Graz Travel Guide
Graz, with a population of approximately 300,000, is Austria’s second city. Long a centre of learning, it is also rich in war history.
Over the centuries, the Ottomans and the French fought over this region. By exploring its palaces, armouries, and museums, you’ll learn much about this city’s past.
Come check out our Graz travel guide for 1st timers as we cover the best things to do in Graz, Austria.
After getting settled in Graz, make the Eggenberg Palace the first stop on your sightseeing tour. A valued property among Austrian royals, it got further recognition from the UN in 2010. That year, UNESCO named them and the Graz Old Town as World Heritage Sites.
When you pull up to its curb, you’ll quickly understand why. Elegantly built in the Baroque style and surrounded by faithfully manicured gardens, it’s a sight to behold. While much of this building harkens back to the 17th century, parts date back to the Middle Ages.
The founder of this place had the money to build himself and his heirs a glamorous palace. Balthasar Eggenberger didn’t just influence the Holy Roman Emperor – he financed his operations. Through the centuries, the palace remained in family hands – until the Second World War.
In 1939, the state of Styria purchased the palace. After the war, the government carried out extensive renovations, converting the property into a museum. In addition to the palace itself being an attraction, it boasts two other institutions. It contains an archaeology museum, as well as an extensive collection of art.
As you move through its many rooms, its frescoes, chandeliers, and other fine accoutrements will keep you interested. However, the sheer scale of the place means you may struggle to get the most out of your visit. For this reason, we recommend taking a guided tour.
The following day, make the Landeszeughaus the focus of your sightseeing efforts. Also known as the Styrian Armoury, it is the world’s largest attraction of its kind. In its many displays, you’ll find no less than 32,000 pieces of armour and weaponry.
For almost 400 years, the Austrian state of Styria found itself on a perpetual front. Over those centuries, the Ottoman Empire repeatedly attempted to make headway into Central Europe. To defend itself against the constant threat of conquest, Styria built what became the largest armoury on Earth.
As you explore this complex, you’ll get to see suits of armour, chain mail, swords, and even primitive pistols. In summer, the museum is open six days per week, except on Mondays. Outside peak season, you’ll need to book a guided tour ahead of time.
Those wanting to check out some amazing visual art will want to spend time at the Kunsthaus Graz. Unlike other buildings in downtown Graz, this institution looks decidedly different. A post-modernist structure that lights up after dark, it is a polarizing attraction among locals.
Inside, you’ll get to check out artwork from leading contemporary artists. Pieces here date from the 1960s straight through the present day. There are no permanent galleries – all are on loan from other institutions. In particular, this place is a hot spot for new media and internet-based art.
Those looking for a place of worship to visit while in Graz will want to visit the Mariatrost Basilica. This Roman Catholic church is popular with those on pilgrimages, as it is a Marian shrine. Highlights include a statue of the Madonna, and rich frescoes which decorate the church’s ceiling.
When you have some free time, use it to lazily stroll through the Graz Old Town. It boasts beautiful architecture that draws heavily upon the styles of the Renaissance Era. Because of this, the United Nations inducted it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
As you wander through its streets, you’ll eventually come upon the Hauptplatz. This main square is where you’ll find many cafes and restaurants, making it perfect for people-watching. In season, it is also home to an amazing Christmas market.
During your walk through the Old Town, keep an eye out for Uhrturm – Graz’s town clock. While its base dates back more than 700 years, it didn’t become a clock until the 16th century. Despite nearly succumbing to bombardment by Napoleon’s troops, it still stands today. After getting selfies with it, stay for a drink at the on-site beer garden.
There is no better place for photos, exploration, and relaxation in Graz than Schlossberg. A sizable hill that spouts up near the Old Town, this place is now a beloved city park. At one time, though, it played host to a castle. Thanks to its superior positioning, it never fell during its history.
Today, people come here to marvel at the past, take the best photos of Graz from above, and to chill out. Don’t miss it during your time here.