"Pope Benedict XVI was here in September 2007" Mariazell by longsanborn

Mariazell Travel Guide: 59 reviews and 232 photos

Pilgrimage Town of Austria

My first visit to Mariazell was on 5 Jan 2008. It took around 2 hours to drive from Vienna city, but we enjoyed the long car ride through the snow-covered country-side.

Mariazell is a town in north Styria, well known for winter recreation and sports. It is a pretty and picturesque town situated in the valley of the Salza, amid the north Styrian Alps.

It is also the most important pilgrimage site in Austria and also has great meaning for Catholics in the neighboring countries to its east. The object of veneration is a miracle-working image of the Virgin, carved in lime-tree wood. This was brought to the place in 1157, and is now enshrined in a chapel lavishly adorned with objects of silver and other costly materials.

The large church of which the chapel forms part was erected in 1644 as an expansion of a smaller church built by Louis I, King of Hungary, after a victory over the Turks in 1363.

Popular Winter Recreation & Sport Destination

Mariazell is a good place for alpine mountain skiing and cross country skiing. There is even a skiing school nearby the town and the mountains.

A Town for Family Fun

My boyfriend arranged a surprise New Year gift for me; he booked a horse-sleigh ride for me with a private operator in Mariazell, who is also a farmer who owns some Shetland cattle.

So, I had my first horse-sleigh ride in Mariazell in the middle of Winter time. It was a 2-person horse sleigh pulled by one horse. Even though the day (and the 15-20 minutes ride around a frozen field/lake) was very cold and windy, but I had so much fun.

Here is a photo of me with the horse-sleigh operator and his lovely young strong horse from Tyrol, another region in Austria.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful and pictureque, quiet and peaceful
  • Cons:Need a car to get there; small town
  • In a nutshell:"A little taste of heaven" by Mariazell town
  • Last visit to Mariazell: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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