Choose from 8 Fun Things to Do in Graz
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Eggenberg Palace is one of the most important Baroque palaces in Austria and a must-see for visitors to Graz. Once home to the most powerful dynasty in the Austrian state of Styria, the palace dates back to at least the 15th century. Renovations in the 18th century added Rococo style ornamentation, as well as three East Asian cabinets, while the 19th century saw the formal Baroque garden transformed into a romantic English style garden. The palace features 365 exterior windows, representing the number of days in a year, with 24 windows on the second floor, representing the number of hours in a day. Inside, more than 600 paintings in the state rooms depict the history of the world with scenes from Roman and Greek mythology, the Old Testament and various European legends. Paintings in the Planetary Room depict the elements, planets and signs of the zodiac.
In addition to the state rooms, visitors can explore the Alte Galerie, a collection of European art from the medieval to early modern periods, the Coin Cabinet and the Archaeology Museum.
Eggenberg Palace is located on the western edge of Graz. Get there by taking tram 1toward Eggenberg/UKH or tram 7 toward Wetzelsdorf to the Schloss Eggenberg/Eggenberg Palace stop and walk about 600 meters. Guided tours of the state rooms take 50 minutes and are available in English at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. The palace shop sells books, souvenirs and gardening products.
Address: Eggenberger Allee 90, Graz, Austria
Hours: Varies by season
Admission: 11.50 euro
From $ 15
One of the most notable landmarks in Graz and a must for any visitor, the Graz Clock Tower may be best known for its confusing clock faces, featuring long hands for the hours and short hands for the minutes. Dating back to medieval times, the tower stands 28 meters high and has a clock face on each side, each about five meters in diameter. The 18th century clockworks still operate, but are now electronic. In addition to the famous clock, the tower is also home to three bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1385 and still rings on the hour. Another bell from around 1450 was used during executions and later to remind people of the city curfew.
Once used to watch for fires in the surrounding area, the tower today offers visitors 360 degree views of Graz and its environs. Visitors should also look for the three painted coats of arms on the walls of the tower and the walled-in stone armchairs that were added in the 16th century.
The Graz Clock Tower, also called the Uhrturm, is located in the Schlossberg in the center of Graz. To get there, take the Schlossbergbahn funicular or walk 260 steps up the hill. To get to the foot of the hill, take tram 4 or 5 to the Schlossbergplatz/Murinsel stop.
Address: Schlossberg, Graz, Austria
From $ 14
Notable for its blob-like architecture, the Graz Art Museum was built as part of the city’s 2003 celebrations as the European Capital of Culture. The museum was constructed as part of the 19th century Iron House building, one of the first cast iron buildings in Europe. The famous exterior is comprised of nearly 1300 iridescent blue acrylic panels with almost a thousand 40-watt lightbulbs, creating a massive screen in the middle of the city. Known to some locals as the Friendly Alien, the museum covers 27,000 square feet and specializes in contemporary art, design, new media, film and photography. It regularly hosts events and exhibitions that highlight worldwide trends in art.
The Graz Art Museum, also known as the Kunsthaus Graz, sits on the west bank of the River Mur in the city’s historical center on the corner of the Südtirolerplatz and the Lendkai. Get there by taking tram 1, 3, 5, 6 or 7 to Sudtiroler Plaz/Kunsthaus. Guided tours in English are conducted on Sundays at 2pm, but an audioguide and an iPad app are also available. The museum café stays open late, to 11pm weeknights and 1am on the weekends.
Address: Lendkai 1, Graz 8020, Austria
Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm
Admission: Included in the 24-hour or 48-hour Universalmuseum Joanneum pass
From $ 11
The Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz is a multidisciplinary museum that boasts 4.5 million items in its collection. The largest museum of its kind in Europe, it was also Austria’s first public museum, founded in 1811 by Archduke Johann of Austria, the brother of Emperor Franz I. The museum includes 12 different locations in Graz, each of which focuses on either art, culture or the natural sciences.
For modern and contemporary art, visitors should head to the Kunsthaus Graz, the Neue Galerie Graz or Art in Public Space. For a look into the Middle Ages and Baroque art, visit the Schloss Eggenberg and the Alte Galerie. Focusing in prehistory and antiquity are the Archaeology Museum adjacent to the Schloss Eggenberg and the Coin Cabinet inside the Schloss. The Styrian Armory, Folk Life Museum, Museum in Palais and the Multimedial Collections provide a look into cultural history of the area and the Natural History Museum and Centre of Natural History showcase the region’s natural history. An additional seven locations can be found elsewhere in Austria outside of Graz.
The different buildings that comprise the Universalmuseum Joanneum can be found throughout Graz, with several located near the Main Square in the Old Town. If you plan to visit multiple locations on your trip, it is best to get a 24 or 48 hour pass that allows you to visit as many as you can in that time period. The ticket price does not include guided tours.
Address: Graz, Austria
Hours: Varies by location
Admission: 24 hour ticket for 13 Euro, 48 hour ticket for 19 Euro
From $ 11
Sitting high on a cliff above the Enns River in Austria, Trautenfels Castle is home to the regional landscape museum of the Universalmuseum Joanneaum, also known as the agricultural museum. The castle dates to the 13th century and features an impressive marble hall and colorful frescoes from the 16th century. Twelve rooms with different themes showcase more than 1000 exhibits relating to the natural and cultural history of the Enns Valley, Palten Valley and Aussee Lake District. One room focuses on the forest and the work of lumberjacks in the area, while another focuses on the natural landscape of the surrounding valley. Other rooms show off items ranging from mining tools to knitting work to sets of antlers and objects made from antlers. The State Rooms and their elaborate furnishings are also open to visitors, and the castle’s viewing tower offers superb views of the entire valley.
Also worth a stop are the ruins just west of the palace of the Protestant church of Neuhaus. Once the most important religious center in the valley, they were excavated in 1991 and today serve as a memorial.
Trautenfels Palace is located near the towns of Purgg and Stainach, most easily accessible from the city of Linz. Take the train from Linz to the Purgg Bahnof and walk 30 minutes to the castle from the train station. You can also take bus 900, 940, 941 or 6889 to the Schloss Trautenfels stop.
The palace can be visited as part of the Universalmuseum Joannean 24 or 48 hours ticket. Guided tours cost extra.
Address: Trautenfels 1, Stainach-Purgg, Austria
Hours: April-October, daily 10am-5pm
Admission: 9 Euro
From $ 15
The Styrian Armory in Graz is the world’s largest historic army, holding 32,000 pieces of weaponry, tools and suits of armor. Built between 1642 and 1645, the armory stood on the front lines for Austria’s battles with the Ottoman Empire and Hungarian rebels for the next few centuries. One of the most visited of the dozen museums that comprise the Universalmuseum Joanneum, the Armory features exhibitions on four floors, arranged in a way reminiscent of a 17th century arsenal. On the first floor, visitors will find cannons, mortars and muskets from the 16th to 18th centuries, while the second floor focuses on helmets, suits of armor and pistols. The third floor shows off more armor, including German-made armor and equestrian armor for nobles. Finally, the fourth floor is home to staff weapons such as morning stars, halberds and pikes used by foot soldiers, as well as swords and sabres once used by horsemen.
The Styrian Armory is located in Graz’s Inner City, just a few steps from the Hauptplatz (Main Square). Get there by taking the tram to the Hauptplatz/Congress stop or by taking a bus to the Busbahnof, just a few block away. There are no signs or text accompanying the exhibitions, but visitors can rent an audioguide or take a guided tour, offered in English daily at 1pm.
Address: Herrengasse 16, Graz, Austria
Hours: April to October, Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. November to March, Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-2pm, by guided tour only.
Admission: 9 Euro
From $ 11
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, the Graz Old Town is one of the best preserved districts in all of central Europe. In the heart of Graz, the Old Town features a mix of old and new, ranging from the medieval building facades surrounding the Hauptplaz (Main Square) to the modern architecture of the Kunsthaus Graz, which reflects the Old Town in its unique façade. The area includes more than a thousand buildings featuring a variety of architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance and Medieval. Visitors will enjoy getting lost among the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets lined with restaurants, cafes and one of a kind boutiques. Any tour of the Old Town is sure to include highlights such as the Hauptplaz and Kunsthaus, as well as the Rathaus (Town Hall), the Landhaus and the hill overlooking the town known as the Schlossberg. The latter is the site of the ruined Dom, a Gothic cathedral that is home to the oldest painting of the city.
The Old Town is best explored by foot or on a bicycle. To get there, take any tram line running along Herrengasse between the main square and Jakominiplatz, the main transport hub in the south of the Old Town.
Address: Hauptplaz 1, Graz, Austria
From $ 11
The Graz Schlossberg is a public park on a hill in the center of the city of Graz that has been home to fortifications as far back as the 10th century. A fortress stood on the hill from the middle of the 16th century to the 19th century, with only the clock tower and bell tower spared by an invading Napoleon. The remains of the castle became a public park in 1839 including the two towers, a cistern and a couple bastions from the destroyed castle.
A great walking tour of the Schlossberg starts at the bottom of the hill at Schlossbergplatz, from where visitors can take the 19th century Schlossbergbahn funicular or the newer Schlossberg lift to reach the top of the hill. Once at the top, check out the bell tower, climb to the top of the clock tower for scenic views of the Old Town and relax at one of the several cafes. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to catch a concert in what was once the cellar of one of the old bastions. Head back down to the Schlossbergplatz via one of several footpaths or staircases and then check out the extensive system of tunnels underneath the Schlossberg that was created during World War II.
The Schlossberg is in the center of Graz and easily accessible from the Schlossbergplatz in the Old Town. Visitors can either follow one of several paths or staircases to the top or take the Schlossbergbahn funicular or the Schlossberg lift.
Address: Schlossberg, Graz, Austria
From $ 14