Linz is the third largest city in Austria with 191,100 inhabitants, is the capital of the federal province of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) and forms the heart of Austria´s second strongest economic region. As a major centre of heavy industry that has been bombed during the Second World War, Linz lacks the picturesque charm of Salzburg or imperial grandeur of Vienna, but has a number of draws, being situated on the Danube (Donau) river. The tourist slogan of the city is "In Linz beginnt's" ("It starts in Linz").


Linz seen from Balzarekrondeau

Linz is an industrial city (with huge steel and chemical works) on the Danube, about half way between Salzburg and Vienna. The city had its ups and downs: In the antiquity, Linz was a border post of the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, it was a budy town with crafts and trading, mainly profiting from its geographic location on the Danube River, and having one of the few permanent bridges. Then its fate turned badly: A well-known dictator (Adolf Hitler), who was born in Braunau some two hours away, choose Linz to become the "City of the Führer." Besides some buildings and the main bridge built by war captives, he was mainly interested in the huge chemical and metal industry: What is now VOEST was the "Hermann Göring Werke", and what is now the Chemiepark Linz was the infamous "IG Farben".

In World War II, the city was heavily bombed - and was one of the few cities of Nazi Germany that escaped total destruction. The boom in the fifties served as an economic booster, but made Linz a city with somehow the worst air quality of Austria. After the industrial transformation in the late 80s and 90s, the importance of industry considerably declined. What remains, is the image of a "Steel City", and Linz used this image.

Consequently, Linz does not have a sizable "Altstadt" (old town) it may be disappointing to those tourists familiar with the charm of Graz or Salzburg. Linz is primarily a student and industrial town and while not particularly beautiful, is more representative of a "real" Austrian city vs. the almost fairy tale like quality of Salzburg.

Instead, Linz focuses on contemporary items: Museums, architecture and art. The city gets a lot of international media attention because of its annual Ars Electronica Festival; an international festival for Electronic Art. 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 in September. Linz has become the "European Capital of Culture" in 2009, by virtue of an independent cultural development and an innovative culture and art scene.

Get in

The Blue Danube Airport is a very small airport

By plane

Linz has its own international airport, the Blue Danube Airport in Horsching just outside the city of Linz, but it sees quite limited international traffic. Austrian Airlines flies from Blue Danube Airport to Vienna and Düsseldorf and Lufthansa to Frankfurt, where you can connect to Lufthansa Group's extensive global flight network. Ryanair offers frequent low-fare flights to London-Stansted. There are also charter and seasonal flights to holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and to Canary Islands.

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 2:30 from Vienna International Airport and 3:45 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.

Linz Hbf at night

By train

By bus

By car

Linz is connected with Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich via the A1 Autobahn/motorway ; the Muehlviertel A7 Autobahn, and the south of Austria (Graz (Styria), Klagenfurt (Carinthia)) via the A9 Autobahn. It is also connected to Germany via Passau. There are plans to extend a motorway north to the Czech Republic, but work is not expected to start until 2009. The best way to drive north is currently on the B125 Bundesstrasse/B-road.

By boat

The 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. A list of Austrian passenger services on the Danube can be found here.

Get around

Linz has a very good public transport service. A map of the tram (red) and bus lines is available, as well as an on-line time table. A one-day ticket is €4,00 for over 14-year-olds, & €2,00 for under 14-year-olds. There is also a 4-stop ticket (mini-ticket)for €1,00. Students can buy an 'Aktivpass', which allows you to buy a monthly card for €10.00, which is valid for all lines, and you get all tickets at half price. Tickets are purchased from the electronic vending machines at each stop, as well as tobacco and newspaper shops.

The Pöstlingberg Railway (Pöstlingbergbahn), Flyer
Return ticket: 5,60 €, children 2,80 €, Erlebnisticket (One return ticket Pöstlingbergbahn and one-day ticket City): 8,60 €, children: 4,30 €.

Linz Card

The Linz Card 2012 (1 day: € 15, 3 day: € 25) enables an individual and independent tour through the Danube city. Available at the Tourist Office and in many hotels.


The Main Square (Hauptplatz) with the Trinity Column (Dreifaltigkeitssäule)

When strolling through the heart of the city, one can literally sense its history. The lanes of the old town, which lies directly at the foot of the castle, communicate the feeling of past ages. Splendid town residences and chapter houses are worthy of closer scrutiny, as are the many inner courtyards hidden discretely behind arched gates. Moreover, the spacious, baroque main square with its lively hustle and bustle is never far away.

Linz is also a city of churches. With its 134m 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

New Cathedral (Mariendom)
Old Cathedral (Alter Dom)


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. €6.50 (adults), €4.50 (concessions).

Museums and galleries

The facade of the Lentos at sunset
Ars Electronica Center
Landesgalerie Linz
Ebelsberg Castle (Schloss Ebelsberg)


Skulpturenpark Artpark


There are lots of things to do in Linz. Here are a few possibilities:

Old Town Walking Tour.


Linz 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.


Linz 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.


Young People


Linzer Torte

A well-known specialty from Linz is the Linzer Torte, a torte covered with a latticework of dough and filled with fruit.

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.


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.


The Taubenmarkt




Go next

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.

Routes through Linz

Salzburg Vöcklabruck  W  E  Amstetten St. Pölten
Ends at  S  E  becomes 310 Freistadt
Vöcklabruck Wels  W  E  Amstetten St. Pölten
Ends at  W  E  Ybbs St. Pölten

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