A trip to Graz is always an experience, especially if you also like to brighten up the Advent season by visiting an Advent fair. One of the Austrian Advent classics is definitely Graz Christmas Market, which is easily accessible from Vienna or neighbouring countries. Graz Christmas Market is a must experience, as it turns into a romantic fairytale with its 14 Advent fairs.
Atmospheric Christmas markets, multiple lights, a life-size nativity scene made of ice, a lit Advent calendar projected onto the town hall – that is Graz during the Christmas.
Graz has amazing buildings from different periods from Gothic to modernism, so you’ll be impressed by many palaces along the Mura river. There was added a modern touch in the city centre, given by the house of art which impresses with its modern architecture and contemporary art and the Murinsel island on the Mura river. Winding, long bridges were made to connect both river banks. The Murinsel was designed by the NYC artist Vito Acconci.
Schlossberg is worth visiting too. You can climb the 200m high castle hill by 260 steps carved into the rock. The path was built during World War I by Russian prisoners of war. You can also choose the funicular that takes you directly to the restaurant. If you climb the stairs, you will reach the platform and the clock tower, which is the symbol of Graz. At the top you can visit, among other things, a rose garden, a vineyard, an open-air theater, a restaurant, a bar and a cafe. You can visit the Advent Fair on Schlossberg from Friday to Sunday between 10:00 and 21:00 (Friday from 12:00 to 21:00).
CHRISTMAS IN GRAZ
The city is worth a visit regardless of the season, but the Christmas time adds a special touch. At every step there is a stall with mulled wine, gingerbreads and the smell of cinnamon spreads. The bustle and laughter make a special atmosphere.
The pre-Christmas time in Graz is the time of markets and Christmas houses and stalls. This year, the fairs opened their doors on November 18. You can visit them until December 24, as the event ends the day before Christmas every year.
All fairs are located in the city center, so you can visit them on foot. If you want to, you can also take the tram. Public transport is free in the 101 zone every Saturday until Christmas, otherwise a 24-hour public transport ticket costs €5.80. That is a pretty good deal!
Each fair has its own theme, so there is a different atmosphere at each fair. The center of the action is definitely the main square and the fair in front of the town hall. In the wooden houses you can find mulled wine, food, drinks, souvenirs and decorations.
A light projection is directed onto the town hall, so the town hall turns into an Advent calendar at dusk. You can walk to the fair on the main town square through the Christmas-decorated Herrengasse street.
During Advent, you can also see the city on the Advent train, a little toy train. A ride costs €2 for adults and €1 for children. It is a lot of fun for kids and parents can relax for a bit.
Adventbim is also running this year – a festively decorated historic tram that invites you to ride. Click here for timetable. Take a ride from Jakominiplatz to the main train station and back and take in all the Christmas lights and decorations.
There are many craft fairs, so you will find something for yourself if you appreciate craftsmanship and quality. In the Franciscan quarter there is an ancient Greek Christmas fair, which is the oldest Christmas fair in the city. Modernity is located in the neighboring neighborhood – in the Joanneumsviertel quarter.
ICE NATIVITY SCENE
Advent Graz is also characterized by a special artwork that is unique, but also fleeting. It is an ice nativity scene in the courtyard of the Landhaus. It is the first ice nativity scene of this size in the world and is considered a classic of the Advent season in Graz. The nativity scene is carved from a 35-ton piece of ice. The sculpture is a wonderful and unique addition to the Christmas Markets in Graz and should definitely be visited.
GRAZ CHRISTMAS MARKET FOR CHILDREN
Children will also enjoy visiting the city. Children’s Advent in Kleine Neutorgasse will delight with a nostalgic big wheel, a carousel and a fairytale train. They can treat themselves with chocolate, pancakes and sugar foam. They can also participate at baking cookies and take part in creative workshops in the children’s winter world on the Karmeliterplatz square, where there is also a 1,000 square meter ice rink.
Graz is a great idea for a one-day trip, but you can extend your stay to a whole weekend and experience everything the city has to offer. Beautiful Advent fairs also take place in the Austrian Carinthia by Wörthersee. If you have more time, visiting Vienna is the best decision.
I visit at least one new Christmas market each year and I can say that Graz did a good job and I was happy to spend a day in the city. How about you? Have you ever visited a Christmas market in Graz? What is your favorite Christmas market in Austria?