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The capital of Upper Austria—set where the Traun River flows into the Danube—has a fascinating Old City core and an active cultural life. In 1832 its horse-drawn train to Czechoslovakia functioned as the first rail line on the Continent. Once known as the "Rich Town of the River Markets" because of its importance as a medieval trading post, it is today the center of Austrian steel and
chemical production, both started by the Germans in 1938. Linz is also a leader in computer technology; every September the city hosts the internationally renowned Ars Electronica Festival, designed to promote artists, scientists, and the latest technical gadgets. A city where past and present collide, Linz has Austria's largest medieval square and one of the country's most modern multipurpose halls, the Brucknerhaus, which is used for concerts and conventions.
Linz can cast a spell, thanks to the beautiful old houses on the Hauptplatz; a baroque cathedral with twin towers and a fine organ over which composer Anton Bruckner once presided; and its "city mountain," the Pöstlingberg, with a unique railway line to the top. Mozart en famille often stayed here as his family relentlessly traveled up and down Europe, most notably in November 1783, when he was a guest of Count Johann Thun-Hohenstein at Thun Palace. Today extensive redevelopment, ongoing restoration, and the creation of traffic-free zones and biking paths through the city continue to transform Linz. If you will be in Linz for a day or more, consider purchasing the Linz Card, available at the Tourist Office at Hauptplatz 1, some museums, and in most hotels. Valid for public transportation and free entry into several museums, including the Ars Electronica Center, the card also provides discounts on entry to the zoo, botanical gardens, St. Florian's Abbey, and other venues. It includes deals on Segway tours, casino chips, and a river cruise. The card comes in one-day (€15) and three-day (€25) versions. The three-day card also includes a round-trip on the Pöstlingberg Railway.
The Weinstrasse brings you to the serenely elegant spa town of Baden. Since antiquity, Baden's sulfuric thermal baths have attracted the ailing...