This Magical Upper Austrian Town Near Linz Deserves a Visit
Combine a castle on a hill with two aquamarine rivers, spires, and a variety of architecture, and the result is the small, fairy tale-like Upper Austrian city of Steyr.Situated at the confluence of the Steyr and Enns rivers in Upper Austria, about forty-five minutes southeast of the city of Linz and two hours from both Vienna and Salzburg, you would think Steyr would be better-known. Not so. This town of 40,000 is, in fact, one of Austria’s best kept secrets.
First Impressions of the Town
To get there, hop on one of the regional trains or a bus from Linz, or catch one of the many connections from Vienna or Salzburg (see the Austrian rail website for more details). Stroll out of Steyr’s station and follow the curve of the main road toward the center of town. As you round the corner, you reach the first of two major bridges and get a clear view of the Michaelerkirche, one of the churches that helps distinguish Steyr’s skyline.
The next sight that meets your eyes is Schloss Lamberg, a medieval castle overlooking the rivers. As you wonder whether you’ve just traveled back in time or landed in the middle of some kind of fairy tale, you see the towers of the rococo town hall and the spire of another church, the Stadtpfarrkirche. The sound of rushing water fills your ears. If you look to the left while crossing the bridge, you can see rolling green hills and snow-covered mountains in the distance on a clear day.
Steyr’s Town Center
Cobblestone streets and exquisite architecture characterize the charming town center. In warm weather, cafés serve customers outdoors. If you head back toward the first bridge, you can cross the second major bridge into Steyrdorf, the part of town home to the Michaelerkirche, small streams, bridges, narrow streets, and a cluster of cafés and bars. If you’re feeling up to it, walk up the hill to the Tabor tower, where you can catch breathtaking views of the city and the hills beyond.
When to Visit
Early autumn is an optimal time to visit, especially if you want to benefit from off-season prices. Late spring is also an option. The paths along the riverbank are fantastic for a stroll, a run, a bike ride, or rollerblading, and it’s possible to walk to Garsten, a village just south of the city. A plus about Steyr is that though the town is a tourist destination, it is not clogged with tourists and tourist traps.
For a glimpse of authentic Austrian culture, take a detour off the beaten tourist path and spend a day in this romantic fairy tale town.