In addition to the majesty that is Graz, the surrounding Austrian countryside is alive, not only with the sound of music, but also plenty of fascinating sites. Among the most impressive is the nearby Reigersburg Castle, which is a true example of what a fairytale castle would be like in the real world.

About an hour away from Graz, the fortress of Riegersburg sits outside the small Austrian town. It is actually situated atop an extinct volcano, and was built in the 12th century and vastly fortified 13th century to protect the Holy Roman Empire from southern invasion by the Ottoman Turks. The invading Turks who attacked, and even laid siege to Vienna in the 17th century never took the massive fortress.

Today visitors can take in the castle, which makes an imposing sight from the roads leading to the town, and take part in tours of the 100+ rooms that are open to the public. Much of the main floor serves as a museum of the history of the region and castle, while the underground levels are devoted to a 1980s Stryian exhibit on witchcraft and wizardry.

From atop the castle you can get a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside, and it is said on a clear day you can see all the way to Hungary!

 To the North of Graz there are numerous mountains to explore, some you take a cable car up and in the Summer you can do a bob sleigh on individual cars.

Near Mitz Nitz there is the fantastic ladder climb up the beautiful mountain.  Parts of it are terrifying as you cross gulleys and waterfalls but the views are breathtaking.  Once you climb the 160 or so ladders you are rewarded by a cafe at the summit of the mountain serving cake and drinks.  The walk down is also spectacular but alot less hair raising.  Allow at least 4-5 hours.