Are you planning a visit to Innsbruck Austria?
I have compiled a list of the best things to do when in Innsbruck so that you take the most from your visit to the Austrian alps!
Where is Innsbruck located?
Innsbruck is located in the alps at the river Inn, in the center of the region of Tyrol in Austria.
The name Innsbruck means “The Inn’s bridge” and is a medieval city and capital of the Austrian alpine region, Tyrol.
The region is surrounded by Germany to the north, Salzburg Austria region to the East, South Tyrol Italy to the south and the small Austrian region of Vorarlberg to the west.
The city is located in a large valley in the mountains but is easily accessible from all sides.
The best things to do in Innsbruck
Innsbruck in Austria has a lot to offer and there is guaranteed something for everyone.
I have visited Innsbruck countless times over the course of my life as it is the capital of our region.
So I have been there with school, with family and friends and most recently again with Paul.
These are our top suggestions and the best attractions in Innsbruck.
Old Innsbruck City and the Golden Roof
The old city of Innsbruck is surrounded by city walls and is the first thing you should discover when in Innsbruck Austria.
The city center contains typical Tyrolean architecture buildings, with narrow passages and stone-paved roads.
We love to just walk around to explore the hidden pathways.
The medieval and renaissance setting will get you into the mood and take you back in time.
The highlight (literally!) is the precious golden roof.
The “Goldene Dachl” as it is known, was completed in 1500 for the great emperor Maximillian I when he married his 3rd wife Bianca Sforza.
The balcony was used by the emperor (who hailed from Tyrol) to take part in festivities on the marketplace below.
Right opposite is the viewpoint tower and you can visit the top to get a view of the old city buildings.
If you stand in front of the Goldene Dachl, take your left up to the main road to the bridge to get a picture of the colorful houses of Innsbruck by the Inn river.
The Tyrolean State Museum and the Court Church
The Tyrolean State Museum showcases the historical developemnt of the region over time.
Items such as so called “Tracht” (the traditional clothes) and the local heritage and it’s traditions can be learned about in the Tyrolean State Museum.
The Court Church is situated right next to the State museum.
You will find the tomb of the great emperor Maximillian I guarded by the so called black men (Schwarzen Manda) and the tomb of our executed freedom fighter, Andreas Hofer.
The Museum and Court church can be done in one go because they sell the tickets together.
Unfotunetly the court church is not freely accessible to the people and the ticket alone for the Hofkirche is priced at a whopping 7€ per Person, so it makes sense to get a combi ticket for the church and the museum.
My all-time favorite Palace is Schloss Ambras because it has a special place in my heart with the palace gardens and interiors.
The palace itself is a museum and can be visited inside out.
Schloss Ambras, as it is known in German, was the home of the archdukes and counts of Europe.
The palace was renovated by Archduke of Austria Ferdinand II, and son of Ferdinand I king of the Roman Emperor and the king of Spain, in the renaissance as a gift to his wife Philippine Welser.
Discover the chambers of Philippine Welser, the great Spanish hall, and the armory.
Spot the hairy Gonsalvez Family paintings (they had a gen defect making them look like werewolves).
You will love Abras Castle if you are looking for a quite hangout away from the city and if you want to see the city from a hight without having to take teh cable car.
Cable Car to the Nordkette mountain and Skiing
The cable car ride is right at Innsbruck and goes up the Nordkette.
From there you get a view of Innsbruck city, Hall city and the other Inn valley villages in the vicinity.
The cable car is open during the summer and winter months but closes always in between for about a month after Easter and a month in November up to beginning December.
You will love to take the cable car up if you want to experience nature and a breathtaking view of the Austrian Alps.
The area is a popular winter skiing resort too and totally worth a hangout for a week or two if you want to improve your skiing skills.
Tickets for the cable car are always more expensive in winter than in summer.
Hofburg Habsburg residence in Innsbruck Austria
The Innsbruck Hofburg is a must visit for Habsburg enthusiasts and fans of Austrian and European history.
The palace was the summer residence of the Habsburg family and is one of the most important buildings after the Schönbrunn palace and Hofburg in Vienna.
The baroque interiors were renovated and brought back to their 18th century splendor.
You can visit the gorgeous great hall, private chambers and the chappel.
The entry fee for adults is 9,50 and children are free.
Shopping in Innsbruck Austria
The old city center in Innsbruck with the Mariahilder Straße give you a great opportunity to shop for unique gifts, souvenirs and local specialties.
Look out for:
- Alpine Trachten clothes such as Dirndl, leather pants, belts and woolen jackets.
- Watch shops with special watch models.
- Glass makers – the art of glass making has long a tradition in the region
- Gourmet foods such as Speck, Cheese, Jams or syrup such as Elderflower cordial.
- Handmade wooden items.
Bergisel Ski jump
The Bergisel jump was the venue for olympic ski jumping competions in 1964 and 1976.
The Bergisel has historical importance too as it was the spot where Andreas Hofer and his freedom fighters fought the battle against the Bavarian and French.
The world reknowned Architect Zaha Hadid redesigned the Bergisel Ski Jump and since that the Bergisel has been a popular attraction Innsbruck.
You can visit the Bergisel at certain times of the year to get a unqiue view of the city.
I recommend you enjoy a meal in the panoramic restaurant while looking down to the city.
The alpine zoo is one of the highest elevated zoos in the world and is a place you would like to go to with kids.
The zoo is home to over 150 species of animals from the Austrian alps.
This includes Ibex, Marmot, Eagles, Vultures and many more animals from the alps.
You can get a greate view too of Innsbruck when in the zoo as the area stretches upwards on the hill.
The ticket for the Alpenzoo Innsbruck per adult is priced at 11€ and the entry for kids is 5.50€.
The Christmas market in Innsbruck is in a medieval setting and is one of the prettiest in Austria and Europe.
The main market is set in the old city center and smaller markets can be found in other spots such as the DEZ shopping center at the border of Innsbruck.
The one you want to visit and experience is the Chrismas market in the old city.
The market starts on the first Advent Sunday and ends on Christmas day.
You will be able to get into Christmas mood, find some gifts and try some real food specialties.
Look out for the following local food specialties:
- Kletzenbrot – Christmas Bread with fruits and nuts form Tyrol
- Vanillekipferl – Austria’s favorite Vanille Crescent cookies
- Glühwein – Austrian mulled wine
- Jagatee – Austrian winter and apré ski hot beverage
What’s the weather like in Innsbruck?
Summer is hot and Winters are cold.
If only the weather was always so straightforward, right?
Winters can be cold and it does snow regularly, especially after Christmas and New Year.
Springtime, which includes end of March, April, May, and parts of June can be mild with temperatures up to 27 Celsius but also freezing cold with temperatures hovering over the zeros.
Best is to always take a jacket along when you go out.
Summers in Innsbruck can be really hot!
We experienced 36 Celsius when we visited Innsbruck the other day but temperatures dropped to 15 Celsius days later.
Autumn in Innsbruck is cool and crisp and I believe the best time of the year to discover Innsbruck.
The mountains with the trees turn golden red and the sun shines at times so that you can roam about and discover the city in the best possible light.
Just keep in mind that the mountain cable cars close down for the summer season in the first week of November.
Innsbruck one day itinerary
If you have only a day to see the city, I suggest you visit the following sights.
Morning: Innsbruck old city center with the golden roof and the tower viewpoint, and the museum with the emperor’s Church OR the Hofburg.
Lunch: In the city center
Afternoon: Schloss Ambras if you want to learn about the history of the region OR the Alpine Zoo if you have kids OR the mountain cable car if you want to go on a mountain with view.
How to get to Innsbruck?
Innsbruck has a small Airport, so you can fly in directly too.
To Innsbruck by Car
If you travel from Munich Germany, take the highway direction Salzburg/Innsbruck and then Kufstein/ Innsbruck and just follow the highway to Innsbruck.
If you travel from Salzburg to Innsbruck, you will need to cross the small German corner through Bad Reichenhall, towards Lofer, St.Johann in Tirol, Wörgl and take the highway to Innsbruck in Wörgl.
If you travel from South Tyrol/Italy, you will need to take the highway to cross the Brenner pass to get to Innsbruck.
If you are coming from Switzerland, you will need to cross the Arlberg tunnel and the directions should be clearly directed towards Innsbruck.
Keep in mind that oyu need to buy a highway ticket for Austrian highways to use the highway and the speed limit in Tyrol is 100 km/h.
Parking spots are plenty in Innsbruck, so look out for underground parking floors, yet keep in mind they hourly rate can be pricey.
To Innsbruck by Train
The Innsbruck main train station is located about 5 minutes from the city center.
The OEBB is the goverment train company and you can buy tickets online too.
There are daily trains from Munich to Innsbruck.
You can travel from Salzburg to Innsbruck over Germany because the train route via Zell am See, Saalfelden, St.Johann in Tirol is rather long and sometimes more costly as well.
Trains from Zürich Switzerland are frequent as well and usualy on time.
There are trains coming from Italy too, yet I personaly have no experience with those.
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Day trips from Innsbruck
These are some of the best day trips from Innsbruck and places to visit when in Innsbruck.
I mention the time that you would need to get to each destination if you take the highway.
- Old Town of Hall city (15 min away)
- Swarovski Crystal World in Wattens (20 mins away)
- Rattenberg – Medieval City (40 mins away)
- Kufstein fort and the world-famous Riedel Glass (50 mins away)
- Palace Tratzberg in Jenbach (35 mins away)
- Silvermine with a train into the mountain in Schwaz (30 mins away)
- Meran city in South Tyrol, Italy (2 hours)
- Glaciers of the Ötztal (40 mins away)
- St.Johann in Tyrol and Kitzbühel (1 hour away)
- Zell am See – Popular amongst jet setters (1hour 30 mins away)
- Salzburg City (2 hours)
- Königssee Lake Berchtesgaden (1 hour 30 mins away)
Hotels in Innsbruck
One of the hottest places to stay in Innsbruck includes the Faktorei, which is well located and popular amongst couples.
The BEST WESTERN Plus Hotel Goldener Adler Innsbruck is located in the city center and is known for exquisit service and beautiful rooms.
The AC Hotel by Marriott in Innsbruck provides a panoramic view and a first class experience