Linz changes: Joie de vivre meets the future in the city by the Danube

The UNESCO City of Media Arts and the European Capital of Culture 2009 is truly unique: Linz changes you. The city by the Danube is changing itself, it changes its inhabitants as they develop, and it also changes its visitors during their stay. Linz in Upper Austria is not stuck in the past, but is constantly developing further. Its focus is on the present and, above all, the future. In the Creative City, a lively, contemporary cultural scene, Europe’s most modern music theatre and a unique museum of the future meet an innovative creative scene and leading global companies. To visit Linz by the Danube is to have an extraordinary time and to take home many memories as souvenirs, in addition to a Linzer Torte.

Linz epitomises the art of living

Linz is a lively, modern city and a successful one, too. It has a long and eventful history, and the architecture of its developed city centre with the baroque Hauptplatz is unique. Famous personalities from culture and science have spent part of their lives here, such as Adalbert Stifter, Johannes Kepler, Anton Bruckner, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as well as contemporary stars like the musician Parov Stelar and the conductor Franz Welser-Möst. Particularly since Linz was the European Capital of Culture in 2009, it has become an even more inspiring and lively cultural city. It has a strong passion for the contemporary and is open to experiments. This contributed to the city’s designation as a “UNESCO City of Media Arts” in 2014, which shows that the city by the Danube, together with Lyon, Sapporo, Tel Aviv and Dakar, among others, is one of the world’s most future-orientated locations. Only cities that can demonstrate extraordinary achievements in one of the categories of literature, film, music, crafts and folk art, gastronomy, design or media arts are accepted by UNESCO into the Creative Cities Network.

The development that the city by the Danube has experienced, especially since its designation as a European Capital of Culture in 2009, is unique. The change that is so apparent is reflected in the architecture, for example. In addition to new buildings with wonderful architecture, such as Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (2003), the Ars Electronica Center (2009), the Musiktheater (2013) and the Anton Bruckner Private University (2015), historical architectural treasures are also preserved and revitalised, like the Tabakfabrik, where an old industrial building is becoming a centre for the creative industries. It’s not just the cultural scene that has changed and developed over the years, but also the gastronomy scene, which encompasses both traditional cuisine and also creative, modern restaurants.

If you visit Linz, you should have time to spare. Take a glance at the future, relax in wonderful natural surroundings, enjoy a slice of Linzer Torte in the Old Town and admire oversized graffiti art: visitors to Linz can experience this unique diversity. And in addition to discovering the numerous sights, you shouldn’t miss out on some leisure time, great cuisine and delightful moments in the city of joie de vivre. “The art of living” has been chosen as the focus for 2017 – a theme that will be reflected in the natural cycle of the seasons and the people.

Linz’s joie de vivre in spring

The city and its river: a special relationship. Linz lies literally next to the Danube, which means that ships on Europe’s largest waterway pass right through the heart of the city. The Danube curves and changes it direction here, which gave the city its Roman and Celtic names Lentia and Lentos. And it seems as though the ability to change is an integral part of Linz. Particularly in spring, the Danube and the beautiful natural landscapes in and around Linz play a significant role in the city’s social and cultural life.

The sun’s rays have only just started to fill the days for longer, and already life moves down to the Danube. The area of the city by the river is an open-air museum itself, which is allegorically not only blue, but multicoloured. After all, a colourful play of light is created at night by the LED facades of the Ars Electronica Center, a museum of the future that already provides us with insights into the technological world of tomorrow, and Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, which lies on the banks of the Danube opposite, with sophisticated contemporary art. Along the river, the characteristic buildings are joined by the Brucknerhaus and Tabakfabrik Linz, which are important for music lovers and the creative scene.

Boat trips start as early as April, offering daily tours of the harbour, which provide visitors with a different perspective on the city. The ship glides past the Culture Mile downstream, in the direction of the industrial buildings and untouched nature in the Danube water meadows. The tour includes a stop at “Mural Harbor”, a new attraction in Linz. Hundreds of graffiti works of art on oversized industrial buildings form the largest connected outdoor graffiti gallery. In May, the wakeboarding elite are also making a pilgrimage to “Bubbledays” in Linz’s harbour again in 2017. The festival, which includes a wakeboarding contest, is held in cooperation with Red Bull, and also features harbour tours, a sporting and artistic supporting programme and concerts.

Further top events in spring are the “NextComic” festival for lovers of cartoons, the “Crossing Europe”- Film Festival with a focus on Europe, and the “Tanzhafenfestival”, which is dedicated to contemporary dance at a wide variety of locations in the city and whisks the spectators away into a different world. The euphoric mood in spring is heightened in Linz with the extraordinary events. If you treat yourself to a break here, you’ll experience pure joie de vivre.

Linz’s zest for life in summer

Linz develops its pure zest for life fully during the summer. The city offers its visitors unforgettable moments as they sit on the Danube beach and watch the ships passing. In scorching heat, many locals even dare to dive into the cool water. Along the river, restaurants will captivate you with their beautiful locations and views: particularly noteworthy are the Fräulein Florentine gastro ship and the Caribbean atmosphere at the “Sandburg” on the sandy beach in front of the Brucknerhaus. In the city centre, creative restaurateurs also tempt you to try their cuisine and enjoy the restaurant gardens. They charm you with innovative combinations as well as traditional dishes to try and to savour. This city will even change your taste buds.

In summer, life takes place outdoors, not only as regards cuisine, but also events. Numerous festivals and open-air events enrich your break in Linz. A real crowd-puller is the Pflasterspektakel with stunning international street art, which transforms the entire city centre into a huge stage. Thousands of visitors come to Linz’s Krone Fest every year, where stars from a wide variety of music genres create a fantastic mood. Before a truly impressive backdrop, world-class musicians perform at “Classics at the Cathedral” right on the square in front of Mariendom. The biennial Schäxpir festival is one of the best children’s and youth theatre get-togethers in Europe, and will take place again in 2017. The Danube area is transformed time and again in summer into a unique mile of sound, such as at The Danube in Flames, at the music festival “Ahoi! The Full Hit Of Summer” or in autumn at the “Linzer Klangwolke”, a multimedia production by the river.

At the beginning of September, the city by the Danube has another international highlight in store, which attracts visitors from all over the world. The Ars Electronica Festival for art, technology and society is dedicated to a specific topic of the future each year, demonstrating intellectual and artistic approaches at the highest level. A glance at the events calendar will make you want more – more time in Linz.

Linz’s art of living in autumn

The lifecycles that transform nature over the course of the year are natural. It’s a similar story with cities and people. After the summer, when many people have spent their annual holiday abroad, they return to their native country, bursting with energy and curious about new things – a good time for a cultural city trip and to immerse yourself in Linz’s art of living.

Linz not only has a lively independent scene that develops exciting projects, and small playhouses that open up new perspectives for their audiences. The large concert halls and theatres can also compete at the highest level in both the selection of plays and the outstanding productions. While there’s a new theme threading its way through each season at the modern Musiktheater am Volksgarten, the Brucknerhaus, a concert hall with premium-class acoustics, focuses on festivals. The season kicks off with the renowned Bruckner Festival, named after the composer Anton Bruckner, who spent many years of his life in the city by the Danube. In 2017, international greats, such as the Munich Philharmonic, Rudolf Buchbinder and The Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst are performing.

It’s not just in music, dance or theatre, however, that you can take an inspiring journey of discovery in Linz. In the museums, visitors become familiar with a broad spectrum, from history to contemporary art, to a vision of the future. For instance, a trip to the Ars Electronica Center gives you an insight into the latest technologies and incredible developments.

Special tip: take a walk through Linz at night. By the Danube, in particular, where the colourful play of light created by the LED facades of Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz and the Ars Electronica Center illuminate the wide river, you’re guaranteed to be astounded, and you won’t be able to leave the fascinating combination of nature and technology easily.

Linz’s time for living in winter

Winter, and particularly the weeks in Advent, is a time when many people resolve anew every year to take it easy and to spend more happy hours with their friends and family. And many people simply run out of time again every year and before they know what’s happening, Christmas is around the corner. How about making a conscious decision to take some time out in the city of change? Here, you can transform your resolutions into reality and make living a pleasure. After all, particularly in winter, the focus is on delicious cuisine, leisurely shopping and diverse Christmas markets.

Linz’s gastronomy alone invites you to take a varied voyage of discovery. And of course, no trip to Linz is complete without the city’s most famous, sweet ambassador: nowhere does Linzer Torte taste better than in its country of origin. A break with coffee and the oldest known cake in the world after a shopping trip in the city centre can be wonderfully relaxing, as you can well imagine. And then take a walk through the festively illuminated city beneath the winter sky! If you keep your eyes and ears open in Advent, you’ll find tranquil squares and atmospheric side streets. In addition, the Christmas markets are as varied as the city itself: at the classic, traditional Christmas markets on the baroque Hauptplatz and in the Volksgarten, friends meet up, artisans display their crafts and exquisite culinary delights are prepared. If you stroll on a few steps further, you’ll also find markets with refreshingly creative concepts, where punch and mulled wine by blazing fires in cosy seating areas allow the Christmas spirit to be kindled for the first time. This time of the year really can be peaceful and can stimulate reflection, allowing you to refocus slowly on the things that really matter.

Linz is the city in which change takes place

The programme for a short trip to Linz not only includes culture and historical buildings. Culinary enjoyment, time, relaxation and joie de vivre can also be sensed at many places in the city. Allow your thoughts to wander: sit down on the banks of the Danube, breathe in the fresh air and watch the ships sailing past! Go out for walks into the beautiful countryside surrounding Linz! Meet special people and allow yourself to be captivated by their ideas! Let yourself be moved by concerts or inspired by museums, and enjoy a slice of Linzer Torte after a shopping trip.

The city will delight you with its urban lifestyle and exciting cultural scene, it will make you curious to discover new things and will open up new perspectives. Those who visit Linz return home a little more content, and perhaps even a little changed, because they have bought unique memorabilia, met unique people and experienced wonderful moments. Enjoy a visit to the city of metamorphosis and joie de vivre!

Top 10 sights in Linz

Hauptplatz and Linzer City

Linz’s Hauptplatz is the city’s heart. With an area of 13,200 m², it is the largest urban square in Europe and is surrounded by magnificent baroque buildings. At the centre is the impressive 20‑metre‑high Holy Trinity Column, which was completed in 1723. Landstraße, the most famous and most frequented shopping street of Linzer City, also begins on Hauptplatz. In the city centre’s side streets, too, shops invite you to browse.

The Ars Electronica Center

The Ars Electronica Center is considered to be the gravitating centre of the UNESCO City of Media Arts – with its annual festival in September and the renowned Prix Ars Electronica. In the “museum of the future”, visitors can experiment, explore and make discoveries! The striking building situated directly by the Danube houses impressive exhibitions on art, technology and society. You can find a futuristic cosmos and unique image worlds with 3D animations in 8K resolution in “Deep Space 8K”.

Schlossmuseum and Linz’s Old Town

Like a link between the past, present and future, Linzer Schloss towers above the city. A real eye‑catcher of the Old Town’s centre, it crowns Linz splendidly on the Schlossberg. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, annual special exhibitions take place in the museum, which are dedicated to both regional and international topics. The south wing, newly constructed in a contemporary style, complements the historical building with modern architecture. The view from the terrace over the roofs of the city is unforgettable!

The Old Town is delightful, with its impressive side streets, historical buildings and creative shops. In the evenings, the restaurants tempt you to linger, relax and enjoy in a leisurely atmosphere, and events and festivals take place on a regular basis on the beautiful squares.

The Danube and the Brucknerhaus

The Danube Culture Mile is an artistic and cultural hotspot throughout the year. At night, the banks of the Danube are transformed into a colourful play of light with the displays of the Brucknerhaus, Lentos Kunstmuseum and the Ars Electronica Center.

Brucknerhaus Linz will enthral you with its unique acoustics and diverse programme. Top international and national musicians provide delights all year round with works by Mozart to Bruckner and contemporary compositions. In addition to the International Bruckner Festival, other events, such as the Klangwolken, take place.

A little way downstream, another attraction has come into being by the Danube: “Mural Harbor”, one of the world’s largest graffiti art galleries. On oversized industrial buildings in the harbour, more than one hundred graffiti works of art by various artists create a truly striking display.

Pöstlingberg Adventure World

Pöstlingberg is Linz’s “local hill”. It can be reached in just 20 minutes from Hauptplatz on the Pöstlingbergbahn, the steepest adhesion railway in Europe. When visitors arrive at the top, they can take a relaxed walk to the viewing platform and the pilgrimage basilica. Whether it’s the Pöstlingbergbahn, the pilgrimage basilica, the viewing platform, the zoo or the realm of dwarves and fairy tales, Linz’s grotto railway – families are sure to have a fantastic time high above the city.

voestalpine Stahlwelt

In its globally unique adventure world, voestalpine Stahlwelt in Linz presents the latest technologies of steel production in an interactive exhibition. These technologies and the innovative production process of Linz steel is shown right up to the finished product. This journey of discovery also demonstrates the historical background and opens up new perspectives on voestalpine, the largest industrial location in Austria.

Linzer Torte

The perfect accompaniment to a relaxed cup of coffee is the wonderful taste of the Original Linzer Torte! It is considered to be the oldest cake named after a city in the world, and was mentioned by name as early as 1653. It’s not only important for locals from Linz, but is also famous far beyond Austria’s borders. The newly designed artistic tins are perfect for giving a Linzer Torte as a lovely souvenir from Linz!

Mariendom (New Cathedral)

The largest church in Austria is situated in Linz: “Mariendom,” otherwise known as the New Cathedral. It is captivating with its neo-Gothic style, setting a contrast to the baroque buildings in the city centre. Beautiful stained-glass windows decorate the cathedral, which was completed in 1924 and can accommodate 20,000 people. It is also a haven of peace at the heart of the city, and invites you to linger and reflect. From the tower, at a height of 65 metres, you can discover a panoramic view of the city.

Musiktheater am Volksgarten

The most modern opera house in Europe was opened in 2013 and is one of the most popular sights in the UNESCO City of Media Arts. Situated at the end of Landstraße, it is a home for opera, operetta, ballet and musicals. The performances are staged with multimedia and accompanied by the latest technology. An unforgettable evening of theatre is guaranteed!

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz

In Lentos Kunstmuseum, you can enjoy modern and contemporary art in a special ambience. Numerous special exhibitions provide insights into a variety of themes and periods of art, or are dedicated to the work of individual artists. The modern, transparent glass facade of Lentos Kunstmuseum illuminates the Danube in many different colours at night. The oversized “picture frame”, which pierces the building, is also striking, revealing a beautiful view of the Urfahr district.

At the heart of Europe

Linz not only lies at the heart of Europe and at the centre of the European Danube-Vltava region, but is also easily accessible from any direction and with any mode of transport. The Upper Austrian capital enjoys a central location and has excellent infrastructure links. Linz Central Station has already been awarded the title “Austria’s most attractive railway station” several times and “blue danube airport linz” can be reached quickly. Of course, you can also arrive via the Danube: by boat, on your bike along the Danube Cycle Path or on foot on the Donausteig hiking trail. A weekend in Linz from €109.00 per person!

Includes two nights in a double room with a buffet breakfast, the Linz Card (three-day card, incl. use of public transport, admission to all Linz’s museums and a €10.00 Danube Culture Voucher for concerts and theatre, as well as a €5.00 Gastro Voucher) and much more.

Information & Bookings

Tourist Information Linz Hauptplatz 1 4020 LINZ, AUSTRIA

Tel. +43 732 7070-2009. Email:

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