Located in the heart of Upper Austria, sits the quaint little city of Steyr. Not only is this place absolutely beautiful, but it is actually one of Austria’s more industrialized cities, specializing in the manufacturing of arms, which made the small city boom in the 19th-century, steel, iron-ore mining and vehicle supplies.
As fascinating as the industrialization of Steyr is, most people visit this city for its charming streets, beautifully painted buildings, inviting cafés and to see the majestic rivers Steyr and Enns flow right through the city.
After visiting Vienna and spending time in a big city, I wanted to get out and explore the smaller cities, towns and villages; and Steyr definitely lived up to being one of the cutest and prettiest places I’ve been.
Although Steyr is noted as the 12th largest Austrian town and 3rd largest in Upper Austria, it certainly didn’t feel that way. The streets were quiet most of the time, I had attractions literally all to myself at some points and I felt like I was among locals only for my entire stay in Steyr. I felt as though I had discovered a little hidden gem of a city all for myself and away from the tourist crowds. It was amazing!
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For a small city, there are quite a few historic places to see and spending a full day there was just perfect, although I would’ve loved to stay longer because it was just so charming and captivating.
With all that being said, here is my city guide to Steyr, Austria.
Dominating the skyline of Steyr, the massive Schloss Lamberg sits high on a hill with commanding views overlooking the city and the two conjoining rivers below. Dating as far back as the middle ages, Schloss Lamberg once belonged to George Handfeste before transferring to the rule of the prestigious Habsburg monarchy. After much damage and restoration over the years due to war, the present day castle is of gorgeous Baroque design complete with a blush pink hue, which makes it one of the more unique looking castles in Europe. Walk around the perimeter of the castle along Panoramaweg for incredible city views and into the inner courtyard to walk within the gardens dotted with flowers, a fountain and many statues.
Noted as one of the best examples of early Gothic architecture, the Bummerlhaus mansion is one of Austria’s oldest buildings and dates back to the 13th-century. Located smack dab in the middle of Stadtplatz, the Bummerlhaus is one of Steyr’s main attractions and should not be missed.
Standing tall and bold in the centre of Steyr since the 15th-century, is the gigantic Stadtpfarrkirche Steyr. This impressive, once Romanesque church is considered to be one of the most important religious structures within the entire city. If you have a chance to go inside (I sadly did not…a wedding was happening here as well) make sure to go to the top of the north tower for some of the best panoramic views in Steyr.
This colourful painted lower city gate leads up to Schloss Lamberg. Painted with a mural of emperor Friedrich III and his son Maximilian I, it’s definitely an eye catching fixture within the city and is located at the corner of where the two bridges of Zwischenbrücken and Bahnhofstraße meet.
Steyr & Enns Rivers
Roaring beneath the bridges of Zwischenbrücken and Bahnhofstraße, lies the mighty Steyr and Enns Rivers. The Steyr river drops down a beautiful cascading waterfall (which spans the entire width of the river) into the Enns River, creating a Y shaped body of water right in the heart of the city. The rivers join together and boast a harmonious mixture of emerald green and sapphire blue colours that create a visually appealing look within Steyr, which makes it a unique city within Austria. I stayed at the Hotel Minichmayr in Steyr and what a treat it was to stay there. Sitting at the edge of the roaring rivers, this 500 year old hotel transports you back in time with its traditional design and if you’re lucky enough to be given a river view room like I was, you’ll be greeted with a glimpse of the Old Town right from your window. Highly recommend this place for incredible views and a great breakfast if you’re ever in Steyr.
Wander Around Old Town
The streets of Steyr’s Old Town are charming and adorned with cobblestone streets, lane ways and secret little treasures to photograph around every corner. Just wandering around Steyr is sure to put a smile on your face and melt away any stress you may have. There is a wide variety of cute shops, restaurants and gorgeous buildings no matter which way your feet decide to take you.
Another standout piece of architecture within Steyr is the Michaelerkirche. The two steeples of the church stand tall at the end of the Zwischenbrücken bridge. This beautiful Catholic Baroque style church was built between 1635 and 1677 and is adorned with stunning colourfully painted frescoes depicting a religious scene. I was unable to go inside due to a wedding, since I was there on a Saturday, so if you ever visit, send me a photo. I have read that the pink marble and gold detailing is beautiful! 😉
Looking for a place to relax with a book, a coffee, or just to sit and people watch? Look no further than Werndlpark. Located just kitty corner to Schloss Lamberg, this almost secret little park is the perfect hideaway and slightly wooden area to enjoy a stroll, or watch the autumn leaves fall from above you. There is also a beautiful fountain in the centre of the park, making it one of the most peaceful places in the city to enjoy. You can access this green space via Handel-Mazzetti Promenade.
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The main draw-card for the city of Steyr is its beautifully preserved and incredibly inviting Stadtplatz. The Stadtplatz is Steyr’s town square, which is home to many charming restaurants, beautiful Austrian architecture, brightly coloured buildings and lined with many street-side cafés to relax with a beer or espresso. Some eye catching buildings within the Stadtplatz include the Bummerlhaus mansion, Steyr’s Rathaus (Town Hall) that dates back to the Rococo era, the Baroque style Sternhaus and many other colourful establishments, which make the Stadtplatz the place to be when in Steyr.
Urn Cemetery Steyr Tabor
Located at the top of the hill behind Michaelerkirche, you’ll find the Urn Cemetery Steyr Tabor. Normally a cemetery would be a strange place to suggest for someone to visit on a vacation, but this one is very well maintained, as with most cemeteries in Europe, and has a very interesting area of overgrown grave sites that are covered with ivy. You can say it’s eerily beautiful and peaceful while walking through.
Enjoy Panoramic Views From Above
Are you the type of person that tries to get to the best and highest point of any city to enjoy some sweet panoramic views? If you’re like me, then you definitely try to scout out those great photo spots. Psst, I have a little hidden gem to share with you guys. If you walk behind Michaelerkirche along Michaelerplatz, you’ll see a staircase which will lead you through a tunnel-like structure and up a TON of stairs…walk up those stairs all the way to the top and you’ll be awarded with the BEST views of Steyr in my opinion. From here, you’ll see the mighty Stadtpfarrkirche, the Old Town and even the mountain range along the city, acting as a glorious backdrop. I accidentally stumbled upon this view actually while walking through the cemetery (mentioned above). I took the staircase all the way down to only find out where it begins. I ended up going up and down these stairs numerous times for both sunset and sunrise. No regrets AND I got my cardio in as well. 😉
Visiting a smaller, less touristy city like Steyr really made me slow down and relax, which I really loved. I wandered around the city at my own pace, camera in hand and saw some incredible and historic attractions that many people that visit the country of Austria never actually see because they stick to the major cities. People always ask me if I get bored in small towns that don’t have much to do in them like the bigger cities with more attractions. You know what? The answer is no. I don’t. Steyr isn’t just aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it’s also a really great city with incredibly friendly locals and it has such a great vibe to it and is ultimately one of my top picks of favourite small cities that I’ve visited thus far.
What’s a small city or town that you’ve visited that you ended up absolutely loving? Let me know in the comments below. xo
While in Steyr, I stayed at the beautiful and historic Hotel & Restaurant Minichmayr. The 500 year old hotel is traditional and boasts some of the greatest views of the river in Steyr. Definitely a must stay!