I’ve always wanted to visit Austria but like many places in Europe, it was added to very big list of to-dos. However, I was fortunate enough to visit Austria’s third largest city called Linz late last month after being invited by the Linz tourism board.
When I thought of Austria, I had images of rolling green hills, streets filled with historical culture and a very attractive landscape. When I arrived in Linz, I found all this and more.
Situated on the Danube river, Linz is the capital of upper Austria and is pretty much the centre of Europe. It lies between Salzburg and Vienna and its closest bordering countries are Germany and the Czech Republic.
The city is clean, extremely safe and very well preserved. To get around the city, you can catch the tram, hail a taxi, rent a bike or go for a leisurely stroll. I took up all of those options as well as a morning run along the Danube.
The streets of the Old Town are lined with baroque designed historic buildings, ornate churches and unique boutiques. In addition to the visual appeal of the city, Linz was also awarded Culture city of Europe in 2009, which has put the city on the map as a culture destination. And this rings true once you experience what Linz has to offer. Linz is an epicenter of music and dance, museums and theatre and an iconic design home to many classical concertos. Additional to the many things to see and do, 30% of city is covered in grass land and forests. And I do love my greenery!
So without further adieu, here are my reasons why you need to pay Linz a visit:
Linz is a hub for every variety of art and music imaginable. Museums are thick on the ground, as are theatres, cinemas, and art galleries. During my visit we visited the Arts Electronica which is nicknamed the “museum of the future.” The centre has 6 floors of the most modern techniques from the technology sector that are showcased to the museum’s many visitors. Centres like the Arts Electronica are one of many reasons why Linz is such a progressive city. You will be pleasantly surprised with what’s on offer for the curious soul.
Not only is Linz the birthplace of musical wunderkind Anton Bruckner, each year the annual Linz Festival brings world-class theatre and music to the city. It’s state of the arts Musiktheater (Opera House) is captivating, as are its showpieces.
I was lucky to be there on the premiere evening of “La Traviata” by the world renowned director Robert Wilson. Wilson has been described as the world’s foremost avant-garde ‘theatre artist'” and this euphoric production was a precise representation of his skills. The performance of the tragic story was beautiful, breathtaking and mesmerising. It is definitely a show to get tickets to when planning your trip to Linz. Book ahead so you aren’t disappointed.
Also, we can’t forget the other remarkable concert hall that is Brucknerhaus. Sitting alongside the Danube river, Bruckner’s namesake is considered one of the most important concert halls in Europe. You can indulge in a waterfront dinner at Anklang before you enjoy one of Brunkerhaus’ internationally popular performances like the Vienna Philharmonic. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is probably the best known of all Viennese orchestras and generally regarded as one of the finest orchestras in the world. Watching this performance, I enjoyed a whole lot of goosebumps and left on a cloud nine from it’s musical greatness.
When it comes to dining, Linz does not fall short of remarkable restaurants with delectable dishes. The cuisine is fresh, innovative and plenty to chose from. Here are a few restaurants to put on your hit-list:
Again named after Anton Bruckner, “Anton” is situated on the top level of the Musiktheater and offers the finest quality of an Austrian brasserie. It’s ideal for a pre show dinner or after show drink. Don’t go past the Wiener Schnitzel – it was the best one I’ve had yet.
Positioned on the right side of the Linz castle, it’s one of the best views to enjoy dinner. The large panoramic terrace overlooking the city guarantees an impressive atmosphere. The food is light and modern, as are the interiors. My tips – head there at sunset to see the city turn shades of gold and the lemon tart for dessert is a must.
The Danube runs through ten countries including Austria and Linz happens to be peacefully perched on the both sides of the river. You can take a cruise along the water and soak up the sites of the city.
If you’d rather be a little more active, you can rent a bicycle and pedal yourself a little bank side adventure. I did this and enjoyed every moment of it. There were runners, people walking their dogs, kayakers and the odd few sitting with a fishing line in tow.
When I needed a break from the sun, I stopped at a little pop up beach bar for a cocktail. Who would have thought there was beach bars (with sand) in Austria!
I would definitely recommend visiting the “no sorrow” tower in the centre of the city. The 30m tower (64 from the ground up), is the perfect place for your 360 bird’s eye view of the city.
Currently the tower is part of the Höhenrausch exhibition and is very much worth the climb to the top. If you’re a big kid like myself, at the top of the exhibition is a free carousel and a harnessed trampoline. Yes please!
A walk through the Old Town is a trip into the past—streets lined with immaculately preserved buildings dating from the medieval and Baroque periods. Admire the Gothic designed New Cathedral with it’s colourful stain glassed windows, have lunch at the gastro pub that is just outside or get involved in a Linz Torte baking lesson.
With only a 45 minutes flight from London Gatwick, Linz makes an ideal location for a weekend city break.
Linz is a city on the move, embracing its industrial roots and visitors come to enjoy the burgeoning culture scene. It’s green, clean and friendly. I’d recommend staying for 4+ days to ensure you enjoy everything that it has on offer.
For more information visit: The Linz Tourism Board.
Phoebe Greenacre was a guest of the Linz Tourism Board in September 2015.