can simply hop on a practice to discover extra of Europe’s greatest hidden gems.
This text was produced in partnership with #TravelDeeperGraz, who supported my autumn 2022 go to with guides and lodging. All editorial content material is, as all the time, my very own.