Sure, Innsbruck’s reputation as a winter sports resort precedes it, but this exciting city has all sorts of other standout features to explore. You can experience the snow-sure environment by getting out on the pistes, but don’t miss out on the cultural sites while you’re there, too.
Here are ten of the top things to do in Innsbruck:
- Nordkette Cable Car
- Hungerburg Funicular
- Bergisel Ski Jump
- Ambras Castle
- The Golden Roof
- Imperial Palace
1. Nordkette Cable Car
Up for a quirky journey through the area? The cable car line from Innsbruck to Nordkette takes about 20 minutes and shows off an unfolding tapestry of sublime snow-dusted views. Like icing sugar-covered peaks, the mountains wrapping around the city look even more spectacular the higher you get. You’ll soon see why it’s one of the most popular Innsbruck things to do. Depending on when you go, you’ll be able to take advantage of the chill-out lounge, terrace and Nordkette Skyline Park once you’ve reached the top.
The Altstadt – or Old Town – is where Innsbruck’s charm knows no bounds. Classic chocolate-box Austrian houses come in all shapes and pastel-coloured shades here, so walking through the warrens of streets will be a real treat. In the area, you’ll find ten-a-penny souvenir shops where you can pick up local mementos. You’ll also be spoilt for gastronomical choice, with restaurants and cafés serving Austrian classics. As well as creamy cheese, rich stews and tasty schnitzels, don’t miss trying apfel knödel. These apple dumplings are super-sweet, deep-fried and plated with a side of vanilla ice cream.
3. Hungerburg Funicular
Slightly more niche than the Nordkette Cable Car, the Hungerburgbahn is an innovatively engineered funicular system demonstrating modern mobility at its finest. It offers you an impressive and comfortable climb up to the mountains from the city centre. Whatever you do, make sure you keep your phone or camera on you for photos. Along the way, there are stops at the Löwenhaus and Alpenzoo if you wanted to make a fun detour.
4. Bergisel Ski Jump
Skiers will be in awe of this mammoth landmark. The 47m-tall tower sits on the site of the first ski jump that was erected there, back in 1925. It’s a focal point among the Innsbruck winter sports community and, thanks to its gondola, lift and panoramic café, it’s also a real winner for far-spanning views. You can spot the major peaks of Patscherkofel, Nordkette, Hohe Munde and Serles from the top of the Bergisel Ski Jump.
5. Ambras Castle
Of all the things to do in Innsbruck, this time-honoured piece of history ranks highly. Positioned in the hills not far from the centre, this resplendent Renaissance palace stands proud. It’s set within pretty English gardens with its own duck pond and playground. Talk about quaint. It’s been passed through the Habsburg dynasty and displays various artworks in the Portrait Gallery. The vast rooms, frescoes and floor-to-ceiling windows wow throughout.
Locals know the Court Church as the Hofkirche, which is one of the Altstadt’s major landmarks on the edge of the historic district. It was built as a memorial to Emperor Maximilian I after his death, so you can see the tribute cenotaph inside. Only 28 of the planned 40 bronze statues requested by the former emperor before his passing have been constructed and you’ll see each one poised within the building.
Thanks to its roll call of eateries and stores, the Maria-Theresien-Strasse is a street of plenty. It’s undoubtedly one of the most regularly visited of Innsbruck’s things to do. For the last 700 years, it’s been sprinkled with farmhouses and columns, which have more recently evolved into strings of pavement cafés, Baroque buildings and chic shops. It also marks the start of the road that’ll lead you to one of the cityscape’s most identifiable elements, the fascinating Golden Roof.
Here’s one for little ones and big kids alike. Between 9am and 5pm in the winter, you can meet fluffy critters and feathered friends at the Alpenzoo. It’s your chance to see Alpine animals up close and personal, including various species of mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian. We’re talking Alpine ibex, beavers, wild boar, wolves, roe deer, lynxes, terrapins, golden eagles, pygmy owls, different types of fish and so much more!
9. The Golden Roof
This shiny roof is one of Innsbruck’s finest features. A whopping 2,657 copper tiles were used to embellished the top of the building in commemoration of the Maximilian anniversary – and boy, doesn’t it stand out? It was designed to catch the eye of passing-through travellers and it certainly nails that. Today, it’s a full museum of multimedia art promotion, while other monuments and works can be seen inside. Pay it a visit and behold the latest exhibitions and glinting golden tiles in the flesh.
10. Imperial Palace
Still seeking a dose of history? Make your way to the imposing Imperial Palace. It’s another one of Innsbruck’s things to do that was arranged and completed within Emperor Maximilian I’s rule and the history books reckon it dates back to 1500. Between the inner floors and outside courtyard square, there’s plenty to walk around. The state rooms, giant hall and imperial apartments with their beauty salons are among the most enchanting features of the palace.
Think you’ve got a handle on the top things to do in Innsbruck? Set your sights on this city today and prepare to be spellbound.
Posted: 5th Aug 2019.