Styria is one of the nine federal states of Austria. It is also known as ‘The green Heart of Austria’, you will understand why when you’ve explored it a bit more. Graz is the capital of Styria, if you want to know more about Graz and what you do there, take a look at “A Walk through Graz”. Graz is always worth a trip, but not only Graz, also its surrounding has a lot to offer. It doesn’t matter in which time of the year you come here, you will always find something to do.
For nature friends it’s a great base for hiking but also for skitrips in winter. Several lakes invite you for a swim, sailing or other watersports in summer or a fun ice-skating afternoon in winter. If you’re interested in culture you will find several castles, fortresses or museums. And especially gourmets and winelovers will love Styria a lot!
This is by far not everything you can do in Styria but it’s all more or less closeby to Graz and easy to do in a few extra days.
This old castle ruin is actually still in Graz. It was built in the 11th century and enlarged a few times over the centuries. In July of the year 1723 a lightening stroke into the Castle and set it on fire. It was not rebuilt after this incident. Nowadays you can look at the ruin, enjoy the amazing views over Graz and enjoy a drink in the Burgtaverne.
You can reach the ruin by walking through the woods. Take the bus nr. 40 or 85 to the endstation Gösting. From there it’s about a 30 minute walk uphill. When walking uphill don’t miss the ‘Jungfernsprung’. The legend says that the damsel jumped down there because of her broken heart. From there you have a good view over the northern area of Graz.
Lippizaner Stud Piber
Lipizzaner Horses are Europe’s oldest cultural horse breed. Piber is where the Lipizzaner horses of the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna grow up and enjoy their summers for already more than 400 years. Only the best stallions present the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and then return to Piber as studs for one or several breeding seasons. In Piber you can have a look at them and enjoy these elegant horses.
You will find this impressive fortress in the east of Styria. You cannot miss it as it is overlooking the whole area. The fortress Riegerburg is open between April and October and offers several activities. Three different museums, a bird of prey demonstration, the fortress itself and of course the view makes the visit unforgettable.
About 25 kilomethers in the north of Graz you can find the castle Rabenstein looking down of a big rock spur. Its foundations were built in the 12th century and it got enlarged and modernised several times till today. The Burg Rabenstein is probably the most sublime castle complex in Styria. You can visit it from April till October and rent it for events all year round.
Interesting fact, an air-air pump is heating the Fortress and makes it a well-known example for a historical building with a sustainable heating system . This heating system makes it possible to heat the whole castle very economically and ensures an ideal room climate.
After you visited the castle you can also visit the lovely city Frohnleiten nearby.
Zotter Chocolate Factory
Close to the Riegersburg you can find the Zotter Chocolate Factory. Here you will find out how the famous Zotter chocolate is made. It starts with a film which shows where they get their chocolate beans from and how they are harvested. Afterwards you will follow your way through the factory from the bean to the bar. You can taste everything along the way in all forms and tastes and your taste buds will have a great day there!
After all the chocolate tasting you can enjoy the big garden. It’s an adventurous organic farm experience, where old domestic animal breeds live and regional fruits, vegetables and herbes are grown. In the so called Edible Zoo you can see and touch the farm animals and in the organic farm restaurant ‘Essbar’ you can enjoy organic food from March till November!
We really like the concept and philosophy of this Factory. Everything inside is fairtrade and everything you get in the restaurant you will find in the garden area. It makes us keep our awareness about how to treat the animals and plants we are eating.
Styria is well known for it’s good wine. We highly recommend to explore the south of Styria and to enjoy the beautiful views over the wine hills. Make sure you stop at a ‘Buschenschank’ to do some wine-tasting along with eating a ‘Brettljausn’.
The Lurgrotte cave is the largest watercave in Austria. You can visit it all year round but in the winter months from Novermber till the end of March you have to book two days in advance. As soon as you are with two adults you can follow a guided tour. Guided tours are offered from the beginning of April till the end of October every hour. The temperatur inside the cave is a constant 10 degrees celcius and the humidity is at 95%, don’t forget to take a jacket! When the weather is bad, there will be no guided tours as it is too risky to walk inside.
The normal tour takes one hour and will lead you 1 km into the cave. Lights illuminate the whole path. There’s also the posibility to walk two kilometres into the cave. After the first kilometer you will continue with flashlights as the second kilometer is not illuminated. This is a very special experience! For a two kilometer guided tour there have to be at least ten people.
During the winter months you have the opportunity to attend an adventure tour. This tour will bring you 4 km into the cave. Make sure to book this option in advance.
The people of Graz call the Schöckl Mountain their house mountain. With 1445 metres its not the highest mountain of Styria but as it is so close to Graz it’s a really popular destination. You can hike or bike up or take the cable car and walk around at the huge plateau on top.
From the top of the Schöckl you can enjoy a real panoramic view into every direction.
There’s a restaurant on top where you can enjoy the view from the terrace. Kids can explore a big playground and in summer you can ride the toboggan run ‘Hexenexpress’ which is great fun for the whole family. If you like mountain biking you will like the downhill trail a lot. If you are a Paraglider, there are excellent thermic conditions. It’s fascinating to watch them starting one after the other from the plateau. There are several hiking paths on the plateau and also downhill you can chose different sides and paths, depending on you condition. The Schöckl is worth a visit all year round!
The hike through this romantic gully takes about 1,5 hours and is suitable for the whole family. It’s a refreshing walk through the rocks along a river and waterfalls. The walk is about 2,5 km long and will lead you over 2800 stairs and 52 bridges. It’s a great hike in summer as waking along the water through the wood is really refreshing.
The Grüner See (green lake) is not the closest destination from Graz but it’s easily doable in a day. Every year after the snowmelt, the crystal-clear meltwater of the surrounding mountains fills up this lake and shines in unique emerald green colour.
The height of the water level depends on how much snow there was in winter and it slowly lowers untill late autumn. In the winter, the water in the lake disappears almost completely so make sure to come here in spring or summer. This cycle can take place annually only because nature and the environment are still in order here. The animal and plant world of the lake is also still able to regenerate and recover. To not destroy this natural phenomenon do not swim in the water or let a dog go in but a walk around will completely mesmerize you, we promise!
Open-Air Museum Stübing
This Open-Air Museum is just a bit outside Graz and a wonderful destination for the whole family. It’s part of the ten biggest open-air museums of Europe and shows historical buildings of all Austria. They moved 97 old houses to this museum and originally rebuilt them. You will learn about daily family life, work, celebrations and traditions of the rural society long ago.
You can visit the museum from mid march till the end of october. It’s a beautiful walk, don’t forget to take something to eat and to drink and enjoy a picnic in the grass.
When you are tired from all the traveling you can relax in one of many thermal baths in the eastern area of Styria. For example in the Therme Blumau, designed by the painter and architect Hundertwasser or in the Therme Loipersdorf, one of the biggest and also very kids friendly.
You can visit all thermal baths over the day, most of them have also a long opening day per week or month or you stay there over night. It’s always a very relaxing experience.