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Graz

Styria

The Styrian capital Graz, with roots dating back to the Roman Age, lies on either side of River Mur. Graz is well known for its striking buildings and architecture.

Graz, the capital of Styria and Austria's second largest city, is nestled in the south of the country and is a vibrant city with a population of 250,000. Here, culture, culinary delights and trendy design take centre stage on both sides of the River Mur. Its reputation of being a lively, modern cultural place earned it the title of Cultural Capital of Europe 2003, and with a population of 250,000, it has a great number of interesting sights ranging from old and time-honored to dynamic and modern. Its beautiful historical centre (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site) is a colourful smorgasbord of different influences, from the Baroque to the Renaissance, Art Deco and Medieval.

Landmarks such as the late-gothic cathedral is reminiscent of the times when Graz was still an imperial seat, and the baroque Mausoleum of Emperor Kaiser Ferdinand II next door is an equally impressive sight. Universalmuseum Joanneum, donated by prince Johann at the beginning of the 19th century, is Austria's largest provincial museum and spotlights nature, culture and arts in Styria, whereas the Murinsel is an artificial floating platform in the middle of the Mur. It was constructed by the New York artist and designer Vito Acconci on the occasion of Graz becoming the 2003 European Capital of Culture.

Come to this city for an impressive events calendar encompassing special events such as Styriarte, a music festival dedicated mainly to early music, Steirischer Herbst (Styrian Autumn), a contemporary festival spotlighting theatre, fine arts, literature and music, as well as concerts at Eggenberg Palace.

Make sure that you don't miss out out on the foodie side as well on your stay. Sample culinary delights in one of this place's countless bars, coffee houses, wine bars, inns and restaurants, taking in the local Styrian food and wine regions. Why not come here in August to dine alfresco in the city centre at the "Long Table of Graz", when amongst 700 other guests you'll be catered for by 27 talented chefs. 

Have we tempted you? If so, don those flat shoes and loose clothing and take to your feet to explore this city. Amble through the historic old town with its winding streets and alleys leading to fascinating squares and courtyards. Come this way and let us show you some highlights...

Clocktower in Graz Austria © Österreich Werbung / Julius Silver Clocktower in Graz Austria © Österreich Werbung / Julius Silver

Sweeping views

Graz is dominated by the mighty Schlossberg, a forested mountain which rises over the medieval town centre and is criss-crossed with walks from all sides, and which is the perfect spot to get fantastic views of all over the city. At the top is a clock tower which once formed part of the now demolished castle and was the emblem of the city.

Only a few steps away from Graz’s Clock Tower is the award-winning restaurant “aiola upstairs”. Designed by local architects “Thomas Puchberger & Bramberger”, it offers a friendly and modern interior and an expansive sun terrace. A very clever feature is that the building extends into the mountain as well, and the side walls of the cube can be completely lowered into the ground. When the weather is fine, almost the entire restaurant can be transformed into a fabulous open-air spot.
The Lend district in Graz © Harry Schiffer The Lend district in Graz © Harry Schiffer

Trendy haunts

Just across the Mur Bridge from the Schlossberg is the hip area of city called the "Lend". This once rather scruffy neighbourhood is now one of the trendiest spots in town, boasting an array of design shops and trendy boutiques.

Every morning (apart from Sundays) there is a farmers' market on Lendplatz. The locals are drawn here to the impressive selection to regional specialities on offer alongside an array of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Die süße Luise”, a charming little café (Marktstand No. 9) is a popular hangout with unusually delicious tortes, sweets and the best apple cake in the city – made according to a secret recipe from Eastern Styria, making it a fantastic place to while away the hours and meet with people.

Graz Art Museum © Graz Tourismus  / Harry Schiffer Graz Art Museum © Graz Tourismus / Harry Schiffer

A friendly Alien

The Kunsthaus Graz, a modern museum is referred to by visitors and locals alike as “the friendly alien”. It landed in the town in 2003, when Graz was European Capital of Cultural and designed by the British star architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier. It has become a modern symbol of the university town and is notable for its controversial exterior as well as the meaningful values of its exhibitions.

The Museumscafé is a meeting place for Graz’s creative types, students and, of course, fans of modern art.

Sculpture Park in Graz © Österreich Werbung / kriskulakova Sculpture Park in Graz © Österreich Werbung / kriskulakova

Shapes at the Sculpture Park

A destination popular with Graz’s inhabitants is the Sculpture Park at the edge of the city. Over 70 contemporary sculptures by renowned Austrian and international artists are presented here on a hilly, grassy area approximately the size of seven football fields.

It feels almost like a playground for adults: next to an oversized suitcase handle are a pile of aeroplane parts and a stranded ship. Here, touching and climbing on the sculptures is allowed – and you can even let yourself fall onto a huge pink softball. Artistic photos are encouraged!

What will you see there?

  • Clocktower in Graz Austria © Österreich Werbung / Julius Silver Clocktower in Graz Austria © Österreich Werbung / Julius Silver
  • aiola upstairs on Schlossberg mountain © Joel Kernasenko aiola upstairs on Schlossberg mountain © Joel Kernasenko
  • Schlossberg Mountain in Graz © Graz Tourismus  / Harry Schiffer Schlossberg Mountain in Graz © Graz Tourismus / Harry Schiffer
  • Murisland and Mariahilfer Church © Steiermark Tourismus / ikarus.cc Murisland and Mariahilfer Church © Steiermark Tourismus / ikarus.cc
  • The Lend district in Graz © Harry Schiffer The Lend district in Graz © Harry Schiffer
  • Die süße Luise in the Lendviertel, Graz © Harry Schiffer Die süße Luise in the Lendviertel, Graz © Harry Schiffer
  • Graz Art Museum © Graz Tourismus  / Harry Schiffer Graz Art Museum © Graz Tourismus / Harry Schiffer
  • Sculpture Park in Graz © Österreich Werbung / kriskulakova Sculpture Park in Graz © Österreich Werbung / kriskulakova
  • Sculpture Park in Graz © Österreich Werbung / Mighele Sculpture Park in Graz © Österreich Werbung / Mighele

Graz

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