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Graz may not spring to mind immediately when thinking of Austrian cities. As Austria’s second biggest city, it strives to be number one when it comes to sustainable experiences.


About Graz

Nestled in the heart of Austria, Graz captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and commitment to sustainable living. As a UNESCO World Heritage City, Graz seamlessly combines the old and the new, offering tourists a unique experience while prioritizing environmental responsibility. On your next visit, you’ll find it easy to explore this fantastic city, which boasts a car-free city centre and carefully designed walking tours. Family businesses can be found everywhere, and with their expertise, your stay in Graz will be a memorable one!

Graz boasts a network of well-maintained cycling paths, encouraging eco-friendly transportation and allowing visitors to explore the city’s picturesque streets at a leisurely pace. The city’s commitment to sustainability extends to its culinary scene, with numerous restaurants sourcing local, organic ingredients, and promoting a farm-to-table ethos.

The iconic Schlossberg, a hill at the city centre, not only provides panoramic views but also serves as a testament to Graz’s dedication to preservation. Visitors can climb the stairs or opt for the eco-friendly funicular to reach the top, where they’ll discover a charming park and the clock tower—a symbol of Graz’s enduring history.

The city actively promotes green initiatives and responsible shopping, hosting eco-friendly events and markets that showcase local artisans and sustainable products. Graz is a shining example of a destination that values its cultural heritage while embracing a green future, making it an ideal choice for conscious travellers seeking an environmentally responsible and enriching experience.

What makes Graz, Austria a Sustainable Place?

Susanne Höller, Head of Destination Marketing Graz Tourismus

Tell us about your personal connection with Graz. What draws you to the city?

I have been living and working in Graz for most of my professional life. After working and living abroad and in Vienna, I chose to return to my hometown because I missed this special vibe of Graz. It’s so different from any other city in Austria – it’s much more relaxed than Vienna or Salzburg, it’s green and it has this certain Mediterranean vibe which I particularly love during summertime when life basically takes place outside. The other thing I really like about Graz is, that it is big enough to be an international place but then small enough to bump into friends when strolling around. Graz also has the big advantage that most of the things we promote as “visitor attractions“ have been growing organically over the years, such as our farmers’ markets. There’s nothing that has been invented only for visitors.

In what ways have you seen Graz change over the years?

Graz has made a huge leap forward in the past 30 years. It grew from a sleepy little city with hardly any events to a magnet for visitors who like secondary destinations with lots of authentic charm and experiences. Today Graz is a young, vibrant and buzzing place, with lots of amazing events like the spring festival (a festival of electronic art, music and visuals), the Styriarte (the main summer festival of classical music), the design month, and lots of opera & theatre performances. The approximately 50,000 students, international companies plus expats and a thriving start-up scene make Graz a forward-thinking and creative place, where the quality of living is always the top priority. In addition, sustainability is not only a buzzword but something we take very seriously, especially in tourism – that makes me particularly happy!

If someone were visiting Graz for the first time, what community and nature-positive experiences would you recommend to them?

First and foremost, I would recommend a stay in a hotel/B&B which is owned by a local family. This is the best introduction to Graz! It’s an easy task as well because most of the hotels are owned by locals anyway. The next thing I would do is get a Graz Card which allows you to use our public transport for free and gives access to most of our museums. My favourite spot in Graz is Schlossberg, the hill right in the centre of the city. From the top of Schlossberg, you can enjoy the best views of the city. It is also a popular recreation area of Graz, with lots of green spaces for picnics or relaxation. Up there you’ll also find the historic and unique landmark – the Clocktower plus a couple of restaurants. I particularly love being up there for sunsets.

Another spot I recommend is a visit to one of our farmers’ markets. Here the farmers themselves offer their fresh produce from farms close to the city or even from farms within the city limits. This is where locals shop on a daily basis, a decades-long tradition. Farm-to-table has been a concept in Graz long before it became a buzzword for sustainability.

Also – lose yourself in the tiny little streets and lanes of the historic city. Graz has a very compact city centre, so don’t be afraid of getting lost! Peek into the inner courtyards – most of them are open to the public so you don’t have to be afraid to invade private spaces. In many of these courtyards, you may even find a cosy bar serving local food & wine. And as a contrast, cross the river Mur and explore the emerging districts of Lend and Gries. That’s the place where you’ll find lots of creative spirit, upcycling shops, contemporary art and cool cafes and restaurants. Once a bit of a shabby area, these are today some of the hippest areas of Graz.

One personal recommendation: don’t be shy and talk to locals. We are friendly people and are happy to share our insider tips with you!

If you were a visitor to Graz yourself, what aspect of the city or attraction wouldn’t you want to miss, and why?

My way of travelling has changed over the years. Today I look for places away from the obvious; more hidden places, less crowded, and more authentic. Because these are the places where I can find the true spirit of a place. For visitors, it’s not always easy to find these corners because tourism boards tend to market the obvious assets, but through my work with content creators, I’ve become aware of how helpful blog posts can be to find these places. So if I were to visit Graz, I would look for content that has been produced over the past years.

What is something few travellers know about Graz?

The fact is that Graz itself is not so well known when it comes to city trips in Austria. Everybody knows Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck, but Graz doesn’t pop up immediately. But once visitors are in Graz, they are pleasantly surprised by its relaxed vibe, by the high quality of culinary experiences and the friendliness of its people.

What does your ideal ‘day off’ in Graz look like? Where do you eat, hang out, and what do you do?

I would start the day with a relaxed breakfast either at KunsthausCafe or on the rooftop terrace of Lendhotel (absolutely stunning views), then I would stroll over the farmers market on Lendplatz and maybe have a glass of prosecco at one of the little restaurants at the market and watch people shopping and chatting, i.e. just go with the flow, with no plan.

One of my favourites for lunch or dinner is the zero-waste restaurant “Die Hummel“, run by two ladies who dedicate themselves to zero waste, regional products and local staff.


As I am a very active person, I would either go for a long run along the river Mur or run up one of the mountains close to the city such as Schöckl mountain or Plabutsch, both with easy access by public transport. I would then treat myself to a hearty “Backhendl” (fried chicken) at the restaurant “Der Steirer” accompanied by a glass of local wine.

If you could describe Graz in 3 words, what would they be?

Relaxed – Friendly – Authentic

See it for yourself

Graz Gallery


Quick Facts

When to Visit Sustainably

The best season is from May to October to enjoy the rich cultural but also (local) culinary offers.

Suggested Season

Time Zone


How to Get There: Fast / Slow

(Night) Train connections through Vienna from major European cities, plus flight connections through Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, Zurich and Vienna.



Tipping Etiquette

Add approx. 10% to the total amount.

Your Peace of Mind

Ready to visit?

Find out more and speak to one of our travel experts today

Sustainable Highlights

  • City Walking Tours

    Most of our city tours are walking tours. Making it a slower but more immersive experience led by local licensed guides.

  • Farmer’s Markets

    Graz is Austria’s culinary capital and offers lots of farmer’s market days throughout the whole week. The two biggest markets are the “Kaiser-Josef-Markt” just behind the Opera House and “Lendplatz” located in the trendy Lend district. At both markets, you can purchase fresh, local and seasonal produce directly from farmers.

  • Graz Card

    This 24, 48 or 72 hour card will give you access to Graz’s most popular museums, free use of public transport (including the funicular and lift up to the Schlossberg), a free city walking tour and discounts on various purchases.

  • TIC sustainable souvenirs

    The Tourist Information Center in Herrengasse 16 is not only the place to get the best information on the city but also the best place to shop for sustainable souvenirs. The majority of the products are produced in Graz or in Steiermark or Austria. No products are sold from outside of Austria.

  • Heidenspass

    This is not only an upcycling shop but also a place where young people from difficult social environments find work and purpose. If you shop there, you leave a positive impact.

  • Pane by Auer

    Give your bread a second chance! The locally run bakery of Martin Auer sells bread from the previous day in this shop for a lower price. All the income from these sales goes to charity.

  • S’Fachl Graz

    A unique shop concept where private vendors, manufacturers, startups etc can sell their produce risk-free. They rent a shelf for a certain period of time, stock it and sell from there. Products must be local!

  • The Graz Cup

    A refill system to avoid paper/plastic coffee cups. Buy a Graz Back Cup for €1.00 and have it refilled in many of Graz’s coffee shops. Either keep your Back Cup as a souvenir or return it in participating coffeeshops and you’ll get your €1.00 back.

  • Refill Graz

    Not only does Graz have a network of public water fountains to refill your water bottle, but also a vast number of shops in the city centre offer a refill for free! Don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Bring your own and have it refilled!

  • Altstadtbim

    Free tram rides in the city centre make it easy for visitors to move around in the city. No hassle to buy tickets, just hop on and move around for free.


Where in the World?

4 day Graz, Austria itinerary

  • Day 1: Historical Heart of Graz

    Begin in the historical centre of Graz, a UNESCO World Heritage site that blends impressive architecture with sustainability, completely accessible for pedestrians. Amble through the cobbled streets to encounter the iconic Graz Clock Tower and the captivating view it offers. Lose yourself in the tiny alleys and hidden courtyards of the historic old town. This day wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the stunning Graz Cathedral and the Mausoleum, steeped in history and artistry.

    During your discoveries, refresh yourself at one of the many free water fountains sprinkled throughout the city.

    For dinner, savour authentic Styrian cuisine in a cosy, family-run restaurant, where the farm-to-table concept is a deeply ingrained tradition, embodying the city’s commitment to sustainability.

  • Day 2: The Green Lungs and Artistic Veins of Graz

    The second day invites you to explore on foot the lush Stadtpark and the Hilmteich area, Graz’s green lungs, perfect for a leisurely morning stroll or a serene picnic sourced from local farmers’ markets. After, venture into the vibrant districts of Lend and Gries on foot. These neighbourhoods are alive with creativity, housing avant-garde galleries and workshops in repurposed buildings, showcasing the city’s dedication to sustainability through art.

    Conclude your day with a meal at a quaint eatery run by a local family, where the dishes narrate Graz’s rich cultural tapestry.

  • Day 3: Sustainable Shopping and Culinary Delights

    Embrace the essence of sustainable living by shopping at small, family-owned businesses on foot, where each purchase supports the local economy and artisans. For lunch, indulge in a culinary adventure at a local bistro that prides itself on organic, locally sourced ingredients. Spend the afternoon savouring Graz’s coffee culture in one of the city’s historic cafés, reflecting on the beauty of sustainable travel. If you still have some time left, use your Graz Card to visit one of Graz’s iconic museums free of charge. Must sees are the Kunsthaus or the Armoury Museum or Eggenberg Palace.

  • Day 4: Adventure at Schöckl Mountain

    Your final day unfolds with an adventure to Schöckl Mountain, Graz’s beloved local peak. Embark on a short bus journey to St. Radegund, where the mountain’s base beckons. Here, choose your ascent: hike the trails winding up the mountain, embracing the challenge and the beauty of the landscape, or take the cable car, soaring to the summit in seven minutes to meet the breathtaking panorama that awaits. At 1,445 metres, Schöckl offers not just spectacular views but also a realm of activities. Whether it’s exploring the barrier-free hiking trails, enjoying a leisurely gondola ride, or the thrill of the summer toboggan run, Schöckl ensures a memorable finale to your Graz exploration.

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See it for yourself

Graz Gallery