For as long as we can remember, Linz has stood in the shadows of many other Austrian cities. Somehow, the Regional Capital of Upper Austria, is still adamant on keeping their reputation as an “industrial city”. Of course, the industrial work and factory by the well-known voestalpine, (which has its main factories in Linz) contributes to this.
What we have noticed over the course of three visits to Linz, is that: although Linz cannot compete with Vienna or Salzburg when it comes to architecture – you realise that you don’t always need the classic, charming beauty to be impressed. Linz is different – and we found it more than just pleasant. In this travel guide we tell you our best tips for a weekend in Linz.
1. Linz Travel Guide: Top Things to Do and See in Linz
Ars Electronica Center
Its alternative name “Museum der Zukunft” (which translates to Museum of the Future) is more than fitting for this particular place. The Ars Electronica Centre offers interactive exhibitions on the topics of technology, innovation and the media. You can imagine the AEC, as it is often called in Linz, as a kind of research laboratory. You are often asked to participate and to think along. Plan at least 1.5 to 2 hours for your visit.
About the Ars Electronica Center (AEC)
Address: Ars-Electronica-Straße 1, 4040 Linz (The AEC is located directly on the Danube, just a few minutes walk from the Old Town over the bridge.)
Admission: 11,5 Euro (free with the Linz Card)
Lentos Art Museum
We also liked the Lentos Art Museum, which is also located on the Old Town side of the Danube river. Even from the outside we found the 130m long museum architecturally very impressive. They showcase alternating exhibitions in both modern and contemporary art.
Information about the Lentos Art Museum
Address: Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1, 4020 Linz (From the Old Town you can reach the Lentos Art Museum in just a few minutes by foot.)
Admission: 11 Euro (free with the Linz Card)
One of our favourite places in Linz is the outdoor gallery of the Mural Harbour. You will find impressive graffiti art works from both national and international artists here on the buildings of the Linz Port – which you can also do a boat tour of. In any case, “graffiti” wouldn’t do it justice, they are and should be considered ”murals” – works of art that are several hundred square meters in size. Boat tours takes about 1 hour.
Information about the Mural Harbour
Address: Industriezeile 40, 4020 Linz (It takes about 30 minutes from the Old Town by foot), so the best way to get there is by taxi or public transport.)
Price: 39 Euros for a boat tour including a Graffiti crash-course (2 hours)
Main Square and Old Town
The huge Main Square (Hauptplatz) along with the Old Town (Altstadt), symbolise the heart of Linz. Unlike in other cities, the main square allows traffic of trams and even to an extent, cars. We particularly liked the area around the Bischofstraße and the street called “Altstadt”, where the Café Friedlieb und Töchter is located (more on this below).
St. Mary’s Cathedral
There is an abundance of churches you can visit in Linz. But if you only have time for one, then let it be the Mariä-Empfängnis-Dom – also known as the Mariendom. Hard to believe, but the cathedral is actually the largest in Austria. But not the highest: Vienna’s Stephansdom Cathedral is 2 meters higher. You can also climb the tower of the Mariendom Cathedral – only 395 steps to overcome before you can enjoy the 360-degree view over Linz!
Information about the tower ascent in the Mariä-Empfängnis-Dom
Duration: approx. 45 minutes
Date: Saturday, Sunday and public holidays at 2pm
Price: 5 Euros
Registration is necessary
voestalpine: Steel World and Factory Tour
A visit to the voestalpine is certainly not your average ‘attraction’. You can visit the exhibition called “voestalpine Stahlwelt” (Stahlwelt = Steel World) and have the opportunity to participate in a factory tour. A factory tour takes about 1.5 hours and usually leads through three plants: blast furnace A, hot rolling mill and blank manufacturing. However, it may be that some plants are closed for operational reasons and therefore cannot be visited – as was the case with the blast furnace a few years ago. You should have time to see the exhibition before the actual factory tour. Note: Photos are prohibited on the entire tour!
Information about the visit of the voestalpine
Address: voestalpine-Straße 4, 4020 Linz (You can get there either by public transport or by car – they have free parking on premises)
Admission: 10 Euros for the exhibition (“voestalpine Stahlwelt”), 22 Euro for exhibition and factory tour.
The Linzer Hausberg is located right in the city and is a popular destination, because you are rewarded with a nice view over Linz from the top. A magnificent basilica is perched upon the mountain top, which makes itself visible from various corners of the Old Town.
Many tourists and locals use the well-known Pöstlingbergbahn to ride up to the mountain. However, as we were travelling by car, we used our own transport – which was no problem. By the way: The well known Konditorei “Jindrak” (which we will elaborate more on below) also has a branch near the mountain station. So you can even enjoy the famous Linzer Torte with a view!
If you want to discover Linz from the water, then we can recommend you a boat cruise. You drive along the Danube with the MS Linzerin for almost two hours and can see how Linz combines industry and nature. Here, for example, you drive directly past the famous voestalpine.
A Danube cruise is a lovely activity on a hot summer day, for example. With a bit of wind and a cool drink, the heat can be endured much better.
Information about the Danube cruise
Departure: Directly in front of the Lentos Art Museum (Wurm&Noé Donauschifffahrt)
Price: 15.50 euros (with the Linz Card you will receive a 10 euro voucher that you can redeem here. More information below.)
Times: late April to early October, daily except Mondays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m
Travel time: 100 minutes
A little insider tip in Linz is the Franz-Josef-Warte on the Freinberg in the west of the city. From the platform of this observation tower you have a fantastic view of Linz in the distance and of the Danube.
You can reach Franz-Josefs-Warte after a walk from Linz Castle in about 20 minutes. Navigation is definitely easier with a map app on your smartphone.
Our tip: Very close to Linz Castle (more or less on the way to Franz-Josefs-Warte) there is a nice vantage point from which you can look out over the Danube. If you don’t want to walk all the way to the Franz-Josefs-Warte the viewpoint is a good alternative.
Opening hours: January to March: 10am to 4pm, April and May: 9am to 6pm, June to September: 8am to 8pm, October: 9am to 5pm, November and December: 10am to 4pm (we were in June though only got there at 8:15 p.m. and were still able to go up! The opening hours should therefore only be approximate.)
Observation deck Somnium
Since June 2019, there is a special kind of attraction on the roof of the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) – the viewing platform called Somnium. The architecture is particularly exciting here with all the wood and the steel lattice construction.
The view is also impressive, although you are of course a little away from the center. The Somnium is located on top of the Faculty of Science and Technology – it’s best to keep an eye out for the roof construction on site, then you can hardly miss the right building.
Address: Altenberger Straße 69, 4040 Linz (You can reach the JKU by tram line 1 or 2 from the main square in about 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can also come by car. Parking spaces are available.)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm (closed between the beginning of November and the end of March)
2. Restaurants and Cafés in Linz: Our Tips
Restaurants in Linz
Rossbarth: Fine dining with great value for money. We can warmly recommend the Rossbarth restaurant if you are looking for a slightly fancier location. Here you dine in a beautiful vaulted cellar. The ambience is stylish and simple, but still cozy.
Adress: Klammstraße 7, 4020 Linz
Rauner: Whether business meeting, birthday dinner or date – this restaurant is perfect for every occassion. Lunch and dinner are served non-stop. The menu features local dishes at reasonable prices.
Adress: Kraußstraße 16, 4020 Linz
Cook: A very nice restaurant with an interesting fusion of cuisine: Asian-Scandinavian. Next to “Gravad Lax” (salmon w tartare) on the menu, many wok and curry dishes are also listed. The “Cook” is relatively small and there are only a few tables. Food is cooked in the open kitchen and the staff are extremely friendly. We would certainly come back!
Adress: Klammstraße 1, 4020 Linz
Deli Linz: Deli Linzs offer smoothies, soups, and porridge at moderate prices. The cafe is also very nicely decorated. Perfect for a little refreshment after sightseeing.
Adress: Herrenstraße 7, 4020 Linz
Pauls Steak & Veggi Linz: Pauls is one of the most famous restaurants in Linz. We would describe the atmosphere as a combination of modern and industrial. The restaurant is known for its steaks and burgers, but there are plenty of vegetarian options to choose from too. The food is excellent – thumbs up from us!
Adress: Domplatz 3, 4020 Linz
Gelbes Krokodil: The Gelbes Krokodil is especially loved by vegetarians. We visited in summer and got to sit outside thanks to our reservation. The menu is full of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes – predominately Austrian style-cuisine. (Fun Fact: Gelbes Krokodil translates to Yellow Crocodile).
Adress: OK-Platz 1, 4020 Linz
Donauwirtinnen: These days, the Donauwirtinnen is somewhat like an institution here in Linz. Slow Food is served here and a large proportion of the ingredients used is actually local from the region. We ate particularly well – definitely highly recommended! The restaurant is located in Urfahr district and only takes about a 15mins walk from the Old Town.
Adress: Webergasse 2, 4040 Linz
Cafés in Linz
Café Gerberei: Our favourite café in Linz! The Café Gerberei is not only immaculately decorated to perfection, but we also felt that the best coffee we tasted in Linz was right here. In addition, the staff is super friendly. High recommendation!
Adress: Pfarrplatz 10a, 4020 Linz
Friedlieb und Töchter: Very well known amongst the “Hipster” cafes is the Friedlieb und Töchter, which is located in the middle of the Old Town. They serve delicious coffee and very good cakes. We also like the purist-Scandinavian style with its very cozy decor.
Adress: Altstadt 5, 4020 Linz
Jindrak: An absolute must when you are in Linz: try the Linzer Torte. This cake can be found throughout the city, but the most well-known place to go for the Linzer Torte is the traditional café Jindrak.
Adress: Herrenstraße 22, 4020 Linz; Am Pöstlingberg 12 4040 Linz
3. The Best Linzer Torte in Linz
If you are visiting Linz, there is one thing you cannot escape and that is: the Linzer Torte. Unlike Vienna’s Sachertorte for example, there does not exist any one original Linzer Torte. Instead, we learned through a lovely conversation with a waiter that: it can only be deemed an “Original Linzer Torte” if the cake was baked by a master confectioner.
Probably the most famous place in Linz for a slice of Linzer Torte, is the: Konditorei Jindrak, of which there are several branches throughout Linz. We decided to visit the main branch located in the Herrengasse. On the upper floor there are plenty of seats available and overall, it looks as if the interior has not changed in decades, but that’s exactly what makes such a traditional bakery so charming.
We also enjoyed the Linzer Torte in the Bruckner Kaffeehaus (Coffee House) on the Hauptplatz (Main Square). The atmosphere is much more modern than that in the Konditorei Jindrak. Small note for jam fans: The cake in the Bruckner Kaffeehaus had more jam, but it was also crumblier. However, no matter where you go: You simply cannot leave Linz without at least trying a slice of Linzer Torte.
4. Shopping in Linz: Our Tips
We were thrilled at the number of young, “alternative” shops we found here in Linz. If you’re looking for cool stores, something different from the usual, then check out one of the following:
- Kleider machen Leute: Really cool fashion business with great labels – many of them produce sustainably. In English, the name of the store translates into: Clothes make people.
- inthebox: Cool Store which sells sustainable bags und shoes.
- Zerum: Fair and sustainable fashion as well as accessories. Definitely worth a visit!
- A/T Store: Amazing shop which sells minimalistic clothes.
5. Transport and Linz Card
Linz is pleasantly easy to get around. Most of the sights, restaurants and cafes (especially within the Old Town) – can be easily reached by foot, no problem. For destinations that are a bit more on the outskirts of town, you can use public transport: they have a rather well developed tram and bus network.
We would also recommend you get the Linz Card, which entitles you to free use of all public transport. In addition, you also receive free entrance to a variety of museums with the Linz Card – as well many discounts on certain activities. We got ourselves a 3-day card, which normally cost 35 Euros and when you take all the benefits into account, it’s certainly worth it. The 3-day ticket also includes a ride on the Pöstlingbergbahn Cable Car as well as a 5 Euro Food Voucher, which you can redeem at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the city.
6. Our Hotel Tip: Star Inn Hotel Linz
We stayed at the newly opened Star Inn Hotel, which we can highly recommend. The hotel is located right in the Old Town, but still has a parking garage – perfect! The location couldn’t be better as most places are easily reachable on foot. Our room was not too big, but very comfortable. As the hotel has only been open for a few weeks, you can tell that everything is brand new. The breakfast really surprised us and in a good way! We would definitely come back!
This link takes you to their booking page: Star Inn Hotel
Disclaimer: Invitation & Affiliate Links
This travel guide features the highlights of all our trips to Linz so far. We were invited by the Linz Tourist Board to stay and explore Linz. Most of the costs were covered due to this collaboration but we designed the program according to our own wishes.
Have you been to Linz before? Do you have any further tips regarding sights or restaurants for a weekend in Linz? Where was your best Linzer Torte experience? We look forward to your comments and travel tips below this travel guide!