Styria is one of the most popular tourist paradises in Austria. It is also a regular tourist destination for ski tours and summer holidays. Graz, the centre of the province, is undoubtedly the most prominent city. It is an ideal mix of city walks in small streets but also a great destination for hiking the surroundings.
Graz is the second most popular Austrian city after Vienna. You can enjoy a vibrant cultural and artistic experience among the impressive buildings.
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Graz has been a World Heritage Site since 1999, which is no wonder, as every street and building in the city preserves memories of the past. The Old Town, the Castle Hill and its surroundings, the Stadtkrone (the museum district) is time travel.
What may first appear in Graz is that the city’s history dates long. Settlers lived here even before our time - as evidenced by Copper and Bronze Age finds.
Map - Where is Graz?
Graz is in Austria, in the region of Styria. It's approximately 150 km from Vienna (the capitol). The town is located on the banks of the Mura River, between the Graz Mountains and the Graz Basin. As a result, one half of the city is in the mountains, while the other side is flat.
- Distance from Vienna: 2.5 hours / 200 km
- Distance from Murau: 1.5 hours / 130 km
- Distance from Semmering: 1.5 hours / 120 km
- Distance from Bratislava: 3 hours / 250 km
There are many attractions in the city. If you have the opportunity, you can spend a week exploring the city and the surrounding area, but if you only want to see the most important sights, 2-3 days might be enough.
- The conditions of the city allow you to walk around easily. Plus, there are plenty of museums to offer interactive exhibits and a fun experience for children too!
- There is a huge green area inside the city, which includes the Schlossberg, the Clock Tower and the Graz Park, among others.
#1 Old Town
The 18th-century buildings in the historical part of the city are incredible, but you can also find plenty of medieval buildings. Most of the city’s attractions are located in the old town, so you can expect a smaller crowd in some places in the summer.
The Old Town area includes:
- the Schlossberg castle district
- the Clock Tower
- the Graz Cathedral
- the part of the city that continues across the river, where the Graz House of Arts is well worth a visit
#2 Schlossberg Castle District
On the east bank of the river, almost in the city centre, Schlossberg and the castle district can be found at the 473-meter-high hill. It offers a fantastic view to the entire city. The history of the fortress dates back to the 10th century. The bustling little streets of tourists are full of cozy and romantic restaurants and cafes that locals are also happy to visit.
- The road to the top of the hill consists of 260 steps, but if you don’t want to walk, you can also choose the funicular to ascend, which takes you to the top of the mountain in less than 2 minutes.
- The ticket is 2.40 euros for adults and 1.20 euros for children.
#3 Clock Tower (Castle District)
One of the most spectacular points of the castle district is the28 meters high Uhrturm, which is one of the symbols of the city. It is not known when was it built, the first references of it date back to 1265 (however, it did not reach its present form until much later, in 1569).
If you take a closer look at the clock in the tower, you can witness an interesting thing. The size of the indicators is the opposite of the hours currently used. The reason for the unique solution was that the designers considered it more important to be able to read the exact clock from a distance.
It is also interesting to note that the tower has three bells, the oldest of which, the clock bell, has been part of the tower since 1382.
- Address: Am Schlossberg, 8010 Graz, Austria
- Opening hours: 0-24 hours every day
- Prices: free to visit
The Kunsthaus, also known as the House of Arts in Graz, is an architectural symbol of the city. The building is a phenomenon in itself, but with its modern lines and striking shape, it fits in perfectly with the cityscape. The museum was built in 2003 when Graz was the capital of culture.
The exhibitions in the museum are constantly changing, so it is always worth checking the website for news. In addition to exhibitions, it regularly hosts various art performances.
- Address: Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Austria
- Opening hours: every day except Monday, 10:00 to 18:00
- Prices: 10 - 4 euros
Eggenberg Castle is a symbol of Styria. The history of the huge baroque castle dates back much further than the heyday of baroque art. The eponymous Eggenberger gained access to the site in 1460 and then the Chapel of the Virgin Mary was built, which later became the centre of the castle.
The building has undergone several significant changes over the centuries. The most recent took place between 2007 and 2008 when the white and Indian peacocks of the Graz peacock garden also moved into the castle park.
It is interesting that peacocks roam freely in the garden, so it is easy for a person to stumble into them during a walk.
- Address: Eggenberger Allee 90, 8020 Graz, Austria
- Opening hours: every day
- Visiting the interior museums and halls is only possible with a guided tour.
- You can view the outside garden individually without a guide.
- Prices: 15 - 13 euros
- The park and garden of the building are 2 euros for adults, free of charge for children under 6 and 1 euro for students.
Murinsel is one of the modern attractions of the city as it is a craft island on Mura river. Just two pedestrian bridges ensure the small island stays in place.
The special floating building has a café and a shop. The building is a symbol of modern art and fashion. In addition to the café, art and cultural programs are often held here.
- Address: Mariahilferpl. 5, 8020 Graz, Austria
- Opening hours: 10:00 - 20:00 (may vary depending on the season)
The Landeszeughaus, also known as the Armoury, is a vast collection of weapons with 32,000 items unique in the world. Among the pieces in the exhibition, you can see the military equipment used from the 16th century to the early 19th century. On the second floor of the building, you can even see a gun shop.
- Prices: 10 - 4 euros
You can find the Cathedral in the Old Town. It is part of the Stadtkrone, which means it is the Crown of the City. The name is used for the building complex, which has three other members in addition to the cathedral.
The exterior of the cathedral is a restrained building due to the fact that the church belonged to Jesuits between the 16th and 18th centuries. However, the building's history can be traced back to 1438, when construction began and ended in 1462.
- Address: Burggasse, 8010 Graz, Austria
#9 Graz City Park (Stadtpark)
The city park is a huge green area on the eastern edge of the Old Town, which merges with the green area of Schlossberg. One of the attractions of the park is the fountain of Emperor Franz Joseph, which is surrounded by statues of several famous Austrian writers and poets.
The park is a favourite meeting place for locals. Families and groups of friends hang in clusters on weekends, enjoying some picnic, etc. Due to the diverse flora of the park, its fauna is also very rich. Perhaps the most confidential is the local squirrels, who, if they feel like it, are also happy to make friends with tourists.
#10 Fairytale train
The Graz fairytale train can be the number one destination when travelling with children. The Graz Fairy Tale train takes you deep into the Schlossberg mountain, where a magical world awaits you!
The adventure is a half-hour train ride that takes you on an enchanted path full of mysteries, where you have to solve various tasks and get valuable rewards in the process.
- Address: Schloßbergpl. 1, 8010 Graz, Austria
- Opening hours: every day (10:30 - 17:30)
- Prices: 10 - 7 euros
The botanical garden belongs to the botanical institute of the university. The garden took its current place in 1887. In 1995, it was expanded with a new section, where you can already get to know the plants of 3 different climate zones.
- Address: Schubertstraße 59, 8010 Graz, Austria
- Prices: free
- Opening hours: It is open from 08:00 until 16:30 in summer and from 08:30 until 14:30 in winter.
- If you want to get to know the plants more thoroughly, you can also apply for a guided tour online. You have to do this two weeks in advance and it costs € 5 for adults and € 3 for children.
The Universalmuseum Joanneum is the museum district of Graz, which includes 19 different museums. One of these is the Joanneumsviertel Museum, which includes the New Gallery in Graz, the Bruseum, the Museum of Natural History, the History Museum, the CoSA, and the Center for Science Activities. Museums offer a wide range of art exhibitions.
- Graz New Gallery shows 19th-century fine art. The museum has more than 60,000 different art objects and works from artists in realism, Biedermeier and other modern art sectors.
- The Bruseum is part of the New Gallery, compiled from the works of the Styrian artist Günter Brus. The artist was born in the 1930s and was also of immense importance to Austrian art, artistic public life and the attitude of art lovers towards their work. At the exhibition, you can get an insight into the artist's works, life and activities.
- The Museum of Natural History is a vast collection through which you can observe the impact of evolution. We highly recommend it if you’re already travelling with older, school-age people, but it’s also terribly interesting and exciting for adults.
- The History Museum combines cultural and historical monuments with a modern multimedia collection. The museum brings visitors closer to Austrian culture and provides insight into Styrian traditions and history.
- CoSa is a science centre created to bring science and technology closer to young audiences. Your exhibition is fully interactive and provides an opportunity to conduct a wide variety of science experiments. This is where learning really happens through play. The exhibition is recommended from the age of 12.
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