With 250,000 inhabitants, Graz is the second largest city of Austria, nestled in pre-alpine mountains and with a wine-growing area to its south. Its Old Town is one of the best preserved in Europe and is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Graz is well connected by highway and railways to to the neighboring countries of Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Italy.
The Adriatic Sea, the Carinthian Lakes, the Dachstein mountain range, Lake Balaton (Hungary), Salzburg and Vienna can be reached by car in less than three hours. Graz airport, located only 9 km from the city center, has frequent connections to Vienna, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich, and London Stansted. There are hourly train connections to Vienna and two-hourly to Salzburg. Low-budget flights fly also to Vienna and Klagenfurt, which is connected by a two hour bus ride. Flights to Vienna are significantly cheaper. For who wants to combine the conference attendance with some sightseeing in Austria, flying to Vienna and renting a car there may be an interesting option. However, the car will be of no use during the conference, and you will have to pay an parking charge to the hotel.
Early bookers from Central and Eastern Europe can benefit from promotional train tickets, available online from ÖBB or DB. E.g. in euros: Amsterdam 69; Warsaw 59; Hamburg, Geneva 49; Milan, Budapest, Prague: 39.
Public transport is cheap and convenient. A 7-day travel pass ("Wochenkarte") covers not only Graz and adjacencies but also allows to travel by bus or trains from and to the airport (Zone 101). It costs only 11.40 euros and you can purchase it paying with cash or credit card in trams and on train stations.
When you arrive at Graz airport you will see the departure times of buses (to "Jakominiplatz") and trains (direction "Bruck an der Mur") displayed in the baggage claim area. The bus stop is in front of the northern part of the terminal. All buses stop at "Jakominiplatz", from where you get bus and tram connections to all parts of the city. Many hotels are in walking distance from Jakominiplatz.
As an alternative you may walk 300m from the airport to the airport train station. You go to the western platform where you can buy your 7-day travel pass and take the train, direction "Bruck an der Mur". You get off at Graz Don Bosco from where you take the bus 32 or 33 to Jakominiplatz
The Medical University of Graz, closely associated with Graz University Hospital, one of the largest Hospitals in Europe, welcomes the FOIS and ICBO delegates. Its campus, the conference venue (located in the "Hörsaalzentrum"), is situated 2km west of the city center to which the tram line 7 provides easy access (terminal stop "St. Leonhard LKH" ).
Visitors can choose from a broad range of hotels, many of them located in historic buildings in the city center. More information on accommodation can be seen in the hotel guide. See the location of the hotels on the map. For arrangements you may use the Graz Tourism online reservation system or other online booking services on the Web, which may offer considerable discounts when booking early.
The whole conference will take place in the ("Hörsaalzentrum") at the campus of the Medical University. Here also the ICBO reception will take place. The joint ICBO / FOIS reception, offered by the Governor of the Styria Federal State, will be held in the "Weisser Saal", approx. 30min walking distance or 7 min by tram (stop Hauptplatz). The FOIS dinner will be in "Landhaus Jöbstl" , approx. 20 min walking distance
Climate: July is the warmest month, with stable and unstable phases. Due to the proximity to the Alps, thunderstorms may occur and there may be considerable variation in temperature between 10 and 35 degrees centigrade (forties to nineties °F). Be prepared that few buildings have air conditioning systems.
Food: For an overview of Austrian cuisine see the informative Wikipedia page. In Styria, an important ingredient of many dishes is the greenish but delicate and healthy Pumpkin seed oil.