Linz: a lively city full of history and modern culture

Linz, the capital of Upper Austria and the third largest city after Vienna and Graz, is in an attractive location on both banks of the Danube River. Famous for its beautiful churches, museums and cultural activities, the city was home to many of Austria’s most famous creative people, including writer Adalbert Stifter, composers Wolfgang Mozart and Anton Bruckner, and renowned scientist Johannes Kepler. As one of the most picturesque Austrian cities, its position on the Danube makes it an ideal place for a river trip or an exploration of the surrounding countryside and attractions.

History of Linz in brief

Linz was a Celtic village around the time the Romans arrived, who took it over and called it Lentia. By the 8th century, when the city came under the control of Bavaria, the name was changed to Linze, and was an important city for the trade of Styrian raw materials throughout the 13th century. In 1489, Linz became the imperial capital under Friedrich III, until his death in 1493.
Linz was at the forefront of the Protestant movement in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, the Counter-Reformation put a stop to this development. The revival of Protestantism in the 19th century was largely due to the development of the railway, by which time Linz had become an important junction.
After World War II, Linz found itself on the border between the Soviet- and US-administered zones. Since 1955, Linz has flourished into an important industrial city, port and provincial capital.

Sights in Linz

City walk

Take the tram from the central station, which runs through the heart of the old town along Landstrasse and over the Nibelungen Bridge that spans the Danube. Then walk back and explore the large 13th century Hauptplatz, the central square, lined with elegant Baroque buildings and with the Holy Trinity pillar, striking in white marble, as its centrepiece.
Wander through the side streets and find old Linz. Look for Renaissance palaces with courtyards, and the house where Mozart wrote the Linz Symphony in four days. End your walk with a café for a piece of Linze torte. The city claims it is the world’s oldest cake – jam on a pastry, surrounded by a lattice-shaped crust.

View from the Pöstlingberg

The Pöstlingberg is a 539 meter high mountain on the left bank of the Danube River, offering breathtaking views over the entire city of Linz. Visitors can hike to the panoramic viewing platform and take the adjacent Pilgrimage Basilica or the Pöstlingberg tram to the top. The tram, which has been running for more than 100 years, now has a direct connection between the city’s main square and Pöstlingberg. Halfway up the mountain there is also the zoological museum. Here you can not only admire 600 animal species, but also enjoy the beautiful view and nature around.

Go to a festival

Linz has many festivals all year round. There is the Linz Fest and the Crossing Europe Film Festival in the spring, Bubbledays and Pflasterspektakel in the summer, and Ars Electronica Festival in addition to the Linzer Klangwolke in the fall. The Crossing Europe Film Festival showcases the most prominent representatives of contemporary and socio-political cinema from across Europe. Innovative street art has a place in the Pflasterspektakel, and hip live music is combined with the Red Bull wakeboard competition, Waves of Steel at the Bubbledays.

Mariendom

The Mariendom is the largest church in Austria with a capacity of 20,000 people. Although it is the largest church by capacity, it is only the second tallest Austrian church, as it was forbidden in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to build buildings taller than the Vienna Cathedral. Especially impressive are the stained glass windows of the Mariendom, such as the Linz Window or the Emperor Window.

Schlossmuseum Linz

Overlooking the Danube, the imposing Linz Slot (Linz Schloss) has dominated the city for centuries. Archives show that it had the function of a fortress since the early 9th century, the remains of which can still be seen near the old walls and the Friedrich Gate, while the current structure largely dates from the 16th century and was rebuilt after a fire in 1800. Now the castle is home to the excellent Schlossmuseum, with important art and historical collections and exhibits featuring objects from the prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods, including paintings, sculptures, weapons and armour. The more modern South Wing contains permanent exhibitions on nature and technology and temporary exhibitions.
This is just a selection of the rich offer of Linz, where you will find history, ancient and modern art, and a rich and vibrant culture. Linz is a great alternative to the more common destinations, and has something to offer everyone!