LinzLinz is the third largest city in Austria with 203,000 inhabitants, on the Danube (Donau) river, and the capital of the federal province of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) and forms the heart of Austria's second strongest economic region. Linz is primarily known as a major industrial centre but also has a very picturesque historical old town including Austria's largest central square, surrounded by an impressive ensemble of Baroque architecture. In the recent past, Linz has tried to reposition itself as a cultural hub with numerous new museums and events. The tourist slogan of the city is "In Linz beginnt's" ("It starts in Linz").
The area where Linz now stands has been inhabited since prehistoric time. The name of the city supposedly stems from the celtic word for 'bent', referring to the bend of the river Danube just east of Linz. During the Roman Empire Linz was a border settlement with a Roman castle (Lentia). In the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern era, the city profited from its location on an important crossing of the Danube. Nevertheless, Linz never gained the historical significance of cities like Salzburg and Vienna and remained fairly small well into the 19th century. In 1900, Linz had around 80,000 inhabitants. The city's fate took a significant turn after Austria became a part of the German Third Reich in March 1938. In May 1938, construction started on a gigantic steel mill on the site of a former village in the southeast of Linz ('Hermann-Göring-Werke', now part of the steel concern voestalpine AG). Linz turned into an industrial hub. Consequently, Linz was bombed heavily during World War II. Fortunately, the raids were centered on the industrial areas and the main train station, which meant that the historical city center escaped relatively unscathed.
Starting in the 1950s, Linz saw an industrial boom. However, while the population grew and the economy prospered, the city also had to learn to live with the severe environmental fallout of its factories and businesses. Linz gained a reputation as a dirty and unappealing city. While this reputation continues to this day in the heads of some Austrians, it has become completely undeserved. Extensive plant modernizations in the last three decades (as well as an industrial crisis in the 1980s) mean that air and water quality in Linz are now as good – or even better – than in the other big cities of Austria.
While Linz is still cultivating its image as a 'steel city', it has also taken great (and expensive) steps to become better known as a city of culture, music, and art. Several new museums have been constructed since the 1990s and in 2013 the city finally inaugurated its long-planned opera house. Linz also gets a lot of international media attention because of its annual Ars Electronica Festival. It also hosts the "Klangwolke" ("sound-cloud"), a big cultural open-air spectacle with modern and traditional music and a massive light show, which is held each year in September. Linz was the European Capital of Culture in 2009.
phone: +43 732 7070 2009address: Hauptplatz 1
phone: +43 7221 6000address: Flughafenstraße 1Although it's outside the city, there is a bus service to Linz from the airport, which takes about 20 minutes and costs around €3. A taxi costs around €25-30. You can also take the train to Horsching (€1.80) and then the free shuttle bus to the airport from the railway station.
Alternatively, you can fly to the Vienna International Airport or Munich Airport and take a train from either city to Linz. Direct high-speed trains to Linz depart from Vienna International Airport's terminal. From Munich Airport, you need to take a local suburban train to Munich Hbf first and transfer to a long-distance train to Linz there. The total journey time is around 2hr 30min from Vienna International Airport and 3hr 45min from Munich Airport.
If you are flying Austrian, the train from Vienna airport to Linz is included in your flight ticket and Austrian guarantees your connection. See here for details.
address: BahnhofplatzLinz has hourly Railjet, Intercity and Eurocity connections to Salzburg and Vienna, and from there to all important European capitals and major cities. ÖBB has online timetables and offers various ticketing options. It also has storage lockers, a Spar grocery store and tourist information office.
By carLinz is connected with Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich via the A1 Autobahn/motorway ; the Muehlviertel and the Czech Republic via the A7 Autobahn and the B310 regional road, and the south of Austria (Graz (Styria), Klagenfurt (Carinthia)) via the A9 Autobahn. It is also connected to Germany via Passau.
By boatThe website of the city of Linz lists all cruises departing from the city. There is regular passenger boat service on the Danube from and to Vienna and Passau, Germany.
Linz CardThe Linz Card 2019 (1-day: €18, 3-day: €30) provides free public transport through the city, and free or discounted admission to two dozen museums, galleries and tours. It is available at the Tourist Office and in many hotels. Reduced price (€15/25) for children, students under 26, and those who have a valid train ticket (ÖBB, Westbahn) with destination Linz.
Linz is also a city of churches. With its 134-m tower and space for 20,000 people, the New Cathedral is Austria´s largest church. In addition, the city landmark, the pilgrimage basilica on the Pöstlingberg, is also clearly in view. A symbol of Linz is the Lentos Museum of modern art, which has a striking glass façade that is illuminated at night with alternating colours.
Churches and chapels
phone: +43 732 946100address: Herrenstraße 26The construction of the neo-Gothic cathedral was already initiated in 1855 by F.J. Rudiger, then Bishop of Linz, and the foundation stone was laid in 1862. The building was designed by the Cologne cathedral builder Vinzenz Statz. The cathedral was consecrated in 1924. The height of the tower was limited to 134m (as it was not permitted to surpass St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna). The cathedral can accommodate 20,000 worshippers and is also notable for its stained glass windows, including the famous Linz Window with scenes from the history of Linz (left front). At Christmas the crypt church contains one of the largest nativity scenes, measuring 12 m in length.
Old Cathedralphone: +43 732 7708660address: Domgasse 3Designed according to drawings by Pietro Francesco Carlone, the cathedral was built between 1669 and 1678. It was the cathedral church of the diocese of Linz from 1785-1909. The single-nave Baroque church has lateral chapels and galleries, as well as a closed choir and stucco work by J.P. Spaz and G.B. Mazza. The marble high altar is by Colomba and Barberini with a picture by Antonio Bellucci. The Aloisian altar picture is by Bartolomeo Altomonte. The choir pews originate from the former monastery church in Garsten, while the organ by Franz Xaver Krismann derives from Engelzell monastery. From 1856-1868 Anton Bruckner served as the cathedral organist.
Pöstlingbergkirchephone: +43 732 7312280address: Am Pöstlingberg 1This pilgrimage church, dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary and perched high above the roofs of the city, is the landmark of the Upper Austrian capital. It was built in 1748 according to plans by Matthias Krinner. The church is popular for weddings because of the unique location.
St Martin's Churchaddress: Römerstraße/MartinsgasseThis is regarded as the oldest original church still in existence in Austria. It was first documented in 799. A rectangular building that is no longer visible, partially extending into the nave, probably dates from the Agilofingian period (before 788). During the Carolingian period (after 788), the central structure was erected using debris from Roman buildings. This can be seen on the inside and outside, while the ground plan is marked by stone slabs. The building was redesigned as a bay church in the 11th century and the pillar arches were filled in. There are Romanesque and Gothic door and window arches dating from later alterations. Inside the building, Roman stone inscriptions and a furnace can be seen. The first bay contains a copy of the Volto-Santo picture by Lucca (around 1440). The interior of the church can be viewed through a glass door. Entrance into the church is only permitted with a tourist guide.
Trinity Columnaddress: HauptplatzOne of Austria's most attractive closed squares, there stands the 20-m-high Baroque Trinity Column (completed in 1723). Carved in white marble by Sebastian Stumpfegger according to a model from Antono Beduzzi, the column bears three inscriptions. These announce the dedication of the column to the Holy Trinity by the guilds, the Emperor and the people of Linz in gratitude for deliverance from the dangers of war (1704), fire (1712) and plague (1713). The column is flanked by the patron saints Sebastian, Florian and Carlo Borromeo.
phone: +43 732 77 44 19address: Schlossberg 1The Linz Castle is first documented in 799. It was entirely rebuilt in 1477 by Emperor Friedrich III, and there are partial remains of the defensive walls, the bastions and the west entrance (Friedrichstor). The latter is adorned by a stone coat-of-arms (1481) bearing the inscription "AEIOU" ("The whole world is subject to Austria") and the imperial initials. Around 1600, during the rule of Rudolph II, the castle was redesigned and expanded according to plans by the Dutch master builder Anton Muys. The powerful four-story block with two inner courtyards and the main gate to the city (Rudolfstor 1604) date from this time. During the Napoleonic wars the building served as a military hospital, and it was here that the great city fire of 1800 broke out (destruction of the south wing and a part of the transept). Beginning in 1811, the remaining buildings were used as the provincial prison and from 1851 until 1945 as a barracks.
Between 1953 and 1963, the fortress was rebuilt and restored as the Schlossmuseum Linz. It contains permanent exhibitions of art from the Middle Ages to the present day, historical weapons and musical instruments, coins, folklore and technical history, as well as the Kastner collection. There are special exhibitions each year.
Bishop's Residenceaddress: Herrenstraße 19The bishop's residence is the most important secular Baroque building in the city. Commissioned by Kremsmünster Monastery (1721–26), it was built by Michael Pruckmayr according to plans by Jakob Prandtauer, who was also responsible for the monasteries in Melk and St. Florian. The impressive lattice gate on the staircase is by Valentin Hoffmann (1727).
Museums and galleries
phone: +43 732 7070 3600address: Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1Houses a large collection focusing on modern art, with representative works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka, as well as current contemporary art.
phone: +43 732 7272 0address: Ars-Electronica-Straße 1This cutting-edge museum serves as a venue for art which explores the creative potential of the latest technology.
phone: +43 732 774482 0address: Museumstraße 14The museum has a large collection of modern and contemporary art, with rotating special exhibits of works by Upper Austrians.
phone: +43 732 7070 1912address: Dametzstraße 23This former monastery now houses the civic museum, with rotating exhibits focused on regional history and ecology.
phone: +43 732 7070 1920address: Hauptplatz 1A branch of the Nordico Museum with displays dedicated to the history of Linz and its famous residents.
phone: +43 732 307632address: Ebelsberger Schlossweg 7Exhibits a large collection of historic firearms, as well as items from the former Austrian Imperial Navy.
phone: +43 732 7605-2453Exhibits historic tools of the trade as well as confiscated items.
Tax and Revenue Office Urfahraddress: Kaarstraße 21
Provincial Department of Taxesaddress: Zollamtstraße 7
phone: +43 732 7070 1860address: Roseggerstraße 20One of the most beautiful and extensive botanic gardens in Europe, with more than 10,000 plants and five greenhouses. Particularly noteworthy is the cactus collection. Special exhibits and presentations are hosted throughout the year.
phone: +43 732 737180address: Windflachweg 1Over 800 animals await you on your visit to the local and exotic fauna. There are cuddly animals to hold, a selected collection of mammals (llamas, pygmy cows, sheep, goats), a variety of birds (parrots, ostriches) and reptiles (crocodiles, iguanas, snakes). As an excursion destination the children’s zoo is always popular with the little ones.
Skulpturenpark Artparkaddress: HamerlingstraßeA 5,000-m² sculpture garden, with works by more than 20 artists.
Old Town Walking Tour.
Pöstlingberg tramThe historic "Pöstlingbergbahn", Europe’s steepest mountain railway, is not operating any more. The renovated Pöstlingberg tramway is in operation and makes runs from Hauptplatz through Urfahr and through the neighborhoods up the Pöstlingberg its self. Additionally, you can take Bus No. 50 from Hauptplatz (main square) to the top of Pöstlingberg.
The Grotto RailwayLocated in fortifications built by emperor Maximilian. Riding on the "dragon express", a mini-train in the shape of the mythological beast, the visitor travels through a brightly lit landscape of fairy tale scenes. A 1:7 scale model of the Linz "Hauptplatz" at the turn of the century is situated in the cellar of the citadel’s tower. In the side passages, there are depictions of episodes from famous fairy tales. Lift for handicapped visitors!
phone: +43 732 797 555Touristy fun little train that takes you around downtown. Good chance to get off your feet and warm up in the winter.
DanubeThe cultural town Linz~Danube is the ideal starting point for a ship tour. Everyone will find his individual ship adventure in the large variety of cruise line offers. Whether you are looking for a round trip, a scheduled tour or a cruise for a special occasion, e.g. Christmas party on the Danube, your captain and his crew is already waiting for you on board of the ship.
- Donauschiffahrt Wurm und Köck
- Donauschifffahrt Schaurecker
- ÖGEG: Dampfschiff Schönbrunn
- Donau Touristik
CultureLinz has established an international reputation due to its extensive cultural life. You can visit the "culture mile" along the Danube, which stretches from the Brucknerhaus concert hall and the Lentos art museum and the Ars Electronica Center on the northern bank of the river. Linz also possesses a number of stage companies, which offer something for everybody in the form of a range of evening entertainment that extends from classic opera to modern dance theatre.
From June to August the Linz cultural summer features cabaret, open-air concerts and theatre on virtually daily basis at venues that are as varied as the programme itself. These include the bars and squares of the inner city, as well as the romantic Rose Garden high above the rooftops. Moreover, throughout the year, the Posthof features "contemporary culture at the harbour" with national and international performers.
phone: +43 732 76120address: Untere Donaulände 7Designed by the architect-duo Heikki and Kaija Siren, this is the venue for the annual Brucknerfest and Ars Electronica Festival.
EventsLinz is a synonym for variety that is found at open air events, in bars and restaurants and in the theatre and on concert stages of the city. In late April, the yearly Crossing Europe film festival for young European film features works with unconventional, courageous filmic positions. At Whitsun, the Linz Festival offers a cultural open-air festival in the Danube park, while in July the international "Pflasterspektakel" brings over 500 clowns, acrobats and mimes to the city´s streets. Moreover, September sees the musical "Cloud of Sounds" in the Donaupark, the Ars Electronica Festival and the Bruckner Festival.
The Linz markets provide an opportunity to browse, and sample, whether at the weekly markets or the twice-yearly Fair/Carneval Urfahraner Jahrmarkt, which is Austria´s oldest public festival.
During the universities lecture periods (October–January/march-June) there is a wide range of student parties among the campuses of the 4 universities in Linz. Particularly interesting might be the weekly Mensafest every Thursday in Dornach/Urfahr on the campus of Johannes-Kepler-University and the gatherings at the Sommerhaus Hotel during the SAICCA program that runs mid-May through mid-June.
- The Moviemento and City cinemas show films that are not mainstream in original languages with German subtitles.
- The Cineplexx in the harbor shows all the actual blockbusters. Thursday is movie night, so it is the cheapest day to go.
The PosthofHas modern music, dance and comedy performances, which is located near the port.
- The Stadtwerkstatt (near the AEC). Popular meeting point for young people with an alternative lifestyle. They often have gigs with unknown bands.
phone: +43 732 779660address: Kapuzinerstrasse 36Popular meeting point for young people with an alternative lifestyle. It started out as punk bar. They often have gigs with unknown bands. Nirvana played at the KAPU about one year before they became world-famous. The texta hip hop concerts are legendary too.
Theater PhönixShows modern plays that are also suitable for teenagers.
Eating in Linz depends on your budget, and taste. Be prepared to search far and wide for open restaurants on Sundays. The entire Altstadt seems to close down Sunday nights leaving tourists restaurant choices only in adjoining districts.
Jindrakphone: +43 732 779258Herrenstraße 22-24. M-Sa 8AM-6PM A pastry shop serving the local speciality Linzer Torte (a cake).
- Coffee world, Landstraße 17-25 (first floor of the Shopping-Center Passage). M-Th 08:30-22:00, F Sa 08:30-01:00, Su 08:30-20:00.
phone: +43 732 77646address: Altstadt 28Nice restaurant (serves vegetarian food) and lounge in the Altstadt.
phone: +43 732 784182address: OK Platz 1The Yellow Crocodile is next to/a part of the Moviemento Cinema, downstairs below street level. It has special vegetarian plates.
Stadtbräu Josefaddress: Landstraße 49
address: Kartnerstrasse 26Described as fusion/Asian. But whatever they call it, it's good, healthy, and smoke-free. Small, so make reservation if you want a table, otherwise counter service.
- There are many luncheonettes in the city, offering a variety of food, such as Chinese food, kebab, pizza and typical Austrian snacks such as Bratwürstel (fried sausage) with Sauerkraut, Leberkäse, Bosner or Bosna (a special hot-dog with fried sausage and a special curry-ketchup-onion sauce), Käsekrainer (a sausage interlaid with cheese).
address: Rathausgasse 3You can get Leberkäse pretty much in every supermarket, but it's hard to find a place that serves as tasty and as various ones as here. It is a bit more expensive than in supermarkets, but with about €3 per bread roll with Leberkäse still cheap.
address: Hauptplatz 4The name ("Old World") suits this restaurant and bar perfectly. The entrance is in a small courtyard, with seemingly uncontrolled growing plants. The inside reminds of an inn from former times. The often changing menu ranges from typical Austrian dishes to mediterranean cuisine, at a reasonable price. A variety of cultural events take place in the wine cellar.
Falafel-Fastfoodaddress: GrabenServing tasty falafel sandwiches for €3.
Drinking in Linz is varied and not that cheap; although if you drink outside of the city centre you will find that the cost of drinks are less than in the centre.
Local beers and warm "Glühwein" (hot, spiced/mulled wine) in winter. Upper-Austrian's "national drink" is Most (it´s cider but not fizzy), and Zipfer, Gösser, and Kaiser beer. There are many Austrian beers, of course.
Keep in mind that, contrary to almost the entire rest of the civilised world, smoking is still very common in Austrian bars and pubs.
Walkeraddress: Hauptplatz/Main SquareA large bar/burger restaurant. Games room and occasional live music. Good breakfast menus. Great burgers.
phone: +43 732 779 409address: Domgasse 5In 2006, it came second in "The Best Irish Pub" competition in Austria. An English-named Irish pub that serves Guinness, and has a friendly atmosphere for Austrians and English native-speakers. Large open-sandwiches and occasionally has English or Irish crisps. Shows sports programmes on a daily basis.
Remembaraddress: Passage KaufhausLarge and airy, on two floors, with enough "hip/cool" clientele to satisfy the needs of people with enough money to spend.
Stadtwerkstattaddress: Kirchengasse 4Has a nice cafe and live dj's (reggae,house,world music,hiphop) in the evening (daily starting at 22:00) Local bands (rock, punk, hiphop) appear at weekends. Concerts take place in a stage area upstairs (away from the bar) and are around €10. DJs in the bar.
Smaragdaddress: Altstadt 2Regular live-concerts in the dance cellar and a beer garden on the street in summer.
address: Landstraße 31You shouldn't miss Upper Austria's best Italian ice cream store. They have a multiplicity of ice cream flavours, something for every taste. You will also get coffee and Austrian specialities like Apfelstrudel or Topfenpalatschinken. Smoke-free.
Thüsen Takaddress: Waltherstraße 21A small hard rock pub. Books and posters lining the walls. Be prepared for cigarette haze and talkative, not-always-sober regulars of all ages. Mike, the friendly owner, occasionally serves a hearty meal for a reasonable price.
Exxtrablattaddress: SpittelwieseCosy cafe and bar. Sit outside in the summer until 23:00, or walk down the stairs into a large room. You'll notice typical (for Austria) coffee house tables and stools, and classic movie posters covering the walls. You get a good selection of beers and wines, and the usual long drinks/cocktails. They serve burgers and snacks, including some vegetarian. For dessert, there's a delicious chocolate cake.
phone: +43 732781014address: Hauptplatz 15/16Austria is famous for coffee but this small shop serves astonishingly good tea in many shapes. Split in a shop and a teahouse right beside to each other the menu offers tons of teas of excellent quality.
phone: +43 732 946 557address: Obere Donaulände 11, 4020Founded and run by artists, frequented mostly by students from the nearby art school.
Motel Pension Rosenhofphone: +43 732387069address: Wegscheiderstrasse 76 4020It's a lovely hotel with good rooms and a nice view, and there is a bus stop about 100 meters away between St. Isidor and Hart.
address: Rodlpark, OttensheimCompletely automated concrete drain tubes with beds inside, you book (through website) and you're given a code for the door. From May through October.
Ibis Linz City
ibis Styles Linz
phone: +43 70 772268Graben 24-26.
Austria Trend Hotel Schillerpark
Park Inn by Radisson Linz
Courtyard by Marriott Linz
Spitz Hoteladdress: Fiedlerstrasse 6
Austria Classic Hotel Wolfingeraddress: Hauptplatz 19
Hotel zum schwarzen Bärenaddress: Herrenstraße 9-11
phone: +43 732 773000address: Stifterstraße 4Business hotel direct in the city center with modern and well furbished rooms.
phone: +43 732 78990address: Am Winterhafen 13Direct at the danube and close to the A7/E55 Autobahn this four star hotel is good located in the industrial area of Linz. Rooms are spacious and breakfast is good.
To the south you can travel by train or car to the wonderful region of Salzkammergut, with its picturesque lakes and mountains. Some nice towns are: Gmunden, Bad Ischl, Hallstatt, Bad Aussee, and many more. To the west is Salzburg.
Linz is a good stepping-off point for a trip into Southern Bohemian region of Czech Republic. Trains go to České Budějovice and on to Prague.