Linz is Austria’s third-largest city, although it is not as famous as Vienna or Salzburg. However, it is worth the visit if you find yourself in the north of Austria one day, or if you are a fan of electronic arts and modern art in general.
In fact, as a former European capital of culture and member of the UNESCO Creative cities network, its artistic and cultural scene is exceptional. I was lucky to discover it at one of its best times, during the Ars Electronica Festival, that takes place each year in September.
Here I will talk a bit more about the city in itself and what I liked about it – festival aside: things that you can see, do and enjoy in this peaceful Austrian city.
Enjoy the cultural and artistic scene:
Granted, I visited Linz during a very popular event that attracted people from all over Europe (maybe the world?), so it obviously felt like a lively and vibrant city, despite what my Couchsurfing host told me!
There are many museums and artistic events in Linz, and they specifically focus on electronic arts and modern art in general. The Ars Electronica Centre is one of them. It hosts the Future museum and other exhibits that show the link between society, new medias, arts and technology. Another museum worth mentioning is the Lentos Art Museum, which focuses on modern art.
Admire the Hauptplatz:
This is the main square of the city, and it might look very small for those of you who are used to bigger city, but it really struck me for its length and all the beautiful buildings that surround it. The main monument of this square is a 20-metre-high column dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
From this square you can easily walk around the city centre, take the funicular to Pöstlingberg and cross the bridge on the Danube to go to the Ars Electronica Centre. It also regularly hosts a market, which gives it such a delightful atmosphere.
Walk around the historical centre and pretty streets:
Unlike Salzburg or Vienna, Linz is not so popular with tourists, so it is really easy and enjoyable to walk around the centre, maybe go to a few shops, admire the wonderful facades of some pastel-coloured buildings and just appreciate the atmosphere of this peaceful city.
I particularly enjoyed the tiny streets, with some small and independent shops, lined with colourful buildings. Even during a festival weekend, the streets were so quiet and silent!
Taste the Linzer torte:
Of course, there was going to be a part about food! And this is definitely one of my favourites. Austrian cuisine is not really my favourite cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy an occasional Knödel and love an apricot-jam-filled Krapfen, but I usually don’t crave it.
The Linzer torte, however, is absolutely delicious. You might have heard of some very famous Austrian cakes, like the Sacher torte, but this one is, in my opinion, much better. It is made with a crumbly nutty pastry and filled with jam. A picture is worth a thousand words, so admire this beauty:
Go up Pöstlingberg hill:
From the Hauptplatz you can take a funicular that will take you on top of a nearby hill that faces the city and the Danube: Pöstlingberg. From there you can have a peaceful walk around the woods, maybe encountering some deer, then go up to the church that overlooks the city and admire the wonderful view.
There are some restaurants and small shops that sell refreshments and snack, as well as some activities for kids to do, so this “visit” can easily take a good portion of your day, or only about an hour or two, depending on what you want to do!
Visit the largest cathedral in Austria:
When I was following the path to check all the exhibits during the Ars Electronica Festival (the festival takes place in the whole city and there are a lot of museums or other public buildings that host some sort of exhibit), I stumbled across this incredible cathedral: the New Cathedral.
It has a very distinct Gothic style and it really struck me for how big it was. When researching a bit about it, I learned that, in fact, it is the largest church in Austria. Who would have known? During the festival it also hosts some light shows that I sadly couldn’t see, but even without it I strongly encourage you to check it out if you are in Linz one day!
Take in the wonderful view:
Finding high viewpoints has somehow become one of my must-dos when I travel, and Linz was not an exception to this rule. Apart from going up the Pöstlingberg hill, you can admire the roofs of Linz up close by climbing up a tower in the centre of the city.
Each year, a cultural event called the Höhenrausch takes place there, and even when the exhibition is not on, you can still go up the tower to have 360° view on the city. The view is wonderful and you can see the city with much more detail!
Relax along the Danube:
As I’ve said, Linz is a very quiet and peaceful city, and the banks of the Danube seem more “approachable” than Vienna’s. After a long day of exploring, walking along the shore and relaxing by the shade of a tree, while watching the Danube waters flowing in front of you is something that I would absolutely recommend. Even more if the weather is nice!
Even though Linz is small and not as extravagant as Vienna or famous as Salzburg, it has its own charm and some surprising characteristics for such a small city. It is also very easily reachable from Vienna, and if you are looking for a more peaceful yet charming get-away from the touristy capital, Linz is the place to go!
Have you ever been in Linz or in Austria?
Other posts about Austria:Going to a ball in Vienna
– The Ars Electronica Festival in Linz