If you decide to visit advent in Graz this year, I recommend you to go with the bus. It’s very crowded, especially for the weekend. You can visit city of Graz in just one day and see everything that this city offers. I recommend that you first go shopping in one of the largest shopping centers in this part of Europe, Seiesberg. After shopping, you can visit important sights in the city and go through all the Advent venues in the city. Mark your meal at one of the best restaurants in Graz. After meal, treat yourself with desert and coffee in one of the beautiful cafes.
Shopping in Seiesberg
The first stop before arriving to the Graz is most often the shopping center Seiesberg. Croatian people, like me, mostly buy at the Primark and almost nobody left Seiesberg without at least one bag from that store. Primark is a chain store with relatively cheap clothing, footwear and fashion accessories as well as home decorations. Now, you can find lots of Christmas details and ornaments there, that can complement your home decor. If you decided to buy electronics, Media Markt offers a wide range of goods with promotional offers. There are also various vouchers, discounts and gifts after purchase.
If you are interested in sportswear, footwear, and accessories, Sports Direct is a shop where you can find them. Sports Direct is no longer in the Seiesberg Shopping Center, but it has moved to Ikea Center across Seiesberg. When you want to go for a break, you can have coffee in a numerous cafes. You can find food on restaurants, kiosks and markets, so you can eat kebab, pizza cut or other specialties for about 3 €. Seiesberg is a huge shopping center, so plan your time carefully if you want to see everything that this shopping center offers.
City of Graz
Graz is the second largest city in Austria and the capital of the federal province of Styria. The river Mura flows through the town, around which it has developed. An important factor in the development of Graz had trade and crafts. It is commonly known that Graz was an important destination for the people of the former Yugoslavia, where they bought goods that were not available in their state. As I mentioned in the previous post for Trieste, Graz is still considered as an important trading destination. Until a few years ago, people from our area were massively buying in Ikea, which has not yet opened in our country. But, they were also buying in the already mentioned Seiesberg, because it represented a lot more stores than we had.
Today, when almost all stores are present, people are leaving primarily for seasonal discounts, special offers or for example in Primark, which is recently opened in Ljubljana. The excursion to Graz is still popular because of the proximity and low price of tourist arrangements. Also, we can always explore new locations in the city. The most famous sight of Graz is certainly the Schlossberg tree-clad hill, where the famous clock and bell tower is. You can climb on Schlossberg by stairs or with a cable car for €1.30. The historical center of Graz in 1999 was placed on the list of world heritage sites by UNESCO. From the sights you can visit there are Graz cathedral, main square Hauptplatz, Eggenberg castle and numerous museums, such as the Kunsthaus – a museum of contemporary art.
Advent in Graz
In the city of Graz there are stands and advent venues at 14 locations in the city. The biggest and most important is certainly the main square of Hauptplatz. Stands are extended all the way from city hall to the end of the square. In addition to stands with food and boiled wine, you can buy local art, souvenirs and other things. There is crowded on the weekend and there are long queues for the stands, the movement is rather difficult, so if you have a chance, visit Graz over the week. Interestingly, there is also the ice nativity scene located between Hauptplatz and Opera, in the Landhaus courtyard. They are beautifully illuminated in natural size, completely made of ice.
On the main square you can try mostly sausages and hot dogs ranging from €2-3, but there are also other specialties like burgers for €6, kebab for €3-4 and boiled wine for €2-4, depending on the stand and the way of serving. In Austria, the serving of boiled wine is mostly in the decorative cups which you pay when ordering,and you get a refund if you return them. If you don’t return a cup, you can keep it as a souvenir. Walk around the town and try some of the local specialties, especially the sausages that are delicious and enjoy in boiled wine.
In Graz, there are excellent restaurants offering very tasty food. If you don’t want to eat sausages and drink boiled wine, go to one of the many restaurants. The restaurants I tried and the ones I usually go to when I’m in Graz are the Pronto and Koko restaurant. The Pronto restaurant is located on the Hauptplatz square and offers mostly Italian food. So you can find pizzas and pasta for about €6-8 per person, while the prices of drinks are approximately equal to the prices of the food. For that reason, be careful what kind of drink and how much you will order if you are on a budget. The food is very tasty and the portions are huge. Over a week, the restaurant offers ready-made lunch for €5-6 per person.
Koko is an Asian, all you can eat, restaurant located right behind the Kunsthaus Museum. There you can try wok, sushi, shrimps, spring rolls and many other Asian specialties for just €11 per person. In the restaurant is a buffet, you can eat as much as you like and what you want. They are constantly supplementing the food.
After a good meal, go to the most beautiful cafe in Graz, at the top of the department store Kastner & Öhler. K&O is the department store, where you can find the world’s most famous brands and buy clothes, footwear, cosmetics and many other accessories. K&O Champagne bar is a beautifully decorated bar on the top. It has beautiful terrace overlooking the Schlossberg and the city.
On the terrace in winter, there are heating booths so you can sit outside. I advise you to come by day to take the picture of the view from the terrace. The price of coffee in K&O is between €2 and €3. They also offer different “snacks” and fast food, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend it. When you will visit the city of Graz, find some of these gastronomic places and you will not be disappointed. Enjoy the food, then relax with the coffee and the dessert in a place with a wonderful view.