48 Hours In: Linz

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

This forward-thinking Austrian city offers cobbled streets and chocolate shops alongside cutting-edge art institutions, discovers Chris Leadbeater

Travel Essentials

Why go now?

Austria's third biggest city (after Vienna and Graz) is an arty option for a weekend. It was one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2009 and has continued with its forward-thinking mind-set, offering a raft of dynamic galleries and institutions.

Chief among these is the Ars Electronica Center (1), a museum of science, technology and digital media whose glass walls flash in different colours after dark (Ars-Electronica-Strasse 1; 00 43 732 72 720; aec.at/center; €8). It is open daily except Mondays. From 1-3 November it will host Space Days: Astronomy – a feast of star-gazing and sharp images of the great beyond.

Touch down

Blue Danube airport (00 43 7221 6000; linz-airport.com) sits nine miles south-west of the city in the town of Horsching. Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com) flies the sole direct link from the UK, three times a week from Stansted.

Bus 601 (00 43 1 71 101; postbus.at) runs once an hour, Monday to Saturday, from 6am-7pm, taking 20 minutes to the main railway station (2) on Kartnerstrasse; €2.80. Taxis take 15 minutes for €25.

You can also fly to Salzburg (00 43 662 85 800; salzburg-airport.com), 80 miles south-west, served by Ryanair from Stansted (three flights a week) and British Airways (0844 493 0787; ba.com) from Gatwick (at least four flights per week).

Trains (00 43 5 1717; oebb.at) from Salzburg to Linz take 75 minutes and cost €24.

Get your bearings

Linz is located in the north of Austria, 20 miles below the Czech border. It is the capital of Oberösterreich (Upper Austria) – one of the nine länder (states) into which the country is divided.

The Danube flows west-to-east through its heart, separating the Altstadtviertel (the medieval core) and the Innenstadt (inner city) on the south bank from areas like Urfahr to the north.

Public transport (00 43 732 3400 4000; linzag.at) consists of buses and three tram lines, which all meet in the main square, Hauptplatz (3). Single fares €1, day-passes €4.

The tourist office (4) is at Hauptplatz 1 and is open daily (00 43 732 7070 2009; linz-tourismus.info). It sells the Linz Card, which covers museum entry and transport: €15 for one day, €25 for three. More information: austria.info.

Check in

A simple mid-range option south of the centre, the City-Hotel (5) (00 43 732 652 622; cdhotel.at) at Schillerstrasse 52 has double rooms from €106, including breakfast.

Hotel Zum Schwarzen Baren (6) at Herrenstrasse 9-11 (00 43 732 772 477; linz-hotel.com) is a comfy four-star with a peaceful roof terrace and doubles from €58, including breakfast.

Finally, the Hotel am Domplatz (7) (00 43 732 773000; hotelamdomplatz.at) is a stylish four-star at Stifterstrasse 4 with a spa and double rooms from €160, including breakfast.

Day One

Take a hike

Begin at Theatergasse 1, outside the Landhaus (8) – the impressive 16th-century structure which acts as the parliament for Oberosterreich. Its ornate clocktower is a city symbol.

Walk east towards Hauptplatz (3), but take the first left onto Altstadt and head north into the old town – though you may wish to halt at number 13, where Madame Wu Teesalon (9) (00 43 732 781 718; madamewu.net) is an alluring café and tea stockist.

Continue up Altstadt into Alter Markt (10). Walk through the square and turn left into Hofgasse, which climbs steeply. At the top of the stairs, you can peer at the Danube as it flows below the city's 16th-century Schloss (11) (castle).

Window shopping

Landstrasse is the commercial drag, forging south through the Innenstadt. Its key retail option is the shiny Passage (12) mall at 17-25 (00 43 732 798 180; passagecitycenter.at). At number 22 on parallel Herrengasse, Jindrak (13) (00 43 732 775 258; linzertorte.at), is a patisserie that dispenses the Linzer Torte – a sweet lattice tart heavy with honey and almonds. At number 5, Xocolat (14) is an Austrian chocolate specialist (00 43 732 770 989; xocolat.at).

Elsewhere, Geko (15), just off Hauptplatz at Rathausgasse 6 (00 43 732 774665; geko-linz.at) is quirky, with everything from soft scarves to hand-painted bird-boxes.

Lunch on the run

The third floor of Passage (12) comes with a trendy eatery, Sky Garden (00 43 732 770676; skygarden.at). A bowl of thick tomato soup with pesto is €5.20. The cocktail list includes the Sky Punch – pineapple, orange, rum and triple sec for €8.80.

A walk in the park

Strung along the south bank of the Danube between the bridges of Nibelungen (16) and Eisenbahn (17), the Donaupark (18) is an alfresco slice of Linz's artiness. This near-mile-long strip of grass is dotted with large iron and steel sculptures – a tribute to the city's factories and dockyards. These chunks of metal provide an angular backdrop to a stroll next to the river.

An aperitif

Tucked into the shadow of the Ars Electronica Center (1) at Kirchengasse 4, Stadtwerkstadtt (19) (00 43 732 731 209; stwst.at) is a cultural centre that puts on art shows and DJ nights. Its Café Strom is part of the package, with half-litre beers for €3.40.

Dining with the locals

The Ars Electronica Center (1) has an excellent house restaurant, Cubus (00 43 732 944 149; cubus.at), which serves pork fillet with cognac pepper sauce for €15.90.

Elsewhere, Riva (20) is the pick of the eateries on the main square, with pizzas from €7.50 at Hauptplatz 13 (00 43 732 781 238; www.riva-linz.com) and Café Traxlmayr (21) is a classic Austrian salon at Promenade 16, where you can try veal in a mushroom sauce for €8.50 (00 43 732 773 353; cafe-traxlmayr.at).

Day Two

Sunday morning: go to church

At Herrengasse 26, the Mariendom (22) (00 43 70 777 8850; mariendom.at) is the biggest cathedral in Austria. A 19th-century Gothic masterpiece, it has shrugged off the damage it sustained from a direct bomb strike in 1945. Sunday mass is at 10am and 11.30am.

The Mariendom is known as Linz's "new" cathedral because it has an "old" counterpart – the 17th-century Ignatiuskirche (23), which is almost lost in the narrow Domgasse (at number 3; 00 43 732 770 8660; ignatiuskirche-linz.at). Sunday mass is at 7.30am and 10.30am.

Cultural morning

The Ars Electronic Center (1) is decidedly of-the-now. Exhibits include the "Password Hacker" computer.

The Lentos Kunstmuseum (24) is also up to the minute. A striking slab of glass which glows at night, it preens on the riverbank at Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1 (00 43 732 7070 3600; lentos.at), open daily 10am-6pm except Monday. The contemporary art inside includes Warhol prints of Marilyn Monroe.

Tabakfabrik Linz (25) continues the cutting-edge ethos at Peter-Behrens-Platz 15 (00 43 732 772 272; tabakfabrik-linz.at). It was a cigarette factory until 2009, but now stages temporary exhibitions. From 24 October to 24 November, this will mean Kiss My Art, a collection of the work displayed by British gallery owner Nick Treadwell (who is now based in Austria) – open daily except Monday; €5.

The past is visible at the castle's (11) Schlossmuseum (00 43 70 774 4190; schlossmuseum.at; €6.50). Open daily except Monday, it mixes regional history with 18th-century art.

Out to brunch

Try Austrian fast-food favourite leberkas – a peppery pork paté, served warm in ciabatta for €2.70 at Leberkas-Pepi (26), at Rathausgasse 3 (00 43 732 796 868; leberkaspepi.at).

Take a ride

Catch the Postlingbergbahn tourist tram (tram 50) from the top of Hauptplatz (3). Leaving every half hour (returns €5.60, but included in the Linz Card). It will take 18 minutes to carry you to the summit of the Pöstlingberg (27) – the 1,768ft hill to the north of the city. Here, you can enjoy ice creams from €4 at the Café Linzblick (00 43 732 922 774).

Icing on the cake

Pitched at Am Volksgarten 1, the Landestheater (28) is Linz's ultra-new opera house (00 43 732 761 1400; landestheater-linz.at). It will prove its versatility on 24 November (3pm; from €14) with Honk! – a musical reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Corporate Sales Manager, High Wycombe

    £30K- £35K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil