As it evolved over the centuries, southeastern Austria became one of the richest regions in the world for castles and palaces. Built to protect the land and safeguard its transport routes, castles in Styria and the southern Burgenland continued to be fortified until the 17th century.
A look back at the year 1663-1664 and the Austro-Turkish War demonstrates the historical significance of this region for Austria and indeed for Europe. On 1 August 1664, the Ottoman forces were halted on their way to Vienna, just a few kilometres from Fürstenfeld, in Mogersdorf. The battle was one of four key open battles in the Austro-Turkish wars – and who knows what the map of Europe would look like now if things had gone differently…
Today, these castles and palaces – be they knight’s castles, fortress ruins, manor houses or fairy tale castles – stand testament to the region’s past. The stuff true holiday dreams are made of. Numerous imposing edifices stand sentinel in the Thermen- & Vulkanland, fulfilling many a wish for families, art lovers and nature lovers alike. Romantic, mysterious, historical, and brimming with adventure: castles and palaces have always held a magical appeal. We pass by walls and gateways that have stood for centuries. We wander through magnificent gardens, dine in spacious vaulted rooms, doze contentedly in stylish chambers, and feel like a veritable prince or princess, knight or damsel, lord or lady. But it doesn’t have to be merely a dream: many castles these days are only too pleased to accommodate paying guests. The fascinating thing about it is that you become part of a unique history every time you visit.
Immerse yourself in another world, another age, and experience how life has changed over the centuries. The towns located in the Thermen- & Vulkanland near the castles and palaces offer guests the chance to relax, and give body and spirit a change of scene.
The “Schlösserstraße” (“Castle Road”) leads you to the castles and palaces of Southeast Austria situated around the district capital of Graz. Most are located in Styria, but a few can also be found in the Burgenland and across the national border in Slovenia. There are many different places to choose from. Some are home to exhibitions and boast splendid gardens, while others used to be monasteries or churches; more still put you up in spacious rooms and suites and spoil you with special culinary delights.
Many are open to the public, such as the Pfeilburg and Kornberg Castle. The best-known castle is the commanding Riegersburg. It is perhaps the mightiest historical fortification in the Occident, still owned by the Prince of Liechtenstein today, and is one of Styria’s most significant tourist attractions. It puts on a wonderful bird of prey demonstration, in which eagles, vultures, owls, etc. take flight close above onlookers’ heads. Kapfenstein Castle has become a true temple of culinary delights. It is where the Winkler-Hermaden family grows internationally acclaimed wine on volcanic soil. Alongside this, a collection of small museums and exhibitions present exciting exhibits on all sorts of subjects such as weddings through time, tobacco production, and ‘taking the waters’ in imperial times. The towns and villages of the Thermen- & Vulkanland exude a special charm, where you can almost step back into the past. In Bad Radkersburg, visitors experience 700 years of history right in front of their eyes, while in Fürstenfeld you can embark on a historical quest on the “Festungsweg” (“fortress trail”). In Feldbach, the “Museum im Tabor” highlights the town’s eventful history in a carefully curated set of exhibitions.
Tip: Some castles and palaces can also be hired as wedding venues or for company celebrations. If desired, you can combine the latter with a seminar too. Modern conference and seminar rooms are available. Castles and palaces hold an almost magical allure for children. For this reason, some attractions on the Schlösserstraße (Castle Road) offer guided tours for families with children, so that even very young guests can experience art, culture, and history up close.