Graz, in the heart of Europe.
January 1, 1970
by Denisse García
From where could I start? Graz is the capital of the federal state of Styria and it is the second largest city in Austria after Vienna. It is located on the Mur River in the southeast of Austria. Graz is an alpine town with very pleasant summers. Temperatures range between 20 and 25 degrees and hardly overcome this barrier. The winter is hard, because it snows and temperatures tend to go below zero.I wanted that my first post was about the place where I had the best experience ever. I have stayed there for five months during my bachelor studies and I can say that Graz is one of the most organized and clean cities I have been, I always felt safe, it is like a miracle city.
I met not only locals but people from all over the world, Graz is known as a student city so you will find people from different places. One-fifth of the more than two hundred thousand people of Graz are students. Every Wednesday, international and local students gather in The Office Pub located on Trauttmansdorffgasse 3 to have a beer, play games and share with friends.
Where to go?
The Old Town
The old town, a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1999, is full of exquisite architecture. It is easy to walk and impossible to get lost. You can take a tour of one day if you want to see the essentials and some more if you want to roam around and walk the trails. It is full of shops, hotels, bars and restaurants.
You can take a walk through the Herrengasse, the main shopping street of the city, an avenue where we find the most international stores, accompanied by local businesses and where the tram passes through. There is the Sporgasse as well, one of the most beautiful and picturesque streets in Graz. Born in the Hauptplatz and it has many shops of all kinds. In winter, at the end of the street there is an ice skating rink. There is another pleasant street to walk called Sackstrasse.
The entire historic center of Graz is worthwhile, even if only to stroll through its streets and window shopping or enjoy coffee or tea in any small bar. As you stroll look up and enjoy the facades of its buildings, some are impressive.
The Schlossberg is a wonderful place where you can see the city from the heights. You can get there by the incredible and beautiful stairs in a zigzag pattern called Kriegssteig or you can pay to use the lift or the funicular (Schlossbergbahn). The name of the hill Schlossberg, refers to the castle or fortress that was there since the eleventh century and was sent to destroy when Napoleon occupied the city in 1809. This park contains the Clock tower, a Belfry, a cistern (Türkenbrunnen) and two bastions from the ancient castle. It also has a restaurant with a beautiful view over the old town, the food is delicious and the service is excellent.
Graz, seen from the heights, offers a sea of red roofs, instead of the cold Nordic slate. And a social life that is more reminiscent of a Mediterranean population.
In the Schlossberg, you can find the Uhrturm (the clock tower) which is the true symbol of the city. Tradition has it that lovers of Graz should give the first kiss in the shadow of this tower, but I did not find any couple doing it.
The Stadtpark is one of the best places to be in Graz when it is sunny. It is also the best place to relax, so grab your blanket, books, snacks and go to the park to enjoy the nice weather. It is perfect to go and have fun with family and friends, to have picnics, to walk with your dog, to play and to do sports.
In this park, you can find winding paths, a Café, a fountain, a moat with ducks, play areas and meadows.
Its facade is impressive, with a beautiful front door and towers at the four corners that give a majestic air. Several sculptures decorate the garden, in particular, the area that is right in front of the castle. You can walk around the garden and enjoy the nice little lakes and various turkeys, which appear to be the true guardians of the space.
I recommend taking the guided tour, it takes about ninety minutes. The variety and perspective of the history of this castle is fantastic. There is a lot to see, from paintings to furniture decoration. If you only want to see the gardens, you just have to pay €2.
It is as beautiful as the opera in Vienna, but smaller. There are performances at a reasonable prices and the orchestra is excellent. Also you can have a good view of the city from the top floor.
This is an impressive basilica and one of the great attractions of Graz, both artistic and religious. The exterior is not so impressive but the interior is amazing, definitely worth a visit. It is not in the city center, but it is super easy to find, you just have to take tram number one in the direction of Mariatrost and then you have to take the stairs. The view over the city from the top is awesome.
Murinsel (Island in the Mur)
It is an artificial island located in the city center which currently has a restaurant and a café with terrace. It does not have the best service, but it has an interesting structure and it is different.
Besides quick restaurants and multiple shops, you can find a central tram station, here you can switch from one to another and buses are also here.
Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II
The interior is beautiful, full of ancient decorations. You can also climb the tower and enjoy the view of Graz.
Gösting is a very nice place if you want to go for a walk or run. Awesome view of Graz from there. I highly recommend everyone going to the city to make some time to visit this place. It is also easy to get there by bus, you can take bus number 40 in the direction of Gösting and it will take you to the foot of the hill.
It has a nice and different structure, especially at night when it is illuminated. On the ground floor there is a bar and an interesting gift shop.
The impressive double spiral staircase is located inside the building of the Governor near the city center.
The square is known by the carillon that gives it its name and brings tourists each day at 11:00 am, 15:00 pm and at 18:00 pm. The bells begin to play the melodic melody and two figures go out on both front doors. Specifically, it is a couple dancing in the traditional costumes of Styria. The carillon of Graz is one of the symbols of the city. It plays three times a day, but it is not always the same.
If you are interested in the XVI to XIX century weapons, you are going to like this place. The museum has an impressive amount of them, but they are not exposed attractively.
Let’s talk about public Transportation
The quality of public transport in Austria in general is excellent, you can get around quickly and dependably with trams or busses. Graz has 6 tram lines and 24 bus lines as well as 8 night bus lines. The ticket prices (full- prices) are:
- Hourly: €2.20.
- 24- hour: €5.00.
- Weekly: €14.20.
- Monthly: €47.10.
- 6 month: €241.00.
- 12-month: €416.00.
If you are a student, you can get student pass that is valid for the entire Styrian network region:
- 4-month: €115.90.
- 5-month: €144.80.
- 6-month: €173.80.
There is also a Graz 3-day ticket ideal for tourists. With this ticket you can use all public transport, including the Schlossberg funicular. In addition, you qualify for discounted tickets to certain touristic places. Two children up to the age of 15 travel for free.
Tip: In summer, children up to the age of 15 travel for free.
You can find a timetable + a route planner in this link: http://verkehrsauskunft.verbundlinie.at/bin/query.exe/en?ld=std&L=vs_stvg
But the best means of transport for getting around town is the bicycle, the rent is very cheap. You will see a lot of people riding bikes.
The typical food of the region means not only pleasure, but also identity and roots. The gastronomic specialties are, therefore, a true symbol of the country and its regions, and at the same time, reveal its soul and open mind. Austrian cuisine specializes in charcuterie products such as sausages and pastry elaborations. It has been influenced by neighboring countries such as Italy, Czech Republic and Hungary. In this city’s gastronomy, we can find: Schnitzel, Knödel, Pfandl, Sacher torte, Apfelstrudel and Linz cake.
Some of the restaurants I recommend are:
- Glockl Brau.
- Der Steirer.
- El Gaucho.
- Bausatzlokale (Area5, Continuum, Bier Baron, Sägewerk).
- Die Herzl.
- Cafe Sacher.
- Brot & Spiele.
- La Meskla.
- Martin Auer.
- Cafe Sorger.
- Granola Company.
As they say: “Home is where your heart is” and Graz…YOU STOLE MY HEART!