Graz (map) is the capital of Styria (Steiermark) and the second largest city of Austria. Graz maintains a balance between its illustrious past and modern present and features spectacular architecture from all periods, while the warm and sunny climate influenced by the closeness to the Mediterranean makes it a very nice city to visit. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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The Haus am Luegg / Luegghäuser (map) is a particularly nice example, while the Landhaus (map) and the Rathaus (Town Hall, map) represent the Renaissance style. A good example of Late Gothic architecture can be found at the Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church, map).
The Schlossberg (Schloßberg, map) – the castle perched upon a hill in the middle of the city around which Graz sprang up. The funicular (Schloßbergbahn, map) (10 day and tourist tram/bus ticket covers the ride), and elevator (Schloßberglift, map) will take the effort out of the walk to the top, although to use them would be to miss the wooded paths and some spectacular views.
Clock Tower (Uhrturm, map) – on the top of the Schloßberg, the symbol of Graz.
Eggenberg Palace (Schloss Eggenberg, map) – Early Baroque architecture with lavish state rooms. There is a €2 fee for entering the park surrounding the castle, which they likely will not charge if you say you intend to take the castle tour. The castle guided tour is highly recommended though, as it contains dramatic wall and ceiling paintings, elaborate ceramic stoves, and inlaid wood floors.
Kunsthaus (map). Graz’s newest exhibition place. It’s worth a visit, even if you only look at its design from the outside.
Armory Zeughaus (Landeszeughaus, map). Contains an amazing collection of arms and armor, from large two-handed swords and maces to the more modern pistols. Originally the local armory was built to readily equip the people in the event of an attack, and so the weapons you’ll see here were made for use, not show.
The Painted House (Gemaltes Haus, map). It is completely covered with frescos (painted in 1742 by Johann Mayer). Herrengasse (map) – the most important shopping street in Graz. It connects the main square (Hauptplatz) with Jakominiplatz.
Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum Stübing (map) an open-air museum containing old farmhouses/farm buildings from all over Austria reassembled in historic setting.
Lurgrotte (map), the most extensive cave system in Austria.
All restaurants have cheap lunch deals (“Mittagsmenü”) (12:00-15:00) or a dish of the day (“Tagesempfehlung”) that are usually very good, fresh and have the best value.
+ It is worth noting that the direct services by train from Vienna to Graz pass through the *Semmering Railway, a rail line listed in the UNESCO World Heritage due to its unique construction. Keep your eyes open! From Vienna to Graz, sit on the left; from Graz to Vienna, sit on the right.