Austria is all about breathtaking mountains and Vienna, most tourist who visit this Alpine country focus only on these places. Some go to Salzburg too, famous for “The Sound of Music” and Mozart. But I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who got to visit Graz, second biggest city in Austria and a truly hidden gem of this part of Europe (again my hated term but so very accurate!). My latest visit there was the 3rd one and each time I’m more and more surprised how come not many people know about this beauty! In a way it’s similar to other great places of former Austria-Hungary (like Brno or Zagreb) but at the same time it feels so much different!
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Graz Austria is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List
The Old Town, listed on UNESCO World Heritage List, is some 20 minutes walk away from the train station. The way there is already very pleasant as the main street is a busy shopping hub, with numerous bakeries and beautiful architecture. But as soon as I crossed Mur river (the bridge was of course full of love locks…) I found myself in a stunning place, a mix of architecture styles showing long and rich history of Graz. It was the lunch time and the Old Town was full of people sitting outside, enjoying the last beautiful days of the year!
The city is just picture perfect!
A short walk uphill took me from Main Square to the Schlossberg – the hill dominating the Old Town and the remnants of the old fortress. It’s incredible how fast the scenery has changed – from bustling streets I suddenly found myself in a really lovely and eventually at the serene peak. The place offers breathtaking views of Graz and surrounding area and it keeps amazing me every time I’m there. The rows of red roof tiles, the beautiful houses, the modern Kunsthaus – the Museum of Modern Art – between them and the hazy mountains in the background make a really perfect scenery. But there is one more reason to climb all the way up to the Schlossberg and that’s Uhrturm – a clock tower and probably the most famous landmark of Graz.
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You should visit Graz Austria too!
Even if I’ve been so many times in Graz I really wish I could spend few days there and soak into the city as I think it has so much to offer, it just needs to be discovered! I’d love to visit the Kunsthaus, I’d love to track down more of the street art and quirky shops, I’d love to find some cozy cafes and cool spots – in the city where 1/6 of the inhabitants are students there must be some! Looks like Graz would be also a perfect base to explore the Styria region of Austria. So if you travel in this part of Europe make yourself a favour and include this Austrian city in your itinerary – I’m sure you’d like it as much as I did! Here are some pictures to give you an impression of what I’m talking about.
On the way back home I could have gone from Graz straight to Vienna. But since the weather was so gorgeous and I had extra hours left I took a little detour across Austria so I could admire some views from tha train. Alps were as gorgeous as ever – just take a look!
Have you been to Austria? Did you like it? Would you like to visit Graz?
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