Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Graz (Austria), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Uhrturm, a clock tower situated on a hilltop, is definitely one of the most recognizable landmarks in Graz. What makes it so special is its large roof and clock face giving it a uniquely romantic and charming look.
Many people visit the clock tower not just because of the tower itself but because it is situated in the beautiful Schlosspark, one of the nicest in the city. The Uhrturm also doubles as a bell tower and features several large bells.
Graz offers history-lovers a special attraction, the Styrian Armoury. What makes it so interesting is that it is considered the world’s oldest armory holding more than 32,000 weapons, tools, and battle suits.
The Styrian Armoury once served to equip the forces fighting the Ottoman Empire and is today a major tourist attraction.
Landeszeughaus is located only a few steps away from the Hauptplatz and can easily be reached on foot when visiting some of the other sights of central Graz. Keep in mind that the armory is closed on Monday.
Schloss Eggenberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been perfectly conserved over the last centuries allowing visitors a glimpse of the luxurious past of Austria’s royal residences.
The highlight of Schloss Eggenberg is the so-called Planetary Room which was built in the 17th century and features unbelievably luxurious chandeliers and wall decorations.
Some of the paintings found here are of immense cultural value. The Schloss is located on the city’s western outskirts and is surrounded by a beautifully maintained garden. There are few better places in Austria than Schloss Eggenberg if you are eager to dive into Europe’s royal past.
The Doppelwendeltreppe is a very unique architectural site located in the Burg of Graz (the city’s main castle). At first sight, these unique staircases almost seem like an optical illusion but they are very much real.
They consist of two separate staircases that briefly merge on each floor before parting ways again. These double spiral staircases were built in the 15th century and were a real engineering marvel in this era. The site is open to the public and very much worth checking out.
The Basilika Mariatrost is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Austria and is considered one of the religious highlights of Graz and a symbol of Christianity.
It is located on Purberg Hill reaching 469 m above sea level and offers a great panorama of the surrounding villages and forests. The Basilika was constructed in the 18th century and was built in a Baroque style of architecture, featuring two 61 m tall towers and a dome.
Particularly beautiful is the basilica’s interior as it not only features a beautiful altar including a statue of the Madonna but also fantastic furnishings and ceiling frescoes.
Kunsthaus Graz is often called the ”friendly alien” due to its incredible architecture and offers one of the best art galleries in the country. The building housing the exhibitions is so unique and different from the rest of this mostly traditional city that everyone will immediately notice it when coming to Graz.
The Kunsthaus is focused on modern and contemporary art and offers space for new artistic fields such as internet art. What makes this art gallery unique is that it does not offer a permanent exhibition, all the works presented here are temporary.
This art museum is aiming to present modern artists to the world, allowing them a stage to display their art, making it one of the best places to visit in Graz for culture and architecture.
The Thaler See is one of the most popular recreational areas outside Graz and offers not just a picturesque lake but also fantastic lush forests with kilometers of hiking and cycling trails, ideally suited for visitors in search of some exercise and nature.
Even though the lake isn’t perfectly suited for swimming there are plenty of rest spots situated around it that invite for some relaxation at the water. If you are hungry you can visit the local restaurant and enjoy some local food on their lake-view terrace.
Murinsel is another extraordinary architectural masterpiece found in Graz. This artificial structure is situated on the Mur River and is connected to both river banks by short footbridges.
The Murinsel was designed by an American artist and was inaugurated in 2003 when Graz was named the “European Capital of Culture”.
This site doesn’t only serve as an elaborate bridge crossing the river but also houses an amphitheater, a playground, and a lovely café. Perfect for some relaxation while going sightseeing around the city.
Altstadt von Graz
The Old Town of Graz is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most beautiful historic city centers in all of Central Europe. If you’re looking for the best view on the Altstadt, it can be had from the Schlossberg which allows a fantastic 360° view over Graz.
The romantic city streets make anyone feel like traveling back in time to the Medieval era as they are filled with fantastic Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Needless to say, there are many churches and historical landmarks to be found here that are worth exploring. Many of the streets of the Altstadt have been turned into pedestrian zones and are ideally suited for exploring on foot.
Herz Jesu Kirche
The Herz-Jesu-Kirche is the largest church in Graz and was built at the end of the 19th century by a local architect called Georg Hauberrisser.
It is built in a Neogothic style and a 110 m tall tower that can be seen from many points in the city. Not only that, but it is also the third-highest church tower in all of Austria.
The interior of the church is known for its beautiful stained glass windows and its beautiful altar.
The Schlossberg is arguably the most scenic spot in all of Graz and is one of the absolute must-visits when coming to this part of Austria. It is located right in the historic Altstadt and offers a great panorama.
Not only that, but it is also very green and lush and features the famous Uhrturm as well as beautiful footpaths leading along with romantic little sites like a Chinese Pavillion, the bell tower Liesl and an open-air theater.
Getting to Schlossberg is very easy, there is an elevator located near Murinsel that brings visitors up the mountain without breaking a sweat. Of course, you can also walk instead, there are many marked trails.
The Glockenspiel is an interesting mechanism that comes alive three times a day at 11 am, 3 pm, and 6 pm. It features a dance of a young boy and a girl dressed in traditional costumes.
There are 24 bells playing a cheerful melody, enchanting not only the dancing couple but also all the viewers standing beneath. This very charming site can be found at the Glockenspielplatz which is part of the city’s famous Altstadt.
Graz offers a great opera house for fans of classical music, the so-called Oper Graz. Operas have been performed in the city since the 17th century and this centuries-old tradition is still alive and well and many great operas are performed here throughout the year.
Thanks to the reconstruction after the Second World War and many renovation efforts in the last decades the venue offers fantastic acoustics, comfortable seating, and an elegant atmosphere, perfect for people planning to spend an elegant night out in Graz.
The Kaiser-Josef-Platz is home to a fantastic farmer’s market that takes place here from Monday to Saturday. Many fantastic products are sold here including vegetables grown in the local countryside, as well as local meat, bread, and cheese.
The market is also a great place to experience the local culture as many of the farmers came here themselves to proudly sell their products.
Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten)
Botanischer Garten in Graz is a great place for nature-lovers in search of tranquility and beautiful surroundings. The gardens measure a fantastic 2.8 hectares of greenery including 3,500 variations of 200 species.
There is also a greenhouse found here that offers plants of different climate zones including tropical species and plants from subtropical climates. The Botanical Gardens are also used as a research facility for the local university.
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