Meet the Austrian city of Graz.
Graz (Austria) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Graz with descriptions, travel guides and maps.
City of Graz (Austria)
Graz is a city in southeastern Austria, the capital of Styria. It is the second most populous city in the country after Vienna. Graz boasts one of the best preserved historical centers in Europe, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is filled with grandiose baroque buildings and interesting sights. A large hill, the Schlossberg, towers over the picturesque Altstadt. Many of the surviving historic buildings are influenced by Italian architectural styles. And Graz itself is an important cultural, educational and scientific center of Europe.
Things to do (Graz):
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Stroll through the center of majestic Graz
Extensive sightseeing tour with a professional guide to the main attractions
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Get to know Graz!
Take in the sights and history of Austria’s second-largest city!
Geography and climate
Graz is located on the river Mura, 200 km south-west of Vienna, near the Slovenian border and 50 km from Slovenian Maribor. The climate is temperate. Because of its location, south-east of the Alps, Graz is protected from the cold west and north winds. It is much warmer than the rest of Austria and has more sunny days.
View of Graz
- Population – 280 thousand people.
- Area – 127.56 square kilometers.
- Language: German.
- Currency – Euro.
- Visa – Schengen.
- Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
- The Tourist Information Center is located at Herrengasse, 16.
The roots of Graz go back to the Roman past. The Romans built a small fort at what is now the old town. In the Middle Ages, the Slovenes built a larger fortress. The name “Graz” comes from the Slovenian word “gradec”, which means a small castle.
Panorama of Graz
Graz was first mentioned in 1128, when the dukes of Babenberg turned this place into a major trading town. In the 15th century, under the Habsburgs, the city became the capital of Inner Austria. In the 16th century, Graz was repeatedly attacked by the Turks. Although the fortress located on the Schlossberg was never taken. During World War II, the city was liberated by Soviet troops and was virtually unaffected by bombing.
How to get there
Graz Airport is 9 km to the south of the city center. It is connected by regular flights to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Munich, Stuttgart, and Zurich. From the airport to the center you can take bus 630, 631 and train S5.
The main station (Hauptbahnhof) is located on the western edge of the historic center. Direct trains go to Graz from Vienna, Salzburg, Zurich, Zagreb and Budapest. Near the city pass the freeways A9 and A2.
Don’t forget to buy a bottle of Kernöl (pumpkin seed oil). This oil is typical of Styria and has a unique and pleasant taste. It can be purchased at Kaiser-Josef-Platz, Lendplatz.
The most important shopping street of Graz is Herrengasse. Many stores are located in Mariahilferstraße, Schmiedgasse, Sporgasse. The City Park shopping center is located on the southwestern edge of the center of Graz. Large shopping centers outside the historic center: Shopping City Seiersberg (can be reached by bus 78) and Murpark (streetcar line 4).
Christmas market in Graz
Typical Styrian cuisine is a mixture of Austrian cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Typical dishes: Pumpkin soup, Styrian chicken breast with corn, yogurt with herb sauce, anise cookies, Styrian-style chicken breaded with herbs, walnut roll, smoked trout in tartar sauce, Kipferl with pumpkin seeds, trout with riesling wine, fried apple rings, beef fillet with mashed potatoes and celery, pumpkin cream with vegetables, beef steak with beans.
View of Graz
The Old Town (Altstadt) of Graz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains many medieval houses and Italian Renaissance buildings, secret courtyards and narrow streets. The main square – Hauptplatz, is located on the left bank of the river Mure. There is a statue of Archduke Johann.
Main square in winter
On Hauptplatz is the town hall, built in the late 19th century, the historic 17th-century Luegg House with its attractive arcaded façade and stucco decorations.
West of the main square is the Gothic Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche), known for its tall 17th-century west tower and a late Gothic nave with a ribbed vaulted ceiling. The Herrengasse pedestrian area with its many beautiful old mansions, including the beautiful and picturesque Gemaltes Haus with frescoes from the 18th century, is a must for a stroll.
The clock tower on Schlossberg
Schlossberg (“Castle Mountain”) is one of Graz’s most popular landmarks, offering stunning views of the old city. The massive medieval fortifications were mostly dismantled after the Treaty of Vienna in 1809. Only the old Tower with the 13th-century clock survived.
The hill has a height of 473 meters. You can climb it by cable car. There are several other sights here as well: the 94-meter Turkish well (Türkenbrunnen) and the 35-meter bell tower (Glockenturm) from 1588 with an eight-ton bell.
The Styrian Arsenal (Landeszeughaus) is the largest collection of historical arms in the world. The Armory was created in 1642 and today it is the only arsenal in Europe that is preserved in its original state. It includes over 30,000 exhibits, which cover historical periods from the 15th to the 19th century. Collections include: arms for common soldiers and sophisticated armor sets for the nobility, small arms and accessories, artillery and edged weapons.
The Landhaus is one of the best Renaissance buildings in Austria. It is located in the heart of the old town on Herrengasse. This building with magnificent facade was built in 1565. It has a beautiful arcaded courtyard and Renaissance fountain, luxurious halls and exquisite ceilings.
The Graz Cathedral is a late Gothic church built between 1438-1462 on the site of an earlier religious building. Of particular note is the main portal decorated with the coat of arms of Emperor Frederick III. Remains of a late Gothic fresco from the 15th century can be seen on the southern wall. The interior of the church is Baroque.
Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II and Church of St. Catherine
The mausoleum was built by an Italian architect for Emperor Ferdinand II in 1614. It is one of the first domed structures outside Italy. The interior of the mausoleum is decorated with intricate frescoes. There is also a red marble sarcophagus built for Ferdinand’s mother, Maria of Bavaria.
The Basilica Mariatrost (Birth of the Virgin Mary) is a beautiful baroque basilica located on top of a hill. It has a beautiful Baroque interior, an impressive altar and frescoes. The basilica offers a stunning view of the surrounding area.
Church of the Sacred Heart
The Church of the Sacred Heart is a neo-Gothic church built in 1887. It is the largest religious building in Graz and has the third largest church tower in Austria (109.6 m) as well as stunning stained glass windows.
Eggenberg is a stunning 1635 baroque palace with four towers in the corners, located three kilometers west of the city center. It was built on the site of an ancient medieval castle from the 13th century. Inside you can view more than 600 magnificent works of art, including a lapidarium with one of the largest collections of Roman stones in Austria, a coin collection and a gallery with works from the Romanesque period and the late Baroque.
The Kunsthaus is a contemporary art museum housed in a stunning, innovative building.
Murinsel is an artificial island built of steel in 2003. The middle part consists of a unique amphitheater used for concerts and other events, as well as a cafe and a playground with a rope maze.
Meet the Austrian city of Graz.
Photo: Zdenek Matyas Photography / Shutterstock.com
Graz is a cozy city in Austria with a well-preserved UNESCO-listed historic center. Its streets are a mix of architectural styles from different eras: walking around the city, you can feel the movement of time.
On the scale of Graz is second only to Vienna: the city has about 270 thousand people. Graz is situated in Styria in the southeastern part of Austria.
In times of the Roman Empire, there was a small fleet on the site of the city, and in the Middle Ages, it belonged to the Slovenes, who built a large castle here. Graz acquired major commercial importance in the 12th century.
Despite repeated Turkish attacks in the 16th century, it was never conquered. During World War II, the sights were almost unaffected by bombing.
You can plan a trip to Graz at any time of year. Especially favorable weather in the summer, when the temperature stays around +20 degrees. May and September are also quite warm: the average temperature is about +14 degrees.
However, be prepared for a lot of rain in the summer months: the overwhelming amount of precipitation falls in June and July.
Photo: canadastock / Shutterstock.com
But starting in October, it gets colder – up to +8 degrees Celsius. During the winter months the temperature drops to zero degrees: the coldest month is January.
How to get to Graz
Most tourists get to Graz from Vienna: you can fly, take a train or a bus. Austrian airlines operates direct flights from Vienna’s Schwechat Airport: you will spend about 35 minutes in flight. The ticket price starts at 120 Euros.
There are also direct flights from many German cities such as Dusseldorf, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.
See the actual flight schedule and ticket prices on Aviasales.ru.
If you are traveling from Vienna, you can get cheaper by bus or train. In the first case you can reach Vienna in about 2 hours and 15 minutes and the ticket price is about 9 Euro.
By high-speed train Railjet you will spend on the way about 2 hours and 35 minutes, the ticket costs also from 9 Euro.
Read more in a separate article about how to get from Vienna to Graz.
How to get from Graz airport to the city
Graz-Thalerhof Airport (Flughafen Graz-Thalerhof) is located about 10 km southeast of Graz.
You can get to the city center (stop Jakominiplatz) by bus № 630, 631.
Alternatively, you can take the train S5 on the line Spielfeld-Straß. Graz-Feldkirchen railway station is about 5 minutes walk from the terminal. It takes about 12 minutes to get to the main station.
The ticket price for these buses and trains is 2.50 euros (fare zone 101).
For more information, visit the official Graz Airport website at www.flughafen-graz.at/home.html.
Graz’s main railway station (Hauptbahnhof) is located on the outskirts of the historic part on the west side.
Trains to Salzburg go directly from here (the trip by high-speed train EC or IC takes about 4 hours, ticket price starts at 19 euros), Vienna and other cities.
How to get from Graz to other cities
Read more about how to get from Graz by bus or train to other cities in Austria and Europe in the separate articles:
Graz public transport
In the historical part of the city it is convenient to travel on foot: the sights are close, the streets are very beautiful and atmospheric. However, it is better to get to other areas by public transport.
Information about transportation and fares is as of 2022. Check the schedules and prices on the official websites of the carriers.
Buses and streetcars
There are 24 lines of buses and 6 lines of streetcars in Graz. In addition, there are 8 lines of night buses.
Photo: xbrchx / Shutterstock.com
The main transfer hub is Jakominiplatz: buses from the airport arrive there.
By the way, between Jakominiplatz and Hauptplatz you can ride for free (plus one stop in either direction to Schlossbergplatz or Kunsthaus). It is valid for streetcar lines number 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 26. Free stop can be recognized by a special sticker.
Types of tickets for public transportation
Buses and streetcars have single tickets in the fare zone 101, which also covers the airport and the Schlossbergbahn (Schlossbergbahn) cable car.
The ticket prices are:
- single fare – 2.50 Euro, valid for one hour;
- For 24 hours – 5,50 euros;
- for 72 hours – 12,90 euros
- for a week – 16,30 euro;
- 10 rides – 21 Euro.
One-hour and 24-hour tickets are available from bus drivers and on streetcars. Tickets are also available from vending machines at the main train station and from tobacco stores (Tabak/Trafik).
Check the official website for information at www.graztourismus.at/en.
Rent a car in Graz
If you plan to visit not only Graz, but also other cities in Austria, it is worth renting a car. Then you can plan your own route without having to adjust to the schedule of public transport.
In order not to worry on the spot, you can compare prices and rent a car in advance on the Russian-speaking website Rentalcars.com.
In Graz, it is worth visiting the famous castles – Eggenberg (Schloss Eggenberg), Graz Castle (Grazer Burg), as well as look at the Cathedral, the Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II, Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) and many others.
Photo: Valerian Alecsa / Shutterstock.com
Don’t forget to take one look around the city from the observation deck of the ancient Clock Tower, located on the mountain.
Enjoy the architecture of the Altstadt: Gothic style buildings alternate with Renaissance houses. The streets are often narrow, with many secret courtyards. The town hall is located on the main square (Hauptplatz) on the left bank of the river Mure.
Photo: Boerescu / Shutterstock.com
By the way, on this river is built an amazing bridge Murinsel (Murinsel) in the style of high-tech, which is a platform in the form of a seashell. This work of modern art is a must-see! Especially interesting look bridge at night when lit up.
Photo: canadastock / Shutterstock.com
In 2003, the city was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture.
What to Try in Restaurants and Cafes
In Graz, the roasted chestnuts (maroni), which are sold in paper rolls, are worth a try. The traditional dishes are, as in the whole of Austria, the meat dishes: schnitzel, boiled beef tafelspitz, various sausages, frankfurters and others.
For dessert you should certainly order the famous apple strudel. Also very popular is the kaiserschmarrn omelette with sugar, raisins and cinnamon.
Most stores and boutiques are concentrated on Herrengasse, a street in the center of the city.
Major shopping centers are Kastner+Öhler on Sackstraße 7-13 and Citypark Graz on Lazarettgürtel 55. Shopping Nord Graz, Center West Graz and Murpark Graz are further afield.
How to save on hotel expenses in Graz
The main rule is to book a hotel in Graz in advance, while there are many good deals. It is convenient to do on the Russian-language website Ostrovok.ru.
For quick search there are filters: by rating, reviews, price, accommodation type, facilities in the room, region and more. On the map on the right you can see where the hotel is located. Among other things, there are hostels and apartments.