When you think of Austria, you probably think of Vienna, or maybe Salzburg. But if you’re a real cultural lover, you should definitely explore Linz. It is known for its quaint Old Town located on the Danube River and an amazing art scene. This lovely Upper Austrian city is a fabulous destination for cultural lovers — especially if you’re keen on exploring innovations in the world of culture. Keep on reading to find out why is Linz such a great cultural place.
Linz Has Stunning Architecture
At the very first glance, you will see that Linz has some amazing architectural landmarks. The city is known for Hauptplatz — grandiose main square located right by the Danube River, known as one of the largest main city squares in Central Europe. The square dates back to the 13th century and it is lined with many historically significant buildings: there’s the Old Town House, the Feichtinger House with the famous carillon, the Kirchmayr House, the Schmidtberger House, and of course the impressive Trinity Column or “Pestsäule” (English: Plague Column). The rest of the quaint Old Town is impressive as well. Its cobbled streets are wonderful and lined with so many gorgeous buildings.
As per usual, some of the most famous landmarks of the city are its churches. One of the most famous religious buildings in Linz is its Old Cathedral or Church of Ignatius, located near the Hauptplatz. It’s a Baroque church with not so impressive exterior, but its two domed towers are surely eye-catching. A few streets away, there is another interesting church — the New Cathedral or Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Compared to the old one, the architecture of the New Cathedral is really stunning and detailed. Also, it is a huge religious building — with space for approximately 20,000 people it’s the largest one in Austria.
A Place Where Contemporary Meets Historic
Even though the city is very historic, Linz is always striving for innovation and change. That is especially notable when it comes to the contemporary culture, art, and technology of a city that was once purely industrial center. To be honest, you only have to see one place in Linz to understand this, and it is ARS Electronica Center. ARS Electronica is a world-leading museum with multiple hands-on and interactive exhibitions that will give you a lesson or two about the role of art, technology, and science in society. This unique institution started with an idea to connect technology and culture, as they are both great parts of our lives.
Another amazing museum is the Lentos Museum of Art (Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz). It’s a museum of modern arts, set in a huge glass-and-steel building that is contrasting the historic architecture of the Old Town of Linz. The Lentos Museum is one of the most important contemporary museums in Austria and it is a place where you can find some of the best European artworks from the first half of the 20th century, as well as the artworks of today.
Also, in Linz, you will find one of the largest graffiti galleries in Europe, which is actually a harbor on the Danube river. It’s called Mural Harbor Gallery and it’s a place where graffiti artists from around the globe come to paint wonderful huge murals.
European Capital of Smart Tourism
Besides being the European Capital of Culture in 2009 and a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities (UCCN) network as a City of Media Arts, Linz was awarded the 2019 European Smart Tourism Award, in the category of Cultural Heritage & Creativity. This is not only due to its rich cultural heritage, 43 art galleries, and 13 cultural centers, but more because of its innovative approach to the art and culture, that we mentioned above.
Besides ARS Electronica and Mural Harbor, Linz has more interesting and innovative art formats, such as Höhenrausch — an art exhibition on the rooftops, or Voestalpine Stahlwelt museum which shows the industrial heritage of the city.
Also, Linz is doing its best at improving their tourist services in general. One thing that you will surely love: the city has 202 hotspots that will ensure you have a Wi-Fi connection (almost) wherever you are.
Great Natural Surroundings
Linz is a pretty much green city! There are many wonderful places outside the city center where you can enjoy nature. One of such places is definitely Pöstlingberg — a mountain to the North of the city center, that gives you the ultimate best views of the city. No visit to Linz would be complete without viewing it from above. There are several ways of getting up to this mountain, and the most interesting and fun one is an electric railway called Pöstlingberg tram (Pöstlingbergbahn) which has been functioning for over a century. This railway is one of Europe’s steepest traction railways and it will take you from the Hauptplatz up to the Pöstlingberg where you will enjoy the gorgeous panoramic views of Linz and the surrounding Alps. Besides climbing up with this popular railway, you can follow a popular hiking trail or go on a Segway tour.
Linz is set on the Danube — a wonderful river that can be explored in so many ways. One of the most popular ways of exploring it is by the boat, but if you prefer biking you can explore the natural surroundings situated along its banks. There are many hiking trails that you can explore and enjoy the most beautiful scenery in Austria.
The Home to the Oldest Cake in the World
So, Sacher is not the only world-famous cake originating from Austria. There’s also the Linz Cake (Linzertorte), which is known to be one of the oldest cakes in the world. This traditional delicacy consists of short crumbly pastry filled with nuts, cinnamon, and usually some kind of jam. You can try a piece of this wonderful cake in many cafes around the city and you should definitely do so!
As you can already tell, Linz has tons of great features that make it a heaven for any cultural traveler. Have you ever visited this lovely city? What are your favorite things about it? Let us know!
If you’re interested in exploring Austria, we recommend doing it digitally for now. Our Cultural Places platform has quite a few digital tours around Vienna that you can enjoy. If you’ve never been to the capital, we recommend starting with the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Vienna:
Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Vienna
This tour covers historical highlights, reveals fascinating stories, and takes you down a few cobblestone streets that most visitors never see.