A visit to the charming city of Graz, our last stop on this summer vacation, concludes our journey from Montenegro back to Austria. Departing Kamenari, Montenegro, at 10 a.m., we embark on a nine and a half hour drive, covering a distance of approximately 835 kilometers.
The first part of our drive takes us 25 kilometers to the border between Montenegro and Croatia. We encounter heavy traffic in Herceg Novi and have a long wait at the EU border crossing. It takes us 2 hours and 20 minutes by car to get back into the territory of the European Union.
As we continue through Croatia, we cover about 700 kilometers. We enter the excellent toll motorway at Rogotin near Ploče and pass the cities of Split and Zagreb.
One of our children commented on this part of the trip: “Croatia is coast and mountains!”
Traveling through Croatia costs us 30 Euros in tolls. Next, we enter Slovenia. We drive 60 kilometers on our way to Graz, passing the city of Maribor. When entering Slovenia, we have to buy an e-vignette for 16 Euros, which allows us to use Slovenian highways for a week, there is no one-day option. Quite a steep price for a single trip of 60 kilometers on the highway.
After entering Austria, we have another 60 kilometers to go before reaching Graz. Here we have to buy an Austrian vignette for 9.90 Euro, valid for 10 days. The vignette allows us to use the Austrian autobahns.
During the whole trip we encounter tolls of about 45 Euros. Finally, around 10 p.m., we arrive at our hotel. Our summer vacation has reached its final destination: Graz.
The Best Gyros in a Long Time
Throughout our journey, we always tried to sample and indulge in the local cuisine. However, upon arriving in Graz at ten pm, we faced the challenge that almost all fast food establishments and restaurants had closed for the night. Nevertheless, while walking through the city center, we made a delightful discovery: a small Greek fast food restaurant.
With eager anticipation, I ordered Gyros, and to my surprise and delight, it turned out to be the best I had tasted in a long while. Curious to learn more about this place, I engaged in conversation with the friendly waiter. She shared that her family had embarked on this venture just three weeks ago. Her father, the mastermind behind the Gyros preparation, emphasized their meticulous approach to selecting the finest meat, freshest pita bread, and most flavorful vegetables. For them, perfection was the standard in every aspect of their culinary creation.
As I relished the delectable Gyros, I paired it with a refreshing Greek beer. It was the perfect finale for our tour, even though we hadn’t made it all the way to Greece, falling short of the Greek border by 400 kilometers.
The Adelphia Restaurant does not have a webpage or a Facebook page yet, but you can find it on Google at https://g.co/kgs/Fj4bBF (please note: so far all reviews are for the previous owner) or at Sporgasse 16 in downtown Graz.
Exploring Graz’s Schlossberg: A Historic Hill with Stunning Views
Nestled in the heart of Graz, Austria, the Schlossberg is a captivating tree-covered hill that holds both historical significance and breathtaking panoramas of the city. Rising to an elevation of 473 meters (1,552 ft) above sea level, this public park offers an array of entertainment venues, cafes, and restaurants for visitors to enjoy.
The history of the Schlossberg dates back to at least the 10th century, with fortifications being established over the years. Notably, in the mid-16th century, skilled architects from northern Italy constructed a 400-meter-long fortress on the hill. Records reveal the use of a cable-hauled lift between 1528 and 1595 to transport construction materials for the fortifications. While the castle remained unconquered, it was largely demolished by Napoleonic forces under the Treaty of Schönbrunn of 1809. Remarkably, the iconic clock tower and bell tower were spared after the people of Graz contributed a ransom for their preservation.
The Graz Clock Tower, a prominent landmark atop the Schlossberg, boasts a height of 28 meters and grand dials measuring over 5 meters in diameter, with gilded hands. Its origins trace back to the 13th century, making it one of the oldest structures on the hill. Over time, the tower underwent reconstructions and enhancements, finally culminating in its current form in 1569, featuring three large dials.
The tower’s strategic location allowed fire watchmen to keep a watchful eye over the city center. Notably, in 1712, a new clockwork by Michael Sylvester Funck was installed, enabling the clock to display minutes as well. Interestingly, the hour hand remains larger than the minute hand, a design choice that prioritized legibility of the hours from a distance.
For those seeking family-friendly attractions, the Schlossberg offers the Fairytale Express Graz, a beloved grotto railway ride for children. Additionally, a thrilling indoor slide known as the Schlossbergrutsche Graz provides an adrenaline-pumping experience as it winds around the elevator, soaring 64 meters high and spanning 170 meters in length.
To reach the Schlossberg’s summit, visitors have several options, with steep paths leading from all four sides. The Schlossbergbahn, a funicular railway, smoothly transports passengers from the city center to a restaurant near the hilltop, offering ease and comfort. Alternatively, a pair of elevators leads to another restaurant overlooking the iconic clock tower.
Exploring the Schlossberg proved to be a memorable experience, we walked up the hill and used the elevator (which only cost 2.20 Euros) to get back down to the center.
After a delightful morning in Graz, it was time to bid the city farewell and hit the autobahn for our long journey back home. Unfortunately, heavy traffic prolonged our drive, and we finally arrived home at 1:30 am the following day.