The second largest city in Austria, Graz has a long history as a student town with six universities and more than 40,000 students.
It is located on the Mur River in the southeast of Austria, and along with the student lifestyle, Graz is known as a city of culinary delights and you will find an abundance of local produce and fantastic flavours.
Graz itself was added to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites in the 1990s.
The city is home to a number of museums and galleries and the old town is one of the best preserved in central Europe. It includes more than 1,000 buildings ranging from gothic style to modern. Take a walk through the old town to explore the town hall, the state parliament building, museum of art, the Opernhaus, the gothic Dom cathedral, Burg castle with its gothic double staircase, the “painted house” and the museum of modern art.
One of the most visited features in the city is the Schlossberg, a hill which dominates over the old town and which was once home to a castle and which holds the 16th Century bell tower (with the heaviest bell in Graz), and which offers beautiful views of Graz and its surroundings.
Located in the beautiful Tirol mountain region, Innsbruck is a city that is surrounded by mountains, lakes, forests, valleys, alpine villages and castles. The city itself is filled with history, including architecture from the gothic, renaissance, baroque and neo-classical periods, as well as the stunning Imperial Palace and Ambras Castle.
Innsbruck is particularly popular in winter months, and it even hosted the Winter Olympics twice in 1964 and 1976. The nearby mountains have nine ski areas set aside for alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing, as well as a range of other winter activities to suit the whole family.
Aside from the slopes, the city has much more on offer all year round, including the Hofkirche imperial cathedral which has the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, the Bell Museum outlining 400 plus years of bell making, the Old Town, the University of Innsbruck which dates back to 1669, and the centuries old Little Golden Roof – the roof of a three storey balcony that is covered with more than 2,500 copper shingles, fire gilded so the roof looks golden.
If you don’t do anything else, the one thing you really have to do when you visit Innsbruck is to take a gondola ride up Seegrube mountain (at 2,000 metres) where you can savour the spectacular views of the valleys and surrounding mountains.