The second largest city in Austria offers a mix of tradition and modernity
Start your journey in old town Graz, where more than two-thirds of the structures were constructed in the 16th century. Wander the cobblestone paths to admire gothic, renaissance, and baroque architecture, which exist together harmoniously in the Haputplatz, Graz’s central square. Along the walk, visitors will find some 50 inner courtyards of the Italian tradition, offering peace, quiet, and charm.
Sightseeing highlights here include the Landhaus courtyard, an Italian Renaissance masterpiece that is home to the Styrian regional parliament, and Graz’s Armoury, with 30,000 examples of armor and weapons that make up the largest collection of historical weapons in the world. Visitors should also be sure to see the Schlossberg Clock Tower, sitting on a rock ledge above the city, which dates back to 1588.
A mark of the city’s modern side, Graz was designated a UNESCO City of Design in 2011, thanks in part to the opening of the futuristic Kunsthaus Museum in 2003. Visitors to the museum can see temporary modern art installations from the 1960s to the present, as well as admire the building’s exterior, made up of more than 1,200 curved acrylic panels.
Old meets new at the Franciscan Monastery, where the 13th-century abbey has been redesigned to become completely energy independent, with solar power and thermal heat. For more tradition with a twist, go shopping at the Kastner & Ohler department store, which opened in 1883 but underwent an impressive renovation in 2010.
Finally, enjoy Graz’s varied music scene, from summer jazz performances in the courtyards and squares of old town, to June’s Springfestival, the largest electronic music concert in Austria. Pay a visit to the amazing Dom in Berg music venue, with a series of massive indoor nightclubs and concert venues that were originally created as a network of air raid shelters during the world wars.