Numerous historic buildings and magnificent grounds characterise the cityscape of Graz, which is permeated by a modern and dynamic cultural and art scene that gives the city its everlastingly youthful character.
The most beautiful sides of Graz
The impressive sights in the city centre and in the trendy districts as well as in the immediate vicinity of Graz are always worth discovering anew.
Graz city centre
The group of buildings is located on the former city wall and consists of Graz Cathedral, Graz Castle, Ferdinand II. Mausoleum and the former Jesuit College.
The crown of Graz in the eastern sector of the old town centre is a wonderful cultural and historical ensemble of architectural highlights.
Graz Cathedral (Grazer Dom)
The legendary Graz Cathedral (Dom) is one of the most important Austrian sacred buildings and part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage of Graz.
The late Gothic church built in the 15th century and dedicated to the patron saint of travellers, Saint Aegydius, played an important role as the court church of the German-Roman emperors and later as the bishop’s see.
The magnificent, high marble altar, the overwhelming stucco work and brilliant frescoes testify that Graz was once an influential imperial city.
Under Frederick the V the construction of the castle of Graz was started in 1438, which is today the seat of the provincial government.
The former Habsburg residence has seen many architectural changes over the years. The multi-storey building complex was originally part of the city’s fortifications, in which an impressive castle gate with attractive column and pillar arcades is integrated.
Double spiral staircase
A special highlight is the world-famous late Gothic double spiral staircase in the stair tower of Graz Castle, also known in Graz as the “Versöhnungsstiege” or “Busserlstiege” among the people of Graz. For interested visitors and walkers who are on the move in the castle garden, both the castle courtyards and the double spiral staircase worth seeing are accessible.
The largest Habsburg burial chapel, the Archduke Ferdinand Mausoleum, stands together with the adjoining Church of St. Catherine directly next to Graz Cathedral.
The mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II and his family is considered the most important representative building of the Habsburg Monarchy and is one of the most important Mannerist buildings in Europe.
Schlossberg – Clock tower
In a particularly picturesque location on the banks of the Mur is the Schlossberg in Graz, the heart of the old town. Graz’s landmark, the world-famous clock tower on the Schlossberg, was built in the 16th century as the Schlossberg Tower, but was not equipped with its oversized clock faces until 1712.
Both the 28 m high clock tower and the bell tower (34 m high) with the largest bell in the city (the Liesl) are surrounded by a fabulous, romantic flower and promenade garden. The entire Schlossberg area invites you to take a contemplative walk in this enchanting scenic setting.
The slide Graz (Schlossbergrutsche)
A new attraction: Since 2019, a slide has been winding down the tunnel of the Schlossberg. The Schlossberg slide is 170 metres long and overcomes a height of 64 metres.
City Hall Graz
A showpiece of stylish architecture is the Graz City Hall on the main square, built in 1893, which impresses with its neoclassical façade decoration, the masterfully sculpted battlements and towers and the imposing sandstone niche figures.
The reproduced figures symbolise art, science, trade and industry and are also representations of Habsburg monarchs and other personalities.
Not far from the town centre is the baroque highlight of the town, Schloss Eggenberg.
Surrounded by an enchanting park in the form of a landscape garden, which nowadays also includes an interesting planetary garden.
The majestic castle complex is undoubtedly a marvel of architecture and its construction is based on a fantastic game with numbers as well as with temporal and astronomical elements. Schloss Eggenberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is administered by the Joanneum Universal Museum.
Franziskaner KircheFranciscan ChurchFranziskaner Kirche
A true pearl among the sacred buildings in Graz is the Franziskanerkirche on Franziskanerplatz, which was attached to the Franciscan monastery founded around 1240.
The Franciscan church, built in the Gothic architectural style, presents itself in a harmonious architectural ensemble with components from the Baroque and modern architecture.
The dominant church tower, with its imposing onion-shaped helmet, houses the oldest bell in the town, dating from the 13th century. Visitors are impressed by the fascinatingly clear atmosphere in the overwhelming interior of the church, which radiates a special spiritual peace.
Museums and galleries in Graz
But Graz is also a city of modernity, where its youthful flair is evident even in the winding alleys of the old town. The city’s numerous museums and galleries present fascinating works of art and folk art and provide a profound insight into the cultural and art historical development of Graz and Styria.
Universal Museum Joanneum
One of the largest and most important museums and provincial museums in Austria is the oldest museum in the country, the Universalmuseum Joanneum. At various locations in Graz as well as in Styria, visitors have the opportunity to view exhibitions and demonstrations from the fields of science and technology, art and natural history and to participate in corresponding activities.
Among the much frequented Graz museums affiliated to the Joanneum Universal Museum is the famous Kunsthaus Graz with its particularly striking architectural blob design, which regularly hosts modern international art exhibitions. The Landeszeughaus and the Museum of History as well as the Museum of Ethnology are, like the Neue Galerie Graz in the Joanneum Quarter, only some of the top museums in the city.
A visit to Eggenberg Castle with its stately halls and rooms can be combined with a tour of the Old Gallery, which is housed there and exhibits important paintings and sculptures from the Romantic, Gothic and Renaissance periods.
The baroque castle complex also houses the coin cabinet and the archaeological museum. At rural locations in Styria, visitors can visit the Austrian Open-Air Museum in Stübing and the Austrian Sculpture Park.
About one and a half hours away from Graz but still belonging to the Universalmuseum Joanneum is another important sight:
The hunting and agricultural museum at Stainz Castle.
The fabulous Mur Island Graz is an artificial steel platform on the river Mur, which has become a fantastic highlight for Grazers and tourists.
The island in the shape of a half-open shell was completed in 2003 and has a cosy café, exhibition facilities and an adventurous and exciting play area for children.