Abby is a traveller and foodie at heart. With an ever-growing bucket list, Abby has managed to travel to a few countries having adventures from sleeping with friends in caves to relaxing in luxurious hotels.
Austria is a beautiful land with majestic mountains and flowing rivers. So many beautiful cities to see and not enough time! If you’re like me, traveling only on short vacations from work, you can’t afford to spend more than a few days at max in any city. My picks for Austria included Graz, Vienna, Feldkirch and Salzburg; Graz being almost touch-and-go!
Here’s how to make the most of your 24 hours in Austria’s second largest city, Graz!
Where to Stay in Graz
My sister and I got to Graz by Eurail in the afternoon and stayed at the Best Western Plus Amedia Graz which is a 15 minute walk from the city centre or Jakominiplatz. The hotel is reasonably priced and has a tram stop just outside, connecting it to all parts of the city.
We had originally planned on Couchsurfing, but received responses from the Couchsurfers after we had already booked the hotel. There are many options for stays in Graz, including hotels, B&B’s, AirBnb and Couchsurfing, all of which are quite easy to find on the internet.
Getting Around Graz
If you’re not using your own transport, the trams are really useful. They’re free for tourists in certain areas of the city (I think it was Jakominiplatz and Hauptplatz). For the other parts, walking will get you anywhere. That is, except for Eggenberg.
Alternatively, you can buy the 24 hour tram or bus tickets that allows you multiple free rides in specified zones. It’s especially useful, since you are trying to make the most of your 24 hours.
22 Things to do in Graz
While traveling, I’m the type that wants to see as many of the good attractions as possible. In Graz however, you’re racing against time to make sure you get to the attractions while they’re still open. Did I mention, most of the tourist attractions in Graz close by 4:30 pm?
It’s essential to get as much visiting done in the early hours and leave the later hours for fun dinners and walks around town.
Best view of the city
Schlossberg: The Schossberg which literally translates to ‘Castle Moutain’ is a beautiful hilltop that has a view of the entire city. We almost missed it while looking for it on the map, thinking it was a long way ahead. But it turns out, Graz is somewhat smaller than we expected. Shh!
You can either walk 260 steps or take the lift called the Schlossbergbahn to the top, where you have a beautiful view of the Uhrturm, and the remains of a massive fortification that was destroyed by Napoleon.
Clock Tower or Uhrturm: The Uhrturm at the top of the Schlossberg has been striking the hour perfectly since 1712, and with the beautiful green surroundings of the Schlossberg is a picnic spot for many locals.
Turkenbrunnen: This well at the Schlossberg was built by Domenico dell ‘Aglio between 1554 to 1558. The well is a deep well that gets ground water all the way from the river Mur. The history of this well could almost fit into a blog by itself.
Styrian Armoury: Locally known as the Landeszeughaus, a treasure trove of over 32,000 weapons, the Styrian armoury is probably the largest historic armoury in the world. (You’re not allowed to take pictures inside).
Landhaus: Constructed by Domenico dell’Aglio, an Italian architect, in 1557 to house the Styrian parliament, and decorated with attractive Baroque furnishings. The courtyard too is a much visited place by tourists.
Glockenspiel: Get there on time, or you’ll miss it! Literally, the Glockenspeil show only happens at 11 am, 3 pm and 6 pm every day. You get to see a wooden couple dance while the bells chime. An interesting spectacle!
Neighborhoods & Squares
HauptPlatz: The main square of the city where the town hall or Rathaus is located. There are also a number of market stalls selling food and other items.
Old Town: Although there’s really not much to look at specifically here, it is a beautiful part of the city to just walk through.
Must See Castle
Eggenberg Castle or Schloss Eggenberg: We asked someone at a bus stop for directions to Eggenberg Castle, and she thought we were nuts.
It’s a Schloss, not a Castle!
You can only visit the state rooms at Eggenberg on a guided tour at specific times, so make sure to check online in advance. However, the parks and the Archaeological Museum on the property are free to enter using the Joanneum ticket (more details at end of this post).
The permanent archaeological display at the small Eggenberg Museum display a collection of Roman, Egyptian and other artifacts.
Among the beautifully crafted gardens at the Castle are the famous Planetary Garden, the Rose Mound, the Peacock Garden where peacocks roam free, and the Schlosspark that was commissioned to represent a perfect romantic landscape.
Museum im Palais: A small collection of history and science in Austria, with a really long red carpet. Not too impressive though. It takes about 30 minutes to go through.
Kunthaus Graz: Built in 2003, and called the ‘friendly alien’ by it’s creater, the Kunthaus showcases a variety of modern art.
If you have more time
Other Graz attractions that aren’t that high on the priority list, but would be interesting to see include the Graz Stadtpark and botanical gardens, the Murinsel, the Natural History Museum, Opernhaus, Graz Cathedral, and the Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand the Second.
Food & Drink
There are quite a few places to eat in Graz, like the Glockl Brau, Restaurant Schlossberg, El Gaucho, and so many more, especially with authentic local cuisine. But the place I loved the best was the Buschenschank Schaar on the outskirts of Graz.
A Buschenschank is an Austrian tavern run by a local winemaker in Styria, quite like a heuriger or a traditional English pub. Except where in an English pub you would go for fish and chips or a steak and kidney pie. Here they serve wines, juices, snacks and desserts, and not to forget the amazing brettlejause.
If you want traditional local cuisine, this is the best you can get!
If on the other hand, if you suddenly crave spicy food on the go, there are quite a few Turkish kebab stalls all over Austria.
For late night drinks, there are quite a few places in Jakominiplatz that serve beer, wine and a variety of cheese and snacks.
Joanneum (Museum) Ticket
The 24-hour and 48-hour Joanneum tickets offers discounted and free entry to Kunsthaus, Schloss Eggenberg, Landeszeughaus, Museum im Palais and some other places that are definitely worth it. Quite a price saver!
As you can tell, Graz has a bit of everything. Most of all, for a town pretending to be a city, it’s a beautiful place to visit, be it winter or spring.
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