Beside the city of Vienna and Lower Austria, Upper Austria is one of three regions on the banks of the Danube in this country.
The major destinations in Upper Austria are the city of Passau, the breath-taking Danube loop in Schlögen, and the city of Linz, as the capital of the region and 2009 European capital of culture.
The city of Linz is a very unique site, which unities beautiful landscapes, innovative technology and the energy and the youth of a university town. Above all, it offers a lot of music: musicals, concerts, festivals, will soon be topped by a newly built opera house, which already stands for the most modern opera house in Europe. Apart from music, it seems that modern architecture is the main focus in the city: Lentos is a modern art gallery on the Danube banks, while Ars Electronica Center is a modern museum and research facility, also overlooking the river.
There are seven protected natural areas in Upper Austria: Upper Danube Valley, Ranna Valley, Pesenbach Valley, Machland Nord, Traun-Danube-meadows bird sanctuary, Small Kosslbach Vallez and Neuhaus castle. This gives a visitor a wide range of possiblities for hiking, bird watching, sport fishing, or just enjoying the beauty and serenity of the nature.
Nature-lovers and hikers may also enjoy 450 km long Donausteig, the trail that leads mostlz on both shores of the Danube, from Passa, via Linz, to Grein in the Strudengau landscape. The path is divided into 23 stages, while 41 loop tours give further access to the unforgetable landscapes of the Upper Austrian Danube area. Furthermore, there are 52 Donausteig guesthouses, which are specialized for taking care of hikers and their needs.
One of the very interesting Upper Austrian activities is enjoying a boat ride. In the town of Freizell, you can find Anton Witti, one of the last barge builders in this country. Barges have a long tradition at the Danube and were used for transport of goods and people frequently. Today, the useful boats are still in use and can be rented at Witti's.
As for the gastronomy, this region boasts a long wining and dining tradition. Beside traditional Austrian food, restaurants and taverns, there is also the Engelszell abbey, which is the only Trappist monastery in Austria - here, you can explore famous liquor production and brewery.
Photo: ©WGD Donau Oberösterreich Tourismus GmbH/Steininger