What You Need To Know

Graz is the capital of Styria and second-largest city in Austria after Vienna. Graz has a long tradition as a “university town”: its six universities have more than 44,000 students. Its “Old Town” is one of the best-preserved city centres in Central Europe. Politically and culturally, Graz was for centuries more important for Slovenes than Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and still remains influential. In 1999, Graz was added to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites, and the site was extended in 2010 by Schloss Eggenberg. Graz was sole Cultural Capital of Europe for 2003 and got the title of a City of Culinary Delights in 2008.

Area: 49.25 mi²
Population: 265,778 (2013)

Currency

  • The unit of currency in Austria is the Euro (€), which is divided into 100 cents.  Foreign visitors can exchange their currency at banks and exchange bureaus, as well as in ATMs.
  • Euro Notes (Bills) are available in denominations of 5,10,20,50,100 and 500 Euros, and coins in 1 and 2 Euros and 1, 2,5,10, 20 and 50 Cents.

Weather

  • Graz has a humid continental climate with severe winters, no dry season, warm summers and strong seasonality. According to the Holdridge life zones system of bioclimatic classification Graz is situated in or near the cool temperate moist forest biome. The average temperature is 8.3 degrees Celsius (46.9 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • In the winter time records indicate temperatures by day reach 2.3°C (36.2°F) on average falling to -3.7°C (25.4°F) overnight.
  • During summer average high temperatures are 24°C (75.2°F) and average low temperatures are 13.7°C (56.6°F).

Language

The main language spoken is Austria is German. English is widely understood and spoken.

Health Tips

  • Summers in Graz can get very hot and almost every year people die from the heat. Never leave the house without a bottle of water during the summer.
  • In summer there can also be heavy storms due to the heat. Follow the weather reports, because they publish storm warnings. If there is a heavy storm coming up, it is best to stay inside and bring in children and pets.
  • Please check with your doctor about any vaccinations you might need before coming to Austria. Again, especially in summer, ticks can be a problem. Most Austrians are therefore vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).

Crime

Crime rates are very low in Austria, and especially outside of the capital. There are, however, certain areas that locals will avoid during the night. In order to lower the risk of becoming a victim of a serious crime, you can avoid dark streets and alleys at night, just as you would in any other city. Also be aware if you are walking through parks during the night (especially Stadtpark, Augarten and Volkspark). If you want to make sure, just walk around the park. Whereat violent crimes are rather rare, petty crime is a real problem. Always make sure that you have an eye on your belongings when you are in crowded areas (e.g. pub, bus, and tram). Also always make sure to lock your bike and consider getting a good lock. Tip: If your wallet is stolen and you need a new public transport ticket or ESNcard, you will have to bring a confirmation of theft from the police!

If you are victim of a crime, do not hesitate to go to the police immediately (emergency police call: 133)!! They will do their best to take care of you. You can always take a friend or your buddy with you, in case you are uncomfortable going there alone. We also encourage you to see the police if you are victim of a sexual crime.

Traffic

Austria’s streets are generally very safe. If where there is a pedestrian crossing and wait for the light to turn green. If there is no light, make sure that there is no car approaching. If there is, most drivers will let you pass, but of course you cannot always count on it. Especially if you are driving a car in Graz, always check not only for pedestrians, but also cyclists. They tend to sneak up on you and are often easy to miss. As a cyclist, try to stay out of the blind spots of drivers.

In any case please note that in Austria we are driving on the right side of the road.

What is very important: Please NEVER go by bike if you are dunk, even if you think, you are still able to drive! Alcohol and being in traffic (also with your bike) will be punished very hard in Austria and may be very expensive for you! It is always better to push your bike home after drinking alcohol.

Getting Around

By Tram: Graz has an excellent tram service running through the Jakominiplatz where the different routes meet and you can change trams and buy tickets at the rondeau as well as all tobacco shops (Tabak Trafik). Make sure you punch your ticket inside the tram (If you get caught without a valid/punched ticket you will have to pay a fine. You can buy hourly, daily, weekly or monthly tickets. They are valid on all modes of public transport (Train, Tram and Bus lines) throughout Zone 101 (Graz plus immediate surroundings including the airport!).

By Bus: Graz also has an excellent city bus network taking in the parts of Graz not serviced by trams. Many buses go through Jakominiplatz, Hauptbahnhof. The tickets are the same as for the tram. Be sure to get yourself a map (at Jakominiplatz) of the network if you plan to use it frequently. Keep in mind that bus and tram services operate from 5am to midnight. The last cars for the the day in each direction usually leave at 23:30 from Jakominiplatz. Nightbuses operate only on Fridays and Saturdays and before public holidays. They leave from Jakominiplatz in all directions at 00:30, 01:30 and 02:30.

Regional Bus: Regional bus routes serve the rural area around Graz. Regional lines can be identified by their three digit numbers. They offer bike transportation on most vehicles (which tram and city bus do not allow).

Taxi: Taxis are available 24 h a day. You can hail one on the street, go to a taxi rank or simply order one by phone. The taxi ranks with the best chances of getting a taxi day or night are “Hauptplatz” (Right side of City Hall) or “Hauptbahnhof”. Avoid taxis in the early morning and early evening when traffic congestion can make a taxi ride very expensive. Taxis can be booked at the same price as on the street by calling 0316-878, 0316-889, 0316-222, 0316-2801.

Emergency Numbers

Police: 133
Fire department: 122
Ambulance: 144

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