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 take the opportunity to visit the old historic centre of the small town with just over 3,400 inhabitants. Murau is beautifully situated in a valley that stretches in an east-west direction 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 not only consists of the houses around the square but also 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.
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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, the stone bridge 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 cinstructed in 1897. Then you walk in the direction of the train station and 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.
Obermurau Castle sits atop a hill above the old town and is to be noticed. 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. It is possible to see the castle inside on tours that start at 14:00 every Wednesday and Friday (1 June to 30 September).
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, there is a nice easy hike of a total of 6.3 km (4 mi) up to the top of Frauenalpe at 1.997 m (6551 ft) above sea level, which takes around 3-3.5 hours. You can also relax with some 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). 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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