Graz is called Austria’s Capital of Culinary Delights because it is surrounded by farmland and vineyards that supply some of the world’s best produce for its farmers’ markets and superb restaurants.
The historic city in the southern region of Styria is Austria’s second largest city and one of the country’s best places to visit, especially for foodies, history buffs, and nature lovers. With great food, stunning views and medieval charm there’s plenty to do in the city, from exploring the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to hitting the design stores and hip coffee shops.
You can spend as much time as you want in Graz, but to capture the spirit of the place, allow yourself at least two days to explore some of these gems.
Top of the town
Graz is striking from all angles, but the best views are from above. There’s no better place to start your exploration of Graz than on top of Schlossberg, a tree-covered hill in the city centre. Take the funicular (or the elevator) up to Schlossberg’s southern ridge enjoy the incredible panorama over Graz’s historic centre.
Walk over to Graz’s landmark – the Uhrturm, the 28-metre high clocktower that used to be part of a sprawling castle before it was destroyed by Napoleon. While you are there don’t miss Aiola Upstairs, a modern eatery with an acclaimed menu and views over the city.
For the History Buffs
It is not by chance that Graz is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Since the Middle Ages, the unique and well-preserved architectural styles spanning from Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Art Nouveau and, of course, the modern, have created a stunning cityscape with plenty to explore. Cultural institutions to visit include the neo-baroque Graz Opera House, Austria’s oldest museum Universalmuseum Joanneum and Schauspielhaus theatre Graz.
Graz is also home to the world’s largest historical armoury with around 32,000 objects. The collection of arms is still housed in the original 17th-century mansion on Herrengasse, Graz’s main shopping street. Inside, you will find rows of shining suits, chainmail, daggers, swords, cannons, and even a body of armour for a warhorse. After spending an hour or two in this metallic time capsule, anyone will be ready to storm a medieval fortress.
Back to Nature
Just outside the city, there’s plenty for nature lovers to explore. Narrow gorges and gullies, fresh streams and waterfalls, spectacular trails, breathtaking mountain views and Austria’s largest dripstone cave provide endless options for exploration. Within the city there are numerous parks and gardens perfect for picnics and a relaxing stroll.
The river Mur divides Graz into an East and a West bank. The West Bank is home to artsy, up-and-coming neighbourhoods like Lend and Gries, where you’ll find design stores and hip coffee shops.
Closest to the city centre is Mariahilferstrasse, a shopping street for quirky souvenirs and great people-watching. Stop in at Paul & Bohne, which caters to coffee connoisseurs, students, and young creative types. Nearby Kwirl features products by local designers with a sustainable slant.
5 Foodie Delights
Food markets, cafés, bars and restaurants abound in Graz, but here are five not to be missed.
- Der Steirer for fresh and fabulous local tapas
- Hofbäckerei is a former Imperial bakery founded in 1569, with a breath-taking, carved wood entryway and delicious pastries.
- Landhauskeller for refined Austrian cooking like Tafelspitz (prime boiled beef) and a local fillet of trout.
- Dreizehn by Gauster is located at Franziskanerplatz, one of Graz’s most charming squares. The mixture of a high-standard restaurant and a cool bar on the square makes 13 a ‘place to eat’ in Graz.
- Cafe Promenade is beautifully set below an alley of chestnut trees, inside a park pavilion. The menu mixes Styrian comfort food with modern international flavours.
Plan your trip
For inspiration on planning your trip go to austria.info/en/austria-s-beauty-secrets/graz
Find out where to stay at austria.info/en/where-to-stay/austria-hotel-collection
The best way to explore Austria is by train. For more information go to austria.info/en/austria-s-beauty-secrets/explore-austria-with-oebb