Updated: May 28, 2020
Graz is an Austrian city located in South of the country after crossing the Alps. Graz is the second largest city of Austria and capital of Austrian state of Styria. Also known as a one of the most preserved central European city due to the fact that railway station is bit far from the old town.
My Journey to Graz, Austria:
The Inner City of Graz is also included in UNESCO World Heritage Site. Graz was nominated as a European Capital for Culture in 2003 and Best City for Culinary in 2008.
I visited Graz from Germany. Crossed the beautiful Bavarian Alps into Austria and believe me it's one of the most alluring Train Journey in Europe and highly recommended to use Train while traveling to Austria from Germany.
I have visited Graz quite a lot so I am familiar with the city more like a local. I have stayed in different areas, experienced different restaurants and explored the city. Here in my blog, I will explain how to explore Graz like a Local along with best things to do in the city.
Best Touristic spots and Places to Explore in Graz
I would highly suggest starting the old town tour of Graz either from Jakominiplatz or Hauptplatz. Both of these spots are well connected with local transport and considered as a heart of Graz.
Hauptplatz is a main town square and one of the most crowded and lively place of the city. It has a statue in the center and medieval building in the surroundings and small food trucks nearby.
The Hauptplatz is connected with some main streets of the old town like Sporgasse and Herrengasse.
Herrengasse is a main street of Graz with all the shopping brands and considered as a heaven for shopping lovers. There are also connecting streets on the both side of Herrengasse which take into the narrow streets of old town.
Herrengasse connects the two most crowded areas of Graz, Hauptplatz and Jakominiplatz.
It’s one of the largest museums for weapons and armory and hold a significant historical importance. Be aware about the closing days and timings. Its closes every Monday and the ticket is € 9.50.
If you walk on Herrengasse from Hauptplatz, it takes directly to Jakominiplatz. Its one of the most crowded center and always full of people.
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There are also some cafes, restaurants, food trucks and shopping stores around the platz. It’s a main point in the city where all the trams get diverted into different ways.
Explore the Court Yards in Innerstadt (Old Town of Graz):
Graz has more than 40 court yards with different architecture and beauty. There are narrow streets on the Herrengasse which takes into different courtyards. If you are curious to explore Graz like locals, I would highly suggest looking up for the court yards.
There are many restaurants and café located in these court yards. You will be truly amazed to see them. One of my favorites are Paradeishof and Freiheitsplatz.
The famous castle of the Graz is located on the top of the hill. The castle remains unconquered but it was damaged heavily by Napoleon forces.
The schloss is now changed into park with an amazing view of the city. There are also two restaurants located on the top so you can enjoy perfect sunset with your favorite drinks.
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There are stair path from the Schlossbergplatz with takes to the top of the hill. You can also take the funicular from there which operates to and from the top.
But the way I like the most is from the innen stadt which takes up into the hill with an amazing view, so you can stop on the view and admire the beauty of the city.
The most iconic and symbolic representation of the Graz is Uhr turm or Clock Tower. It's also located on the hill near Schlossberg.
You can see the tower different points in the old town. You can also enjoy the beautiful view of the city and architecture of Kunsthaus from there.
You can also visit the restaurant located near the tower. There are also few musicians playing the music nearby which enhances the feel and beauty of the place. It’s one of the most romantic spot in Graz.
Graz is a city famous for its art and culture. The Kunsthaus has a unique kind of architecture and there are always exhibitions of modern and contemporary arts taking place. It’s a heaven for the art lovers.
The museum also has a café where you find lots of art lovers spending some good time with their friends.
Graz fairytale Train:
If you are visiting Graz with your kids, It’s a must do activity. The train takes into the tunnel with storytelling about fairytales and enlightened the imagination of the kids. Its located near the Schlossberg platz.
Kaiser Josef Platz- Farmer’s Market:
On the famous Kaiser Josef Platz, you can find the open air farmer market. The farmers are offering their daily fresh and homemade product like cheese, eggs, fruits and vegetables. If you looking for the fresh veggie and fruits, it’s a place to visit.
The Cathedral is located on the bank of Mur river and surrounded with many cafes. It has a great importance as it was a first religious center in Graz in 13th century and the unique architecture attracts the attention of the tourists.
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It’s one of the most significant and historical gothic style church and one of the main landmarks of Graz.
The church is located at Kaiser Josefplatz and one of the famous protestant church with its unique architecture.
Stadt Park and Double Spiral Stairs:
Especially in the summers, it’s a best place to relive and enjoy few moments in the lush green park and you can also find burgpark and you will be amazed to see the double spiral stairs inside the Burg.
Austria is famous for its opera and music shows and Graz Operahaus is located in Kaiser Josef Platz. Don’t forget to book the tickets in advance.
The famous Eggen Schloss is one of the most important place to visit in Graz. It’s a baroque style castle with lush green garden and hills in the background. Peacocks are the specialty of the castle.
You can see them roaming around in the garden. The ticket is for € 2 but if you are a student its only for € 1. There is a direct tram from Jakominiplatz, main train station and Hauptplatz to the castle.
The Mur river flows in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. It's highly recommended to take a long walk along the bank of the river or spend some time sitting near the river. The freshness of the river helps to revive the mind and soul.
It’s a small island restaurant located in the center of Mur River. It’s a must place to visit and enjoy the coffee and see the view of the river. The café lightened up in the night in blue color so you can also see it even from the far.
For the shopping lovers, you can find all the brands local or International in Murpark which is a biggest shopping mall in Graz.
The mall is the best place for shopping and also has dining options so if you get hungry after shopping you can just go to the café or restaurants in Murpark.
The house was owned by a businessman, Gottfried in 1884, he travelled in Belgium and Northern Germany and got to know about Glockenspiel and installed it on his house. It’s one of the world heritage site in Old town.
Everyday three times a day (11 am, 3 pm and 6 pm), 24 bells ring with the melodious music and it opens the top door and styrian couple starts dancing.
To be honest, I did not know it but I was just passing by and saw lots of people over there. It was almost 3 PM and the show started. I was totally amazed to see such a cute and wonderful show.
Hiking at Schöckl:
One of the best thing to do in Graz is to go for hiking at Graz's Local Mountain, Schöckl.
Highly recommended to do this activity and Schöckl is the last of the Alps and officially makes the Graz a city before the Alps from the Southern part of Europe.
Nevertheless, hiking at Schöckl will allow you to experience the alluring beauty of Austria first hand and believe me as you go up the scenic beauty of the nearby valleys increases by many folds. The foothills looks surreal from the top of the Schöckl.
There are few restaurants at the top of the Schöckl which offers tasty Austrian Cuisine and helps you to get your energy back. Apart from hiking you can also do a lot of leisure activities at Schöckl such as Cable Car, Sommar Bahn and Para-gliding.
Don't forget to book in advance for these activities to double the fun at Schöckl.
Where to stay in Graz:
I have stayed once near Messe Graz, there is a direct tram connection to the old town. Its a very peaceful and calm place to stay and highly accessible with public transport. I must say it’s a best area to stay in Graz.
I have stayed twice in Greisplatz near the Mur River (around 10 mins walk to the river and 20 mins walk or direct bus for less than 5 mins to Old town).
The area is quite crowded with lots of options to eat and plenty of Donner kebab shops and grocery stores.
The area is highly accessible with public transport and around 1.5 km from main railway station. But I don’t like this place much for staying as its not very safe. There are also few clubs and party places nearby in the area.
Food Options in Graz:
There are lots of Donner options but my favorite is Kappadocia near Jakominiplatz. The prices of the food is relatively cheaper than Germany.
To experience the Austrian Cuisine and the food of one of the best culinary in Europe, I would highly suggest the best restaurant of Graz that’s Nullneun. You will be totally lost in the delicious food.
For the best burger in town, I would suggest Burger Joint and try their beef burger. Don’t forget to try best ice cream in Graz from the ice-cream parlor next to Backwerk near HauptPlatz.
Local Transport in Graz:
The best thing is the local transport in Graz is highly convenient. The best way to explore Graz is with their local transport as you get the glimpse of locals. You can access all over the city with their trams, S bahn and buses.
You can either buy a day ticket for € 5 or 72 hour ticket for € 10.90 or weekly ticket for € 15.50 to travel as much as you want on the local transport within the city.
You can use local transport within the Innenstadt for free. You can easily buy the ticket on any of the tram station, main train station or ticket machine inside the tram.
Google Maps are not integrated with the local transport so it’s impossible to find the local transport on google maps. I would suggest to use the local transportation app called BusBahnBim.
From traditional Austrian cuisine to fashion streets to un-matched history and plenty of leisure activities, Graz is a must visit city and should be in the "Things to do in Europe" list of every tourist and traveller.
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