Graz: Austria’s second largest city after Vienna and the capital of the Styria (Steiermark) region. Only a two hour drive from Ljubljana, this popular city destination was my home away from home for four days in mid-April 2019.
I had just completed my tour around Slovenia for the Sustainability Leaders Project, and needed a break before continuing my European cities tour (before Slovenia I already visited Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm). Graz turned out to be the perfect place for recharging batteries.
If you are planning to visit Graz, here a few ideas where to stay and what to do.
Why visit Graz?
First, because it has this magic combination of nature, history and art which characterizes a great city destination. There’s a river and a hill for views. Plus 60,000 students.
Second, it is the capital of Styria, a region known for its strong innovation leaders in sustainability. Just one example, Gösser is one of the most sustainable large breweries in the world. Cheers to that!
Third, Graz is a culinary destination and a celebrated Capital of Delight.
Where to stay in Graz
Grand Hôtel Wiesler is an institution in Graz – well known among locals and visitors from all over the world. Its quirkiness, in combination with history, great breakfast and perfect location make it a good option to stay – which is what I did.
What to do in Graz
As a city rich in history, you can easily spend a whole week exploring the many different faces of Graz, visiting its numerous museums. If (like me) you only have a couple of days for sightseeing, here’s what I’d recommend:
Walk up the “Schlossberg” (castle hill)
For a great view, this is where you should go. There’s also the famous clock tower, a symbol of Graz.
18 museums form part of the Joanneum in Graz, for which you can buy a 24- or 48-hour ticket. I especially liked Kunsthaus Graz and Schloss Eggenberg. The Styrian Armoury (Zeughaus) is a favorite among many visitors.
Green area, great to relax after sightseeing, to do sport (or watch others). Burggarten was a great find for me, walking down from Schlossberg and needing somewhere to sit to catch those last moments of sun that day. On the bench next to me was a young man playing guitar (and fairly well). A bonus.
Want to know where the (better off) locals hang out, and taste some typical Styrian wine and food? The food tour will get you both.
Where to eat in Graz
Very close to Hotel Wiesler is this small vegetarian café, where I had one of my best veggie burgers so far. Good beer on tap too, friendly people and good vibes. Popular among locals, make sure to come early (or book a table).
Nice café right next to Hotel Wiesler, where locals hang out (reading a book, chatting, with laptop – seen it all). More locations of the same company across town.
Tip: Graz Tourism put together this useful list of vegetarian restaurants across the city.
More ideas for sights, tours and activities to explore, here
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