Graz, Austria’s second-largest city after Vienna, is considered to be the northernmost Mediterranean city, with its narrow, cobbled streets and renaissance vibe and also an ideal shopping destination. Located near Austria’s borders it took something from Italy, Central Europe, and Balkans – that is why it feels so Mediterranean and on the other side, much German. Keep reading for the top 10 things to do in Graz that we loved and that will make you fall in love with this adorable city, for sure.
Before we start, be sure to check out our Cultural Places platform and discover the amazing tours that will help you explore Graz at your own pace.
Tours available in Graz:
So, let’s start falling in love with this charming Austrian city.
A View from Above: Schlossberg
The name Graz comes from Slovene word Gradec meaning “a little castle on the top of the hill”. And that is exactly what everyone who visited Graz is talking about – Schlossberg, a must-visit place in this charming city. It is a rock formation in the middle of the otherwise plain ground that houses the remains of the Graz fortification that was ruined in 1809 by French troops. At the very top of these rocks, there is the incredible Clock Tower – the main city’s landmark with slightly odd hour hands (long hand points to the hour, shorthand to the minute). Climb up there by stairs, lift or funicular and check out the clock itself but also what amazing rooftops Graz has.
© Wladyslaw/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Start Floating on the Island in the Mur
They say that Graz is the city of contrast and you will surely notice that while strolling down the Mur river’s banks. If you are not a fan of getting into the water but still want to experience what it has to offer go to the Grazer Murinsel – the Island in the Mur, an artificial shell-like platform floating on the Mur river. You can sit there and get a cup of coffee or simply glare at the river, enjoy the sound of its current and watch brave people surf it. Or you can walk down to the main city bridge and watch some brave people river surfing.
© Taxiarchos228/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Befriend the Alien: Kunsthaus Graz
If you are a fan of interesting modern museums go visit Graz’s friendly alien with an extraordinary shape and spectacular rooftop view. Pay 9.50 EUR (and bring your under-five kids for free) to enjoy an awesome exhibition. And again, Graz is showing you the contrast between its old, traditional buildings and this modern, unique, out-of-this-world museum. Look out the window and see the Clock Tower from another angle.
© Thomas Ledl/ CC BY-SA 4.0
Visit our Cultural Places Platform and find a guided tour through this amazing museum.
Feel the City’s Heartbeat in its Old Town
We bet that one of the main reasons that you travel is to visit beautiful old towns. Graz surely has a great one to show! The old town is pretty picturesque and has a lot to offer. You’ve already seen its rooftops and now it’s time to see its beautiful medieval facades, Italian-style palazzi and romantic courtyards from the ground level. When you get to the main square don’t be surprised, right beside the town hall you will find a stand with Austrian sausage stands – just in case you are hungry. You will probably continue your walk to Herrengasse, the city’s main shopping street but be sure to glare at some beautiful landmarks on your way there, such as Renaissance Landhaus Courtyard. In case you are meeting some friends tell them you will wait for them at the “Weikhard-Uhr”, the most popular meeting spot among the locals. And keep walking for more beautiful spots in the old town.
Shiny Old Armours of Styria
Care to take a look at some cool old armors? Go to the Styrian Armory (Landeszeughaus) where you will find shiny armors and everything else you need for the defense. For 9.50 EUR (and again, free for kids under five) in the largest historic armory, you will learn a little about the history of the province of Styria from the late 15th up to the early 19th century.
© Dennis Jarvix/ CC BY-SA 2.0
Visit our Cultural Places Platform and find a guided tour through this amazing place.
The Carillon’s Melodies
In the middle of the old town, at Glockenspielplatz you will find one of the city’s hidden treasures – The Carillon. Upon the gable of the main building, you will see two windows and a traditional couple behind them dancing to their melody three times a day. Three different melodies are played by 24 bells and 800 steel pins and everything is put in motion by two large weights. Be sure to watch it from the beginning to the end and see the lovely rooster figure on the top of the building’s gable.
© Isiwal/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Beautiful Façade of the Crown of the Town
The Mausoleum in Graz is the largest tombs of the Habsburgs. Made by Giovanni Pietro de Pomis, its 17th-century façade is one of the most beautiful ones in Graz, with its turquoise domes. Next to the Mausoleum, you find the city’s cathedral; both these impressive buildings are part of the so-called “Stadtkrone” (“Crown of the Town”). Check out the “Gottesplagenbild” (“Picture of God’s Plagues”) – the original Gothic fresco painting on the Cathedral, it pictures locusts, the war, and the black death – three plagues that are considered to be Gods punishment to the city.
© Anna Saini/ CC BY-SA 4.0
Get Dizzy in the Double Spiral Staircase
Are you wondering why there is a staircase on this list? Check for yourself and it will be clear to you – it’s pretty amazing staircase! The “staircase of reconciliation” looks pretty much like an optical illusion because of its two opposite stairs that blend together on every floor. You will not be disappointed!
© FOSO-ART/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Chill Out at Stadtpark
After all this walking it is time to chill a little bit. Graz is a green city with plenty of parks in the city center. Visit Graz City Park and relax on a bench or a blanket with a beer or a meal; wander through shades of 2.000 trees or sunbathe on the grass. Or bring yourself a football and have fun with your friends. Whatever you choose we guarantee you some good relaxing time.
© Open Town Graz/ CC BY-SA 3.0
A Journey Through History, Culture, and Nature: Eggenberg Palace
Now it’s time for a short journey outside of the city. Eggenberg Palace is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, just like the old town itself. It is a beautiful Baroque palace that is set in the middle of a gorgeous park. There are also four museums in the complex. Interesting fact: The Palace was designed according to numeric symbolism – it has 365 windows and 24 staterooms. Once you are done exploring the inside, grab your blanket again and get out to the lawn and relax, you can even have a picnic here. For a price of 13 EUR (and for free for kids under five), you will spend a nice afternoon visiting a gorgeous palace with 4 museums and chilling in its backyard.
© Bambschi4/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Did you fall in love with Graz yet? We bet you did, but surely you need to experience it by yourself. Visit our Cultural Places Platform, find Graz city tour and walk through cobbled alleys of this gorgeous city. Enjoy a cup of coffee on a pleasant sunny day and let us know how charming Graz is.