For the best overview of Graz, head to the top of Schlossberg
, a large rock hill rising from the heart of the city. Though Schlossberg was for centuries a famously impenetrable fortress, these days it can be summited in several ways: via the almost 300 steps from Schlossbergplatz, the Sporgasse and Karmeliterplatz footpath or, if those are daunting, the Schlossbergbahn funicular or the stunning glass lift
built into the mountain itself. (An elaborate system of World War II-era tunnels still runs underneath the hill, having served to protect civilians from aerial raids.)
At the top you'll find yourself directly in front of the city’s old landmark Uhrturm, or clock tower
– a remnant of the old fortifications. Even Napoleon failed to gain acceess to the castle, but after a victory over the Habsburgs in 1809, the Emperor of the French demanded the demolition of the fortress. The people of Graz paid the French a ransom to keep the clock tower and the bell tower from being destroyed. Take in the sweep of tiled roofs across the medieval old town of Graz and see for yourself why it was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Time to explore the old town in detail. Start at the Graz Information
center where, from May to October, the guided “Old Town Walking Tour
” begins every day (or on Saturdays during the winter months). The certified Graz guides offer entertaining insights and take you past the Italian renaissance buildings
into the hidden courtyards. Be sure to visit the Styrian Armory, the world's largest collection of medieval arms and armor.
After a day of sightseeing, choose from one of the city's picturesque restaurant terraces
, and enjoy fantastic food and wine served with the sunny southern ambience of Graz. The partner restaurants
of the Capital of Delight
offer the best fresh Styrian ingredients. The cozy Stainzerbauer, just a stone's throw from the Graz Cathedral, is the perfect place to try local specialties such as Kürbiskernöl or Steirisches Wurzelfleisch – accompanied, naturally, by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyards south of Graz. At dusk, the lights of the old town twinkle on, bathing the city in a warm glow. This is where Graz’s mediterranean spirit with its outdoor cafes and restaurants
truly reveals itself. Join the locals for a nightcap or a night-time stroll through the old town, for the perfect end to your day in Graz.