The second largest city in Austria doesn’t always feel that way. Vienna steals most of the attention, if not all of the attention. Graz is so far to the east that its relations with Austria can seem distant. And while Graz keeps the distance, the Renaissance courtyards and provincial baroque palaces keep travelers inside the city limits. Jump on one of many London flights and visit this exceptional city.
To appreciate the greatness of Graz you better appreciate a good party scene. The lively university city finds great nightlife comes naturally. As you battle the hangover from the night before in Graz, head out to see these must-see sights. Be
Set up above the city, some 473 meters above Graz, Schlossberg constitutes the original fortress that stood here in the days of old. A number of paths snake their way up to it. Your calf muscles will get a work out, but the top is deserving of all of that exercise. In spring, the gardens bloom ever so brightly. The Schlossberg area also holds an open air theater and a bar/restaurant. This is a good spot to pause for a coffee, especially when the rain begins to pour.
Murinsel is Graz’s manmade island, a bridge of sorts. Composed of metal and plastic Mur Island, as it is referred, sits right in the middle of the Mur River. The modern floating landmark even has a café that floats along with it. When the Mur River is a tad angry, Murinsel feels a bit more like an amusement park ride as it bounces with the tides.
A sight so perfect you might walk up to it and pinch it to see if it is real, Schloss Eggenberg rests on the western edges of the city. Created for the Eggenberg dynasty in 1625, the baroque palace invites peacocks and other strange looking birds to roam its grounds. Once you enter the palace, you will realize where the Eggenberg family was coming from. Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg wanted the space to lend a cosmic harmony in its construction. That being said, the floors carry visitors in hierarchical order, starting with everyday life on the ground floor and up to the ideal world on the top.
Schlossberg Cave Railway
For just 20 minutes, the Schlossberg Cave Railway takes you on the longest grotto railway in Europe. The rails lead through fairytale scenes, but it was not always princes and princesses. Many of the tunnels were used as havens from allied bombing during World War II.
If you still aren’t impressed with the underlying beauty of Graz, head to Landhaushof. The Italian Renaissance courtyard features a three-tiered gallery connected by walkways. It is one of the most celebrated examples of Renaissance architecture in Austria.
The City Park
In the middle of the university hustle and bustle is Stadtpark, the city’s largest green space. College students come to lie out here and who can blame them. Surrounding the Stadtpark are loads of cheap places to eat and drink in the area including Propeller Bar. The bar is a sure fire way to meet the masses of international students that come to study in Graz.
The Opera House
While Vienna’s Opera House will always garner more attention, Graz’s Opera House is still the second largest in the country. Within the Opera House, you should catch a performance for many musical talents have been born here.
Figure out Kunsthaus
On the bank of the Mur River, a strange sight presents. Kunsthaus was created under the visions of Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, architects from the UK. Today it is a contemporary art space, but most come to look at the building itself. Spend some time imagining what the “out there” design means.