Yeah, I give in: in amusement parks, I love to do what I call atmospheric rides. Not too quick, but colorful, entertaining, just traveling with a boat or a train into another world for a few minutes. Thus, the Grazer Märchenbahn (Graz Fairy Tale Train) was on my bucket list for the Austrian city once I decided to go there. A fairy tale themed ride through tunnels of a mountain, which have originally been constructed as air-raid protection during WW2. Here are my thoughts about whether the almost thirty minute tour is worth it.
Graz Fairy Tale Train – Location & Admission
The Graz Fairy Tale Train is located in a tunnel of the Schlossberg, the iconic hill / moutain in the center of Graz. You access the tunnel from the Schlossbergplatz at the bottom of the mountain. The same entrance also features the Schlossberg elevator, which brings you – partially – to the top of the hill. From the top of the elevator, you can also have a thrill at the Schlossbergrutsche (Schlossberg Slide), the highest underground slide of the world. Next to the tunnel entrance is the entrance to an underground venue, Dom im Berg.
The train operates daily between 9:30 and 18:30 hrs. There is a fixed schedule of trains (typically every 15 or 30 minutes) with the last train operating at 18:00 hrs. Adult tickets are 8.50 EUR, kids under 14 years pay two Euro less.
Graz Fairy Tale Train – The Ride
The narrow-gauge train is an electric engine with multiple wagons, in which you typically sit in rows of two people. Most of the attraction is just having one lane. The trains meet and pass at one point. The whole track length is some two kilometers. There are 22 stations / areas overall. You roughly do half of them on the way into the mountain and half of them on the way back to the station. As it is quite dark, you cannot identify stations you are just passing and visit later/earlier in the other direction.
During the trip, you listen to excerpts of fairy tales and instructions in German – which sometimes works better, sometimes worse. Some stops are “interactive”. Very often you have to use torches to active light sensors, for example. Again, some work better, some work worse.
Some Nice Stations
I won’t give you too many details above the different stops. The quality of the different stops differ significantly. I personally enjoyed the stops working with different kinds of light most. There are also some stages with different mirrors and other optic effects. Especially in summer, you should be aware that you are in a mountain tunnel – the temperatures are below 15 degrees Celsius.
Graz Fairy Tale Train – Services
There are no designated services in the tunnel. A public toilet (for a small charge) is located at the entrance of the tunnel. As the attraction is located right in the heart of the city, you easily find other services like souvenir shops or cafes.
Graz Fairy Tale Train – My View
I absolutely enjoyed my ride with the Grazer Märchenbahn. The key reason is that it is somehow nostalgic and quite unique. You just cannot neglect that some of the stops feel a bit too outdated. Too often, the train driver is activating certain effects or is opening doors manually despite that being caused by guest interaction. Nonetheless, the fairy tale train just got a very special magic – and thus is worth considering a visit in my point of view.