A World Cultural Heritage site, Graz’s historic cityscape so impressed UNESCO experts that they’ve deemed it worthy of protection for the ages.The hilltop clocktower gazes down longingly at intriguing alleyways, where medieval facades nudge up against extraordinary modern architecture. Graz’s Old Town is indeed a special place. Its centerpiece, the Schlossberg (city mountain), rises nearly 1,600 feet where fortifications date back to the 11th century. Below, narrow, romantic streets meander past Italian-style palazzi and impressive public halls that vie for your attention, here and there hinting at age-old secrets and the cool beauty of their courtyards.
Taking it all in from the banks of the river Mur, the Kunsthaus Graz reflects on these historic treasures with a 21st-century façade, while inside it showcases groundbreaking contemporary art and photography exhibitions. The many nearby street cafes, where students from the city’s four universities gather, lend the entire area a Mediterranean flair. Add art galleries, hip boutiques and specialty shops, traditional to innovative eateries, and a busy festival calendar and you’ll find an Old Town that buzzes with energy year-round.