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Graz is the second largest city of Austria and the capital city of the federal state Steiermark. The old, historic center of the city is well preserved and also on the World Heritage list of UNESCO. Graz is with no less than four universities a real student town and this is reflected in the lively and busy night life. The symbol of the city is the clock tower on the 473 meter high Schlossberg in the center of Graz.
The city has more than a quarter million inhabitants. In addition, more than 40,000 students, who are not the included in the official population, because most only stay in Graz for the duration of their studies.
Graz is situated in the southeast of Austria, on the Mur river. Thanks to the foothills of the Alps to the north of the city, Graz has less rain and wind than for example Vienna. This secluded location has one drawback: the city has some problems with air pollution, occurring especially in the winter months.
Graz is an important economical center, especially focused on the service sector and new technologies. There are also some industries, amongst others, establishments of Phillips, Siemens and Daimler. The city is a center of education, with four universities and various others of higher education.
The international airport of Graz lies 10 kilometers south of the city and is easily accessible by rental car. You can reach the airport via the A2 and A9 and via the B67 (Triester Straße). The exit to the airport is clearly signposted along these ways.
Graz has an excellent public transportation system. There are six tram lines (the Bim), running from the Jakominiplatz to the most important parts of the city. There is also an extensive bus network. On the weekends there are night buses.
The center of Graz can get busy and the amount of parking spaces is limited. Moreover, in many places you can't park for more than half an hour (in the blue zones). There are parking garages in the heart of the city, but these are quite expensive. You can park cheaper in the garage Pfauengarten or in the garage of the department store Kastner & Öhler.
In many streets you may not drive faster than 30 kilometers per hour, indicated by the signs labeled 30-zone. Graz is located at the junction of the highway A2 (Wenen-Villach) and A9 (the Pyhrn Autobahn, from Maribor in Slovenia to Salzburg).
Graz has a good range of accommodation in all categories. There are about 5,000 hotel beds and 1,000 places in other accommodations (guest houses, camp sites and privately rented). Conferences and other major meetings are held regularly in Graz, and then the supply of available rooms is limited. So it will do you good to book your room well in advance.
For more information on Graz, we recommend Google and the following sources: