Murinsel: Graz’s most underappreciated attraction has reopened and it’s seriously impressive!

After six months of renovation works, the Murinsel has finally reopened for visitors. Loved by visitors and often woefully underappreciated by locals, the “island in the Mur” now features a new café, a showroom and a designer souvenir shop.

The Murinsel is located in the heart of the city

The floating platform in the Mur river was built back in 2002 as a new attraction for the 2003 European Capital of Culture. The idea was to combine nature with the arts and to create a place of cultural encounter. Designed by New York City artist Vito Acconci, it resembles a giant sea shell connected by two footbridges. On the platform, there is a small open-air amphitheatre and an interior part of the building that hosts a café and a shop.

The Murinsel was initially planned to be removed again after the 2003 European Capital of Culture. As the landmark’s attraction grew during the year 2003, plans were changed and the Murinsel remained. In the following years, cultural events took place and the café continued to operate.

Tourists and locals alike love the unique architecture

While most tourists have been enjoying the floating island and its unique architecture, many locals including myself were rather disappointed with the lousy coffee, outrageous prices and the rude staff of the former café. Some people even called it the worst café in town, best to be avoided.

The amphitheatre

The general overhaul of the Murinsel makes the place much more inviting again. I checked out the Murinsel this week and was really impressed by the high quality renovation works of the open-air amphitheatre. It is a great place to rest for a while, enjoy some sunshine and perhaps read a book. You can use all the open-air areas of the Murinsel free of charge and hang out as long as you want.

Then, I checked out the new café and shop. To be honest, prices are still on the high end of the scale (€2.80 for an espresso macchiato is certainly not a bargain!), but the general atmosphere of the café was positive. Bright colors dominate walls and furniture. They also have international newspapers – something I really appreciate in cafés. I also liked the fact that primarily local products are offered. Another great thing is that the souvenir shop can do without the ubiquitous “Made in China” label, supporting local businesses.

Entrance to the shop

Photography was not allowed inside the café and shop, so I cannot show you what the interior looks like, but there is also a positive aspect to this: Check out this great place yourselves!

Things have definitely changed for the better on the Murinsel and let’s hope it remains that way!


All views expressed in this blog post reflect my own personal opinion. This personal blog is designed to share information about my hometown as well as my travels around the globe. I am not associated with any of the service providers mentioned in this article and did not receive any compensation for writing this blog post. 

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