Welcome to Graz, a hidden gem in Austria that possesses a wealth of history, culture, and stunning architecture. If you’re wondering whether Graz is worth visiting, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
Despite being Austria’s second-largest city, Graz is often overlooked in favor of more popular destinations like Vienna or Salzburg. But that’s precisely what makes Graz so special.
With its rich history, captivating architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and gastronomic delights, Graz is a city that has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an art lover, Graz is sure to exceed your expectations.
- Graz is a hidden gem in Austria
- Despite being Austria’s second-largest city, Graz is often overlooked in favor of more popular destinations
- Graz has a rich history, captivating architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and gastronomic delights
The Rich History of Graz
Graz has a fascinating history that has left its mark on the city’s architecture and culture. The city was founded in the Middle Ages and was an important trading center throughout the centuries.
One of the most notable historical landmarks in Graz is the Schlossberg, a hill in the city center that was used for defensive purposes during the Middle Ages. Today, visitors can climb to the top of the hill for panoramic views of the city and explore the ruins of the old fortress.
The Renaissance in Graz
In the 16th century, Graz experienced a period of cultural and artistic development known as the Renaissance. Many of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Graz Cathedral and the Mausoleum of Ferdinand II, were built during this time. The Old Town of Graz is also home to many beautifully-preserved Renaissance-era buildings.
The Baroque Era in Graz
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Graz underwent another period of intense cultural and artistic growth during the Baroque era. This period saw the construction of many stunning Baroque-style buildings, including the Landhaus and the Eggenberg Palace. The latter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is widely considered to be one of the most impressive Baroque palaces in Europe.
Today, visitors to Graz can explore the city’s rich history by visiting its many museums, galleries, and historical landmarks. The city also hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, including the Styriarte Festival and the Long Night of the Museums.
Captivating Architecture in Graz
Graz is a city that boasts an impressive blend of architectural styles, from medieval to Renaissance to modern. As a result, it has become a popular destination for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
One of the most notable architectural landmarks in Graz is the Schlossberg, a hill that overlooks the city and is home to a 400-year-old clock tower and fortress ruins. Visitors can reach the top of the hill via a funicular railway or by climbing up the hill’s steps, which offer stunning views of the city.
Another architectural gem in Graz is the Kunsthaus, a modern art museum that is famously known as the “Friendly Alien” due to its unique, biomorphic shape. The museum is a prime example of Graz’s dedication to modern architecture and innovation.
The Landhaus, a Renaissance-style building that houses the Styrian Provincial Government, is another must-see for architecture enthusiasts. Its impressive façade features ornate details and intricate carvings.
For those interested in religious architecture, the Graz Cathedral is a must-visit. This Baroque-style cathedral dates back to the 15th century and features stunning frescoes and intricate ceiling designs.
Graz’s captivating architecture is a testament to its rich history and commitment to innovation. From towering medieval structures to modern art museums, there’s something for everyone to admire in this hidden gem of a city.
Exploring Graz’s Cultural Scene
Graz is more than just a beautiful city with captivating architecture and gastronomic delights – it is also a hub of cultural activity.
With a wealth of museums, theaters, and festivals, Graz has something to offer everyone. Art lovers can visit the Universalmuseum Joanneum, which boasts the largest and most diverse collection of art and cultural artifacts in Austria. Theater enthusiasts can enjoy performances at the Graz Opera House or Schauspielhaus Graz, both of which are renowned for their world-class productions.
For those who enjoy music and dance, Graz hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. The Jazz Sommer Graz is a popular event that brings together jazz musicians from around the world, while the Elevate Festival is dedicated to exploring the intersection of art, music, and activism.
The Universalmuseum Joanneum
The Universalmuseum Joanneum is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and culture. Located in the heart of Graz, it is the largest and oldest museum in Austria, with 13 different locations throughout the city.
|Contemporary art exhibitions
|Baroque art and architecture
|Weapons and armor from the 15th to 18th century
Each museum has its own unique exhibits and displays, showcasing the rich history and culture of Graz and the surrounding region.
The Graz Opera House
Designed by the renowned architect Wilhelm Semper and opened in 1899, the Graz Opera House is a true gem of the city’s cultural scene. It hosts a range of productions throughout the year, from classic operas to modern works.
With its stunning interior and excellent acoustics, the Graz Opera House is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates the performing arts.
The Elevate Festival
The Elevate Festival is a unique event that celebrates the intersection of art, music, and activism. It features a diverse lineup of performers, artists, and speakers who come together to explore important social and political issues.
Whether you are interested in live music, workshops, or debates, the Elevate Festival offers something for everyone.
Overall, Graz’s cultural scene is one of the city’s greatest assets. With its museums, theaters, and festivals, there is always something to see and do. Whether you are a seasoned art lover or simply looking for something new and exciting, Graz has plenty to offer.
Gastronomic Delights in Graz
Graz’s culinary scene is a delicious reflection of the city’s cultural diversity, with influences from Mediterranean, Balkan, and Hungarian cuisine. Sample the famous Styrian pumpkin seed oil, or enjoy a traditional plate of Schnitzel. Whether you prefer fine dining, street food, or local markets, Graz has something to offer.
For a unique dining experience, head to Aiola Upstairs, located on the top floor of a historic building with stunning views of the city. Or try Auguszt, a charming café and pastry shop that has been serving up sweet treats for over a century.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Kaiser-Josef Market, where you can find a range of local produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods. Grab a snack and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
If you’re a wine lover, take a trip to one of the nearby vineyards and sample some of the local wines. And for a truly authentic experience, visit a Buschenschank, a traditional tavern where you can enjoy locally produced wine and food.
With its diverse culinary offerings, Graz is a food lover’s paradise. Come hungry and leave satisfied.
Natural Beauty Surrounding Graz
While Graz itself boasts beautiful architecture and cultural attractions, the natural scenery surrounding the city is equally breathtaking. Visitors to Graz can easily access nearby parks, gardens, and hiking trails, all of which offer stunning views and recreational opportunities.
The Schlossberg, or Castle Hill, is a must-visit natural attraction in Graz. This hill towers over the city and offers panoramic views of Graz and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can hike up the hill, take the Schlossbergbahn funicular, or take the elevator to the top to admire the views. The hill is home to a clock tower, a bell tower, and several restaurants, making it a popular spot for a leisurely afternoon.
Eggenberg Palace Gardens
Eggenberg Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to beautiful Baroque gardens that are open to the public. The palace’s gardens boast impressive fountains, sculptures, and intricate landscaping. Visitors can take a stroll through the gardens, relax on the lawns, or visit the palace’s museum and art gallery.
The Mur River
The Mur River flows through Graz, providing a peaceful natural escape in the heart of the city. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the river, rent a bike to explore the surrounding trails, or even take a guided boat tour. The river is also home to several parks and recreation areas, making it a popular spot for picnics and outdoor activities.
Overall, Graz’s natural beauty is a significant part of its charm and appeal. Visitors should be sure to set aside time to explore the city’s stunning natural surroundings.
Shopping and Entertainment in Graz
Graz offers a diverse range of shopping and entertainment options, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a vibrant atmosphere.
Shopping in Graz
With a mix of big department stores, designer boutiques, and quaint markets, shopping in Graz is a delightful experience. For high-end shopping, head to Herrengasse, a charming pedestrian street lined with luxury shops. Alternatively, visit the farmers’ market Kaiser-Josef Platz where you can find local produce and artisanal products.
|Steffl Department Store, Louis Vuitton
|Second-hand market, Organic Farmers Market
|Andritz Farmers Market
Entertainment in Graz
When it comes to entertainment, Graz has plenty to offer. From traditional theaters to trendy bars, there is something for everyone. Take a stroll through the Old Town to discover hidden gems or visit the modern Kunsthaus Graz for contemporary art exhibitions.
“Graz has a lively nightlife with numerous bars and clubs to choose from, especially around the university area.”
- Visit the Schauspielhaus Graz for theater performances
- Check out the Orpheum, a popular concert venue for indie music lovers
- Experience the annual Styriarte Festival, a celebration of classical music held in various venues across the city
The vibrant atmosphere in Graz is not to be missed. Enjoy a night out with friends or take in a show for a cultural experience in Austria’s hidden gem.
Day Trips from Graz
While Graz itself boasts numerous attractions and activities, there are also lots of great day trips to be taken from the city. Here are some options to consider:
1. The South Styrian Wine Country
Located just a short drive from Graz, the South Styrian Wine Country is home to some of Austria’s best vineyards and wineries. Take a guided tour and sample some of the region’s famous white wines, accompanied by delicious local cuisine.
2. The Thermal Baths of Loipersdorf
If you’re looking to relax and recharge, head to the thermal baths of Loipersdorf. Just over an hour’s drive from Graz, these baths offer a range of pools, saunas, and treatments to soothe your body and mind.
3. Schöckl Mountain
For outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to Schöckl Mountain is a must. Located just outside of Graz, this peak offers stunning views of the countryside and is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and skiing in the winter months.
4. Hochosterwitz Castle
If you’re interested in history and architecture, a visit to Hochosterwitz Castle is highly recommended. Located about an hour’s drive from Graz, this impressive fortress dates back to the Middle Ages and offers guided tours.
5. Lake Stubenberg
Just a short drive from Graz, Lake Stubenberg is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and picnicking in the summer months. Surrounded by scenic hills and forests, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
Accommodation Options in Graz
Planning a trip to Graz and looking for a comfortable place to stay? Graz offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses and apartments. Whether you’re traveling on a budget or seeking a splurge, there’s something for everyone in Graz.
Graz boasts an abundance of hotels, ranging from affordable to high-end. Popular options include the Hotel Wiesler, Grand Hotel Wiesler, and Schlossberg Hotel, all located in the heart of the city. These hotels offer top-notch amenities and excellent service, making them ideal for travelers seeking a luxurious stay. For a more budget-friendly option, check out the Ibis Graz or A&O Graz Hauptbahnhof.
Guesthouses and Apartments
If you prefer a more personal touch, guesthouses and apartments are a great choice. They offer a more homely atmosphere and allow you to experience local life firsthand. Some of the best guesthouses in Graz include Pension Alt-Strassgang and Pension Zur Steirerstub’n, both located outside the city center. For apartments, check out the City-Appartements Graz or Appartement City View Graz.
Areas to Stay
Deciding on the best area to stay in Graz depends on your preferences and itinerary. If you seek a lively atmosphere, the Inner City is a great choice. It’s home to many of the city’s historic landmarks and attractions, along with a variety of restaurants and shops. For a more laid-back vibe, consider staying in Lend, which boasts a diverse arts and culture scene. If you prefer a quieter environment, head to Eggenberg or Jakomini.
Overall, Graz offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and taste. Be sure to book in advance, especially during peak travel season, to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Transportation in Graz
Getting around Graz is easy and convenient, with several transportation options available.
The city has an extensive public transportation system consisting of buses, trams, and trains, operated by the Grazer Verkehrsbetriebe (GVB) company. Tickets can be purchased at ticket machines or from the driver. It is recommended to get a 24- or 48-hour ticket for unlimited travel.
Taxis are also readily available and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. Uber is also a popular option in Graz.
Renting a car is another option for exploring the city and its surroundings. Several car rental companies operate in Graz, and it is recommended to book in advance to secure the best rates.
Cycling in Graz
Cycling is a popular and environmentally friendly way to get around Graz. The city has an extensive network of bike lanes and bike rental services are available. The Graz Citybikes system provides bicycles for rent at over 100 stations throughout the city.
Walking in Graz
Exploring Graz on foot is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city. Most of the major attractions are located within the city center, which is pedestrian-friendly and easy to navigate.
Overall, transportation in Graz is efficient and affordable, with options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences.
Tips for a Memorable Graz Visit
Visiting Graz can be an unforgettable experience, but it helps to plan ahead. Here are some practical tips that will ensure you make the most of your trip:
- Timing is key: The best time to visit Graz is during the spring and fall months when the weather is mild, and the crowds are thinner. Summer is peak tourist season, and prices can be higher.
- Local customs: Austrians are generally reserved and polite, so be sure to greet people with a friendly “Guten Tag” or “Grüß Gott”. When dining out, it’s customary to round up the bill, but tipping is not mandatory.
- Etiquette: When visiting museums or other cultural institutions, it’s important to respect the rules and regulations. Talking on cell phones, taking flash photography, or touching objects may be prohibited.
- Get a Graz Card: The Graz Card is a tourist pass that includes free admission to many museums and attractions, as well as discounts on tours and transportation. It’s an excellent way to save money and make the most of your time in Graz.
- Explore on foot: Graz is a walkable city, and many of its attractions are located within a compact area. Consider a walking tour to get a sense of the city’s layout and history.
- Try the local cuisine: Graz is known for its culinary delights, including traditional dishes like schnitzel, stews, and dumplings. Be sure to sample some local wines and beers as well.
- Take a day trip: Graz is located close to many other attractions, including the wine region of Styria, the thermal baths of Loipersdorf, and the medieval town of Bruck an der Mur. Consider taking a day trip to explore the surrounding area.
- Stay safe: While Graz is generally a safe city, it’s important to take precautions like keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding poorly-lit areas at night.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to fully enjoy your time in Graz and create unforgettable memories.
After exploring the rich history, captivating architecture, vibrant cultural scene, gastronomic delights, natural beauty, shopping and entertainment options, day trip possibilities, accommodation options and transportation in Graz, there is no doubt that this hidden gem in Austria is worth a visit.
Whether you’re interested in history, art, or nature, Graz has something to offer everyone. Don’t miss the chance to explore the picturesque cobblestone streets, marvel at the stunning architecture, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this unique city.
We hope that our tips and suggestions will help make your Graz visit a memorable one. Remember to pack comfortable shoes, dress in layers for the changing weather, and bring your appetite for adventure.
Q: Is Graz worth visiting?
A: Yes, Graz is definitely worth visiting. It is a hidden gem in Austria with a rich history, captivating architecture, a vibrant cultural scene, gastronomic delights, natural beauty, shopping and entertainment options, and easy access to day trips.
Q: What is the rich history of Graz?
A: Graz has a fascinating history, with key historical events and landmarks that contribute to its appeal as a tourist destination. From medieval times to modern-day, Graz has witnessed significant moments in Austrian history.
Q: What can I expect to see in terms of architecture in Graz?
A: Graz boasts a captivating blend of medieval, Renaissance, and modern architectural styles. From the iconic Clock Tower to the contemporary Kunsthaus Graz, the city is a feast for architectural enthusiasts.
Q: What is Graz’s cultural scene like?
A: Graz is known for its vibrant cultural scene, offering a wide range of museums, theaters, and festivals. Visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s dedication to arts and culture.
Q: What are the gastronomic delights of Graz?
A: Graz is a culinary paradise, with diverse offerings and local specialties. From traditional Austrian cuisine to international flavors, the city’s restaurants and food markets have something for every palate.
Q: What natural beauty is there surrounding Graz?
A: Graz is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including parks, gardens, and hiking trails. Nature lovers will find plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Q: What are the shopping and entertainment options in Graz?
A: Graz offers a vibrant shopping scene, with districts, markets, and boutiques to explore. The city also has a lively nightlife, with bars and clubs catering to different tastes.
Q: What are some popular day trips from Graz?
A: From Graz, visitors can easily embark on day trips to nearby attractions. Whether it’s a visit to the stunning Lake District or exploring the charming town of Bad Radkersburg, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Q: What accommodation options are available in Graz?
A: Graz offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. Different areas of the city cater to different preferences, ensuring that visitors can find a suitable place to stay.
Q: What are the transportation options in Graz?
A: Getting around Graz is convenient, thanks to its public transportation system, taxis, and rental cars. Visitors can easily navigate the city and explore its various attractions.
Q: What tips do you have for a memorable visit to Graz?
A: To make the most of your trip to Graz, consider the best time to visit, familiarize yourself with local customs, and etiquette. Plan your itinerary accordingly and take advantage of the city’s offerings.