In 2021, Graz is to become the most sporty city in Austria. In order to achieve this, “Lets Go Graz” was launched to encourage citizens of all ages and different fitness levels to participate. One of the many challenges is to climb the “7 Summits” of Graz and the surrounding area. You can get your collective passport online, at the sports office, at Holding Graz or at the city hall. A stamp awaits you at every destination. Once you have collected them all, you can send in your passport and receive a certificate and a hiking pin. You will also be entered into a prize draw for 5×2 nights in the Stubenberghaus.
For those who are particularly hungry for exercise, there is the “7 Summits extreme” variant. Here you try to reach all 7 summits in one day, entirely on foot or by bike. I took on this challenge: around 70 km and 2,500 metres in altitude awaited me.
The 1445-metre summit of Graz’s local mountain was to become the first destination. The Schöckl is not only interesting for hiking enthusiasts. Paragliders and hang-gliders take off from here, the panoramic circular trail and the downhill track await bike-loving visitors. For the smallest adventurers, the Hexenexpress and Motorikpark are an absolute highlight of the excursion.
After 22 km on the bike and a climb of about 1.5 hours, we could hardly wait for our summit breakfast. It is important to remember that every visitor shares responsibility for keeping the Schöckl as clean as it is. You can contribute to this by disposing of your rubbish in the rubbish bins. If they are full, you can simply dispose of your rubbish in the containers provided at the valley station. In this way, our local mountain in Graz remains clean and liveable for people and animals.
I can hardly wait until 19.5 when the Alpengasthof is allowed to reopen and spoil its visitors with local specialities. After all, I wouldn’t have said no to a fresh apple strudel and a coffee after our ascent. At least I can get the first stamp for our passport here.
By the way: If you don’t dare to cycle the route and arrive by car, there is a large parking area with lots of parking spaces – right next to the cable car valley station.
20 kilometres by bike back towards Graz we reached the Lustbühel, a 489m high hill near Waltendorf. We walked past sheep, donkeys and horses to the Lustbühel observatory. Since 2013, this has housed a 50cm Cassegrain telescope and – what was much more exciting for us on this day – the second “Lets go Graz” board of the day. The second stamp was ours.
The “Platte” is an elevation in Mariatrost, which forms a 1ha plateau at the summit. In the middle of the plateau is the “Stephanienwarte”. In former times the lookout was a weather station, today it is a popular excursion destination besides its function as an environmental monitoring facility. We enjoyed our lunch break here with a panoramic view over Graz. Of course, we also had the third stamp.
For the fourth stamp we went to the Fürstenstand. This is the name of the 754 metre high main peak of Plabutsch, which Archduke Johann climbed in 1830 with his brother Emperor Franz, his wife and the Duke of Reichenstatt. (The “Fürstenstein” stone set at that time still commemorates this event today).
At the top there is an observation tower which, in fine weather, offers a unique panoramic view over Graz and western Styria as far as Slovenia. Soon you will be able to enjoy good food and drink on the panorama terrace of the Bergheurigen.
Together with the Plabutsch, the Buchkogel forms the Plabutsch- Buchkogel range, which borders the northern Grazer Feld to the west. The Kronprinz Rudolf Warte is a little hidden among the trees. After collecting the sixth stamp for our hiking pass, we climbed the spiral staircase to the highest point to enjoy the full view. If you walk east from the Buchkogel, you come to St. Martin’s Castle and Church, whose surroundings are also suitable for nice walks.
If you follow the ridge running north over the Buchkogelsattel, you come to a Roman Catholic mountain church. Behind the church is a beautiful viewing platform. Wooden sun loungers and benches invite you to take a relaxing break. From here you can see the Schloßberg and the Schöckl. Looking across the vast distance to the Schöckl, one can hardly imagine having been there just a few hours ago.
Admittedly, by the time we reached this point and the penultimate stamp, we were already very exhausted. However, it was of course not an option to give up so shortly before the seventh and last stamp.
After a short stop at a kebab vendor we trusted, we reached the Schlossberg. An almost cinematic scene: stamping the last free field of our collective pass at sunset.
Exhausted, but above all proud of the day’s achievement, we returned home.
With a road bike, some stretches prove to be difficult, so I recommend taking a look at the routes in advance. With a mountain bike you should be able to reach all 7 summits without any problems. I can only recommend this challenge to everyone, especially to people who love challenges. Whether on foot or by bike, it’s a great way to challenge yourself physically while exploring beautiful, possibly new places in the city of Graz.
The highlights of the day on my Instagram profile: Kathi.hfm