Category Archives: Austria

Information, impressions, facts, and all that you need to know about Austria. Here you find the posts related to my visits.

Graz: tradition and modernity

While I was in Vienna, I had the chance to go to Graz. It was a day trip. Despite my work meeting, I went a bit around the small city. It is the capital of Styria in Austria and it offers a huge number of attractions. Most of them coming from the past, others as unique examples of modern architecture. I didn’t know Graz and I couldn’t visit many things, but I am happy about what I see. Of course, I hope to go back there to see more.

I went there by bus in the morning, because I had time and I wanted to try to enjoy the landscapes, then I went back to Vienna in the evening by train. The organization of both means of transport is at a high level. It didn’t surprise me, because Austrians are punctual and precise. The distance between Graz and the capital of Austria is about 200 kilometers, so with the public transports, you need more or less three hours to get there, because of the stops. What to see in Graz? I will answer this question showing you pictures and writing about what I saw in the small city.

Graz: some information

Before to go deep into the description of my little tour, I want to give you some information about the capital of Styria. There are around 330.000 inhabitants, but part of the soul and the vitality of Graz comes from the 60.000 students. The city counts six universities and it hosts young people from all over the world. Its historic center is one of the most well preserved in Central Europe and I can guarantee that it is amazing.

Graz is protected as Unesco Heritage and was Cultural Capital of Europe and City of Culinary Delights. History and culture are surely the keywords for this place. In fact, in every corner, you can read the history and discover the tradition. The soul is not only Austrian because Graz was considered by Slovenes the cultural and political center in past centuries. I highly recommend you to visit this marvelous city. Let me show you my tour now.

The Castle of Graz

In Graz, the castle represents one of the main attractions and it is located in the center of the town on a hill. The building was rarely used and partially demolished at the beginning of the 19th century by Napoleonic forces. Italian architects built the fortress in the 16th century and that makes me proud, as you can imagine. In the 10th century, locals created the walls around the castle. Going around you can walk in a superb park and enjoy the view of Graz from the top. It is amazing. If you like to walk you can use the stairs placed on the rock to go up from the downtown.

The Clock Tower

Visiting the castle you have to see the Clock Tower. Its architecture reminds easily to the Austrian style, but also the clock itself is very interesting. The advanced mechanism and the decoration are surely the reason why you should see it. But I suggest you enter the tower and to enjoy the view from the top. It looks like to be in a fable. The tower is in the middle of the park, with marvelous flowers and trees all around.

Landeszeughaus

Going back to the Graz downtown you can see the museum dedicated to local historical military equipment. Don’t worry if this is not the thing you like, because I am mentioning this place for the architecture. The ancient building that host permanent exposition is very nice. It deserves a picture, especially for the facade decorations and for the entrance. I let the pictures show why.

Hauptplatz

The main square of Graz is the real center of the city since the Medieval age. At that time-space was occupied by the market. Now you can see many ancient and prestigious buildings. I suggest when you will be in the square, to focus on the architecture of each construction. It is not only about the shape, but especially for the beautiful decorations and frescoes. The city hall is only one of the important places. In the square, they can still see the wooden porticoes under which exchanges took place. The Sportgasse building offers an impressive façade with late 17th century stuccos.

Opera

Opera of Graz is another important building. I didn’t have the chance to enter, but if you have time put it on your list. The construction is nice and of course, Austria is one of the best countries where to attend classical music concerts and opera. That’s why you should go to this place. I can only show you the palace from outside with my pictures.

Graz double spiral stairs

The regional government in Graz has a unique headquarter. The Burg is a Gothic building restored and changed many times in the centuries. There are also some elements of Renaissance and Biedermeier eras. What is curious and original is the way to go up. It looks strange, but double spiral staircase it is real. Yes, when you enter the building the staircase appears like an optical illusion.  Here you can see the pictures.

Mariahilferkirche

In Graz there are many churches, starting from the cathedral and like Italian, I am used to seeing them. The one I visited is Mariahilferkirche. It was build in the 17th century and partially rebuilt in the 18th century. Entering it looks not rich from the artistic point of view. This may be because it is small, but the altar is superb. Then I saw also a couple of more churches very quickly and I appreciated them. Also if you are not religious, I recommend you to take a look.

Kunsthaus Graz

History and tradition come out from most of the local buildings, but where is the modernity? Surely from Kunsthaus Graz. “Friendly Alien” is the name of the Modern Art Gallery. People agree with this definition because it is completely different from everything around. It looks like something came from another planet, like an invasion. It is close to the river and you can see it at the last moment walking on the street. Some buildings hide it, so you are surprised when you have it in front of you.

I am not a fan of contemporary architecture, but I am curious, so I started to go around the building in Graz, to understand how it was. Well, it is not well combined with the rest of the places there, but maybe, for this reason, you can almost fall in love with it. The gallery expresses perfectly the style of the artworks exposed.

The park

The last thing I saw before to move to the train station was the local park. Very nice, well kept and with some lovely monuments. I let “talk” the few pictures I took there.

Planning the trip

I can suggest you some services‘ providers that will make your trip to Graz better. Mainly it is the easiest way to organize the journey. To move inside Austria or to go to Austria, Infobus is the best partner. The company offers cheap tickets, but especially it gives you a complete platform. You can search for a plane, a train or a bus. The system finds the best option according to timing and rates. You can compare the various solution and select the best one for yourself. It’s easy to surf. The process is fast and you get tickets after the payment directly to your e-mail inbox.

You won’t need only a mean of transport. To enjoy your trip you have to book a hotel, some excursions. I invite you to check out TEZ Tour. It offers well organized holiday packages. Also, the staff is ready to prepare tailor-made trips for the customers to give unique experiences. They are specialized in European destinations, so you will find a proper service. They take care of each detail for you. There is also assistance during the whole trip for any need. This is a good start for your visit to Graz and Austria.

The end

Just one day in Graz. The last one before to go back to my hotel in Vienna and the morning after going to Italy. I was sad because I couldn’t see that much. Surely I will organize myself to be in Graz again on my next trip to Austria. You can easily spend there a few days because it is full of monuments, museums, and many attractive places.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you more about Graz, but next time I will share some other information, experience and also better pictures. If you plan a trip there get inspiration from my short tour. If you want to know more about the country, read my post about Vienna. To get weekly updates and special contents, subscribe to my newsletter.



Booking.com

Vienna: elegant beauty

Destination Vienna. The Austrian capital is a city where I go always with pleasure because it gives emotions. I have always positive feelings and surprises. It is a place where I usually go for work reasons. So I don’t have so much time for tourism. That’s maybe why I can have each time surprises.

My last time I had the chance, at my arrival, to walk around. This is what I like. Walk and discover monuments, attractions, and hidden corners. Yes, I love to explore the places where I go in the less known points. 

I have to say that traveling for work gave me the chance to visit places where only locals go. Anyway, in Vienna I could mix, so I saw the main attractions plus something that is usually not part of the tourism itineraries.

In this post, I am going to give you some descriptions and opinions about the main things I visited. I also share here some of my pictures. But keep in mind that I took them in different seasons and I selected the bests. Then I hope you will enjoy my short guide of Vienna, you can get inspiration for your trip.

Vienna: around the center

The city offers you a huge variety of monuments and museums. To visit them I suggest you use the Vienna City Card. It is valid for one (€ 17), two (€ 25), or three (€ 29) days. It includes the free use of public transports. Plus you have discounts on the entrance fee of a big variety of museums.

There is also a card called Vienna Pass, made by a private company for different cities. They propose also the fast track inside museums. I wrote this because I highly recommend you purchase the card. You will save money and time during your stay. Also if I go there to work, I buy the card for one day. Because I have the chance to see something for cheaper prices and move easily.

I also suggest you walk, because in downtown it is full of beauties. The buildings and the parks deserve to be seen. There are also very nice churches. The architecture shows the prestige of Habsburg. The shopping street, the main square, the park, and a lot of museums are located in downtown. Everything is within walking distance, that’s why my advice is to visit the main part of the city on foot.

It is also easy to find some small events on the streets, many of them are reminding classical music. Vienna is a temple for that. And it has also a lovely museum, called Haus der Musik Museum, where you can interact with Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. It is not only made to explore the world of classical music, but also to learn how to listen to it.

Vienna: some information about the city

Vienna is the capital of Austria and the littlest of the nine government territories as districts. It is home to 23 regions and was first archived as a city in 1137. In 1155, it turned into the home of the dukes of the House of Babenberg, trailed by the House of Habsburg which ruled for no under 640 years. The city is a magnificent ornate city, which is outstanding for Maria Theresa’s rule just as Emperor Franz Joseph I and his cherished spouse, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (otherwise known as Sissi).

There are a couple of things you have to think about when visiting Vienna. The city is sheltered, with an incredible foundation of transports, cable cars, trains, and metros which are running on time and can take you essentially all over the place. This makes discovering convenience in Vienna a lot easier. Because regardless of where you are. There is extraordinary open transport accessible inside minutes stroll from your home.

Vienna has a huge measure of eateries and cafés. Practically all extensive metro stations have pastry shops for a speedy lift me a tidbit. For something valid, ensure you attempt different customary dishes and beverages. We prescribe the Viennese Schnitzel, the Sturm (Federweiss in Germany), Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) and obviously, the omnipotent Viennese Coffee. There is a must: Sacher Torte. You have to taste it if you are in Vienna. It is a chocolate cake with jam.

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

Out of the city center, there is the Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. It is one of the most visited attractions. What’s that? Amid Maria Theresa’s rule turned into the majestic summer home. The Schönbrunn is a Baroque castle and has 1,441-rooms. It is a standout amongst the most essential engineering, social, and authentic landmarks in Austria. I highly recommend visiting it. It’s very well laid out and interactive, with a free audio guide with your ticket.

The palace and museum focus on the royalty who lived here. Particularly it is about Franz Joseph. He, at 18, became ruler and survived the suicide of his son and the murder of his wife Sisi. He was beloved by the country for his hard work ethic. The baroque beauty is inside and out of this lovely palace. You can even spend the night there. You can easily see that this is why Mozart was invited to perform here at age six. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful gardens and head up for a view. There is a zoo inside the palace grounds.

Art and history in Vienna

Vienna is full of art and history everywhere, in each corner. Anyway, there are some places in the city where you can see amazing artworks. And you can get in touch with the most important stages of local and European history. Among the museums and spaces, I suggest you visit the Albertina Gallery. But it is not the only one. Let’s proceed step by step.

State Hall Of The Austrian National Library

The State Hall of the Austrian National Library is one of the world’s most lovely noteworthy libraries. Today, the State Hall houses 200,000 important books distributed somewhere in the range of 1501 and 1850.

Albertina

Situated in the core of the city, Albertina is the biggest previous private Habsburg living arrangement. Today Albertina houses a stunning cluster of workmanship. It is included changeless and impermanent shows. On the off chance that I could prescribe one single activity in Vienna. What? Visit the Albertina would be it. I cherished the accumulations to such an extent. I got the opportunity to see Monet and Picasso (perpetual), just as the Raffaello (transitory) and the Bruegel accumulations (brief). Many times they run temporary and thematic exhibitions.

Hundertwasser Haus

Just a couple of avenues from the Kunst Haus Museum, the Hundertwasser Haus is an excessively vivid condo. You can’t visit it, yet you can take pictures from outside. Inside the house, there are 53 lofts, 4 workplaces, 16 private porches, 3 collective patios, and a sum of 250 trees and brambles. It is viewed as a social legacy.

Majestic Burial Vault

Otherwise called the Capuchin Crypt. It is the majestic entombment vault that is the resting spot of the sovereigns and rulers of the House of Habsburg. It is intriguing to visit, as the Crypt itself has differently designed pine boxes. At the end of the day, it is somewhat dreary. I felt as I was in a memorial park. In any case, to be there was like to be part of the historical event described by this attraction.

Leopold Museum

The Leopold Museum is situated in the Quarter Museum. And it has some critical Viennese Art Nouveau, Wiener Werkstätte, and expressionism. I found interesting to explore the art evolution in the country. Vienna is well known for the ancient architecture and all the artistic expressions of the past. But it is also important for modern and contemporary art.

Mumok Museum

Mumok is the biggest gallery of present-day and contemporary craftsmanship in Central Europe. On the off chance that you like Pop Art, Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism, at that point this is the spot for you. I love art and even if I prefer the ancient artworks, I am so curious to see all the expressions. This museum is well organized and it helps the visitor to accomplish a journey into the art, passing by the different periods.

History Museum

The Natural History Museum opened in 1889. It has an astonishing gathering, including the celebrated “Venus of Willendorf”, a 29,500-year-old ancient rarity. It additionally houses the biggest and most seasoned shooting star accumulation on the planet. Some of the finds are surprising to me. Because you expect the usual things that tell how was the evolution of the animals, or how changing nature in the country. In Vienna, there are spectacular objects. That’s why I suggest you visit it.

Upper And Lower Belvedere

The Belvedere is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It highlights wonderful greenery enclosures that interface two castles. The Upper Belvedere is home to the world’s biggest accumulation of Gustav Klimt’s craft. Instead, the Lower Belvedere highlights numerous brief craftsmanship shows. This marvelous site will leave you speechless. It is so amazing.

Bank Austria KunstForum

Another must in Vienna for art lovers is the epic Bank Austria KunstForum. This place is incredible for exemplary innovation, impressionism and vanguard darlings. I was so amped up for seeing some mind-boggling accumulations. You can see artworks by Van Gogh, Cézanne and Toulouse-Lautrec. It is an uncommon and precious collection.

Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg is the former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers. Today it serves as the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. If you are not a friend of the President, you can’t enter, but there are some wings open for visits because they are not part of the institutions. It is the case of the Sisi Museum, Imperial Apartments, and Silver Collection. You can relive the glories of Sisi age. 

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

It is not only the main Catholic church in Vienna. But it is a superb example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The religious building is also an important piece of Austrian and European history. Habsburg’s family had many events inside the Cathedral. I suggest you enter and see the marvelous artworks.

Opera

I have never had the chance to enter. But also from outside the Opera building deserves some pictures. The architecture and the decorations of one of the most important constructions in Vienna are amazing. It is in downtown, so you don’t have to walk too much to reach it. Of course, if you love classical music, ballet or this type of art, you will be in the temple of it. So don’t miss the chance. On my wish list, there is the New Year’s Concert…

Attractions

In Vienna there are not only art and history, here you have some other suggestions. One of the pillars of the city, so you should attend a concert. Then enjoy the view from the top. Let me describe a few more places where you have to go to the Austrian capital.

Traditional Music Concert In Vienna

You are in the capital of traditional music. So getting tickets to an established show is a flat out must. I had an experience listening to Mozart Requiem at the St. Charles Church. It was a great concert, in a sublime atmosphere. The congregation was staggering, looked glorious, particularly around evening time. You can easily verify online events and concerts. Also on the official Vienna website. Purchase the tickets in advance because they are limited and many people want them.

Giant Ferris Wheel

The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel has been turning since 1897. It offers a perspective on Vienna from above: extraordinary! The wheel pivots gradually which empowers you to get relentless photos of the city. Have a tour, you will be happy.

What else?

No, don’t worry, it is not George Clooney’s question for Nespresso. I want to give you a little more advice about what to see in Vienna. Something may be less common. I discovered some nice places thanks to my contacts. But of course, I listed them according to my taste. Try to read and get inspiration. You know, I love to know better the real cities. The itineraries for tourists are interesting therefore they are somehow a must, but those places are not part of real life. That’s why I have to go around where only locals go.

Naschmarkt

According to my opinion, this is one of the coolest approaches to begin the day. The market offers intriguing sustenances and flavors from all around the globe, just as extraordinary leafy foods. There are a few eateries where you can appreciate informal breakfast. It can get a little occupied throughout the end of the week. Yet it’s a fun spot in any case. I prescribe attempting the gigantic green olives and feta cheddar with some newly heated bread. You will be delighted.

Lainzer Tiergarten (Hike)

If you are sick of historical sites, I propose an alternative. Because you may need a break from all that art. A short climbing outing. Take the U4 tram as far as possible of the line (Hütteldorf), at that point pursue the signs to Lainzer Tiergarten. Once you are there go to the Rohrhaus by following either the red (longer course) or orange (shorter course) signs. En route, you will have a lot of photograph openings. Appreciate all-encompassing perspectives on Vienna, climb through thick woodlands and deeply inhale outside air. Nature is great over there. 

The Globe Museum

This is one of the exceptional accumulations of the Austrian National Library (however in an alternate space). It is the Globe Museum: the main exhibition hall on the planet with globes. Counting globes both earthly and divine (in the prime of globular maps, they regularly came in sets) the accumulation holds more than 600 examples. With 200 or so in plain view at some random time. There are inflatable texture globes, small handheld globes, and goliath globes as expansive as an individual. It is an amazing place, especially if you love geography.

Esperanto Museum

The second remarkable gathering supervised by the Austrian National Library is the Department of Planned Languages And Esperanto Museum, or the Esperanto Museum for short. This one of a kind accumulation gathers relics identified with the built language that was created during the 1880s as a conceivable all-inclusive tongue. While it never truly got on in the manner in which its creator would have loved. It remains the best-made language ever. The accumulation holds such peculiarities as soft drink jars written in Esperanto just as a huge number of books, flyers, and bits of ephemera identified with the language. 

Gasometer Town

Four round structures, used in past for gas depressurizing, are now buildings for people. In 1984 the company closed them down. Because of the new gas control systems. Those buildings were out of date. So the city of Vienna transformed the group of four of delightful structures into lodging networks. Notwithstanding the living spaces, there are workplaces and retail stores. The gas houses keep on being utilized as lodging right up ’til the present time and have built up an astonishing feeling of a network.

Final thoughts

Vienna is an elegant city, full of things to do and to discover. It is safe. I have to say that walking in the late evening you might be in some dark and empty streets, but never in danger. You can spend there a few days or a week. More time you will stay in the Austrian capital, more chances you will have to see the surroundings. I can’t say how much time you need to see all the listed places. Because I saw them in many different breaks, in various seasons. Anyway, you will be happy to have a long holiday in Vienna. It is full of opportunities for travelers

You will have many options on where to sleep if you want my advice, read about the boutique hotel I have tried. It is the same for meals, you can easily find all that you want. There are Michelin star restaurants, fast food and so on. In my opinion, you should consider a dinner at the famous Hotel Sacher’s restaurant. Are you searching for traditional food? Don’t miss the Wiener Schnitzel and the Sacher Torte. I don’t know your taste, but I think they will make you happy, especially dessert. 

This short guide comes from my direct experience. You can get inspired. Book your flight through Skyscanner and read my tips to find the best deals. Use Booking to find your hotel in Vienna.