Getting ready to spend 48 hours in Graz? Mixing medieval charm and Renaissance beauty with contemporary style and a Mediterranean vibe, Graz – a self-styled ‘Capital of Delights’ – is an intriguing and wholly enjoyable place to investigate over a couple of days
Think: days trying to work out how Renaissance buildings can play so nicely with contemporary architecture, followed by evenings devouring Styrian treats and super-fab beer.
48 Hours In Graz, Austria
Hit the Old Town
Once you’ve had a good nosey around the centuries-old interiors of your boutiue digs, exit the Hotel dum Zom and stroll down to the Hauptplatz, the main square of Graz’s Insta- friendly Old Town. Admire the grand baroque facades of the medieval buildings then do as the locals do and fill up on mustard-drowned sausage cooked over at the nearby wurst stalls.
This is probably when you’ll first become aware of the palpable and wholly unexpected joie de vivre floating around the city.
Have a Close Encounter at the Kunsthaus
Head over to Lendviertel and you’ll be stopped in your tracks by the otherworldly Kunsthaus. Thanks to its photovoltaic-skin and blob-like appearance, this futuristic art gallery looks like a biomorphic visitor from outer space. Head inside and you’ll encounter equally cosmic avant-garde exhibitions and sweeping fourth-floor views.
Enjoy a Free Show With Your Evening Meal
Though it doesn’t win any prizes for its unimaginative name, it’s widely agreed that the Steak Boutique offers the best pound-for-pound evening grills in the city. Once you’ve devoured your perfectly-cooked steak, pluck up the courage to ask the Marco, the owner, if he’ll give you a blast of his robotic dancing. If you’re really lucky, his dog will howl along while busting out a few backflips.
Fuel up in Style
From its lofty position on the sixth floor of the Kastner & Öhler department store, Café Freiblick is famed for serving up Graz’s tastiest breakfasts and sweetest views. Wash down your generous helping with one of their delectable coffees and you’ll be raring to take on the day.
Head up Castle Hill
As the only rock formation on an otherwise flat plain, Graz’s Schlossberg (Castle Hill) demands to be ascended. The lovely woods and pretty greenery can be enjoyed on foot or via the handy funicular’s observation cars. If you’re here around noon then listen out for the 16th-century Glockenturm – it will chime 101 times.
Blow Your Mind on the Castle’s Double Spiral Staircase
Do those M. C. Escher painting images of never-ending staircases rock your world? Then be sure to check out the bizarre Double Spiral Staircase inside the castle. A masonry master class of Da Vinci Code proportions, this real-life optical illusion is made up of two opposing stone-carved stairwells that, despite being entirely independent of one other, still manage to meet up on every floor.
You will conclude, as we did, that witchcraft is the only possible answer.
Take an Evening Stroll Along the River
Looking for all the world like the offspring of a giant bird’s nest and a huge inverted sea shell, the Murinsel is a strange yet rather beautiful ‘island’ in the middle of the river Mur. Clamber across the two pedestrian footbridges that tether it to the riverbanks and you’ll find a very pleasant cafe. A gentle blue hue bathes the whole thing as dusk approaches. So, it’s the ideal place to round off the day with a relaxing evening stroll.