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Eastern Austria off the beaten track suggestions?

Eastern Austria off the beaten track suggestions?

Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:07 AM
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Eastern Austria off the beaten track suggestions?

Hello, I'd like to visit Austria, more specifically Eastern Austria because I will go to Budapest by bus and from there travel by train to Austria. So the closest Austrian states would be Burgenland and some parts of Styria and Lower Austria.
What are some little-known interesting sights, castles and towns in Eastern Austria?
From my research, based on Street View and photos Güssing with its castle on a hill looks like worth a few hours of a day trip, also the Semmering area and Hartberg seems to have a cute old town. As for the Semmering area, I find Reichenau an der Rax the most picturesque there in terms of architecture and nature combo.
Eisenstadt also looks interesting. Maybe try Mariazell with the narrow-gauge railway? Mariazell and Graz are the furtherest (sp?) West I'd like to go to not waste too much time in traveling itself.

Does anyone have other suggestions or can share experiences? I'll most likely be based in Graz or some smaller town with a train connection like Gloggnitz and take day trips by buses in the surrounding area. Or I could stay in several different places. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by tanek; Apr 1st, 2024 at 12:42 AM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:00 PM
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Having lived in Vienna for 7 years, I can write that if a town/city/village seems a little complicated to reach on public, it is too complicated to reach on public. The little-known sights are little-known for a reason: they typically require access by vehicle or by hiking shoe.

Austria is divided into 9 states, with the states surrounding Vienna being Burgenland (to the immediate South); Steiermark (to the SW); and Niederösterreich (Lower Austria, which surrounds Vienna and borders Burgenland and Steiermark.) There is no "Eastern Austria." If you're basing in Graz and are dependent on public transport, you'll have to make do with where you can travel within your constraints. I'm sorry I can not be of more help, but that's just how it is.


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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 02:14 AM
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I think Austria has one of the best train networks in Europe. The best I have used actually and I have used the NS in the Netherlands which is also very good. ÖBB is miles better than the DB where 50 min delays are far more common. And many towns/villages that aren't next to a train station have connection by buses.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 02:55 AM
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If a beautifully scenic village with an outstanding hotel and restaurant plus plenty of rambling opportunities interests you, possibly consider Seckau. Take the train from Graz to Knittelfeld (not all that interesting a town but pleasant enough) and change to a bus to Seckau Abtei. Stay overnight at the Hofwirt Hotel, one of the finest hotels we've ever stayed at in Europe (9.5 on bookingdotcom). Informal but elegant, wonderful staff, fantastic restaurant. They can give you hiking suggestions for the Murtal valley (some are described in the activities section of their website). https://www.tauroa.at/en/hofwirt/gallery/
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 10:09 AM
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Butb e aware that it's 5 1/2 hrs by train from Budapest to Knittelfeld. Change at Sopron and Wiener Neustadt.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 10:28 AM
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^Thank you, WeisserTee, I don't know how to give likes here but your suggestion looks quite interesting.
While in the area I might also check out Judenburg, on Street View it looks interesting.
I'll probably get an Interrail pass or even hire a car, way too many interesting places pop up around, so I would probably do lots of day trips.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd
Butb e aware that it's 5 1/2 hrs by train from Budapest to Knittelfeld. Change at Sopron and Wiener Neustadt.
I did not suggest that trip. My Seckau recommendation was based on traveling from Graz.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 05:25 AM
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When are you considering travelling to Austria? I would recommend anytime from now until the end of May, the weather is generally pleasant and there are fewer crowds. If this is too soon for you consider early autumn. Staying in Graz is an excellent idea, public transport is very good and you will be able to reach the lesser known places easily.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 02:59 PM
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Will be in Graz, May 1st for 3 nights, after leaving Varazdin and then Maribor. Any recommendation for day trips. Will have a car. Thank you.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 08:30 AM
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^^@andyhoney, I wouldn't be able to travel before August or September, really. Too much work to do with my job.
I think I will buy the Interrail pass even if expensive because I'd like to take trains as I wish to many small towns in the area but I don't like driving.

^@ mike1728, most of the tourism in these parts of Austria seem to be targetting Austrians (or I assume Germans and whoever knows German as well?) as most info online is in German. I guess it's really not that visited by foreign tourists much (who mostly seem to flock to Vienna, Salzburg or the Alps for skiing). Therefore, the info in English is really rare. Here is a website in German for some ideas, just use Google translate on it: https://www.graztourismus.at/de/sigh.../ausflugsziele
My German is basic so I generally rely more on Google Maps and Street View. I go around on the satellite view and look for what appear to be historic red-roofed old towns and then toggle the little person to into Street View mode to check them out. I often sumble in little-known or interesting places like the castle in Güssing. That's in the other state (Burgenland)though, but since you're going to use a car it isn't that far from Graz.

On the Slovenian part Negova Castle looks worth a quick stop by. Also Ptuj, it's on the way between Varazdin and Maribor anyway, so would be worth it. Back to Austria you might want to street view Reichenau an der Rax and the other names I mentioned in my original post here. I selected them mainly on liking them on Street View. There's also of course the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Thal, the Pfarre Thal-St. Jakob church also in Thal (its interior looks like the interior of no church I've seen ever!) and the Austrian Open Air Museum Stübing, all very close to Graz. Also, the Pilgrimage Church Maria Straßengel might look very nice in real life perched on a small hill below a larger one and surrounded by the green forest in the back. According to Wiki "the church still retains 77 sections of its fourteenth century Gothic stained-glass windows". If you're into caves the Lurgrotte, the largest cave in the Eastern Alps is also not too far from Graz. The Schloss Welsdorf in Fürstenfeld castle also looks interesting. The good thing about those parts of Austria is they're generally less tacky as it's just not so targeted towards mass tourism the way Vienna, Salzburg and the mass popular Alpine resorts have become.

The town of Frohnleiten looks fine at least on photos and Street View:
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Old Apr 7th, 2024, 07:58 AM
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Appreciate the suggestions, some great ideas for day trips. Definitely Ptuj for a few hours en route to Maribor from Varazdin. Gamlitz (“Styrian Tuscany”) will be a stop from Maribor to Graz. Had Riegersburg Castle on my list as a day trip from Graz. Thank you for the suggestions on Gussing and Lake Stubenberg. Looking forward to the castles that are so plenty in this region, even the sites that are just castle ruins. Frohnleiten is a short drive from Graz, so maybe a quick trip for lunch. Having been to Vienna, Hallstatt and Salzburg, definitely looking forward to a slower pace with much fewer crowds.
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Old Apr 7th, 2024, 08:24 AM
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Thank you for the great suggestions for day trips near Graz. Definitely stopping in Ptuj for few hours enroute from Varazdin to Maribor. After Maribor we travel to Graz and we will stop in Gamlitz in the “Styrian Tuscany” region for lunch and to visit a winery to purchase some wine. Riegersburg Castle is a must as it’s less than an hour from Graz and the ride passes many wineries. Lake Stubenberg is close and looks inviting as is Gussing and Frohnleiten. Have a great interest in castles and this region has plenty, including just castle ruins which are also of interest to me. Having been to Vienna, Salzburg and Hallstatt, we are definitely looking to a slower pace with fewer crowds.
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Old Apr 8th, 2024, 11:50 AM
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You're welcome and thank you for reminding me of Gamlitz (“Styrian Tuscany”) and Riegersburg Castle.
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Old Apr 15th, 2024, 03:13 AM
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Ah, Eisenstadt. If memory serves me correctly, that's where the Haydn museum is.
It's small, but very interesting.
They have this piano with built-in music stands for the violinists.
They have some of his original compostitions."The Creation" was one. Interesting to me as I had sung it in a chorus 2 years before.
https://haydnhaus.at/index.php?id=92&L=1
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