Imagine a small but beautiful city built against a stunning mountain backdrop, and you will have Innsbruck right in front of your eyes.
The city offers a fine mixture of city trip, recreation and sportive activities.
Thanks to Innsbruck’s proximity to breath-taking nature, it is an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a versatile and active trip.
Where to stay in Innsbruck
Do you prefer to be close to most of the main sights? Then the Old town is probably the best choice for you. Enjoy the comfort of being within walking distance of all the sights, including a great mix of baroque and gothic architecture.
The city is of a manageable size. If you prefer to be a bit outside of the centre, from Hötting or Pradl you reach the sights within a short commute time as well.
If you are making a holiday with kids or want to get out of the city, it can be worth to stay in the neighbourhood of Innsbruck as well.
The Zillertal Valley, Seefeld, Lans or Patsch are some attractive options to get into the heart of nature, plan diverse activities, recreate and more.
Things to do in Innsbruck
Innsbruck offers leisure time activities for every taste, but the city itself is not that big. You can check out the main sights of the centre within a day. If you can take 2-3 days, you should plan a trip to the beautiful nature which gives the city its unique charm. The surroundings offer a vast range of activities.
If you like to visit some of the city centres’ sights, enjoy the view on the top of the nearby mountains with a cable car and use public transports, then the Innsbruck Card pays off. Check their website to see how much you can save.
Old Town, the Golden Roof, Imperial Palace and more
The old part of the city offers several places and buildings that you should see. One of the most famous landmark from a global perspective is probably the Golden Roof. It is not a big house, but a gleaming sight.
If you stand in front of it, take a couple of steps back, and you get an even more beautiful view, as you can also admire the incredible mountain backdrop of the Nordkette.
Head from there to the right, and you will reach the magnificent Imperial Palace. Visit the inside if you are curious about the Habsburg monarchy or merely a fan of great architecture.
If you are looking for some relaxation and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, gardens are usually the right choice. Find some quiet in the Imperial Garden very close to the Imperial Palace.
Ski jumping hill Bergisel
Innsbruck is not only famous as a starting point for skiing but also ski jumping. Very close to the centre you can visit the jumping hill called Bergisel, which is a venue for the yearly Four Hills Tournament and a historical location as well.
Even if you are there outside of the winter season, it is worth to go there and imagine ski jumpers soaring through the air like eagles. If you are there during winter, you might be lucky to see a competition. It is even more impressive to view them in real.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds
Ready for a sparkling experience that revolves around crystals? The Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens invite young and old to a glittering excursion. You will find 17 chambers of wonder which inspire you to daydream. There is also a vast garden full of artworks, a labyrinth, a carousel and a play tower.
A shuttle brings visitors five times a day directly from Innsbruck to the sight. If you got curious and want to find out more, visit their website.
Magnificent view over Innsbruck
Do not only cross the city centre sights from your list but see Innsbruck from above. If you have a very tight schedule and still want to get beyond the roofs, you can climb up the 133 steps of the city tower and let the fantastic view have its effect on you.
Things to do for families
Innsbruck has plenty of selection for young and old to have a pleasant and fun stay. However, some activities make children even more cheerful.
The Alps do not only offer great nature activities but are also highly diverse when talking about flora and fauna. Get an insight into the incredible animal world of the Alps in the Alpine Zoo with about 2000 creatures, including alpine mammals, fish, reptiles and birds.
You can get there on foot within 20 minutes or combine it with a cable car ticket that brings you up the Nordkette mountain range.
Adventure Oasis in the Olympic Village
If you want to combine some fun and relaxation in the water, the Adventure Oasis can be your place to go to spend some entertaining hours with your family. Grown-ups can recharge their batteries under the palm trees and in the sauna or let the bubble loungers massage you. Meanwhile, the children get the ultimate aquatic fun in the children's pool and on the water slides.
Are you up for even more water fun? Then check out the Wörgl Waterworld or the Zillertal Adventure Spa.
Nature trips and skiing around Innsbruck
Combine your Innsbruck trip with some fun activities in the spectacular nature around the city. There are a lot of activities to try out in the warmer months as well.
Have a look at the city from even higher up than the city tower and ascend the mountains with the cable car to get an astonishing perspective. Thankfully you have several options and they are suitable for young and old.
You can head to the Nordkette and reach Seegrube or Hafelekar and have a view until South Tyrol. The Nordkette has plenty to offer for outdoor lovers, such as hiking, skiing, tobogganing, climbing and a fixed-rope route for all adrenalin lovers.
Enjoy this scenery by taking the Hungerburg cable car at the congress house and gaze at the beautiful landscape passing by.
Another great choice is the Patscherkofel. Grab the cable car up to the top, where you can walk the marvellous Arola Pine trail or other routes during the warmer months or enjoy the slopes in winter.
Moreover, you can visit an alpine garden and get to know the fascinating flora and fauna of the Alps. In any case, you will be rewarded with the best view on the Nordkette as well.
You can get to the cable car station within around 30 min from the Innsbruck train station.
Adventure Mountain Muttereralm
If you search for a destination that has something to offer any time of the year, check out the Muttereralm at an altitude of 1600 meters. It is an all-rounder Alpine meadow where you can find fun, recovery and action at every age.
Refresh yourself in the reservoir, cycle on the trails, enjoy family-friendly hiking paths or connect with your inner self in a yoga class.
Are you up for an entertaining ride? If yes, try the mountain cart and experience 5 kilometres of driving pleasure.
Fancy a dip in the freshwater or just seeing the city differently? Enjoy the beautiful city and mountain scenery on the water with a city rafting tour. The activity is also ideal for you, if you are a newbie rafter.
Ready for even more adventures? Get inspired here by all the offered activities.
Ski trips around Innsbruck
If you want to add some extra fun to your winter city trip, buckle up the skis or the snowboard in the near surroundings of Innsbruck.
You have several options around Innsbruck to have a fun day in the snow. Next to the renowned, famous ski areas such as Sölden, St. Anton or Kitzbühel, there are other excellent choices such as the Stubai Glacier, Axamer Lizum, Patscherkofel, Muttereralm, Bergeralm or the Rosshütte. Prices can vary a lot, depending on the skiing area’s size and sometimes the period.
If you want to plan your trip into winter paradise in the most comfortable way, some packages include transportation, accommodation and ski tickets to resorts.
You can opt for public transport or order a shuttle to get there. It is best to check out the ski resorts website because they sometimes display exclusive deals for shuttles.
Enjoy one of Austria’s most renowned areas for skiing with peaks of over 3000 metre, around 50km away from Innsbruck. 144 km of slopes and 33 huts make skiers' hearts beat faster and offer the right slope for every level.
It takes around 1.5 – 2 hours by train and bus to get there from Innsbruck. You can also take a shuttle to get there faster. Check out Sölden’s website for planning your way.
St. Anton at the Arlberg
The Arlberg has a lot to offer for all levels of skiers and especially for off-piste fans. It is with over 300 km of slopes the largest skiing area in Austria.
It takes about 1.5 hours by train from Innsbruck to St. Anton’s station. From there you can get to the slopes on foot. Get more information about this stylish destination.
Ranking among the most prestigious skiing areas, Kitzbühel offers winter fun on 230 km of slopes. You can get there by train within 1.5 hours and then reach the mountain railways by walk. Check out what the ski resort has to offer.
Food and restaurants
If you want to spoil your taste buds, you will find various possibilities in Innsbruck's city centre. The selection of hearty local specialities, gourmet restaurants and international dishes caters for all tastes. There is no exclusive food mile in a specific area. Instead, you will find excellent options throughout the city centre.
Taste local produces on the go at the farmers' markets in the centre or the market hall close to the Inn River. To move a bit out of the tourist zone, you can also set off for Wiltener Platzl. The district is a trendy spot among the locals. There are several culinary delights in the area to take a tasty break.
You should not leave Innsbruck without having tried at least one of the tasty local dishes. One thing is sure, you will detect a dumpling dish on almost any menu of the local restaurants.
The Tyroleans certainly have a lot to offer when it is all about the dumplings. Try the bacon dumplings, cheese dumplings, spinach dumplings or so-called Kaspressknödel.
You can also taste other local dishes like the Schlutzkrapfen, spicy dumplings with potato filling or the Tiroler Gröstl - a meal prepared with potatoes, pieces of meat, onion and egg.
An alternative to hot dishes and also very suitable on summer days is a cold plate with smoked Tyrolean bacon and grey cheese. It will taste even better on the top of a mountain after a hiking trip.
If you want to treat yourself to something sweet, the local cuisine also has something on offer. “Moosbeernocken”, made from blueberries and dough or the “Kiachln”, yeast dough rings baked in oil and other desserts make a sweet tooth’s mouth water.
Drinks and nightlife
Innsbruck is a student city, which often keeps the nights in the city centre bustling. Nevertheless, the bars, pubs and discos invite a variety of clientele to have a delicious cocktail, an evening beer or to dance.
Especially along the Maria-Theresien street and the other alleys in the Old Town, you are sure to find something for your night out plans. If you are willing to party all night, head to the bars below the viaduct arches. Do you want a drink with a view? Try one of the rooftop bars in Innsbruck or enjoy a drink on one of the close-by mountains.
Did you have a hearty meal? Then a “digestive schnapps” is just the thing, as the vernacular says. If you are curious to taste a shot of local produced Schnaps or some sweet liquor, you will have a couple of options. The mountain pine or arolla pine liqueur are regional specialities.
Events and Holidays
Light Show Mount Magic (End of November – Mid of January)
A breathtaking 3D open-air show will amaze visitors with a story framed by impressive images. The projected material invites you to dream. Enjoy the spectacle at the Imperial Palace.
Christmas markets (Mid of November – Beginning of January)
The cold months transform Innsbruck into a dazzling winter wonderland. The Christmas stalls lining up in the old town and the beautifully decorated streets are sure to make hearts light up and get you in the Christmas mood.
Tyrolean Carnival (6th of January – Ash Wednesday)
Immerse into ancient Tyrolean traditions at the carnival celebrations around Innsbruck. It might not be the world’s most famous carnival event but you will get to know an entertaining custom with some wild disguises. They are there to chase away the winter and at the same time delight the audience.
Festival of Early Music (Mid of July – End of August)
The spectacle revives masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Thousands of music-loving visitors flock to Innsbruck in July and August to experience the captivating operas and concerts in magnificent historic venues.
Go window-shopping past medieval houses and through alleys full of family-run businesses that have been inviting visitors for decades. It is the ideal way to enjoy the flair of the city centre and old town.
From designer clothes, fashion chains, high-quality handmade knitwear to traditional “Trachten” and other Tyrolean specialities, you will find almost anything your shopper’s heart desires.
Innsbruck’s pedestrian zone in the city centre stretches from the Annasäule (St. Anne's Column), the Golden Roof and the Ottoburg. The shopping triangle reaches from the Maria-Theresien-Straße to the Herzog-Friedrich-Straße. Don’t miss the closeby side alleys such as the Burggraben or the Pfarrgasse while you are around.
In this area, you can also treat yourself with a delicious break in the street cafés or restaurants.
Would you rather have everything under one roof? Check out the centrally located shopping centres ‘Kaufhaus Tyrol’ or the ‘Rathaus Galerien’ in the Maria-Theresien-Straße.
What to bring from Innsbruck?
Doggln - As winter days can get frosty outside in the region, people want at least to be warm and cosy indoors. Therefore, they invented comfortable and warming slippers, which are a normal part of the interior equipment in most households. In Innsbruck and around you can get yourself some of those traditional felt slippers. You will find them in many shoe stores or some farmers’ markets. You won’t have cold feet anymore, and they serve as fantastic gifts for others as well.
Tirolean bacon – If you want to enjoy some local meat delicacies, try out the Tyrolean bacon, flavoured with juniper berries. Take some at the farmers’ market or the butcher and taste a real Austrian speciality. You probably will appreciate the tangy flavour. To ensure a proper transport home, it is perhaps best to get a piece of vacuum-packed bacon.
Schnapps and liquor – It is undoubtedly a souvenir that is typical throughout Austria, but each region has its compositions of schnapps and liquors. Specialities of these liquids, such as mountain pine liquor, Arola pine liquor, ice liquor or rowanberry schnapps, are worth a try. Especially during the cold months they can warm you up, even if only for a short time. You can find them in various markets, stores or even some local restaurants.
Swarovski crystal jewellery – If you are not on a budget trip and want to make a special gift to yourself or loved ones, visit the Swarovski store and check out the sparkling jewels.
Below, there are some examples of the price level in Innsbruck. Prices of hotels refer to median prices at Booking.com
Pizza in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (February)
Hotel room, 3-4* (July)
From the airport to the center
To get to the city centre, you can take a bus directly from the airport every 15 to 30 minutes, which brings you there for a fare of € 2.50 within 20 minutes. If you want to head straight to the lake for a cold refreshment, you can take the same bus that will drop you off right by the lake. You can also take a taxi for around €10-€20 to get to the centre even faster.
If you need additional information about the means of transportation, check out the official Innsbruck airport website.
In case you are landing in Munich, you can get to Innsbruck in 2 hours, and from Salzburg, it takes you 1.5 hours by train.
Weather and when to travel
Thanks to the cities optimal location in the Austrian Alps, it is excellent for and famous for winter sports but also a proper choice in the warmer season if you like hiking, swimming and other summer activities.
If you plan a city trip with outdoor activities such as hiking, from May to September, you will have the best options weather-wise. September is the most pleasant travel month in terms of temperature and weather.
Do you want to discover the beauty of Innsbruck on a skiing trip? Then Late December to mid of March is usually the best time to do so. January and February are generally the coldest months, which supports the snow conditions. However, consider that February is a busy month in ski resorts as there are national school holidays as well.
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