GRAZ, AUSTRIA

Christian Clerx, initiator of CityZapper.com, has flying as a hobby and travels all over the world for his work. In this section he tips about the best places in world cities. For this edition he traveled to Graz, the hidden pearl of Austria. “When you think of Austria, you think of winter sports or a city trip to Vienna. But actually Graz is much more fun. A city with an almost Mediterranean flair: hip hotspots, classic sights, nature just a stone's throw away. And proclaimed the culinary capital of Austria, so there is no shortage of good food.”

Tekst: Christian Clerx

Sleep

Hotel Weitzer

Here, modern meets traditional, as well as premium meets affordable. The hotel has been owned by the Weitzer family for four generations. In the middle of the old town, directly on the Mur river, just a stone's throw from the striking Kunsthaus and close to the Schlossberg. The hotel also owns Der Steirer, a trendy restaurant and wine shop. Order Styrian tapas, traditional dishes with a nice modern twist, such as roasted duck breast with rhubarb.

Hotelweitzer.com

Grand Hotel Wiesler

A gem right in the city center, right on the Mur and just a few minutes' walk from all the main sights and restaurants. One has bare walls with a dramatic black chandelier and freestanding bath, the other a bed with a bookshelf-style head, complete with classic typewriter.

Grandhotelwiesler.com

Schlossberghotel – Das Kunsthotel

From a craft workshop to one of the most beautiful art hotels in Europe; history is a fairy tale. It is located at the foot of the Schlossberg in the heart of the old town, just three minutes from the main square. It combines tradition and modernity. All rooms, suites and apartments look beautiful and combine original works of art and precious antiques with a homely atmosphere. Most rooms overlook a romantic courtyard. For extra relaxation, the hotel offers a sauna, steam bath, solarium and fitness room.

Schlossberghotel.at

Zien

Highlight of the city

The Schlossberg is, literally, the highlight of the city. Originally this was a defensive castle. However, it was never conquered, but was destroyed by the French in 1809 during the Peace of Schönbrunn. Only a number of walls have been preserved. The Schlossberg was added to the World Heritage List in 1999 together with the old town. Take the cable car up and enjoy an enchanting 360-degree view of the city.

Bell tower

On top of the Schlossberg stands the Uhrturm am Schlossberg, or the characteristic clock tower. Not only worth a visit because of its architectural style, location on top of a hill and the beautiful surrounding park. If you look closely at the timepiece, you will quickly see that something special is going on. The hand for the hours is longer and larger than that for the minutes.

The world's largest historic Arsenal

The centuries of fighting between the Ottoman Empire and Hungary meant that the Austrian state of Styria needed weapons. The local population set up an arsenal: five floors, four of which were for the storage of weapons and equipment. Today, the Styrian arsenal, or Landeszeughaus, is a museum with no fewer than 32.000 pieces. All items are still organized and stored as they were 400 years ago. This makes it the world's largest historical arsenal.

World Heritage Eggenberg Castle

The most important Baroque palace in the state of Styria. It was built in the 17th century by order of the noble Eggenberg family. The newly introduced Gregorian calendar and astronomical symbolism played a major role. For example, the 365 windows, the 31 rooms per floor, the 24 business rooms with 52 doors and 60 windows and the 4 corner towers all refer to the calendar - to the days, months, weeks, hours, minutes and seasons. Nowadays, Eggenberg Castle is home to a number of museums, including the Alte Galerie and the Archaeological Museum.

Mausoleum Graz

You will find the Mausoleum next to the Cathedral and Katharinenkirche and are important features of the city. This building was commissioned by Emperor Ferdinand II as a tomb for himself and his family and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The narrow facade is richly decorated with sculptures and the frescoes show how the Turkish Siege of Vienna was broken in 1683. Inside the Mausoleum, it is mainly the architecture and paintings that attract attention.

Food

Restaurant Aiola

Aiola is well represented in Graz with several branches. In any case, go to Aiola Upstairs for its prime location. If you fancy an aperitif with a view, take the super-fast elevator (30 seconds) up to the top of the Schlossberg. Once there, you immediately come across the terrace, where you can enjoy an impressive view of the entire city.

Speisesaal Graz

The whole of Graz eats at the Speisesaal, the restaurant of Hotel Wiesler, on weekends. When you enter, you are immediately struck by the unique ambiance. The menu leaves nothing to be desired. Specialties: steak and burgers from the charcoal grill. Make sure you save room for The Magic Chocolate Ball, a large ball of white chocolate, over which hot chocolate sauce is poured.

Schlossberg Restaurant

Another restaurant with a view. Chef Christof Widakovich introduces you to innovative specialties from the Styrian region. After dinner, take a seat in the bar with the roof terrace to toast a successful evening and enjoy this special experience.

Landhauskeller

This restaurant is located in Schmiedgasse, in the oldest Renaissance building in Styria. Weather permitting, try to get a table in the historic courtyard. The menu is generally very down to earth. Nevertheless, some modern classics should not be missed. Taste local creations such as creamy pumpkin soup with carrots, Tafelspitz (beef dish) or crispy suckling pig with porcini mushrooms. Or dessert; including baked Apfelradln, Apfelstrudel or Powidltascherl (dough with plum jam).

cornerstone

In Eckstein you are served light, modern dishes with fresh regional products. The restaurant is located on Mehlplatz, close to Glockenspielplatz and Färberplatz. These three pleasant squares are called 'the Bermuda Triangle' by locals, because after many a glass of beer, wine or schnapps people sometimes have difficulty finding their way back home.Schlossberg restaurantEckstein

Shopping

Delicatessen Nussbaumer

The small but fine delicatessen Nussbaumer has been located in Graz for more than a hundred years. Josef Sorger and his wife have fulfilled a dream and every guest experiences that. Here you will not only find many types of cheese, but also Styrian specialties, fresh truffles from Piedmont and Istria, and local wines from Austria. Make a choice, take a seat at a table and enjoy the tasty dishes combined with a good glass of wine. The loving service, high-quality products and flair in the Paradeisgasse make Delicatessen Nussbaumer the number one address for a worthy start to the day.

Linzbichler

Sweets, truffles, chocolates and more, since 1967 Linzbichler on Franziskanerplatz has been the favorite address for Graz residents. It is the perfect store to buy a gift for home or yourself. In addition to delicacies from the best chocolatiers in the world, the business has specialized in developing, together with selected chocolatiers and pastry chefs, typical Styrian creations that you will find exclusively in this store.

Murgasse

For shopping enthusiasts, Graz is a true paradise and be sure to visit the Murgasse. Here you will mainly find specialty stores that sell high-quality products: clothing, jewelry, watches, but also delicacies. In addition to luxury brands, you will also find well-known retail chains here, so there is something for everyone.

Largest fair trade store in Austria

Chic Ethic opened as a small shop on Tummelplatz, in the center of Graz. Over the years it has developed into the largest fair trade store in Austria. Each product has its own story, comes from a social project, is organically grown or produced in another fair trade way. If you are looking for something unique, then you have come to the right place: Murinsel