Whenever we travel, we always look for beautiful architecture and rich cultural experiences. Mostly, this means walking around old towns or visiting museums. However, hiking is just as big a part of Austrian culture as Sachertorte, Mozart, and Secessionism. Surrounded by rolling hills, Graz is the perfect place to combine cultural tourism with some easy & fun hikes, perfect for city travelers.
Please note: This article appears in paid collaboration with VisitGraz as part of the #GrazAmbassadors project. Of course, this does not affect our opinion. We report our honest experiences without obligations. The article also contains affiliate links. Learn more about them on our Disclosure page.
What do you need for hiking in Graz?
For the purpose of this post, we have chosen 5 easy hikes and walks around Graz that can be done in less than half a day – allowing more than enough time for other activities.
All hikes are located within the city limits and the heads of the trails can be reached by public transport. Most of these hikes are more like long walks and don’t require any sort of special gear or clothes. Comfortable shoes, a small daypack, and a water bottle should be all you need.
PS: There are some traditional inns or restaurants where you can rest along the way – just remember to bring some cash.
5 Easy Hikes in Graz
Here are our favorite hikes and walks around Graz.
In Austria, hiking trails are usually marked red-white-red, often together with the number of the trail. The markings are most commonly found on trees. Do keep an eye out for them to not get lost!
1. Eggenberg – Thalersee
One of our favorite hikes around Graz is the stretch from Eggenberg Palace to Thalersee.
The route starts just behind the castle on Baiernstraße. There are parking spots behind the palace or alternatively, you could take tram no. 1 (direction “Eggenberg/UKH” and get off at stop “Alt-Eggenberg” from where it’s about 450 m to Bergstraße/Jägersteig – the start of the hike.
Follow the street until you reach the gate from where you continue on hiking trail no. 6 toward “Herrgott auf der Wies”. Once you reach a bunch of houses, turn to the left. From here, it’s a fairly straightforward walk along the side of the mountain.
The last stretch until the top of the hill could either be done on the street (Kollerbergweg) or by staying to the right on the hiking trail. This part can be a bit slippery, so in case it has rained the previous day, we recommend you walk this stretch on the street.
Once at the top, you can rest or continue on down to Thal. The trail is found to the right, parallel to the street. Once you’re on the trail, be sure to keep left so you don’t miss the final stretch towards the pond. This bit is a bit steeper and somewhat rocky. It can become slippery if it has rained, so do be careful.
Thalersee is a great place for a small picnic, although benches are in short supply 😉 Barring any delays, summer 2022 also promises the opening of a new restaurant & cafe on its shore.
For your return, there are three options:
- You return to Alt-Eggenberg the same way you came.
- You can take bus no. 48 (direction “Gösting”) back into the city.
- You expand your hike towards Plabutsch/Fürstenstand. This tacks on another 2 hours and includes a fair stretch of steep inclines. Take hiking trail 6b which merges into trail no. 2. From Fürstenstand, take trail no. 5 down to Alt-Eggenberg.
2. Burgruine Gösting
The trail up to Burgruine Gösting is a pleasant and just challenging enough walk of about 30 minutes. Starting at the bus stop “Gösting”, you simply need to follow Ruinenweg until you reach the castle ruins. The first part of the stretch is paved, but fairly steep. The second half of the walk leads through the forest along a gravel road.
Before you reach the castle, you can take a quick detour to Jungfernsprung, a perfect viewpoint of the north of Graz. According to legend, the unfortunate Anna von Gösting threw herself from the Jungfernsprung into the depths and to her death for a broken heart.
From there, it’s only a short stroll back to the castle ruins. The castle was built in the 11th century and constantly expanded until the 15th century when it provided protection against the threat of invading Turks and Hungarians.
In 1723 lightning struck the castle, where the powder store of the city of Graz was located at the time. A large part of the building fell victim to the flames. The castle was subsequently not rebuilt.
Today, the ruins are unfortunately not accessible to the public as the structure has become unsafe. However, there is hope that restoration will take place soon.
3. St. Johann und Paul – Rudolfswarte – St. Martin
Although this is perhaps the longest hike on this list, it’s also one of our favorite ones, offering sweeping views of the south of Graz.
Start your hike at the final stop of tram no. 7, “Wetzelsdorf”. From here, you want to make your way onto Steinberg. Walk towards the crossing of Wetzelsdorferstraße and Burenstrasse, then turn right along Steinbergstraße until Neupauerweg branches off after the small park.
Follow this path uphill, cross Erdbergweg and continue until the then narrow gravel path joins the road Am Ölberg at the water reservoir. After about 30 meters, a small path branches off to Johann and Paul ( hiking trail no. 7).
The church of St. John and Paul is a small Roman Catholic mountain church. In 1507, a pilgrimage church dedicated to St. John the Baptist and called St. Johann am Kögelein was mentioned for the first time. Until 1996, the church of St. Johann and Paul was owned by the Admont Monastery before it became the property of the city of Graz.
Tucked away behind the church is a little viewing platform that offers a beautiful view of the south of Graz.
From here, continue along hiking path no. 7 until you reach Buchkogelsteig. At the end of the climb, you’ll find yourself at the foot of Rudolfswarte, a viewing platform with more stunning views accessible through its spiral staircase.
From here, there are several trails descending down the hill, including trail no. 2. Follow signs to Gasthaus Orthacker. It’s the perfect final stop on this hike as it offers down-to-earth, traditional Styrian cuisine with a splendid view. It’s also a great spot to try traditional Styrian Brettljause!
From Gasthaus Orthacker, descend the hill via Oarcherlsteig. It’s only one of several ways down, but it leads past one of the very few remaining wineries in Graz, where the grapes for Falter Ego wine are grown. Grapes have been grown here since the 12th century!
Continue onward toward Schloss St. Martin, a castle with a history dating back to the 11th century. Similar to St. Johann and Paul, the castle belonged to Admont Monastery for hundreds of years before it came into the possession of the Styrian government. Today, it functions as an educational institute.
From the castle, go on your final descent over St. Martin Steig. It will lead you to Ankerstrasse. At the crossing with Straßgangerstraße you’ll find a bus stop for line no. 31 (direction “Uni/RESOWI”) which will take you back to the city center.
4. Platte – Stephanienwarte
The walk along Platte to Stephanienwarte is one of the longer hikes on this list, although it is probably one of the easiest.
Start your hike at the final stop of bus no. 39, “Wirtschaftskammer” from where you’ll turn onto Zusertalgasse. It’s a somewhat steep walk until you cross Quellengasse onto Oberer Plattenweg.
You’ll be walking along this street for the majority of the hike, although you could take a quick break already at Gasthaus Stoffbauer which is particularly cute.
Continue on Oberer Plattenweg until you reach the first Plattenkreuz. Here, turn right onto a hiking trail in the forest (Plattensteig) which will lead you to Stephanienwarte. This viewing platform first opened in 1839 and offers a beautiful view of the hills surrounding Graz.
It’s only open during the summer, however. You can continue back to Plattenweg on a hiking trail starting behind the tower. It will lead you directly to the second Plattenkreuz.
From here, you want to keep left on Plattensteig rather than going towards the third Plattenkreuz. Cross through the first patch of forest and keep left once more. You will be crossing several of them along with open fields for quite a stretch.
Once you reach Enzi Trail, be sure to keep left until you reach Am Pfanberg. For this last stretch, you can follow the street until a bus stop called “Rotmoosweg”.
At Rotmoosweg 7, you find a down-to-earth Austrian restaurant called Johanneshof. It’s the perfect final stop for a well-deserved after-hike meal. Definitely try the Johannessuppentopf, a generous portion of beef soup with several trimmings. It’s also a great spot to try some famous Styrian fried chicken!
From Johanneshof, it’s about a 15-minute walk via Ursprungsweg to the final stop of trams no. 3 and 5 (“Andritz Hauptplatz”) which will take you back to the city center.
5. Petri Au – Lustbühel
One easy walk to do in Graz, especially with children, is a visit to Lustbühel.
Start your hike at the last stop of tram no. 6 – St. Peter. From here, you’ll walk about 20 minutes or 1.8 km to Petri Au. This part of the walk is paved and easy to walk.
From the tram station, continue east along Peterstalstraße before turning right on Weiherweg and then left on Hohenrainstraße. Follow this street until you come to a little clearing in the hedges where the stream crosses from the right side of the street to the left.
Alternatively, you can also take bus no. 69 from St. Peter until the final stop Petri Au from where it’s only a few steps to the clearing.
From here, you will climb the hill starting by crossing a beautiful meadow that is reminiscent of an Alpine pasture. In fact, the further you hike up, the more reminiscent of a scene straight out of the Sounds of Music it becomes.
When you reach the houses, keep right for a few meters until you reach the edge of the forest. Once in the forest, keep to the left. You can roam around a bit and may even come across a scary-looking abandoned house 😉 To reach your next stop, it’s only a 275m walk through the forest, though.
If you have kept straight throughout the forest, you’ll land at Lustbühel Observatory. The first observatory on its ground dates back to 1943. Today, the observatory houses facilities of the University of Graz, the Graz University of Technology, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
From here, loop back through the forest but keep left until you reach a gravel road. Follow the road and say hello to the various animals along the way until you reach Schloss Lustbühel.
This castle is a so-called “Lustschloss” which means it served its noble builder purely for private purposes, hunting and pleasure, far from his other obligations.
Although it dates back to the 17th century, the majority of the elements you see today were constructed in the 20th century by Carl Ritter von Zepharovich, including the neo-Gothic stepped gables, the historicized facade, the column-supported balcony above the impressive stickwork portal, and the wrought-iron window grilles.
As this is the end of your walk, you may want to rest and try some local delicacies at the small “Buschenschank”. The Genussplatz Lustbühel is open between Wednesday and Sunday and offers not only coffee and cake but also several dishes from local produce. If you’re unsure of what to order at a Buschenschank, check out our article on Styrian cuisine!
From Schloss Lustbühel, you could circle back to St. Peter. Alternatively, you could catch bus no. 60 to Krenngasse right in front of the bus or you could make your way down Sorgerweg which leads you to Ragnitzstraße. From the stop “Haidegg”, you can catch bus no. 58 back to St. Leonhard.