Styria is a historical region, which overlaps land borders. You can find Styria in Austria and Slovenia. In both countries this region is known for welcoming people, green rolling hills and both regions have the second biggest city of each country – in the north Graz and in the south Maribor. And I’m lucky enough to call both of them my home. 😊
In this blog I’ll concentrate on the Austrian side of Styria, on the southernmost region next to the Slovenian border.
So let’s have a look what you can see there 😉
1.The wine road
The south-styrian wine road is a very popular weekend destination in Austria. The road bends snake like between the stunning wineyards, there are walking trails taking wine lovers from one winemaker (look for Buschenschank) to the other and you’ll cross the border without even knowing it (ok, except now in corona times, when there can be border controls). At the »Buschenschank« they’re offering cold cuts on cute wooden plates, with fresh veggies and blooming cress. And you shouldn’t miss the locally grown »Käferbohnen«, a huge sort of brown beans, which is drowned in locally produced pumkinseed oil.
So small yet so picturesque, tit took our breath away when we drove around the corner into the center. On the left is a big St. Mary church from the 16. centruy, next is the municipality building, above both on a steep hill is a sky blue mausoleum from the 16. centruy and castle ruins. We parked the car in the center just after the right curve, bought some ice cream (served in the most beautiful ice cream cone) and walked around the really tiny center. We also made it up to the magnificent mausoleum from where you’ll have a nice view to the surroundings. This way we discovered a yellow castle/villa like building on the other side. Of course we walked there – we found castle Georgi, where you can get married or spend the night.
3. Watertower Weinleiten or “Wasserturm Wenleiten”
While admiring the wievs from the Ehrenhausen mausoleum, we spotted a tower on a nearby hill. We drove there and found a beautiful wooden tower. Once up we were surprised by a glass balcony and 360 view over the hills around. Next to the tower is a big wooden building, we learned later that’s a water reservoir. You can download an app, where you can learn about water and how it circulates on our planet.
4. Motorikpark Gamlitz
Motorikpark means there’s a park with different obstacles, which you or your children should manage. It’s supposed to be the biggest in Europe. They offer 41 obstacles for improving your balance, endurance and coordination. Next to the park is also a swimming lake. You can also come by camper, unfortunately dogs are not allowed. There’s no entrance fee, you just have to pay for parking.
The old town in Gamlitz is bigger than in Ehrenhausen but not as spectacular. In the center is a church, plague memorial and nice renovated buildings, but we were more interested in the castle, which dates all the way back to 1111 (of course not in today’s form). It has a beautiful yard, where you can enjoy some good food and wine.
6. Špičnik and the heart in the vineyards
Ok, ok, this is actually on the Slovenian side, but because this region is so connected and the view of the heart is really lovely, I thought I would add it to the list. The easiest way to reach it is to park at the turistfarm Dreisiebner (but be carefull, there are many families with this surname), walk through the courtyard and soon you’ll spot the heart-shaped-road in the middle of the vineyards. On the way back don’t forget to stop for a glass of locally produced wine or homemade sweets.
7. Border table
Exactly on the border between Slovenia and Austria is this table, where you can sit, have a picnic or just enjoy the view over the green hills dotted with vineyards. When we were there for the first time it was preety bitter sweet – it was during the worst corona times, when you could cross the border only with quarantine. We really wanted to go to our homeland, visit our family and friends, but we couldn’t “afford” 2 quarantines (2×14 days). So basicly we stood in Slovenia, but couldn’t go any further.
8. The biggest grape in the world
Yes, you read right. In Leutschach you can find the biggest grape in the world, which is also in the Guinness book of world records. It’s a 5 meter big art sculpture full with symbols: 366 pearls for very day of the year (including gap years), 52 different parts (50 leaves, a stem and the grape itself) stand for 52 weeks of the year – there are 31 small leaves for every day in the month, 12 middle leaves for every month and 7 big leaves for every day of the week. There’s also the certificate from the Guiness book of records on display. The grape is on a hill and we expected a nice panoramic view, we were a little disappointed as on the southern side is a big hedge blocking the view.
9. The biggest wind rattle in the world
I guess they like to have all the biggest in Luetschach. 😊 They also placed the biggest wind rattle in the world in their municipality, but rather weird in a parking lot of a local shopping center. When we were there we could only see the enormous concrete pole. The wind rattle has 25 tons and they are still waiting if they will be approved by the Guinnes comitee.
10. Visit a winery or a “Buschenschank”
As already mentioned in nr.1, it would be a sin not to visit a winery or “buschenschank” when visiting this region. You should know that the Austrian like dry and fresh wines, that’s why you’ll find here the grape varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and Burgundy. Good news for all vegetarians – in many Buschenschanks you can get good vegi food (expect veggie plates, spreads, good homemade sourdough bread …). For all the vegans here (and also everybody else 😉 ): Bioweingut Otto Knaus specializes in bio products and they offer 3 different wooden boards – a traditional one with meat, one for vegetarians and one for vegans. We tried the vegan one and were really surprised by how tasteful it was – everythings from fresh fruit and vegetables, pickeled veggies, a fried patty, fried zuccini, sprouts … and the wholegrain bread was sooo delicious. We also ordered a “Käferbohnensalat”, so a big bean salad. Prices were reasonable: wooden board 9,50€ (same price for all 3 types), salad 5,50€.
Extra tip just for you:
Right now we have autumn, which means the first grapes are harvested, pressed and made to must (in this region look for “Sturm”). Aaand nothing is better with “Sturm” than maroni. 😉 You can find many stalls along the “Wineroad” selling these two local delicacies.
You can find all these sights on the left side of the motorway between Maribor and Graz (if you don’t have an Austrian vignette, use the old border (right now only Slovenian and Austrian citizens are allowed to use this one). After the border choose exit 1 and at the roundabout choose the 2nd exit (go straight) or drive on the motorway to the 3rd exit for Vogau-Straß and you’ll reach Ehrenhausen in just a few minutes. Then you can just follow the above listing in this order and you have a full day (or even a weekend) what to do. Without a vignette, turn left at the first roundebout after the border and use google map to navigate between the sights.