As Austria’s second-largest city, Graz boasts a UNESCO-listed historical centre and a thriving university culture that attracts approximately 60,000 students per year. Visitors are drawn to Graz’s illustrious history but stay for a food culture that rivals anywhere in Vienna.
Roughly translating to ‘small castle’, Graz has origins dating back to the Copper Age. During Babenburg Rule in the 12th century, the city grew to become the Styrian state capital and seat of the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1585, the city’s university was founded and ever since, Graz has been a centre of education, attracting history's greatest minds like Erwin Schrödinger and Nicola Tesla.
There’re many cultural and historical landmarks worth seeing during your time in Graz, with the picturesque Old Town and restaurants of Schlossberg being some of its best. Alternatively, head to the Styrian Armory to see 32,000 exhibits detailing the city’s military past or visit the Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II, the Church of the Sacred Heart and the Glockenspiel Clock Tower in the city’s main square. Here, you’ll be able to see a large-scale clock performance featuring wooden alpine maidens and chimes.
Awarded the title of ‘City of Culinary Delights’ because of its thriving food scene, Graz delivers contemporary Austrian dishes in abundance. The Schlossberg and Freiblick Cafe serve traditional caesar salads and pumpernickel tarts in a setting with rooftop views, while the 19th-century Kaiser-Josef-Platz Market offers iconic Styrian specialities like cooking apples and aromatic oils. The city's popular handmade chocolates also make for great souvenirs.