One shouldn’t confuse this city with Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. This Lienz, with an “e” is the capital of East Tyrol. It is situated at the junction of three valleys - the Isel to the northwest, the Puster to the west, and the Drau to the east. The old town of Lienz stretches along the banks of the Isel River, with the magnificent Liebburg Palace - a sixteenth century edifice, now the seat of local government.
The showcase of Lienz, and the focal point of its civic pride, is the former stronghold of the counts of Gorz, who controlled vast medieval estates from this strategically located castle that dominated most of the access routes to the Isel Valley. In the early 1500s, it fell to the Hapsburgs. It rises impressively less than one kilometer west of the town center and contains a museum devoted to the history, culture, sociology, and artifacts of the region. The Rittersaal (Knight's Hall) shows how the castle looked in the Middle Ages. The Albin Egger-Lienz gallery contains an art collection of the outstanding native painter Egger-Lienz (1868-1926). Another section displays artifacts unearthed at the archaeological site of the Roman town of Aguntum.
If you have time, visit the Church of St. Andrew with its outstanding collection of sixteenth century tombstones carved of marble quarried outside Salzburg. The last Gorz count is buried here. The church, consecrated in 1457, was restored in 1968. During the restoration, workmen uncovered murals, some dating from the fourteenth century. The church is the finest example of Gothic architecture in East Tyrol. A memorial chapel honors the Lienz war dead. The renowned painter Egger-Lienz is entombed here.
No one ever seems to get thirsty in Lienz, where virtually every hotel and guesthouse has an impressively-looking Stube (tavern) lined with varnished pine and East Tyrolean folklore.
From Innsbruck, Lienz-bound travellers can take the direct Korridorzug train that involves no border formalities with Italy. The Val Pusteria is another connection, going via Italian territory to Lienz (trip takes: 3 1/2 hours). From Salzburg, you'll have to change trains in the rail junction at Spittal-Millstättersee (3 1/2 hours).
Countless buses travel among the various villages of East Tyrol. One daily bus, after many stops, travels to Lienz from Innsbruck, and another travels from Zell am See. From Kitzbuhel, one can drive to Lienz by traveling southeast along Route 161, which becomes Route 108. From Salzburg, one should take the A10 to the junction with Route 100 and follow the signs west to Lienz.