Graz: quite possibly the most underrated city in Europe


I’ve just returned to Graz in Austria on the second leg of a journey to Istanbul (and back) on the InterRail pass. I first visited over five years ago, a little before the city enjoyed its status as European City of Culture.

 I am amazed that much more is not made of Graz. It’s surely one of the most overlooked cities in Europe. Its food is not only inexpensive but takes the best from both Germanic and Italian cultures,while adding delicious local ingredients, most notably pumpkin oil to the mix. Its architecture is both full of Baroque and Renaissance flourishes (the city is a former seat of the Hapsburg’s) set beside ambitious new buildings. Its both bourgeois and comfortably old fashioned, but since the sixties has been a centre for the Austrian avante gard, while as many as six universities give the city a youthful appearance. It is, moreover, large enough to explore and extremely cultured, and yet unlike Vienna, it doesn’t take itself incredibly seriously and, unlike Salzburg, it isn’t packed with tourist coaches. I don’t know why Graz is so often overlooked, it deserves a much better reputation

Of course, more prestige would probably only spoil it as it is perfect as it is.