We’ve all experienced that moment of falling in love with a place at first sight: somewhere straight out of a fairy tale with hidden waterfalls. Or was it the break you took at the view point with idyllic sprawling views of the surrounding hills? Or maybe the panoramic vistas from the Schlossmuseum overlooking the rooftops of Linz? There are so many spots to fall in love with in Upper Austria. Divided into four quarters, which are all just about as different as it gets, the Upper Austrians speak a range of dialects, follow their own traditions and occupy various living spaces. The state’s long-established separation into these districts – the Hausruckviertel, Innviertel, Mühlviertel and Traunviertel – dates back to the Habsburg Monarchy of the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries. These days, their boundaries have nothing to do with politics, but the subtle differences remain.
The Hausruckviertel – Anton Bruckner, Linzer torte, cyberspace and architecture
With its gentle rolling hills and highlands with spectacular views, the Hausruckviertel in Upper Austria is the best destination for nature lovers and hikers. The Hausruck hills may lend their name to the region and offer magnificent views, but it is the ever-changing city of Linz that lies at the heart of the Hausruckviertel. The city never stops to take a breath, is constantly changing and welcomes these changes with open arms. The highs and lows of its history, the city centre with its sensational architecture and the sophisticated specialities are what make Linz so special. But the locals don’t harp on about it, they would rather look ahead and find their zest for life in the here and the now. The 2009 European Capital of Culture and UNESCO City of Media Arts is one of a kind. It is home to a vibrant contemporary cultural scene, the most modern opera house in Europe and many international companies. Young entrepreneurs have breathed life into the Old Town, which boasts a wide array of things to do for people of all ages alongside sensational green spaces and spots with stunning views.
The Innviertel – cherishes its Bavarian heritage
The unusual thing about the Innviertel is its origins, as the region belonged to Bavaria, not Austria, not even 250 years ago. But when this all changed, the locals took something crucial with them: the knowledge of how to brew beer. After all, you don’t forget what you’ve been good at doing for virtually 600 years overnight. The tradition of brewing beer in what is now the Innviertel region began back in the 15th century. Farmers and monks acquired a taste for beer even earlier than this. The fascinating history of beer can be explored in one of the local breweries – paired with a beer tasting session with generous sample sizes, of course! So it’s not by chance that the Innviertel has the largest density of breweries in the whole of Austria. Just under 150 breweries have been established here throughout the history of beer brewing. It’s fair to say nobody is at risk of dying of thirst here. The Innviertel also has plenty of scenic and cultural highlights to offer. One of the most varied and biodiverse moors in Central Europe and Austria’s largest moorland lies on the border to Salzburg. The early morning or evening are the best times to visit Ibmer Moor. Hike safely along wooden paths over unsteady ground in the heart of the great outdoors. Straying from the beaten path is risky as the moor is treacherous. The proud old trading towns here leave just as big an impression as the vast moor.
The Mühlviertel – castles, gothic and old crafts
The lives of the people living on the granite hills to the north of the Danube are perfectly reflected through the culture of the Mühlviertel region. Traditional craftsmanship and inventiveness are the two main aspects that make life easier for the locals. An excellent example of this ingenuity is the horse-drawn railway from Linz in Austria to České Budějovice in the Czech Republic. A 500 metre long reconstructed stretch is a worthy memorial to the first European railway and a master stroke in old Austrian engineering. The castles and ruins that rose up from the forests as medieval strongholds are further proof of the successful battle against granite. Reichenstein Castle is arguably one of the most historically important examples. Of the small medieval castle, originally constructed in around 1300, all that remains is the chapel, which is still used to mark religious celebrations to this day. The castle ruins are also home to the Upper Austrian Castle Museum. If you love history, the Mühlviertel region is the place for you. History is revered and stories happily shared here. Many small museums are devoted to local crafts and daily life: everything from the glass-blowing workshop to the traditional Dyeing Museum is open to visitors. And yet, museums and inventiveness are not all the Mühlviertel region has to offer. There is, after all, one other thing the Mühlviertel is famous for: it is Austria’s organic region. Despite the barrenness of the ground and the short summer, the harvest is plentiful and held in high regard. A different kind of indulgent tour with exciting new creations and traditional dishes can be taken at any time in any Mühlviertel destination.
The Traunviertel – the region of mountains and lakes
The Traunviertel and the Salzkammergut mountains with their diverse landscapes provide inspiration day after day. The crystal clear lakes and imposing mountain backdrops combined with the unmistakable weather and genuine locals are what make the Salzkammergut so spectacularly beautiful. The down-toearth locals make visitors instantly feel at home with their fresh care-free attitude and natural warmth. Sometimes it feels as if time has stood still here. The fisherman haul the char caught in the lake just as their predecessors did 100 years ago. The miners in the salt mine also do their work dutifully. To this day, visitors to the Salzkammergut marvel at how they feel comforted as soon as they see their pristine surroundings. Relentless, snow-covered spaces and rugged mountains in winter. Bright limestone summits, mountain forests and meadows of flowers in summer, along with blue lakes offering the perfect place to bathe, promoting pure relaxation and helping you to find eternal inner peace. Dotted in between, villas and small castles have plenty to say about the noble guests who once stayed there. There is nothing like the inexhaustible pleasure of taking a refreshing dip in the lake on a hot summer’s day or spending a day hiking through the deep dark forest. We love Upper Austria with all its traditions and openness. With all its highlights and exciting stories of the past. With all its culture and its latest trends.
Das Musiktheater Linz
Linz’s Musiktheater am Volksgarten is one of the most modern opera houses in Europe. Designed by London-based architect Terry Pawson, its opening ceremony was held on 11 April 2013.
Offenes Kulturhaus (OK) Linz
The Upper Austrian Culture Quarter is home to the Ursuline School and the OK. The building complex also houses the Kunstsammlung Land OÖ (Upper Austria State Art Collection), the Moviemento cinema and many restaurants.
Mural Harbor open-air gallery
More than 100 examples of graffiti, some on a monumental scale, by artists from 25 nations adorn the external walls of old industrial buildings and houses in Linz’s harbour.
Take a tour of one of the smallest wheat beer breweries and enjoy unforgettable moments in the extraordinary setting of the Hausbrauerei Bogner brewery.
Castles were once the focal points of many manors. As defensive residences and administrative seats, they formed the basis for power to exert dominance over land and people. Feel like you’ve been transported back in time and discover more.
The giant ice caves in the Dachstein glacier rank among the greatest natural wonders of the Alps. People come from all over the world to see the underground ice landscape inside the Dachstein glacier.
Almsee nature reserve – experience the great outdoors
The Almsee lake lies at the foot of the majestic mountain backdrop of the Totes Gebirge. Visitors can see this group of mountains reflected vividly in the shimmering water of the lake.
5 Fingers on the Krippenstein mountain
The 5fingers viewing platform opened in early October 2006. Built in the shape of a hand (with 5 fingers), the platform juts out of the wall 500 m above ground and boasts sensational views of and insights into the Hallstatt UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Inner Salzkammergut mountains.