The City of Linz has an impressive old town, although not on par with that of Salzburg or Vienna. Populated by students and factory workers, the Port of Linz is more a real Austrian city and less a fairy-tale vacation destination.
Linz is diversifying and encouraging tourism. Each year, it hosts the Ars Electronica Festival for electronic arts. In September, it hosts the Klangwolke, an open-air spectacle that mixes modern and traditional music with a fantastic light show.
Visitors can feel history in the Port of Linz. Old town lies at the foot of the old village castle, and its large baroque main square recalls old Europe. A city of churches, Linz is home to Austria's largest church, the New Cathedral, with space for 20 thousand people. The pilgrimage basilica is an important city landmark. The Lentos Museum of Modern Art boasts a beautiful glass façade that glows with color at night.
Although Linz Castle existed in 799, it was rebuilt in 1477 by Emperor Friedrich III. Some of its defensive walls, bastions, and the west entrance still stand. In the 1600s, the castle was redesigned by Rudolph II and expanded to a four-story block containing two inner courtyards and the city's main gate. It was a hospital during the Napoleonic wars. In the early 1800s, it was used as a provincial prison and as a barracks from 1851 to 1945. The fortress was rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s, and today it is a museum with art exhibits from the middle Ages to today and displays of historic musical instruments and weapons.
Europe's steepest mountain railroad, the Postlingberg tram, is scheduled to open in Linz in 2009. The Grotto Railway is located in fortifications built by Emperor Maximilian, and this mini-train is shaped like a mythological dragon. Located in the cellar of the citadel tower, it takes visitors through a landscape of fairy tales.
Housing more than 800 animals, the Linz Zoo is a favorite spot for children. In the Port of Linz, the Botanical Gardens are said to be some of the most beautiful in Europe. Covering 43 thousand square meters, they display over eight thousand species of plants, and they include five greenhouses full of exotic plants.
Visitors who want to visit the Port of Linz can find a comprehensive list of cruises on the Cruise Compete website.