The incredible variety of impressive sights make Graz, as a destination for a city trip, really recommendable. Next to Vienna and Salzburg, Graz is definitely one of the most important cities in Austria! Especially the extremely charming historic old town, with the famous clock tower as a landmark, inspires visitors from all over the world. But not only that, this UNESCO World Heritage city has much more to offer. Numerous sights such as interesting museums, beautiful castles, palaces and churches, but also modern architectural structures can be explored in Graz. In addition, there is a huge selection of hip pubs, cool scene bars and top restaurants, which provide for the culinary well-being and the legendary Graz nightlife.
Tip 1: Murinsel
The Murinsel is somewhat reminiscent of a UFO parked in the river with two gangways extending toward the shore. In any case, you won’t find any aliens on board the floating construction made of steel and glass, but rather a handful of earthly people who treat themselves to a cake in the café, browse through the products of Graz artists and designers in the store, or simply enjoy the view of the water rushing past the island. Events also take place on the Murinsel from time to time – in good weather in the open-air amphitheater, in bad weather in the Murinsel Café. For all that the artificial island has to offer, however, it does not outstrip the Schlossberg as the actual landmark of the Styrian capital. Old and new coexist peacefully.
A visit is also worthwhile in the evening: then you can enjoy the cool light installations that bathe the Murinsel in colorful light and whose effect is enhanced by reflections in the water.
Tip 2: Graz Kunsthaus
The Graz Kunsthaus (Graz Art Museum) is one of the top sights in Graz. Hardly any tourist leaves the city without having taken a look at the imposing building. The “Blue Bubble” was built as part of the Capital of Culture Year 2003 and is an architectural landmark of Graz. The roof dress consists of blue, transparent Plexiglas, with cone-shaped cusps.
The Kunsthaus is connected to the facade of the “Iron House” built in 1847. It is also called “Friendly Alien” by its creators, British architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier.
The Kunsthaus Graz has a total of 11,100m² of floor space. The exhibition program covers contemporary art of the last five decades and is part of the Universal Museum Joanneum.
The Kunsthaus at night, comes very close to an alien invasion, with a spaceship. Visually, the landing at night of the spaceship, ”Friendly Alien”, is an extraordinary experience. Through the BIX media facade of 930 fluorescent lamps, a fantastic matrix is created.
Every year, the Kunsthaus Graz is visited by thousands of tourists and is one of the most mentioned Graz attractions on the web.
Tip 3: Eggenberg Palace
Eggenberg Palace in Graz is the largest and most important Baroque palace complex in Styria and, with its preserved furnishings, extensive landscaped garden and the collections of the Joanneum Universal Museum housed in the palace, is one of Austria’s most valuable cultural assets. With its history of construction and furnishings, it shows the changes and patronage of what was once the most powerful dynasty in Styria. It was the ancestral seat of the noble Eggenberg family. The castle was added to the existing UNESCO World Heritage Site “Graz Old Town” in an extension in 2010.
The castle is located in the west of the provincial capital Graz. In addition to the historic gardens and visiting the state rooms of the palace, Eggenberg also offers the possibility of visiting other collections: In the north of the palace park is the Planetary Garden and the adjoining Archaeology Museum. The numismatic collection and the Old Gallery are housed in the palace.
Tip 4: Schlossberg
The Schlossberg (Castle Hill) in Graz, where the clock tower is also located, is the absolute heart of the city and certainly the most important sight of Graz. It only takes a few minutes to walk from the old town to the top, and the walk along the Kriegersteig is probably the most beautiful ascent. Many also like to take the famous Schlossbergbahn (cable car) or the elevator to enjoy what is probably the most spectacular view of Graz.
But not only is the view unique. Great attractions such as the clock tower of Graz with the beautiful park, the 34-meter high bell tower, the casemates in the exposed cellars of the former castle captain’s house and the Chinese Pavilion are just a few of the attractions that await you here. In addition, several cafés and restaurants, as well as a beer garden, invite you to enjoy a snack with a panoramic view.
Tip: In just 40 seconds, the Schlossberg slide, the longest indoor slide in Europe, takes you back down to the historic center of the city.
Tip 5: Hauptplatz
Graz’s main square is the center of the old town of Graz and certainly the most beautiful square in the provincial capital. Already laid out in 1160, this historic place still enchants with an extra dose of charm and the many beautiful sights such as the Archduke Johann Fountain Monument. Also really cool are the traditional Graz market stalls, where hearty sausages and delicious organic juices are on offer.
Another important sight on the main square is the magnificent city hall. This structure was built in the early 19th century, with its impressive facade decorated in the late Gothic style. At any time of the year, countless events take place here right in front of the building.
The Christmas market in winter with oversized Advent calendar lighting, the sound light festival in spring, sand sculptures, as well as the Long Table of the Gourmet Capital in summer, are just a few of the highlights.