There’s more to Linz than its famous Linzer torte, although that alone makes it well worth a visit. The city has a thriving contemporary art scene, and its two Christmas markets are over-the-top enchanting. See the sights on foot with a local expert, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Linz opera house and taste cider at an Austrian apple and pear orchard.
Your ship sails into Austria, cruising along an especially scenic stretch of the Danube called the Schlögener Schlinge, a great loop where the river almost doubles back on itself, before arriving in Linz. In keeping with the Austrian traditions of good food and good music, Linz gave rise to both the Linzer torte and the Linz Symphony. The torte is a delectable confection, and the symphony is one of Mozart’s most celebrated works. The story goes that the composer was so inspired by the beauty of the city that he finished his Symphony No. 36 in less than a week here in 1783.
This vibrant city, the second largest in Austria, has been a center of trade and industry for centuries—and it still inspires artists today.
Choice of Linz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market or Linz town and country opera house and cider farm visit with Christmas Market
Linz walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
The seductive scents of seasonal treats—gingerbread and Linzer torte, cakes and cookies—waft through the air, and the stalls are full of local craft items at Linz’s two delightful Christmas markets, which are connected by the main shopping thoroughfare and a spectacular light show. Begin at the Main Square, where the stalls are decorated with motifs of Linz landmarks, and follow the illuminations to the Volksgarten, where you’ll find, literally, a fairytale Christmas—large, animated displays of fairytale scenes will entrance the child in you.
Linz town and country opera house and cider farm visit with Christmas Market
Linz’s New Cathedral dates to the 19th-century (the old cathedral, a few blocks away, was built in the baroque era), but as you take in its neo-Gothic splendor, you might guess that it is much older—until you notice that the stained-glass windows include 19th-century Linz notables. Linz’s new opera house, however, is quite new: It opened in 2013. Covering several city blocks, the Terry Pawson–designed complex incorporates state-of-the-art backstage workshops and staging equipment, which your guide will show you. In explaining why Linz undertook this incredibly ambitious and expensive project, the governor of Upper Austria said, “Culture costs, but the absence of culture costs much, much more.” You may be ready for a break after your tour, and where better to take one than at Jindrak, a beloved local bakery famous for its Linzer torte. Refreshed, you will head for the hills—literally. A motorcoach will carry you into Mostviertel, Lower Austria’s famous cider region, where the road winds among beautiful orchard-covered hills and meadows. Tour a typical farm for an insightful look at rural life and local crops, and enjoy the fruit of these orchards—pear and apple ciders.