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Murau – A historic pearl in the Alps

Nature experiences in historical surroundings

© by Steiermark Tourismus | Pixelmaker

The small historic town of Murau on the banks of the river Mur is well worth a visit. It is beautifully located in Murtal in northwestern Styria.

If you are on your way through northwestern Styria, you should visit the old historic centre of the small town with just over 3,400 inhabitants. Murau is beautifully situated in a valley that stretches east-west through northern Styria — surrounded by a typical alpine landscape on the south side of the main alpine ridge.

The historic centre

Schillerplatz, with the Mariensäule monument, is the central square and a perfect starting point for exploring Murau. The historic centre consists of houses around the square and stretches along a narrow strip between the river and the castle hill (Schlossberg) with impressive Schloss Murau. The historic part continues along Lichtensteinstrasse (from the square’s southwest corner) and soon becomes Anna-Neumann-Strasse, which ends at the old brewery. The historic buildings in the old town are perhaps just as interesting from the “backside”, i.e., from the riverside, as from the front.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

The river promenade in Murau

That’s why you should also walk along the river promenade, which stretches from the large car park at Tierrangerstrasse to the old brewery (here you’ll find an alley up to Anna-Neumann-Strasse). You can make a small sightseeing tour by crossing over the stone bridge Bahnhofbrücke across the river Mur that connects the old town with the city’s south side. Incidentally, the picturesque bridge is not from the Middle Ages but was constructed in 1897. Then, you walk toward the train station, enter the glass building (Bezirkshauptmannschaft Murau) and cross the river on the predecessor bridge Mursteg. From there, you go via Murfeld to the bridge on Grazer Strasse, where you get down to the promenade and continue along the river.

Schloss Obermurau

Obermurau Castle is atop a hill above the old town. The first castle was built in 1232 but was destroyed in a war in the 1270s. The Renaissance castle you see today dates from 1628-1643. The castle is privately owned and inhabited by the Schwarzenberg princely family. You can see the castle inside on tours that start at 14:00 every Wednesday and Friday (1 June to 30 September). In the picture gallery, the kitchen, the knight’s hall, the cat hall, the dungeon and the chapel, you will get an impression of life in the castle, the family’s history and the reign. A highlight is the princely tapestry collection with its elaborately embroidered and decorated tapestries.

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Family-friendly hiking

Frauenalpe is located in the “Murauer mountains”, on the south side directly above the historic small town of Murau. Here, you will find a variety of hiking tours that are suitable for everyone. You can drive the 9 km to Murauerhütte at 1.583 meters (5193 ft) above sea level. And start from there. For example, a nice, easy hike of 6.3 km (4 mi) up to the top of Frauenalpe at 1.997 m (6551 ft) above sea level takes around 3-3.5 hours. You can also relax with good food and drink at the Bernhard-Fest-hütte when you arrive above the tree line at approximately 1.800 masl. (5905 ft), you get a phenomenal view of the alpine landscape.

Steam train on the Murtalbahn

In the summer, steam trains run on the narrow-gauge lines between Murau and Tamsweg (Lungau, Salzburgerland). In historic carriages, you travel through the Upper Mur Valley, along the green Mur, through picturesque mountain scenery, past forests and meadows. The train winds 38 km (23 mi) up the valley along the river Mur, with views of both wilderness and cultural landscape. In Tamsweg, you can also transfer to the museum trains of the Taurachbahn, which run to the terminus of the line in Mauterndorf.

For more information, see the Murau Region website
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Written by Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia has traveled the world, but fell completely in love with Austria. She loves the dramatic mountain landscape, the phototastiske lakes and the captivating castles. Moreover, a real Wienerschnitzel is always on the menu when she explores the alpine country.