Klagenfurt, Austria probably doesn’t top everyone’s must-see vacation lists, but it is a fun, walkable city that is well worth a visit.
What to do
Take a stroll through the center of city. If you take a quick look at any map you’ll see that the city center is an almost perfect square with a large open plaza in the center. This is where you can visit the statue of the Lindwurm and learn all about how Klagenfurt locals were the first to discover the skull of a wooly rhinoceros.
The downtown area is small enough to walk end to end in only ten minutes. While is not a hectic metropolis, the streets are lined with shops and restaurants, most with outdoor areas despite cold weather in the winter months.
After spending some time viewing the Lindwurm and statues in Neuer Platz, take a walk into the shopping district where the high end clothing and accessories stores are separated by quaint cafes. Be sure to check out the Wörtherseemandl, a little fountain, designed by Heinz Goll, which represents the flooding of the Wörthersee which devastated the city. The story says that the man was so angry about the unrighteous people in the city that he caused the flood.
Your next stop is Stadthauptpfarrkirche St. Egid (City Church of St Egid). This church’s bells sound throughout the city when they ring. Stop in and view the ornate detail within.
Where to eat and drink in Klagenfurt
Pumpe in Klagenfurt
If you’re looking to rub elbows with locals and throw back a liter (or five) of beer, you have to go to the Pumpe. This local favorite is in the style of a beer hall and has simple, local dishes and a great atmosphere. Because you’re probably going to have too much fun, there are also sinks in the restrooms that are there, at just the right, so you can vomit when you’ve had one too many steins of beer.
The Augustin Beer-house is a fairly large resturant that serves their breweries beers. There’s a laid back vibe and the building itself is something to marvel at once you’re inside. It is worth stopping by for a drink just to check it out.
While it may not seem the obvious choice for local dining in Klagenfurt, the Steakeria, just a few steps from the Bierhaus zum Augustin and St. Egid, does offer some local dishes that are quite spectacular. Try their knoblauch creme suppe (garlic cream soup) or the knuspertaschen (a cheese and prosciutto appetizer).
Where to stay in Klagenfurt
Gipfelhaus at Magedalensberg
If you are willing to stay outside of the city, the Gipfelhaus at Magedalensberg is probably my favorite accommodation I’ve ever stayed at. Located about a 15 minute drive from Klagenfurt, the Gipfelhaus is located at the very top of Magdalensberg, a mountain with incredible views of the area. The Gipfelhaus has only a few guest rooms, but has a bar and a great restaurant. The accommodations are unique and the building itself is beautifully and intricately designed with carved wood. This accommodation also offers the perfect balance between B&B and hotel, in that you get the friendly, outgoing staff but not to the level where you feel that you’re required to interact with them.
This hotel is centrally located, just one block from the main Neuer Platz. The prices are very reasonable (about $113 per night) and the accommodations are great. The rooms are spacious and immaculate, with minibars, comfortable beds, large bathrooms and everything that you could need. There is also a great bar right in the hotel with friendly staff and a wide variety of drinks available. The breakfast is quite good, though may be extra, depending on the rate plan that you’ve booked.