“Graz is a
pleasant little city – perfect for a long weekend. I went before
Christmas, so I was able to experience several bustling Christmas
I only looked around
the pedestrianized downtown, breaking up my stroll with meals in
vegan restaurants (Greenhouse, Erde) and pleasant coffee houses
(Buna, Tribeka) as well as the mulled wine stands at the markets.
The bus dropped be
off at the station (Europaplatz) and from there it was a 15-20-minute
walk to the city center. Maps and travel
guides can be found in the tourist information office – the travel
guide recommended three walks, and gives short but good descriptions
of the sights along the way.
the banks of the Mura, the river which runs through the city, is the
Schlossberg, or castle hill – I went up by funicular railway, but
there’s also a lift that takes you up inside the cliff. The view
from the top is beautiful. On the way back down I took the steps. For
the funicular railway you have to buy a public transport ticket
you one hour’s unlimited travel on any means of public transport).
There’s also a 24-hour travel pass, but given that you can walk
everywhere, it probably isn’t worth it. There are many attractive
buildings in the city, including the city hall and several palaces,
but even many ordinary residential buildings have been very
attractively restored. There were a lot of tourists, as both
Austrians and foreigners travel here for the many Christmas markets
and the beautifully illuminated city. I heard a lot of Hungarian and
Italian. The locals also seem to enjoy visiting the markets, where
there are also concerts in the evening and on weekends.
The market on
Kaiser-Josef-Platz was a little disappointing, as there wasn’t much
on sale (apparently on Fridays and Saturdays it’s very popular) but
at least I was able to buy some famous Graz pumpkin-seed oil.
The tram between the
main square and Kaiser-Joseph-Platz is free (one stop) and if it’s
very cold, it’s worth stopping in at the K&Ö department store,
which is right in the heart of the city and well heated.
The modern building
on the banks of the Mura is the “friendly extraterrestrial” and
houses a museum (Kunsthaus Graz). Though it hardly blends into its
surroundings, somehow it still manages to look good.
consider Graz a ‘spectacular’ destination, but it’s a very
pleasant, friendly place, with plenty
of people from all corners of the world, as well as locals, of
course. There are lots of students, too. A little taste of western
democratic culture. Because of the cold I didn’t venture much
beyond the old town, but the surrounding countryside is apparently
also very beautiful.” (Kathy, 2016)