European Capital’s of Culture 2009: the highlights

Liverpool has handed the baton to not one but two European Capitals of Culture for 2009 – Vilnius in Lithuania and Linz in Austria. Here is a low down on the two cities and some of the year’s highlights:

Vilnius, Lithuania

Compact and cute Vilnius is easy to explore on foot. It has the finest Baroque architecture north of Rome and a long ‘don’t miss’ list including the Gates of Dawn which features a gold-leaf image of the Virgin Mary, The Vilnius Picture Gallery, The KGB Museum, The Amber Museum gallery and naturally, a bronze bust of Frank Zappa!

This year there will be over 900 cultural events 60% of which are free.

2009 highlights:

February: Vilnius Book Fair 10th anniversary

May: Street Musician Day

June: National Art Gallery opening

November: LUX Festival of Lights

See the full event schedule.

Do a quick search for flights and hotels in Vilnius.

Linz, Austria

Linz sits in the Danube Valley and boasts architecture from medieval and gothic to baroque and Renaissance periods. It has plenty of large green parks including an impressive botanical garden. Linz is probably most famous as the location where Mozart composed his Linzer Symphony.

The Spitz Hotel was created specifically for the Capital of Culture; it is full of art and furniture by local artists and designers and students at Linz University were given free rein to design the entire fourth floor.

2009 highlights:

July: Pflasterspektakel – The 23rd International Street Art Festival

September: Media Art Festival

September / October: Brucknerfest and Klangwolke music festivals

See the full event schedule.

Do a quick search for flights and hotels in Linz.