10 Best Things to Do in Graz for Historic Old Towns and Avant-Garde Museums


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Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, effortlessly blends its historic charm with a vibrant avant-garde scene. Wandering through Graz, you’re surrounded by striking Renaissance and Baroque architecture in one of Europe’s best-preserved old towns, contrasted with cutting-edge museums that push the boundaries of art and design. Whether you’re exploring narrow cobblestone streets or innovative exhibitions, Graz offers an intriguing mix of the past and the futuristic, ensuring every visit is full of discoveries.

Stroll Through the Historic Old Town

Strolling through the Historic Old Town of Graz is like stepping back in time. The area is filled with beautifully preserved buildings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, narrow alleys, and bustling squares. It’s a great place to soak in the local atmosphere, enjoy a coffee at a sidewalk café, and admire the stunning architecture that earned Graz its UNESCO World Heritage status.

Visit the Kunsthaus Graz

The Kunsthaus Graz, known locally as the ‘Friendly Alien’, is a striking piece of contemporary architecture that stands out against the city’s historic skyline. Inside, it hosts an ever-changing array of modern art exhibitions that challenge and inspire. The building itself, with its blob-like shape and acrylic glass skin, is a beacon of modern art and a must-visit for lovers of avant-garde design.

Explore Schloss Eggenberg

Schloss Eggenberg is Graz’s grandest palace, located on the city’s outskirts. The palace, with its opulent Baroque interiors and beautiful gardens, is a testament to the architectural and artistic aspirations of the Eggenberg dynasty. The palace also houses several significant collections, including ancient archaeological finds and fine art, making it a treasure trove for visitors.


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Experience the Landeszeughaus

The Landeszeughaus, or Styrian Armory, holds the world’s largest historic arsenal that’s accessible to the public. With over 30,000 pieces of weaponry, armor, and tools from the 15th to 18th centuries, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the military history of Austria. It’s an impressive display of craftsmanship and history all under one roof.

Wander Around the Island in the Mur

The Island in the Mur is an artificial floating platform in the middle of the Mur River. This modern structure serves as a café and an event space, providing unique views of the river and city. It’s a perfect spot to relax, enjoy a drink, and watch the flow of the river as you take a break from sightseeing in Graz.

Discover the Universalmuseum Joanneum

The Universalmuseum Joanneum is a cultural highlight of Graz, offering a variety of exhibitions on natural history, art, culture, and science across several locations. Its diverse collections make it a fascinating destination for anyone interested in exploring a broad range of topics from regional geological formations to contemporary art and historical artifacts.

Climb the Schlossberg

Climbing the Schlossberg, a hill in the center of Graz, offers the best views of the city. You can take a leisurely walk up the paths or ride up in the funicular. At the top, not only are you treated to panoramic views, but you can also explore historical sites like the clock tower and the remains of the fortress walls.

Relax at the Botanical Gardens of the University of Graz

The Botanical Gardens of the University of Graz are a peaceful sanctuary in the city. These gardens host an impressive collection of plants from around the world, showcased in both outdoor gardens and sophisticated greenhouses. It’s a beautiful place for a quiet walk and to learn about different plant species in their themed sections.

See the Graz Cathedral

The Graz Cathedral, also known as St. Giles’ Cathedral, is noted for its stunning Gothic architecture and rich history. The cathedral was originally built in the 15th century and features remarkable interior details, such as the Landplagenbild, a unique fresco depicting plagues. It’s a key historical and spiritual site in Graz.

Tour the Styrian Armory

Touring the Styrian Armory, you dive deeper into the history of European warfare and armor. The collection is not only vast but also meticulously preserved, showcasing everything from full suits of armor to delicate historical firearms. It’s a detailed look into the past, showing how warfare and defense strategies have evolved over the centuries.


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