Welcome to Graz, Austria – a city that promises an unforgettable adventure with its breathtaking attractions and rich history. Comparable to Vienna and Salzburg, Graz stands out as one of Austria’s most captivating cities. In this ultimate travel guide, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the top things to do in Graz. From the historic Clock Tower to the enchanting Schlossberg, immerse yourself in the city’s captivating landmarks and indulge in its vibrant culture.
The Heart of Graz: Schlossberg
No visit to Graz is complete without a trip to Schlossberg, the absolute heart of the city. Ascend to the top of the hill through the scenic Kriegersteig or opt for the famous Schlossberg cable car for a breathtaking view of Graz. At the summit, you’ll be enchanted by the Clock Tower of Graz, surrounded by a beautiful park. Explore the 34-meter-high bell tower and the intriguing casemates in the exposed cellars of the former Schlosshauptmannhaus. The Chinese Pavilion adds an exotic touch to this historic site. Relax and refresh at the cafés, restaurants, and beer garden, all offering panoramic vistas of Graz.
A Fun Descent: Schlossberg Slide
For a fun-filled way to return to the historic center, take a ride on the Schlossberg Slide, Europe’s longest indoor slide, whisking you down in just 40 seconds.
Graz Castle: Grazer Burg
Grazer Burg, or Graz Castle, takes you on a historical journey through time. Originally built in 1438 and rebuilt after World War II, this impressive castle complex houses various attractions, including the castle courtyards, the double spiral staircase, the Styrian Gallery of Honor, and the “city center.” Stroll through the beautiful Burggarten, a serene park with picturesque rose gardens, ideal for a relaxing break during sightseeing.
The Architectural Marvel: Double Spiral Staircase
A hidden gem in Graz’s castle courtyard, the Double Spiral Staircase is a fascinating architectural masterpiece. Dating back to 1499, it features two symmetrical stone stairs spiraling in opposite directions, symbolizing separation and reconciliation. Architecture enthusiasts and photographers will find this spiral staircase a must-see attraction.
Graz Hauptplatz: The Heart of the Old Town
Graz Hauptplatz, the main square, serves as the beating heart of the old town. Established in 1160, this historic square emanates charm and boasts several enchanting attractions, including the Archduke Johann Fountain Monument and the majestic City Hall. While exploring, don’t miss the traditional Graz market stalls offering hearty sausages and delicious organic juices. The main square also hosts a plethora of events throughout the year, adding to its vibrant atmosphere.
City Hall: Rathaus
The Rathaus, or City Hall, is a significant architectural gem in Graz. Erected in the 19th century with a late Gothic style facade, the Rathaus hosts numerous events throughout the year. From the winter Christmas market with its Advent calendar lighting to the spring Sound Light Festival and summer’s Long Table of the Capital of Enjoyment, this bustling venue never fails to impress.
Joanneum Quarter: A Haven for Culture Lovers
The Joanneum Quarter houses an array of captivating museums, making it a must-visit for culture enthusiasts. The Neue Galerie Graz showcases modern and contemporary art, while the Museum of Natural History boasts an extensive collection of fascinating exhibits. Children will love the CoSA – Center of Science Activities, where technology and natural sciences come alive through interactive play and experiments.
Landhaushof: A Picturesque Courtyard
The Landhaushof, a charming courtyard within Grazer Landhaus, captivates visitors with its Renaissance arcades and a historic fountain. The faun statue and the Styrian Panther-adorned green wooden gate add to the picturesque beauty. During winter, the courtyard becomes even more enchanting as the famous ice sculptures of the Graz nativity scene are illuminated, creating a magical backdrop.
Landeszeughaus: A Historical Armory
Discover the Landeszeughaus, one of Graz’s main attractions. Originally built in the 17th century, it served as Styria’s central arsenal. Today, the museum houses an impressive collection of 32,000 historical armory objects. Guided tours through the museum provide deeper insights into this fascinating collection.
Herrengasse & Painted House: A Shopper’s Paradise
Herrengasse, the main shopping street of Graz, entices visitors with its numerous boutiques and magnificent buildings. The Painted House stands out with its artistic facade, an expansive wall tattoo spanning over 220 m². This historical masterpiece is a must-see on any Graz trip.
Kunsthaus: A Futuristic Landmark
The Kunsthaus, or Art House, is a futuristic architectural marvel, often likened to a human heart or a spaceship. Built in 2003 for the Capital of Culture year, this museum hosts various art exhibitions and offers a viewing platform on its top floor, providing a splendid view of Graz’s old town and the Schlossberg. The Kunsthaus-Café on the first floor is an ideal spot for a delicious breakfast or fantastic burgers.
Museum of History: A Journey Through the Past
Graz’s Museum of History, located in a beautiful palace in the old town, is a treasure trove for history lovers. Don’t miss the magnificent Hall of Mirrors, located in the town house’s right wing. This museum is also included in the Joanneums-24-hour ticket.
Murinsel: A Floating Island
The Murinsel, a floating island built for the 2003 Capital of Culture, has become an iconic landmark of Graz. Connected to both sides of the river Mur by a bridge, its half-open shell design captures the imagination. Inside, visitors can enjoy a cozy café with a view of the flowing Mur. The Murinsel is especially enchanting when illuminated at night.
Mausoleum: A Turquoise Gem
The Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II is an architectural gem with its turquoise roof domes. This impressive building from the early 17th century is a popular photo spot. Take a moment to explore the interior, which houses the resting place of Ferdinand’s mother, Maria of Bavaria.
Graz Cathedral: A Cultural Treasure
Graz Cathedral, a significant cultural attraction, forms part of the City Crown alongside the mausoleum, the old university, and the castle. The church’s stunning exterior is matched by its exquisite interior, featuring a magnificent high altar and beautiful fresco paintings. Don’t miss the God plague picture, a remnant from the Gothic period, hidden on the cathedral’s southern outer wall.
Glockenspielplatz: A Charming Spectacle
Glockenspielplatz offers a delightful spectacle at 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, and 6:00 pm daily. Traditional costumed figures appear at the gable of the house and dance to the local carillon. Enjoy this charming experience from the cozy cafés and restaurants surrounding the square.
Eggenberg Palace: A UNESCO Gem
Eggenberg Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Styria’s most beautiful castle complexes. Admire the stunning state rooms, the castle church “Maria Schnee,” and the Planetary Hall, completed in 1685. The historical rose gardens add to the palace’s allure, blooming in full splendor from the end of May to June. Keep an eye out for the castle’s peacocks during your visit, which frequently roam the extensive landscape garden.
Where to Stay in Graz
Graz offers a plethora of fabulous accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences. Choose from charming city hotels, cozy B&Bs, modern apartments, stylish boutique hotels, and budget-friendly backpacker hostels. Here are some top recommendations:
- Lendhotel: A cool city hotel in the center of Graz with a delicious breakfast and a fabulous roof terrace.
- Gästehaus Moßhammer: A nice guesthouse near the city center, perfect for a stay in Graz.
- Parksuites Apartments Graz: Top modern and well-equipped vacation apartments in the center of Graz.
- Hotel Weitzer: A wonderful 4-star hotel located in the heart of Graz, with a unique charm and a great breakfast.
Plan Your Perfect Trip to Graz
With this comprehensive travel guide, you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Graz. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a nature lover, this city has something to offer everyone. Explore the city’s captivating landmarks, dive into its rich history, and indulge in the local culture and cuisine.
Graz is a city that will leave a lasting impression, making you want to return again and again. So, pack your bags, put on your exploring shoes, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Discover Graz, Austria, and experience a city like no other! Happy travels!
Take a dive into the wonders of Austria! Read our blog post on “How to Spend 3 Days in Vienna” and discover more exciting things about this captivating country!
Do you like this post? Then feel free to share it!