To many, Linz is known as the steel city. The name originates from its long history as a major steel producing city.
Linz is the third largest city in Austria. While Linz is appealing in many ways, it tends to be underestimated as a holiday destination. The city is decorated with wonderful buildings and large churches, yet with a modern touch.
Linz is not burdened with over tourism. Instead, the city impresses with its independent, calm elegance that combines history, culture and wonderful natural sites. The city offers a diverse selection of leisure activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
Where to stay in Linz
Many of the sights, restaurants and cafes are located near Hauptplatz (the main square), the Old Town and along Landstraße.
If you prefer busy central areas with everything within walking distance, look for accommodation between the Central Railway Station and the Danube.
Linz is an orderly city with a well-developed public transport network. Therefore, accommodation on the upper side of the Danube, for example, is also a viable option. The selection is more limited in these regions, but the city center is just a short trip away.
Apart from a few viewpoints, the city center is flat and therefore easy for all generations to explore.
Things to do and attractions
A long weekend break is enough to cover most key attractions in Linz. Culture and history enthusiasts should consider taking the Linzer Card, which is available as a one, two or three-day card. The card provides free museum visits, unlimited use by public transport (Linz Linien), and discounts to many attractions. For more information, read here.
As its name suggests, Höhenrausch is situated at the top of Linz. The changing Höhenrausch exhibitions attract visitors with its thrilling yet educational topics - and the great views over the city are always included. The Ursuline Church and its towers are included in the exhibition. Note that the exhibition is open from late May to October. It is definitely worth a visit - and the Linz Card covers the admission fee.
There is more useful information on the website of OÖ Kulturquartier.
Ars Electronica Center
Learn fascinating facts about future technologies in Ars Electronica. With the help of robots and artificial intelligence, the center exhibits exciting information about technological innovations in a way that is appealing to both young and old.
Unique highlight tours provide further exciting insights, and the Deep Space 8K Shows amaze with impressive 3D projections and interactive experiences on a variety of topics, such as astronomy, the human body, cultural treasures and much more.
Due to its versatility, the museum is well-suited for visitors of different ages.
Find out more about the extensive program on the Ars Electronica website.
Climb to Pöstlingberg, the local back yard mountain of Linz, and enjoy the wonderful panoramic view over the city.
Up with the steepest adhesion railway
The adhesion railway, Pöstlingbergbahn, has been bringing visitors up to the summit since 1898. This comfortable and idyllic ride starts from Hauptplatz, the main square, in the center of Linz and takes 20 minutes to reach the top. In summer, there are older nostalgic railroad cars available as well.
Among the locals, Pöstlingberg is a popular place for weekend hikes. There's a wide range of activities on offer, making it a popular destination for visitors of all ages. Once at the top, not only is the view magnificent, but also the pilgrimage church.
Hiking to the summit
The 500-meter-high Pöstlingberg summit can also be reached on foot. Just follow the Pöstlingbergbahn rails and Schablederweg. The route is somewhat steep at times, and you have to cover 250 vertical meters. To descend, you can also choose the relatively steep route via Kreuzweg, or the leisurely train. In addition, there are even more routes available to admire Pöstlingberg.
To go hiking near Linz, discover the wonderful hiking routes here.
There's a fairytale-like journey waiting for you in a former fortification tower. The tower has been transformed into the Grotto railway with dragons, witches and dwarfs right before your eyes. This attraction is very popular - especially among children. No wonder, since the visitors travel with the Dragon Express through a country crowded with dwarfs, which will definitely arouse everyone's imagination.
Find out more information here.
Hauptplatz and the Old Town
The Trinity Column, also known as Plague Column, stands proudly in Hauptplatz, the main square, at the heart of Linz.
From the column, the Old Town is just a short distance away via Hofgasse. Cozy, small alleys and side streets invite travelers and locals to linger and discover the city.
The Linzer Landhaus is situated at the southern end of the Altstadt street. Thereafter, continue southward along Herrenstraße. Then again, you might as well stroll around here and there, since that's the best way to feel the charm of The Old Town.
Schlossberg and museum
To get to Schlossberg, head towards the Danube. The great view over the Danube is worth the climb. In case you are traveling with children, there's also a playground for them to enjoy.
The castle museum showcases interesting facts about the cultural, art and natural history of Upper Austria. While the exhibitions provide a deep insight into the history, they also shed light on current regional topics and events beyond the state borders. Moreover, the view from the terrace of the castle museum is impressive.
For more information on the exhibitions, check here.
Walk along Herrenstraße and be amazed by the architecturally impressive Mariendom. The New cathedral is the largest, although not the highest, church in Austria. You shouldn't miss this attraction when visiting Linz.
Do you wish to rise high above Linz? Just climb the 395 steps to the church tower and enjoy the great panoramic view!
Traveling with the family
In Linz, there's no shortage of entertainment on family vacations. The well-structured city is convenient to explore with your young ones as well.
The amazing world of animals in the Linz Zoo is situated along the way to Pöstlingberg. In the green landscape of the zoo, there are around 800 animals from over 100 species waiting for you. Moreover, the domestic animal park, a section of the zoo, will certainly put a big smile on children's face.
For something extra special, meet ring-tailed lemurs and meerkats at first hand with an animal keeper.
Read here for more details about the zoo and the complete program.
Eurothermenresort Bad Schallerbach / Aquapulco
Pack your bathing suit and treat yourself to a top-class bathing experience. Just a 30-minute train ride away from Linz, the wellness resort of Bad Schallerbach invites visitors to relax and unwind. Simultaneously, children can have a blast in the adjacent pirate world, a true water slide paradise.
Check out for more fabulous information on the website of the resort.
Food and restaurants
Linz is ready to spoil your taste buds. The selection of international restaurants, traditional inns, snack bars and creative local dishes are guaranteed to provide plenty of versatility.
The city center has a diverse selection of restaurants and bars, where all visitors get their money's worth. In the evening, it can get really busy on Hauptplatz and along Landstraße, as many local bars have settled there.
Also on the side streets and squares of Hauptplatz, such as Domgasse, Graben and Pfarrplatz, there’s high-quality food on offer to satisfy your hunger. Gourmet treasures can be discovered also on the other side of Hauptplatz, in the Old Town.
The variety and richness of dumplings in Upper Austria can't be denied. Fine variations of these dough balls are regularly served in the state capital Linz as well. The dumpling menus of traditional inns often include hash, meat, smoked or potato stuffed with greaves. Just imagine the taste!
If you like to test meat dishes, don't miss the roast pork with dumplings and cabbage. Along with the Wiener Schnitzel, this dish is probably one of the most famous ones and an inseparable part of the traditional local cuisine.
Linzer Torte is the perfect dessert for anyone with a sweet tooth and interest for typical regional things. It is made from shortcrust pastry and refined with spices, almond chips and currant jam. The grid pattern on top gives the cake its distinct look. You can get the cake in some pastry shops. The best-known manufacturer is Konditorei Jindrak on Herrenstraße, which is also a good spot to taste this delicious dessert comfortably during a coffee or tea break.
Drinks and nightlife
The old town is a paradise for bar hoppers. The streets Hofgasse, Hofberg and Altstadt are all packed with bars one after another, with good options for all purposes and everyone's taste. Whether for an after-work beer or an extended party tour, there's definitely a good place to be found.
Alternatively, you can treat yourself to a drink or two on Hauptplatz or along Graben, Pfarrplatz or Landstraße.
Especially in summer, a drink in one of the restaurants on the Danube is strongly recommended. Moreover, enjoy a beach-type feeling with a refreshing drink at Sandburg, an artificially created sand court by the Danube.
Enjoy a glass of Grüner Veltliner white wine or one of the many Austrian beers at dinner or comfortably in sunshine in a pub garden. Almdudler, a sweet lemonade with herbal taste, is popular especially among children.
After a hearty traditional meal, locals like to treat themselves to a “digestive schnapps”. Special products, such as rowan, gentian or herb schnapps, are well-suited for the purpose.
Most, local cider, is the national drink of Upper Austria. It is made from fermented juice from apples and pears and served in different variations, such as mild, sweet or strong. If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, just choose grape juice.
Events in Linz
Urfahraner market (first week of May & late September - early October)
This public festival with an extensive program has attracted large amounts of visitors twice a year for over 200 years. With more than 200 exhibitors, there's versatile entertainment for young and old, including an amusement park, marquees, exhibition stands and performances.
Linzer Pflasterspektakel (second last week of July)
Pflasterspektakel is one of the most diverse street art festivals in Europe bringing over 100 international artists and groups from around 30 nations to central Linz. Artistic and acrobatic performances, cabaret, pantomime, various music styles and much more ensure a unique program.
Linzer Klangwolke ("sound cloud") (mid-September)
Experience an open-air performance on the Danube. The performance uses musical and visual aid to bring stories to life. Laser and video projections and other elements are integrated to provide viewers with a very special perception. The whole performance is topped off with brilliant fireworks.
Christmas markets (end of November - Christmas)
Be enchanted by the magical atmosphere at Linz Christmas markets. Volksgarten, Hauptplatz and Pfarrplatz offer warming drinks, local delicacies, handicraft products and much more.
Shopping in Linz
Landstraße is the most prominent shopping street in Linz. The street extends from Taubenmarkt to Musiktheater providing numerous opportunities for shopping enthusiasts. The selection ranges from international fashion chains, luxury brands and craft shops to trendy small boutiques - all at your disposal. It gets really busy in the area especially in good weather.
In the Old Town, there are more small shops to be discovered. Herrenstraße and Bischofstraße are suitable streets for window shopping, with a few alternative shops for e.g. souvenirs as well.
If you'd rather have several shops under one roof, or if the weather doesn't play along, you can find smaller shopping centers, such as Passage on Landstraße, or the Atrium City Center and Arcade on its side streets. On the other side of the Danube, the Lentia City invites for a leisurely stroll.
PlusCity, the biggest shopping center of the area, is situated in Pasching near Linz, some 20-minute tram ride away from the Central Railway Station of Linz.
If you prefer traditional outdoor shopping, then follow the locals to Südbahnhofmarkt, one of the best-known markets in Linz. The market offers local and international culinary specialties, handicraft products and other types of vendors.
What to bring home from Linz?
Linzer Torte - The dessert with over 350 years of tradition is probably the most famous specialty of Linz. It consists of a dough with nuts, spices and a layer of currant jam and is definitely a delicious souvenir for your family and friends.
Schnapps - The drink, which is often distilled with fruit or herbs, has been highly regarded in Austria for a long time. One very special product is the gentian schnapps, which is available in different quantities. It is therefore a suitable souvenir with regard to traveling as well. So, how about some schnapps as a souvenir?
White wine - From a global perspective, Austrian wine is rather unknown. If you appreciate white wine, treat yourself to a glass of Grüner Veltliner or bring a bottle home with you.
Below, there are some examples of the price level in Linz. Prices of hotels refer to median prices at Booking.com
Pizza in restaurant
Steak in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (May)
Hotel room, 3-4* (August)
From the airport to the center
A bus connection from Linz Airport to the Linz Central Railway Station takes some 20 minutes. However, the bus only leaves once every hour. On Sundays, there is a free shuttle to the Hörschingen train station instead of the bus connection. From there, you can reach Linz quickly by train.
The Central Railway Station of Linz is just a short walk away from the city center, and there's a tram connection available as well.
If you take a taxi from the airport to the city, the cost is about € 30 - € 40.
If you don't have a direct flight from Linz, the airport of Vienna is a good alternative, with a 2-hour train connection to Linz.
The weather in Linz
Winter: Temperatures fluctuate around and below zero degrees from December to February. Nevertheless, December is an ideal month with regard to the special atmosphere in the city. On average, January is the coldest month of the year.
Spring: In March, temperatures remain below 10 degrees. In April and May, the weather is already more pleasant with temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees.
Summer: From June to August, temperatures are pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities. July and August in particular, are well-suited for holidays with swimming excursions. With regard to open-air events, the summer months in Linz have a lot to offer.
Autumn: In September, temperatures still reach 20 degrees, and it’s thus wonderful to spend time outside. In October, the weather remains mostly reasonable for outdoor activities. In late autumn, however, temperatures drop sharply, and you need have suitable clothing to walk around in the city.
Text: Katrin Lindenbauer
Images: Adobe Stock
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