Innsbruck in Austria is best known for being a World famous ski resort, yet there’s much more to see and do away from the ski slopes making it a popular all year round destination. Here at Travelphant we’ve handpicked ten things we recommend you see and do whilst you’re in Innsbruck.
1. Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen
The Innsbrucker Nordkette is a cable car ride which takes passengers up to Nordkette, part of Austria’s largest natural park. The spectacular journey takes around 20 mins and provides amazing views of Innsbruck and the mountain scenery surrounding it. There are several stops on the way and you can simply get off, grab a hot chocolate and watch some skiing perhaps, or continue all the way to the top.
2. Altstadt von Innsbruck (old town)
The Altstadt is the old town centre of Innsbruck and everyone who visits Innsbruck should experience. The historic medieval town is home to some buildings that are over 500 years old. There are many lovely cafes and restaurants to enjoy a bite to eat or a coffee and admire the wonderful architecture of the buildings and the people of Innsbruck.
3. Hungerburg Funicular
The Hungerburg Funicular is a seriously impressive mode of transport up the mountain and serves as transport between Innsbruck city centre and the Hungerburg district. The Funicular boasts a modern monorail style carriage and the main Congress station has a modern and striking design created by Architect Zaha Hadid. The route of the Funicular passes over a bridge, through a tunnel and up a steep incline to reach the Hungerburg 860 meters above sea level. At the top you are greeted with panoramic views of the central Inn Valley and across to the Italian border.
The Hofkirche is a Gothic church located in the Altstadt section of Innsbruck and was built in the 1500’s by Emperor Ferdinand I. While the architecture is stunning, the real treat is inside with its beautiful red marble columns and a Cenotaph to the Emperor Maximillian. The Cenotaph is the main centrepiece of the church and is surrounded by 28 statues depicting various ancestors and heroes including King Arthur and Leopold III.
5. Craft Beers at Tribaun
You can’t leave Innsbruck without trying a craft beer and we recommend trying a craft beer at Tribaun – hidden away in an expansive basement in the Old Town, Tribaun has around 20 draft beers on at any one time and most locally brewed. Not only great craft beers, we love the laid-back atmosphere, reasonable prices and homemade wood fired pizzas.
6. Bergisel Ski Jump
Seeing a ski jump on TV is one thing, but seeing it up close is another – you’ll be amazed at the height and speed at which the skiers launch themselves down the 90m slope. The Bergisel Ski Jump has been used at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships and the views from the top of the ski jump are amazing.At the top there is a coffee shop and also a viewing platform just be aware of the fairly steep climb to get up there! If you’re lucky enough you might also get to watch some ski jumpers in action.
7. Imperial Palace (The Hofburg)
Constructed in the 1400’s, this palace is a great way to learn about the history of Austria and see what the furnishings of a royal palace look like. The museums include a furniture display, an ancestral gallery and a painting gallery and illustrate many aspects of the Hapsburgs culture. Children’s admission is free.
8. Schloss Ambras Innsbruck (Ambras Castle)
We all love a good castle and this fine Renaissance castle is one of the most popular attractions in the area around Innsbruck. The castle was home to Archduke Ferdinand II and the grounds stands in the southern part of Innsbruck of the borders of the town and can be reached by both tram and bus. Inside the castle is the famous Spanish Hall, which is an intricately decorated hall that now hosts classical music concerts. Aside from that the castle also has a brilliant display of arms, armoury and artwork and a tranquil courtyard to admire.
9. Swarovski Kristallwelten
A must for Swarovski Crystal fans – even if not, this is a magical place full of sparkling crystals and vibrant displays. This attraction is packed full with several outdoor areas including a large sculptured face and waterfall, and a hedge maze, and some interesting indoor displays about Swarovski. The indoor displays or “Chambers of Wonder” are dazzling and contain thousands of crystals, all created by a selection of visionary designers. A great place to visit for young and old.
10. Tirol Panorama
The Tirol Panorama must be one of the largest artworks in the world. Commemorating the 1908 battle between Napoleonic troops and Tirolean rebels, the painting covers 1,000 square metres and is displayed in the round in a purpose-built museum. The artists attention to detail is amazing and you’ll recognise local landscape and landmarks in the painting.
Getting to Innsbruck is easy and this article in The Telegraph is a good resource for travel options from the UK. In terms of accommodation in Innsbruck, you have many great options all year round including hotels, bed and breakfasts and camping for those staying in spring and summer months.