Those who are into traditions and roots would love to explore Graz for it held the title for Cultural Capital of Europe in 2003. Academically-inclined folk would enjoy strolling around the capital of Styria for it is a university town with six universities and houses several thousand students. The second-largest city in Austria had also been designated the title of a City of Culinary Delights in 2008, so one can only imagine the delicious specialties to have come from this metropolis.
Find out the real authentic Graz by exploring the Old Town. A great way to do that is to wander around by foot and marvel at all the historical architectures passing by. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, some of the highlights comprise of Hauptplatz, the Main Square, on the left bank of the River Mur with its impressive statue of Archduke Johann, Town Hall (Rathaus), 17th-century Haus am Luegg, Gothic Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) and so forth.
Be sure to visit the Styrian Armoury for it houses the provincial arsenal since 1644. It features a collection of well-preserved 17th-century arms and armour, including items from the period of the Turkish wars. There appears to be enough ammunition to completely equip and arm up to 28,000 men including armor, helmets, and weaponry, as well as early muskets and pistols.
Catch a glimpse of the Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II which features a remarkable interior decor. Its elliptical dome is said to be the most ancient of its kind outside of Italy. Adjacent to the Mausoleum is the Cathedral of Graz with an impressive exterior fresco.
In order to celebrate the city being given title of European Capital of Culture in 2003, an iconic landmark for Graz was designed. This was a man-made island called Murinsel. Built completely with steel and appearing like a huge upside-down seashell, its a massive 47-meter-long floating island in the midst of River Mur that's tethered to its banks by two footbridges.
Nature lovers can spend some time strolling around the Botanical Gardens, housed in the city's most affluent neighourhood. It is renowned for its ultra-modern greenhouse with exotic flora from the around the planet. The garden's exhibits are split into four main climatic zones namely tropical, Mediterranean, temperate, and alpine.
History buffs would enjoy wandering around the magnificent Schloss Eggenberg. Finished in 1635, this beautiful Baroque palace features four huge towers and rich Rococo fittings. Tour the castle and prepared to be enthralled by dramatic wall and ceiling paintings, detailed ceramic stoves and inlaid wood floors.
There are several museums worth visiting in Graz. Some of the significant ones are: Graz Art Museum (focuses on the works of contemporary art of the mid-20th century) and the Natural History Museum (artifacts related to geology, zoology, and botany are displayed).
When it comes to shopping, one of the must-buys is a bottle of 'Kernol' (pumpkin seed oil). The oil is local for Stryria and has an incredible taste. Shop-a-holics can head over to Herrengasse - the most significant shopping street in Graz and wander around there. As for cuisine, one of the pumpkin dishes that is quite popular is Heidensterz - appearing like a dry, almost crumbly version of grits prepared from buckwheat flour, is a local dish especially relished in cold climate.
The stay options in Graz are abundant with the best luxury hotels, rental apartments and cheap accommodations available for the tourists to decide which kind to prefer based on their taste and budget.
Graz's climate is characterized by cold, snowy winters & rainy and cool summers. The best time to visit would be from April to September for the temperatures are mild and pleasant.