A city break in Graz is one of our favorite, as this second largest Austria city really offers many things to do. No wonder we have found ourselves there for the third time in less than two years.
We have first traveled to the city for the amazing Graz Christmas market. We enjoyed the city so much, we have done another trip to Graz during the summer, which was all about the best things to do in the city and its tourist attractions. The third time we were traveling to Graz was just about Simon and me and because we were without our son, we have decided to do something different and to be a little bit more active. We joined the evening wanderings around the vibrant city with a hiking trip which showed us what a great city Graz is for this too.
Some of the most amazing hiking day trips from Graz
Just 15 kilometers from Graz (20 minutes by car) lies a village Rein. Austrians know it best for the gorgeous Cistercian monastery, which is the world oldest of this kind. The monks have been leaving and praying in it since 1129. One of the biggest assets is its library, which holds 100.000 texts and 400 ancient medieval manuscripts. If you want to see the monastery from inside, you’ll need a pre-booked guiding tour, but the beautiful and recently renovated baroque basilica is open for individual visits and is definitely worth a stop.
The parking place in front of the monastery is actually the perfect starting point to hike up to the Mühlbachkogel. The hiking path will lead you through the village and if you’ll be following the signs you don’t need to worry about getting lost. There are two options to reach the top – shorter and steeper or longer and easier. We have decided, with the help of Susanne – the local, to do the circle trail, which is about 17 kilometers long and for which we needed to overcome 629 meters of altitude. It took us a little bit less than 4 hours – including with a stop at the Rein bare foot trail too.
The Mühlbachkogel is almost 1000 meters high and to enjoy some local mountain cuisine, we would recommend you to hike up during the weekend, when the beautiful and authentic mountain hut is opened. We tried apricot knoedels and cheese strudel, which were both delicious and would definitely go up there again just for them.
During our hike, we have met many mountain bikers, what showed us that the area is very popular among the mountain bikers too.
As we were in Graz only for two nights and one day, we only managed to hike up to the Mühlbachkogel, but we have still gathered some other hiking day trips from Graz, which sound worth exploring.
If you will be asking for a good hiking place near Graz with locals, you will soon realize that Schöckl mountain, with its 1445 meters of altitude, is the most popular outdoor place for most of them. As soon as you will visit it and see all the things you can do there, you will know why. No matter if you are old or young, solo or with family, hiking or biking – everyone will find something for him/herself there. Schöckl mountain has even one of the most challenging mountain-bike trails in Austria.
If you are not really keen on hiking (you need around 2 hours), you can take the 7-minutes’ drive with the cable car up the mountain. You will find kids playground, mountain hut, summer tobogganing/slide (Hexenexpress) on top. If you’ll have clear sky, the views will take you all the way to Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.
The cable car station is set in a small town – the Sank Radegund bei Graz, which is known as one of the most popular health resorts in Styria. Not far away from it, you will also find the adventure park – perfect for adventurous families.
North from Graz, at the starting point Sandwirt Gasthaus in Augraben, lies an amazing and little know Kesselfallklamm gorge. I wish we heard about it before, as we would definitely stop there too. From the photos we have seen it looks amazing.
The circle path (R3) which is 2,5 kilometers long should take you around 90 minutes. The hike is so scenic as it really takes you deep into the gorge, where you’ll come across the wilderness nature. Most of the path is wooden, what makes it even more enjoyable and picturesque. You will even find natural bathing pools along the way for everyone brave enough to take a swim in the cold water. To top it all of, 38-meters high Kesselfall is waiting for you too.
If you think this hiking day trip from Graz is just about hiking, you will be surprised. On this 12 kilometers long trail where you will overcome 600-meters of altitude, several surprises await.
Apart from the amazing views over the city of Graz, you will also come across the Gösting castle ruins and the Thaler See, which lies in a small town Thal – the birth place of Arnold Schwarzeneger. If you enjoy his movies and before heading back to Graz, you should not miss to visit the Arnold Schwarzeneger museum either.
A city break in Graz is not ideal just because of its tourist attractions, but the city is also a great base for some day trips. Joining evening walks around the busy and vibrant city center, indulging with a romantic dinner and spicing up the whole experience with some outdoor activities like hiking to the nearby mountains, is just one more excuse for which we will for sure be back in Graz again.
Check out more tips about things to do in Graz, where to eat, where to sleep and how to explore the city here.