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A mini guide to Graz

Travel writer Becki Enright shares the best things to do and see when visiting Austria's second largest city

By Becki Enright (Borders of Adventure) as part of her #YearInAustria

In Graz the artistic modern blends with the traditional and Mediterranean, with the River Mur cutting the old and new in two. The second largest city in Austria is all about being cool, displaying 900 years of history and trendy art hubs and neighbourhoods that got it added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites list alongside being a European Capital of Culture in 2003.

The Historical Centre is compact and easy to navigate, with mural painted townhouses, Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque architecture romantic courtyards, and winding streets. Highlights include the former Habsburg bakery – the Hofbäckerei - whose wooden façade topped with a double-gilded eagle retains the same bygone decadence and sweet offerings, the double spiral staircase at the entrance to the Burg and the magnificent Cathedral and Mausoleum commission by Kaiser Ferdinand II in Italian style.

Herrengasse is the main thoroughfare where modern stores, eateries and bars mix with palaces and preserved historical buildings. The most artistic contemporary landmark is Kunsthaus, whose bulbous blue design looks like otherworldly giving it the local nickname, “The Friendly Alien”. Behind it, the trendiest neighbourhood of Lend awaits you for a contemporary immersion into Graz.

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Must see in Graz:

  • Coffee at the super hip Tribeka on Grieskai Street. Another trendy cafe hangout is Ducks Coffee Shop on Rabergasse. For a small bite to eat and a “Pfiff” (very small glass) of beer, head to Frankowitsch for its famed open-faced sandwiches.
  • Take the funicular or climb the 260 steps of the Kriegssteig to the 473 metre high Schlossberg for the best sweeping rooftop views of the entire city. This was once the site of a small fort, giving Graz it’s name, meaning “little castle” before it was extended to a larger Renaissance fortress.
  • Check out the exhibitions at the Kunsthaus, known locally as the “Friendly Alien” One of it’s windows points in a different direction to all of the others, for a direct old to modern facing view of the famous Bell Tower on the Schlossberg. The café is also said to be great for breakfast.
  • Hangout in the Lend district, full of eco and charity design stores, trendy eateries and outdoor markets. Once a run-down area it’s now a cool local hotspot.
  • Stay in the traditional turned art design hotel Wiesler, the lobby marked by a wooden beam puzzle art installation by Austrian artist, Clemens Hollerer.

City sights

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About the author

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Name Becki Enright

From London

Living in Vienna

Blog bordersofadventure.com

Instagram @bordersofadventure

Twitter @BordersofAdv

#YearInAustria


This article is part of the #YearInAustria project in collaboration with Becki Enright, the award-winning travel writer behind Borders of Adventure. After living in Vienna for one year, Becki wanted to explore more of her adopted homeland, and so this 12-month journey into the very best of Austria began.

We invited Becki to travel the length and breadth of Austria to explore its many cultural, historical, culinary and adventurous delights.

View the #YearInAustria itinerary, read our interview with Becki (Is there more to Austria than schnitzel and Sound of Music?), and see highlights from her trips... Discover it all here!

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