Sundays can be quite a difficult day of the week here in Austria, as (nearly) everything religiously shuts down and there are hardly any people out on the street. Austrians love their free weekends and nothing can stop them from taking a well-deserved rest.
So what should you do on a Sunday in Graz? If everything is closed?
Fear not, here are some tips of what you could do to get the most out of the city and even tips on where to get a meal without resorting to Mcdonald’s:
Take a stroll through the city centre
This might seem like a no-brainer, but Sundays are a good day for a relaxing walk without being pushed around by the groups of tourists and/or locals like you would on a Friday or Saturday afternoon. You can admire the buildings for hours or sneak into every small alley you find without bothering anyone. And if you are lucky, you might get the Schloßberg view all to yourself.
Visit Eggenberg Castle gardens
Eggenberg Castle is open on Sunday and I just love hopping on my bike or taking the number 1 tram down there when I don’t know what to do with my day off. The gardens are big enough for you to enjoy alone time in nature and you can also feed the peacocks if you buy a bag of seeds for 1€. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Visit the Lustbühel castle and grounds
The Lustbühel castle is a lovely castle up a hill in Waltendorf, home to a Kindergarten at the moment. There is a lovely café and a petting zoo, with sheep, goats, a donkey and some chickens. You can spend ages just walking along the paths and going inside the forest. It is perfect for a day out with kids!
Go for a walk or a bike ride along the Mur
On the main bridge you can make a decision, should you walk south on the eastern bank towards the beautiful Augarten and continue to the Murradweg that goes through idillyc countryside all the way to Slovenia, or should I walk north on the western bank until the incredible Kalvarienberg and maybe continue all the way till Gösting and the Thalersee, famous being once inhabited by Arnie Schwarznegger?
Visit the botanical garden
Not many know this, but the botanic garden is open on Sunday morning from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. The tram 1 to Mariatrost takes you there and it is perfect to warm yourself up on a chilly day. If you are really visiting in Winter you should make sure to combine your trip with ice-skating at the nearby Hilmteich. But you can also go there in summer to have an ice-cream at the Purberg café. Oh, and the entrance to the botanic garden is completely free!
Here is a post about my own experience visiting the botanical garden.
Enjoy the vista from Area 5
Area 5 is a lovely student restaurant/pub in the last floor of the highest building in Jakominiplatz (where the Billa supermarket is, take the elevator to the 5th floor). In summer they open the rooftop terrace, which invites you with its awe-inspiring views over Graz. (It’s also a top-notch location for your instagram selfies). If you come in winter, you can still have great views from inside. On a Sunday it might be difficult to get a table, as it is one of the few open places in Graz, but you don’t need to sit down to enjoy the view.
Grab a coffee at Tribeka
Tribeka is a Graz-own coffee shop chain and luckily there are 5 locations strewn across the city. Many locals end up here on a Sunday catching up with friends or with work, giving it a very cosmopolitan vibe. In my opinion, there is no better coffee in Graz than Tribeka Coffee.
After all, it’s Sunday, so why not take a leaf out of the Austrian book and wake up later? Brunch culture has been imported to Graz from English-speaking countries and it has become more and more popular lately. Here are some places that offer brunch on Sunday:
- Speisesaal: offers a breakfast buffet from 6:30 to 11 a.m., on Sundays there is also the special Soul Brunch (a bit more costly at 38€) from 12 to 3 p.m.
- Aiola Upstairs: start your day the right way, with a great view over the Clocktower and Graz, a delicious slice of Austrian bread in one hand and a bellini in the other.
- Sorger: no breakfast buffet, but you can order a Genussfrühstück to share which is plentyful. I recommend going to the one in Sporgasse, it was recently renovated and it has a very cool vibe.
- Kunsthauscafé: breakfast is offered until 4 p.m., so perfect for those who love to sleep in reaaally late.
- Ducks Coffee: with its cute ducks and hipster interior, this café is pretty unique. And the breakfast menu is the reason you’ll stay.
- Barista’s am Tummelplatz: one of the best places for a brunch buffet, they also prepare eggs freshly just how you like them. All you have to do is choose the eggs, the ingredients and write down whether fried or scrambled.
Have a real Austrian meal
Many Austrian restaurants are open on a Sunday either for tourists or for locals having family Sunday lunch. Here are my top picks:
- Der Steirer: for some modern Austrian food paired with the perfect wine. (Try the Styrian Tapas, a delicacy you can only find here).
- Herzl Weinstube: my go-to place for some traditional Austrian food, especially since they have made the whole restaurant smoke-free. Try the Styrian Schnitzel or the Backhendl, you won’t regret it!
- Gasthaus Stainzerbauer: I went there with my family for Easter lunch and I adored the food as much as I adored the way the place was decorated.
- Altsteirische Schmankerlstube: I took some Italian friends to eat here and they thoroughly enjoyed it. If Italians recommend it, it must be good.
Go on a trip to the Styrian wine road.
Find more information about it on my separate blog post: a day in the Styrian wine region.