After years of exploring cities Western Europe such as Paris, Brussels, and London I finally visited Central Europe thanks to the Propel Conference by Captivate. I applied to attend this professional conference and was accepted thereby granting me the opportunity to visit Graz, Austria for nearly free. During free time at the conference I got to explore the city and here are things to do in Graz, Austria to help you plan your own trip.
Free Things to Do in Graz
Schlossberg Clock Tower
If you’re looking for a small workout that will lead to amazing views of Graz climb the 260 stairs to get to the Schlossberg Clock Tower. If walking up 260 steps isn’t your thing ,you can take an elevator for a small fee. Either way when you get to the top you will see a beautiful landscape.
If you visit in the spring or summer enjoy the garden with it’s beautiful purple, yellow and orange flowers. In front of the Schlossberg Clock Tower you will find a piano that has free play hours where visitors take turns playing for the crowd.
When you’ve taken in the views you can walk back down the stairs, take the elevator or even slide down! Yes, there is not only a slide to take you down but it’s the longest indoor slide in the world. There is a small fee to take the slide down but so much more fun than the stairs.
We were lucky enough to have one of our conference events hosted at the Murinsel. It’s an artificial island made of steel, built in 2003. It has a full bar so it’s the perfect place for a morning coffee or evening cocktail. Even if you see it during the day be sure to pass by at night when it’s lit up in blue.
Check Out the Art Murals
There is so much street art around Graz and walking around the city stumbling upon them was one of my favorite things to do. This piece below was personally one of my favorite ones!
The Double Staircase in the Burg of Graz
Double spiral staircases so you should add it to your Graz itinerary. The people of Graz affectionately call this one the Stairs of Reconciliation because “if you go separate ways, you will ultimately reunite.” It is only open Friday-Sunday so plan accordingly.
Affordable Things to Do in Graz
Eggenberg Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and mostly unchanged since the 18th century. It has 24 state rooms and a planetary room and they are decorated from top to bottom including gorgeous ceilings. In addition to the palace there is a huge park and gardens area. You can choose to pay entry to see just the gardens and explore the outside of the palace or pay entry for both.
The Kunsthaus or better known to locals as the friendly alien. It was built is 2003 and it’s modern architecture looks quite different than the rest of the architecture in this part of the city known as old town. Since it’s opening it has give many artists the opportunity to showcase their work. As of September 2019 they were open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10AM-5PM.
Guided City Tour
If exploring on your own isn’t your things or you want to learn more about the history of Graz while you explore, take a guided city tour. Our group took one which lasted about two hours and it was nice having someone to help us navigate the streets as it can be a little intimidating on your own with all the streets.
Take Yodel Lessons
This was one of favorite things to do in Graz. At dinner on our first night we had two Austrian natives from the Folk Song Institution teach us how to yodel. It was so much fun and we learned that yodelling was first done to pass messages from mountain to mountain. If you’re up for a bigger adventure the same company also offers hiking tours with learning to yodel mixed in. You will need to contact the Graz Tourism Board to assist you in setting up a tour.
Visit the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum
I’m not even an Arnold Schwarzenegger fanatic or anything but this was my second favorite activity beside our Yodel lessons. The museum is in the home he grew up in and has the original bed from his youth. Each room highlights a different stage in his life including bodybuilding, acting, and his time as Governor or California. It was so interesting to learn more about him and that he actually made his first millions as a businessman. It’s a little further out from the city center so you will need a car or taxi to get here but so worth the visit.
Foodie Things to Do in Graz: Get Your Grub on at These Restaurants
If you want a traditional Austrian meal then you have to visit Glöcklbräu. Meat is big in Austria and there is no shortage of it here. My favorite dish was the Käsespätzle, it is Austria’s version of mac and cheese and it is so good. For desert you have to get the apple strudel, my mouth is watering now just thinking about all it’s goodness.
aiola im Schloss
Looking for a fancy night out? Then head to Aiola im Schloss. This restaurant, which looks like a mansion or castle is on gorgeous grounds. I can easily see why so many people choose to get married here. The restaurant decor is upscale and modern with excellent service.
How to Get to Graz, Austria
While Graz does have an airport of its own it usually calls for a longer travel time as direct flights are limited from most destinations. Graz is easily accessible from Vienna, Austria if you can get a direct flight there. From Vienna it’s a quick 2.5hr train ride to Graz. Taking the train in Europe is extremely and convenient, here are 5 reasons to travel Europe by train.
To make travel affordable, especially to Europe I always book a flight deal to the cheapest European country from my home in Miami. This is because once you’re in Europe it’s cheap to get from one country to another. Using Skyscanner has always been one of the best ways to find the cheap flights to Europe and you can download their free app here.
Where to Stay in Graz: Hotel Wiesler
If you come to Graz and want to feel special Hotel Wiesler is the place for you. After all this is where Arnold Schwarzenegger stays every time he returns home, he even has his own special room at the hotel. Hotel Wiesler is in the perfect location to walk to the majority of the places I’ve listed as things to do in Graz. There is free WiFi and a restaurant on site which makes it quite convenient.
I had a great time exploring my first city in Austria. After exploring all the things to do in Graz a group of us in the conference headed to Southstyria to spend a few days exploring that region on Austria. I’m looking forward to returning one day to explore other areas and experience their infamous Christmas markets. Did you find this post helpful? Please share it!