16 Things To Do in Linz

Linz city centre and Danube river aerial panoramic view in Austria. Linz is the third largest city of Austria.

Linz is perhaps the most overlooked out of all the major Austrian cities. Situated almost halfway between the Cinematic Salzburg and the dynamic capital city of Vienna, it’s easy to see how.

Those that do take a chance on Austria’s third-largest city and the capital of the Upper Austria region will learn that there are many wonderful things to do in Linz.

Situated along the Danube River, just like Vienna, Linz blurs the line between charming and historic on one hand and industrial and innovative on the other.

In 2014, UNESCO named Linz as part of its Creative Cities Network and it was a European Capital of Culture in 2009. Beyond the cobblestone streets, cosy cafés, and pastel-coloured ornate buildings, there is a lot of soul in Linz.

Linz, Austria has many museums and exhibition centres like the Ars Electronica Center and the Schlossmuseum Linz. One is a world-class science and industry museum, influenced by Linz’s role in the Austrian steel industry and the other is a centuries-old castle.

These Linz attractions really emphasise how versatile this city is and the fact that it offers something for everyone.

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains for most of the year, the best time to visit Linz is from May to September when the weather is at its warmest. Thanks to its obscurity, it’s rare that Linz will feel too overcrowded even in the peak summer season and the accommodation prices will always stay below those in Salzburg and Vienna.

If you want to know what to see in Linz, Austria during your summer city break, this is a definitive list of all the top places to visit in Linz as well as the best day trips too.

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Things To Do in Linz

Ars Electronica Center

Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Linz is to visit the Ars Electronica Center. Opening in 2009, this landmark museum was dubbed the ‘Museum of the Future’ thanks to its exhibits on Artificial Intelligence, robotics, autonomous systems, and similar innovative fields.

There are guided tours available as well as many interactive displays which is why it’s such a great place to visit with older kids who are interested in science.

The best time to visit the museum is during the Ars Electronica Festival which is held annually in early September.

It hosts special events and exhibitions led by both international and local scientists, artists, and creative thinkers. It’s an amazing centre for anyone who has a passion for science!

LINZ, AUSTRIA - The Ars Electronica Center or AEC is a center for electronic arts run by Ars Electronica located in Linz, Austria.

Schlossmuseum Linz

Situated directly across the banks of the Danube from the Ars Electronica Center is Schlossmuseum Linz.

This is a modern, glass museum that sits next to the old Linz Castle with displays and historic exhibits on Upper Austrian art and nature. 

You’ll find the museum in Schlosspark, a sprawling and beautiful garden that offers panoramic views across both sides of the city. 

Unfortunately, only parts of the old castle’s defensive walls still exist. The original structure was built in 799 and reconstructed in 1477 by Emperor Friedrich III.

The Friedrich gate still exists, too, so be sure to stroll around the grounds to appreciate what’s left of the castle up close.

Image with view to the river Danube in Linz Austria

Linz Botanical Garden

If you love strolling through parks and open green spaces then you’ll love checking out Linz Botanical Garden. 

These botanical gardens are quite modest compared to what you’ll find in larger, capital European cities but there are still lots of rare plant species packed in considering the size of the gardens.

Cacti and orchids, in particular, are where Linz Botanical Garden thrives. There’s also a greenhouse and they even schedule open-air performances during the warm summer months.

Linz Botanical Garden is just across the street from Bauernberg Park. There are some interesting sculptures, fountains, and a children’s play area which might be a fantastic way to spend an afternoon if you’re visiting Linz with kids.

botanical garden, Linz, Austria

Linz’s Main Square (Hauptplatz)

When visiting a European city, you can’t miss stopping by the main Old Town Square. In Linz, it’s called Hauptplatz but sometimes it’s also just called the main square.

You’ll find it on the south side of the Danube River surrounded by lots of bars and restaurants.

If you’re looking for things to do in Linz in winter, the square is where you’ll find Linz’s Christmas markets in late November and December.

There are rows of wooden huts selling local souvenirs and delicious treats. There are even fairground rides!

Linz, Austria. Holy Trinity column on the Main Square (Hauptplatz).

The Old Cathedral of Linz

Linz has two main cathedrals that are helpfully named the Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral.

The Old Cathedral, Linz dates back to the 1600s and features a lavish Baroque interior with gold embellishments and a layered, wedding-cake altar.

It’s fairly small for a cathedral, fitting neatly into one of the streets just off the Hauptplatz. Despite its central location.

Far fewer tourists visit the Old Cathedral than the New Cathedral which is a shame because its soft pink and white interiors and multi-coloured exterior make it an extremely eye-catching church.

Linz, Austria - Baroque Old Cathedral or Alter Dom with two towers, Church of Ignatius, Hauptplatz or main square at sunny summer day, Facade of stone colorful historical buildings

The New Cathedral

Still, when visiting Linz you cannot miss visiting the New Cathedral too as architecturally, they couldn’t be more different.

Like the Old Cathedral, it’s a Roman Catholic Church but it was built with a Gothic architectural style in the late 1800s. With enough seats to fit a whopping 20,000 people inside, it’s the largest (but not the highest) church in Austria. 

At the time of the construction, no building was allowed to be tallest than St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.

The New Cathedral’s spire is exactly 2 m shorter than the South Tower of St Stephen’s. Still, it’s a magnificent church with lots of impressive stained glass windows.

New Cathedral or Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception or St. Mary Church aerial panoramic view. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Linz Austria.

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz

Lentos Kunstmuseum is Linz’s most prestigious modern art museum. Opening in 2003, this glass building sits right on the banks of the river in a park which also houses other cultural centres like the Brucknerhaus Linz concert hall and a sculpture museum.

Some of the most famous works in the museum include Woman’s Head by Gustav Klimt and The Blue Lake by Gabriele Muenter.

At night, the building is all lit up which makes for a brilliant site if you were to take a boat cruise along the Danube.

austria, upper austria, linz, lentos. night shot. old and new cathedral

Day Trip to the Mauthausen Memorial

One of the best reasons to visit somewhere like Linz is the potential for great day trips because it’s in a central location in Austria close to the Czech and German borders.

One of the most convenient day trips from Linz, however, is to the Mauthausen Memorial. It’s only 25 km along the Danube which is only a 25-minute drive or a one-hour train journey.

The Mauthausen Memorial is the site of a Nazi concentration camp built during WWII.

It’s a place not to be visited lightly but where you can learn a great deal about the ordeals and lives of the people who were taken here via audio guides and a visitor’s centre.

Mauthausen, Austria -  Monument to the victims of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria

Grottenbahn Miniature Railway

Looking for things to do in Linz for kids? Head north of the Danube to the neighbourhood of Pöstlingberg where you will find the Grottenbahn Miniature Railway

This underground train ride is actually a mythical dragon which will transport you through the Land of Dwarves and has a cool model version of the city of Linz that you can walk through. It’s a bit of fun and your young kids will love it.

Cocktails at Lennox Bar

If you don’t have kids and you’re looking for things to do in Linz at night, hit up Linz’s best cocktail bar! Lennox Bar is highly-rated and lauded by everyone that goes. It’s hidden down a cobbled alleyway in the historic centre of Linz and it’s always packed but the cocktails are worth battling through the crowds.

Day Trip to Salzburg

Another great day trip from Linz is to Salzburg. It might be 132 km west of Linz but that’s less than a 90-minute drive away, so it’s definitely not too far for a day trip.

Salzburg is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of the composer Wolfgang Mozart and as the main setting for the popular 1965 movie The Sound of Music

While in Salzburg, you can visit the Mozart museum as well as the domed Baroque Cathedral.

Visiting Fortress Hohensalzburg, dating back to the 11th century, is also a great thing to do on a day trip to Salzburg from Linz as it sits on a hill offering gorgeous views across the entire city and the Eastern Alps.

Beautiful aerial drone panorama of Salzburg city in Austria.

Danube Cycle Path

One of the great things about visiting Linz is that it is a smaller city completely surrounded by the countryside. It’s not difficult to find somewhere to go for a hike or bike ride to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

One of the easiest paths to reach from Linz is the Danube Cycle Path. This path stretches almost the entire length of the Danube.

You can rent bikes in Linz and cycle as far along the river as you like, cross the bridge and cycle back along the other side of the river to experience different terrain.

The northern Linz neighbourhood of Pöstlingberg has some great hiking routes too.

Linz city centre and Danube river aerial panoramic view in Austria. Linz is the third largest city of Austria.

Day Trip to Cesky Krumlov

Want to visit another country for the day? Check out Cesky Krumlov, a charming fairytale Czech city. It’s only 85 km north of Linz across the Austrian-Czech Republic border which takes just over one hour to drive.

Cesky Krumlov is home to the second most-visited castle in the Czech Republic (after Prague Castle) and its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s not a large city (its population is only around 13,000 people) so it’s the perfect place to explore on a day trip.

Panoramic view of Cesky Krumlov with St Vitus church in the middle of historical city centre. Cesky Krumlov, Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic.

Dine at Verdi Restaurant & Einkehr

If you’re a foodie, dining at Linz’s top restaurant has to be high on your list of things to do in Linz. Verdi Restaurant & Einkehr is an upmarket European restaurant that offers a tasting menu.

It’s a little far out of the city centre (around 5 km north of Hauptplatz) but worth all the effort it takes to get there.

Franz-Josef-Warte Observation Tower

In one of Linz’s many riverside parks, you’ll find the Franz-Josef-Warte observation tower. While it looks like a standalone castle tower from the outside, it’s open to visitors who are willing to climb the spiral staircase for a beautiful view across the Danube and Linz. It offers perhaps the best view in the city!

Wellnessoase Hummelhof

Those looking for relaxing things to do in Linz should check out a favourite amongst Linz locals, the Wellnessoase Hummelhof. This is an outdoor and indoor spa where kids and adults alike can relax. Its waters are warm enough to enjoy year-round!

FAQ for Things To Do in Linz

Is Linz, Austria worth visiting?

Linz in Austria is absolutely worth visiting! Linz is overlooked in favour of Salzburg to the west and the capital city of Austria, Vienna, to the east but there are many great things to do in Linz and it is a beautiful city. 

It’s full of Baroque buildings, cobblestone lanes, and the cafés that Austria is so famous for on every street corner. Visitors to Linz will enjoy fewer crowds and lower prices than in Vienna and Salzburg.

Linz - Austria: The Main Square in Linz on a sunny summer day

What is Linz, Austria known for?

Linz, Austria is known for being Austria’s third-largest city and the capital city of the country’s Upper Austria region. It’s also known for being a beautiful city with lots of Baroque buildings straddling the River Danube.

Linz is also known for innovation. It has many fantastic museums such as the Ars Electronica Center and great churches like The Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral.

Linz is also the birthplace or home of many exceptional historic figures in Austrian history. Johannes Kepler was a German scientist who lived in Linz during the 16th century. His theories explaining the motion of planets were revolutionary and the local university in Linz bears his name. 

The composers Wolfgang Mozart and Anton Bruckner also lived in Linz, as well as the novelist Adalbert Stifter.

Recommended tours in Linz

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  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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