The best of world on a budget of €15 a day…
This student city in Styria, Austria, is compact, easy to get around and very charming – with a fast flowing river, a castle hill viewing point and a bustling old town at it’s heart. The people are friendly and things work here. If you visit at the right time – good weather and when the students are in town – it’s a great example of why life in Austria is pretty damn good. And why it’s a great destination for fifteenaday-ing.
The sightseeing route:
Along the river, through the old town and up the hill. Although you can easily pick up free maps at hotels and train stations, you’ll hardly need it. you can catch a lift to the top of the hill for a Euro, but if you have legs I think you should use them.
Hello = Guten Tag, Good Bye = Auf Wiedersehen, Thanks = Danke, Please = Bitte, and Cheers = Prost!
Get around baby, I get around:
Unless you bring your own bike, Graz is easiest to get around by foot. It’s definitely small enough and the bike hires I found weren’t cheap.
Luckily for hungry fifteenadayers like myself, the food in Austria is heavy, meaty and cheesy, so for very little you can be very full – Wuerst from most of the sausage stands in town is generally pretty good and isn’t just a cheesy tourist thing (as proved by old mate mayor’s advisor eating his hearty little lunch there). My fave is the authentic Kaesekrainer, which you can see below and nab for yourself for €2.70. Hot, cheesy and DELICIOUS. I got all extravagant and stupidly ordered a less authentic bottle of a beer called Fucking Hell (Austrian beer, I’m such a sucker for bad gimmicks and instantly had post-purchase regret) which doubled the price of lunch, but hey, the novelty of being able to drink a beer in the street at lunch time hasn’t worn thin yet, so overall it was probably worth the €2.60 I paid for it. Better beers (with less ridiculous names) are also available at a lesser cost.
The picnic spots:
fifteenaday endorses non-fancy picnics and Austria’s prime for this. Grab yourself a couple of Semmels (sort white buns), some Schinken (ham) and some Kaese (cheese) for next to nothing from the Billa, Spar or Merkur Supermarkets in the old town and climb the hill to the clock tower. This option especially recommended for a sundowner – best enjoyed with a bottle of wine (very cheap here) as night sets in. During the day make your way up to the Stadtpark or down by the river to watch the world go by.
The bad weather alternatives:
Being a great outdoors town and one where you wander and soak up the atmosphere, Graz isn’t great in the rain. And that’s why (among other, more personal reasons like the fact that I’m rubbish with a camera) most of the photos on this page are from another visit, or from my host Karin. I can recommend the Kunst Haus, which is the whacky building by the river, and enjoying a beer at one of the traditional Austrian pubs in the old town. There’s also free WIFI here and a great viewing point upstairs in the ‘Needle’ where you can soak it all in.
And when you got cash, baby:
Dinner in Landhaus Keller in the old town and brunch at Aiola Upstairs, which is at the top of the lift and over looking the city.
Aside from my couch surfing host Karin (who you can read about here and kindly saved me even more money by providing last night’s dinner and today’s brekkie) or the weird guy by the fountain, the character of the town goes to this guy below, an upstanding citizen who I found eating Wuerst by the town hall. Look how pure, proud and austrian he looks. Turns out he was an advisor to the Mayor, which I only found out AFTER accosting him for this photo while eating my Kaeserkrainer and drinking a beer named ‘Fucking Hell’. None the less – he was very excited that I was off on the Semmering Railway and proudly said the whole thing was an Austrian masterpiece. See what I mean? Pure, proud and Austrian. And very happy to be snapped.
The Kunsthaus has WIFI you can pillage, and coffees at a number of cafes in town with free WIFI cost about €1.60.
The best way for fifteenaday:
B/Fast: €3.50 or so for Joghurt and Banana and some juice at the park from Billa.
Morning activities: walking up and down the river and through the old town is FREE and a jolly good time!
Lunch: €2.70 Kaserkrainer or equivalent street food Wuerst – novelty beer additional option.
Afternoon Activities and dinner: If it’s wet hit the Kunsthaus (varying from €4 depending on the exhibition) and if not, buy wine and a picnic from the supermarket (max €8!) for a lovely dinner up the hill. Have a coffee, Graz has a good cafe culture so you can get some good people watching in.
Afterwards: A few cool clubs and pubs along the river offer cheap beers – especially when the students are in town.