clocktower of Graz

How to travel from Vienna to Graz for a citybreak weekend

In Austria by CarlyLeave a Comment

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The practical guide of how to get from Vienna to Graz and where to stay once you get there.

The muted sunlight and courtyards hooked me first. I fell quickly, recklessly in love with Graz – for the food, for the atmosphere, for the utter change in atmosphere and energy that it was from Vienna.

Of course, you’ve maybe read about why you need to visit Graz here. Or maybe this cheeky little video promoting the ice cream related highlights of the city sold you on the idea…

However, once you get excited to visit the city, the practicalities of getting from Vienna to Graz can be a bit convoluted if you don’t know your way around a little bit of German, or which websites and services to use.

I’ve been raving to visiting friends and family that Graz is the ideal city break, completely different from busy Salzburg & Hallstatt, with its own unique identity, separate from Innsbruck’s imperial, mountain glory. What’s more, you don’t need to own or hire a car to get there – you can travel completely sustainably, very easily between Vienna and Graz. 

Despite this, it’s managed to stay relatively under the radar of most tourist trails, which makes it all the sweeter to visit – you just need to know how. Allow me to be your friendly guide, as we walk through the easiest ways to take a city break from Vienna to Graz.

How to Travel from Vienna to Graz

Your transport options between Vienna and Graz are straightforward, you just need to decide what your priorities are, and how much you are willing to spend, depending on the amount of time you have available.

The distance between Vienna and Graz is just slightly under 200 kilometres – 194 to be exact – so total travel time is not that long at all (for an Australian). Here are some of the easiest ways to get from Vienna to Graz;

Flixbus

This budget coach transfer is a lovely affordable, easy way to get between Vienna and Graz in 2 hours. The coaches are always clean, air conditioned, with a bathroom on board and relatively comfortable for the journey.

They pickup from multiple locations in Vienna – most popular are Felberstrasse (beside Westbahnhof train station) and Matzleinsdorfer Platz (a short walk from Hauptbahnhof main train station).

The schedule can vary depending on where you choose to pickup the bus. Your best bet is to check the website here for the most up to date departure times and days. In general though, on weekdays there are regular departures every hour from those major pickup points. Weekends have slightly reduced schedules, so book your ticket in advance online so you don’t get caught short!

Be aware! There are two drop off points in Graz, Graz Murpark and Girardigasse. If you want to be dropped off in the city centre of Graz, then book a ticket to Girardigasse. This is the closest drop off to old town, Graz is an extremely walkable city so hopping off here is no problem.

The Graz Murpark dropoff is a shopping centre just outside the city centre, and not useful at all if you’re staying in town!

With tickets averaging between €9-€13 one way for the direct journey, you can get out to gorgeous Graz in no time. Keep in mind when booking that you will be taking the same highways as most drivers in Austria, so if you book for say, a Friday afternoon transfer or a holiday weekend, there might be a bit of traffic to slow down your journey.

However, for an easy, affordable way to get from Vienna to Graz for cheap, you can’t beat Flixbus! I used them myself on my last trip there and the drive was very pleasant.

Train with OBB

Given the chance, I will always take a train over any other type of transport. I’m a total sook who gets carsick easily, so if I don’t get a seat at the front of a coach it can be unpleasant, and driving in a speeding vehicle is not my jam.

But a train – my goodness a train in Austria is a beautiful thing.

I prefer to travel by train regionally in Austria because it’s so lovely – you can book your seat in advance, have a coffee after boarding in the restaurant carriage and pretend you’re having a romantic getaway a-la-Before Sunrise every single time.

 
 
 
 
 
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It can be expensive to travel by train though, if you don’t know a few tricks! Here’s the inside word on how to nail it.

First, the easiest way to check train connections and prices is by downloading the OBB app. They do have a website, but I find the app more straightforward to navigate and you can save yourself printing out tickets by just having it all in the app.

Oh and the app also comes entirely in English, so you don’t have to have a language frustration meltdown!

Once you have the app installed, simply plugin your start city (Vienna) and destination (Graz) along with your preferred travel dates and times. You will probably get a few options that look something like this:

Screenshot of OEBB app

So here’s some translations to understand the difference between an ‘EC’ and an ‘RJ’ connection.

‘EC’ is a Eurocity train – this applies not only to the Vienna – Graz route, but all train connections in Austria and around Europe. This train will have air conditioning and toilets on board, but not necessarily a restaurant carriage – though there will likely be a cart on board for basics like coffee and tea.

‘RJ’ is a Railjet – a high speed train service made and run by the Austrian rail service, so as a rule, these connections can be faster and will normally have a lovely restaurant car available too. Disclaimer – I’m a Railjet fangirl, have been for a long time, so always prefer booking these connections to get to destinations faster and with more comfort.

To get the train from Vienna to Graz, simply select the train connection that suits you. If you book in advance through the app, you can pay just €9 one way, with the ‘Sparscheine’ savings tickets. Even if you book absolutely last minute, as you are stepping onto the train, the maximum is €20.

For the added comfort, wifi and ease of getting between Vienna to Graz in just two and a half hours, I’d always reccommend the train.

It’s eco friendly, comfortable and makes you feel like Royalty to sip a melange coffee as the countryside goes by – and believe me, coming into Styria you’re going to be gawking out of those wide windows on the train to gawp at the gorgeous countryside.

BlaBla Car

A fun car sharing service to get you a lift to Graz from Vienna! To reduce the amount of mostly empty cars on the road, BlaBla Car is a platform to connect everyday drivers with people looking for a lift.

It’s like hitchhiking but less terrifying and with added security of knowing all the drivers details in advance.

You signup to BlaBla car and plug in your dates and destinations – et voila, you will get a list of people who are driving your route, with seats available in their car on your requested day.

Like any homesharing/carsharing service, you can check out the details of your driver in advance, and ensure you are comfortable with them providing the service. A one way lift to Graz from Vienna is normally about €12-€14, and you might be lucky enough to chat with a local on your way there to get some insider tips!

This option is great for anyone who wants to drive but doesn’t have a car, or the budget to hire a rental for a short city break.

Where to Stay in Graz

Graz is a beautifully compact city, so as long as you’re staying within the city limits, you’ll likely be able to walk easily to the main sights, restaurants and views over the Mur river.

Most hotels also supply bicycles to go exploring with pedal power and within the city itself, the old town central tram is completely free to ride! So again, to slow travel with low impact on the environment is made easy in Graz. 

Rooftops of Graz

Views like this are accessible by foot only 15 minutes from the old town centre in Graz

That said, accommodation options can vary depending on your budget and travel style, so here’s a selection of options depending on what you’re after.

Grand Hotel Wiesler – the one that feels like your best bougie apartment

Where is it? 

Right beside the Mur insel, a five minute walk up to the iconic clock tower and perched on a verrrry cute cobblestoned alleyway. We stayed at Hotel Wiesler as a part of the #PropelGraz bloggers conference, and it was an absolute delight to get around the city.

It’s also basically next door to the iconic Kunsthaus Graz building, which means for a weekend away, you can pop in and out of there as it suits you to really soak up the galleries and exhibitions, not to mention the live events that regularly happen there.

Kunsthaus Graz

Kunsthaus Graz and its unique rooftop

What are the rooms like?

Huuuuuuge and recently renovated to give a hipster, art nouveau inspired update to a classic building. I love that they kept the bones of the classical architecture, but layered in lighter, brighter touches with the tiling of the bathrooms, the furniture and the use of space.

Plus, these gorgeous windows overlooking the cobbled alleyway below. 

Thankfully, they are double glazed, so if you want to get a good nights sleep they effectively block out all street side noise when closed. Also very good for perching with an ice cream, contemplating how you got so lucky to live in a place like Austria….

 
 
 
 
 
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Staying here felt like having my own, very cool, breezy apartment in Graz. I could not believe the size of the ‘Comfort Independant’ rooms, and appreciated the thoughtful design details.

From the sinks, to the shower with excellent water pressure and the rustic floorboards with plenty of room for morning yoga (yes, I’ve become that traveller, who wakes early to salute the sun and I have no regrets!) these rooms are a home from home.

Breakfast situation?

Stunning breakfast buffet in a bright, breezy downstairs restaurant, with a wide selection of locally sourced honey, jams, breads and spreads alongside fruit, fish platters, meat and cheese spreads and cereals.

Breakfast room & Restaurant at hotel

Breakfast buffet beneath the chandeliers, of course at Grand Hotel Wiesler Graz

Basically everything you need and want in a breakfast buffet is here, and included in the price of your room stay. If you were visiting independantly, the buffet is worth about €18, to give you a sense of the great value, options and variety available.

They have an excellent in-restaurant WMF coffee machine for a quick morning brew to have with your breakfast. But, if you are an insufferable coffee snob like me, you can also nip next door to Tribeka coffee for you oat milk flat white fix!

Who is it for?

Any hotel that is good enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger to regularly stay in is good enough for me!

Arnold Schwarzenegger images

Seriously, Arnold Schwarzenegger stays here when he visits.

But in all seriousness, this hotel is an all-rounder, though a bit on the higher end of the pricing scale, the boutique feel reception, restaurant and bar all invite you to relax and unwind in style. The quirky design elements and wide spaces allow for couples, friends and small families to enjoy their time here.

I’d reccommend the Grand Hotel Weisler for travellers who classify themselves somewhere between ’boutique’ and ‘luxury’ style travellers, and prefer their rooms and hotel with a bit of personality and bougie style.

reception area of hotel

Overall Verdict?

A bit of an indulgence, budget wise, but worth the price if you appreciate the small details and want somewhere a bit more modern and updated than standard classical Austrian hotels.

Stay here for the ideal location, warm and welcoming atmosphere and extremely gorgeous, relaxing rooms. If you want to go all out for a special weekend away, the suite rooms even have every Instagrammers dream scenario – a marble bath overlooking the window out to the historic streets.

 Lend Hotel – the one to stay where all the cool kids are

As I could only stay in one hotel for the short time we had in Graz, I’ve asked the lovely Lia, from Practical Wanderlust, to share her honest review of the Lend Hotel from her stay there.

(Pssst, if you haven’t discovered Lia’s incredible blog yet, you’re about to have your mind blown – start with her Photo Guide to Graz and thank me later!)

Where is it?

The Lendhotel is an art/design hotel owned by, fun fact, a Formula One racecar driver who partially owns the Redbull team. The hotel is covered head to toe with unique art installations, like walls that appear to be ordinary walls only to suddenly break into geometric panels and flip over to display a work of art hidden on the other side. If you blinked, you’d miss it, turn around, and start to question your own sanity.

Lend Hotel foyer

The hotel is located in the Lend neighbourhood, once a red light district and now a full of quirky design details and international shops and restaurants. The neighbourhood is just a few minutes walk from the Old Town city center, giving it a budget-friendly advantage while still being a convenient place to base yourself.

What are the rooms like?

Rooms are comfortable and, like the rest of the hotel, have a distinct “thoughtfully designed” modern feel. Although my room wasn’t terribly spacious, I did a have a nice-sized balcony, perfect for sitting outside and people watching on a summer night. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage space for the 3 giant suitcases I inexplicably brought with me on my trip.

What’s the breakfast situation?

Breakfast is not included at the Lendhotel, but much like every other Austrian breakfast (and every other edible thing in Graz), it’s divine, gourmet, and incredibly filling – well worth the added price.

Breakfast at the hotel

Who is it for?

The Lendhotel is perfect for a budget-conscious traveler who loves a quirky boutique hotel filled with unique art & design details and doesn’t mind walking a few minutes into the city centre each day!

Lia certainly knows her business when it comes to beautifully budget hotel stays!

Alternative options – if you’re not quite sure yet. 

Some other hotels I am personally yet to stay at, but would reccommend based on their location, price and the hotel brand, are;

Hotel Daniel Graz – I love the Hotel Daniel in Vienna, their style is the perfect mix of fun and a little bit hipster. The rooms are excellent, the location right beside the main train station, and always, always the breakfast at any Hotel Daniel is superb.

What I like about Hotel Daniel is that although the hotels are new, fun and funky, the price is still affordable and justifiable for a quick weekend away.

Aiola Living Graz – For a lush indulgent stay in the absolute heart of old town Graz, the Aiola apartments and boutique rooms are an exceptional choice.

We dined at the incredible Aiola restaurant, and I can confidently recommend this hotel based on the quality of restaurant service, decor and food of their sister restaurant. This would be the sexy weekend getaway treat hotel!

Aiola in Schloss restaurant

Fancy visits to fancy restaurants means big earrings

Zur Sterierstub’n, Graz – A fantastic eco-hotel option in the fun and funky Lend district, close to restaurants, cafes and old towns. The Steierstub’n is a certified eco hotel, with affordable twin and double share rooms starting at €59 per person, per night, including breakfast from their regionally sourced restaurant. This is a great option for those wanting to stay central but keep their hotel selection an environmentally conscious choice. 

BB Hotel Graz Hauptbahnhof – For a clean and comfortable, basic hotel stay for a good price, this is your best bet in Graz. Simple, straightforward accommodation and a ten minute walk into old town, but right beside the main train station.

If you are looking for specifically eco-conscious hotels, you will actually find that Styria and Graz are an incredibly environmentally aware region, and the vast majority of hotels, restaurants and many, many stores are committed to sustainable practises – they just don’t advertise it overly much.

If you are concerned, ask in advance of their practises, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how many places use local produce, reduce waste and don’t rely on damaging or wasteful practises to run their hotels. 

No matter how you make your way or where you stay in Graz, I’m sure you’re going to fall as head over heels with the city as I did.

Girl beside Graz clocktower at sunrise

If you have any questions about how to get from Vienna to Graz, drop me a line in the comments or on Instagram. I love hearing when you guys use my tips, so be sure to give me a shout and enjoy your time in this glorious city!

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