“The mountains are calling, and I must go”. At 1445 metres not exactly the highest, but the Schöckl, local mountain of Graz, is an extremely popular destination. Featuring everything from steep slopes to an extended plateau, it holds an almost supernatural fascination for visitors. Many hike around it several times per week, ascend on their mountain bikes or treat themselves to the comfortable cable car from St. Radegund, all with a view to rising above workaday concerns for a real highlight.
In terms of its geology, the Schöckl is a limestone mountain with a core of crystalline rock. At the interface of permeable and impermeable rock, springs come to the surface. Thanks to radioactive springs and healthy air, the village of St. Radegund on the southern foot of Schöckl became an internationally renowned spa in the 19th century.
If you don't want to walk all the way up the mountain, you can take the modern six-passenger cablecar and "fly" up to the plateau within seven minutes. From the top of Schöckl, you can enjoy a panoramic view: let your gaze wander from the Triglav mountain at the border between Slovenia and Italy and Slemen near Zagreb, over the plains of Pannonia to the mountain tops of Wechsel, Rax and Hochschwab in the north and Stubalpe, Gleinalpe and Koralpe in the west.
A pleasant walk, a stop at one of the traditional restaurants or a ride on the "Hexenexpress" down the winding summer toboggan run guarantee that everybody, from grandparent to grandchild, will enjoy the Schöckl experience. To certain groups of people, the Schöckl is legendary. Mountain bikers consider the permanent downhill trail to be one of the most demanding trails in Austria. Paragliders and hang gliders are able to take advantage of the excellent thermic conditions. And the four-wheel-drive experts from Magna Steyr are fascinated by the steep and rocky test track which can be conquered only by the best offroaders (and drivers).
The prominent 100m-high steel construction on top of Schöckl has been broadcasting radio and TV programmes to southern Styria and Burgenland since 1956. Even in several regions in Slovenia and Hungary, the programmes can be received in high quality.
By the way
There are numerous legends about the Schöckl, many of them about witches who live on the mountain and conjure up hail, threatening eastern Styria in summer. In former days, when bad weather was coming, the farmers threw scythes, sickles and pitchforks out of their barns, in order to chase away the witches and thus the bad weather. Today they rely on hail netting for the protection of their apple orchards.