Within one hour and forty minutes you can be in Austria’s second largest city: Graz. Although Graz is not yet known to many, it has a lot to offer. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also called ‘The design city‘ named. Graz is an ideal base for winter sports enthusiasts to explore several ski areas in Styria. At the same time, lovers of culinary excursions will also feel at home here.
The versatile Graz
Graz, the capital of the state of Styria, is a real student city. Of the 250,000 inhabitants, more than 44,000 study at the university. This ensures that Graz is a lively city with many beautiful places and coziness.
Graz is also called Austria’s best kept secret and for good reason!
But there is more! Graz has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2011. Especially the Hauptplatz, the largest medieval city center in Europe is, especially when there is snow, a sight to behold.
If you go to Graz around the Christmas holidays, there are also really nice Christmas markets to visit! In the central square of the city, HauptplatzCan youChristkindlmarkt‘ find. From here you can use ‘Advent train‘, a small train that travels from one Christmas market to another. Fun for young and old!
After the city walks and the Christmas markets, you are of course hungry. No problem! Graz is known as Austria’s ‘culinary capital’. Many Austrian star chefs come from this city or visit the city and the region precisely for inspiration.
From the city to the slopes
Winter sports enthusiasts will primarily travel west. There lies the sporty Schladming-Dachstein, a true winter paradise for young and old! The cozy ski area is very child-friendly and at the same time challenging and diverse for all types of winter sports enthusiasts.
The ski area is part of Ski amadé and has 230 kilometers of pistes. It consists of four mountains, the most famous of which is Planai. You will find many blue pistes here and even special pistes for children. But experienced skiers can also enjoy themselves here, there are plenty of red and long pistes to challenge.
Speaking of challenge, don’t miss the ‘4 mountains ski’ ski run. In this round you ski a total of 40 kilometers and go over all four ski mountains. This trip is very nice to see a lot of the ski area and of course also nice and sporty! If you want to drive even more kilometers, it’s good to know that you can use the lift pass throughout Ski amadé. Popular ski areas such as Flachau, Zauchensee and Wagrain are not too far away.
Special off-piste activities
Schladming-Dachstein is not only a beautiful ski area, it offers beautiful nature and that means there are lots of fun activities to do off the slopes. We list a few for you:
- Cross-country skiing: Ramsau am Dachstein has 220 kilometers of cross-country trails. There are so many routes that there is a path for everyone.
- Fat biking: Together with a guide, you can discover the area on a bicycle with twelve centimeter thick tires! The studded tires ensure that you have plenty of grip on the snowy paths, and don’t worry: there are also e-bikes to give you a hand when it goes up.
- Snow hikes: Put on your snowshoes and follow a guide through unspoiled countryside where, if you’re lucky, you’ll encounter Austrian wildlife such as deer, chamois, roe deer and hares. The guide knows everything about the area and the animals and can answer all your questions.
- To skate: Skate on the beautiful lake Lake Puttererwhich freezes completely in winter or on the self-made ice rink.
- ‘Sky Walk’: daredevils those who are not afraid of heights will love the Sky Walk on top of the Dachstein Glacier. The viewing platform, which allows you to look out over a vast landscape, has a glass panel that allows you to look straight down. Pretty exciting! Prefer no creepy stuff but still enjoy the view? In addition to the Sky Walk, you can also go on a ‘normal’ tour.
So… how do you get to Graz?
Well, you now know that Graz can offer you the fantastic combination of city, culture and winter sports, but how do you get there? Because it is a journey of at least eleven hours by car, we recommend that you go by plane. KLM flies five times a week from Amsterdam to Graz. The flight takes only one hour and forty minutes. This means you won’t have to wait long for your winter sports fun to start! The flights can be booked from 159 euros. For the latest flight schedule, it is best to look here.
When you landed on Graz Airport and have taken your suitcase off the belt, you only have to drive ten kilometers with your rental car to the center of Graz. Graz can be quickly reached via the S-Bahn, but if you don’t rent a car, you can also reach the center by bus or arrange a shuttle in advance. Everything is easy to book and discover via the website: VerrassendGraz.
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Featured image: Steiermark Tourismus | Harry Schiffer.