Corona has made travelling to different countries certainly complicated for us all, but let’s be real: Why yearn for distance, when everything that’s good is so close? We’ve looked at our city again through the eyes of a tourist and discovered so many wonderful things we’d like to share with you. Graz has a lot more to offer than you might think –  therefore, it’s a lovely destination for a short weekend trip.

Downtown Graz

There’s probably rarely as much Mediterranean flair in Austria than in Graz, which is why it’s unsurprising it gets compared to Italian cities over and over again. The historic city center features many pretty squares and alleys that are counteractive to wanderlust and lead us to believe more and more that we’re actually in the south.

Places which particularly let us dream of the south:

  • Schlossbergplatz (the square in front of the Schlossberg)
  • Sporgasse
  • Färberplatz – Mehlplatz – Glockenspielplatz (squares that are all more or less connected) A place where you can get some ice cream directly at Eisperle and stroll through the alleys.
    Secret tip: a little hidden away in one of the alleys around Mehlplatz you can find the Bücherstube –  a very cute bookstore – you should definitely pay a visit to while you’re there.
  • Burggasse and Hofgasse
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Die Innenstadt
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Die Innenstadt
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Die Innenstadt

Augarten, Burggarten and Stadtpark

In the evening – or also during the day for a picnic or just to relax –  the Stadtpark is the best place to meet. In Graz you have the option to visit many green spaces, but the three most well-known ones are surely Augarten, Stadtpark and the adjacent Burggarten.

We’d recommend Augarten if you’re looking for a more calming atmosphere or a chance to cool down – as of late there’s a little bay you could even go for a short swim in. 

The Stadtpark, which is located a bit more centrally, is especially frequented in the evenings, as the Parkhouse (a bar with a small dance floor) can be found there. Burggarten is a little more secluded and smaller. Here you can take the opportunity and visit two of the most characteristically typical sights of Graz –  the Doppelwendeltreppe (double spiral stairs) and the castle.

Picnic in the city park
Party in Parkhouse

Schlossberg (The Schlossberg hill)

If you’re going on a short walk in the evening to especially admire the sunset over Graz, it’s best to go up Schlossberg (the Schlossberg hill). There, at the foot of the Uhrturm (the Clock Tower) –  or maybe even higher, whatever you prefer ‒ the city really seems magical!

And, if you’re dating someone who’s from Graz, you’ll most definitely visit the Schlossberg hill. ;)

Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Sonnenuntergang am Schlossberg
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Sonnenuntergang am Schlossberg
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Schlossberg am Abend

Delicious (vegan) food

We’ve actually written a whole blogpost all about this topic already. However, our coolest spots are (still): Café Erde in the evenings, Ginko for lunch, a bagel from Tribeka in the morning and Eisperle for in between.

Two of the most recent highlights in Graz when it comes to vegan food are Shake Shaka on Lendplatz which is a Poke bar ‒ there you can put together your very own Poke Bowls with the possibility of having jackfruit as a vegan option: order it as takeaway and enjoy it in the park. And, for all the ramen enthusiasts: We highly recommend Ichi Go Ichi E in Keesgasse! Definitely book a table in advance, though.

Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Veganer Burger und Soja Nuggets bei Café Erde
Tofu and Seitan Burger + Soy Nuggets at Café Erde
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Vegane Jackfruit Poke Bowl bei Shake Shaka
Jackfruit Poke Bowl at Shake Shaka
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Veganer Sonntagsbrunch im Ginko
Sunday’s brunch at Ginko

Dogdays of Summer Vintage store

Pay us a visit when you’re in Graz! Browse through our hand-selected collection of lovely second-hand pieces, get inspired by extraordinary clothing from the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s or find a special vintage piece that has been on your wish list for a long time. If you’re looking for something specific, don’t hesitate to ask someone at the counter. We also have a huge storage room which we can scan especially for the items you are looking for!

Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Dogdays of Summer Vintageshop Retro Kleidung
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Dogdays of Summer Vintageshop Retro Kleidung. My Brand is second hand
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Dogdays of Summer Vintageshop Retro Kleidung

Flea markets in Graz

Whoever finds themselves in Graz on Saturdays or Sundays should definitely not miss out on the flea markets. Usually, they’re more so suited for early birds because some of the sellers already pack up at 11am. Officially, they’re open until 12pm, but also later in the day you can find and snag some bargains ‒ maybe even cheaper than you would’ve before.

Flohmarkt in Graz
Flohmarkt in Graz

Day trips from Graz ‒ beautiful destinations you can reach quickly

Let’s admit something: Most of these places are difficult to reach with public transport and a car would come in handy. But, if you can get the chance to carpool or rent a car, it’ll be well worth it! We’ll show you our four favourite destinations that you can get to in under two hours.

Schöckl – Graz’s very own mountain

A perfect option for slightly cooler days and for those of you who can’t organise a car rental. The Schöckl (a mountain nearby) can even be reached by bus! If you take the 250 (until St. Radegund Seilbahn-Talstation), it’ll take only half an hour until you’re directly at the cable car station. There you can either climb to the top by foot (it takes about 3 hours to hike up the mountain and about 2 hours to hike back down again) or enjoy a comfortable ride up the mountain in a cable car.

A beautiful view, lush meadows and even a cottage await you at the top of the mountain. The cottage (Stubenberghaus) offers vegan food options every once in a while.

Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Schöckl

Pferdegnadenhof Edelweiss in Wildon (Horse farm Edelweiss in Wildon)

This is one of the best kept secrets of the vegan scene in Graz; at the horse farm Edelweiss you won’t only be able to pet and cuddle animals, but also eat wonderful vegan food. On weekends and public holidays there’s a vegan only buffet (and yes, everything is completely vegan even if it doesn’t taste like it!) offering fancy dishes and lots and lots of dessert options.

But, even if there wasn’t a buffet we’d come back over and over again: the animals (sheep, pigs, horses, goats……….) on the horse ranch roam around freely and are always excited about cuddles. ❤️?

By the way: If after your visit you find yourself having some time and the weather is nice, you could walk a few steps and go swimming in the Wildon swimming lake.

Vegan Frankfurter sausage at the horse farm
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Pferdegnadenhof Edelweiss in Wildon.
Ein Wochenende in Graz – dein Local Guide. Pferdegnadenhof Edelweiss in Wildon. Kleines Zicklein
A small kid for cuddling

Riegersburg, Zotter chocolate factory and Buschenschank Bernhart

Zotter’s chocolate factory and the nearby zoo, called “Essbarer Tiergarten” (eng. “Edible Zoo” – an attraction within the Zotter grounds where you get the chance to pet animals and eat locally grown food), may be familiar to some of you. More unknown might be the fact that there’s a lovely Buschenschank (a traditional Austrian tavern) very close to the chocolate factory where you can enjoy lots of tasty vegan food options. Every dish is beautifully decorated, tastes unbelievable and there’s always at least one vegan dessert available (which knocked our socks off the last time we were there!)

Our recommendations at Buschenschank Bernhart include the vegan Brettljause (a literal board filled with an array of cold cuts, vegetables and eggs) with homemade tofu and the vegan Aufstrichteller, which is a plate filled with an assortment of spreads, and usually comes with Liptauer*, vegan “Bratlfettn”** (we’re guessing it’s probably made from dried plums) Tomatenschmalz (lard with tomatoes) and Zwiebelschmalz (lard with onions)

*Liptauer is a kind of spread usually made of curd, butter, onions, red bell peppers and seasoned with salt and pepper

**”Bratlfettn” is a spread that is usually made of the residual liquids of a pork roast

Die Riegersburg bei Sonnenuntergang
Veganer Aufstrichteller und vegane Brettljause beim Buschenschank Bernhart in Riegersburg
Buschenschank Bernhart in Riegersburg

Leopoldsteinersee (Leopoldsteiner lake)

On especially hot days the Leopoldsteiner lake is a must-visit destination. The water is clear, beautiful and ice cold. But also if you don’t go there to have a swim, it’s worth a visit – the surroundings and nature in general are just a gem. Please ignore the slightly longer drive there of about 2 hours (Just a heads up: drive through Bruck an der Mur in order to avoid the Gleinalmtunnel as well as traffic jams and toll fees) and go nevertheless.

Leopoldsteinersee in Eisenerz

We hope we were able to inspire you to come to Graz for a visit! If any other questions arise from any of you, we’re happy to help out. But maybe you’re from Graz and were able to find some new things through our guide which you haven’t tried before. Leave it in the comments. We’re looking forward to it!❤️

Idea: Dogdays of Summer |Photos/Videos: Lisa Catlin | Elisabeth und Maria Dorner | Clarissa Kober | Diana Ranegger | Text: Diana Ranegger | Translation: Verena Belsky