Graz, the second largest city in Austria is often overlooked for smaller Austrian towns like Salzburg, Innsbruck, or Hallstatt. The city of Graz is a great combination of old and new Austria. With one of the best preserved historic town in Europe and four universities, Graz offers both a glimpse into the past and new, innovative cultural life. The historic centre of Graz which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with cobblestone streets, tall pastel-colored buildings and several squares. It also houses tons of art shops, design store and trendy restaurants. It is designated as the UNESCO City of Design and awarded as the European Capital of Culture. If you are seeking for an easy trip, don’t overlook Graz. It is just two hours from Vienna. Come for once and you will be amazed at its charm and how family friendly it is. Here are ten attractions that are not to be missed.
Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old town of Graz offers the impressive historical architecture. The pedestrian-friendly Old Town that full with secret courtyards and narrow cobblestone alleyways is worthy of praise. Strolling around this historical town is a complete escape from reality.
The Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus)
The Styrian Armoury on Graz’s Herrengasse used to be a home to provincial arsenal. Now it displays the collection of well-preserved 17th-century arms and armour consisting of armours, helmets, weapons, as well as early muskets and pistols. It is told that all the armours here can fully equip and arm up to 28,000 men.
The Landhaus and Courtyard
In the centre of the Old Town, the majestic Landhaus which is a home to the Styrian provincial government located in. This Renaissance style building is widely regarded as one of the finest building in Austria. Entering through the magnificent main facade, you will end up in the elegant arcaded courtyard with three-storied pergolas on both sides and a charming Renaissance fountain. Inside of the Landhaus, you will spot the splendid Knights’ Hall with alluring stucco ceiling.
Graz Cathedral is built during the reign of Emperor Frederick III and is the third highest Austrian Cathedral. Entering the main doorway, you will see the coat of arms of Emperor Frederick III. On the south external wall, there’re the remains of a Late Gothic fresco called Landplagenbild. Inside of the cathedral is decorated in impressive Baroque style.
Schlossberg and the Clock Tower
Schlossberg is a 473-metre-tall hill rising above the Old Town. You can ascend it by funicular railway or a 20-minute walk. The top of the hill houses the superb 28-metre-tall clock tower named Uhrturm. It is one of the landmarks in Graz city. Apart from the clock tower, Schlossberg also home Türkenbrunnen which is the 94-metre-deep Turkish Well, Glockenturm, the 35-metre-tall Belfry and a miniature railroad for kids.
At the top of the hill on the west of Graz’s city centre, there’s spellbinding Baroque palace named Eggenberg Palace. It has four large towers, fine state apartments and rich Rococo fittings. The highlights are the inside walls and ceilings of the banqueting hall which is the masterpiece of Baroque architecture. The ceiling is painted with more than 600 superb works including the signs of the zodiac and the planetary system.
Graz Art Museum
The modern Graz Art Museum was built to be a testament to Graz’s reputation as the European City of Culture. The gallery host several works of contemporary art of the mid-20th century from around the world. Don’t miss the museum at night when the lights are on.
Built to grant the role of the Capital of Culture in Europe, Murinsel is another landmark that you should not miss. It is a large upside-down seashell made of steel and floating in the middle of the River Mur. It is used for concerts and other events as well as a playground for kids.
The Municipal Park
Don’t forget to visit the Graz Stadtpark of the Municipal Park which is one of the city’s most significant parks. The centerpiece of the park is the Emperor Franz Joseph Fountain beseiged by the well-known figures of important Austrian personalities. It is where locals hang out and play.
It is another important park in Graz city located in the city’s poshest residential area. At the garden, you will see the modern greenhouse, exotic flora and vegetation blooming in four different climatic zones consisting of tropical, Mediterranean, temperate and alpine.