I will start with a confession – Innsbruck was not in my itinerary before I was planning my trip to Bavarian alps. But huge shout out to one of my colleagues in France who spoke such highly about this city in Austria and showed me pretty pictures , described the amazing time he had in this city – that I was forced to add it in my list because frankly – It sounded amazing. Innsbruck occupies the best location in Europe, known as ‘The Jewel of the Alps’ it is surrounded by breathtaking places to visit.Being in Garmisch-Partenkirchen , made reaching the vibrant and culturally rich city of Innsbruck so easy that adding it to the itinerary was literally no brainer. Innsbruck is not only an interesting cultural center but one of Austria’s top skiing strongholds. So no matter which season you visit , this place will have something amazing for you in store. For me – I visited it in Fall so of-course I cannot say much about ski and all the winter sports , but here is all you need to know for – 24 hours in Innsbruck, Austria – Things to do if you are visiting in summer or fall.
Where to Stay :
Since Innsbruck is wedged between Germany and Austria , I will highly recommend to stay near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. It will just make reaching to so many famous sites like Zugspitze , Neushweinstein etc easy and convinient. And Innsbruck is not more than 45-55 mins drive away. If you do plan to stay in Innsbruck there are ample options for budgets of all kinds – from luxury hotels to hostels , you will find something fitting your budget. For cheaper options , stay away from old town center of Innsbruck as it is a little expensive. The public transport is really good and you will be able to move around the city easily.
How to reach :
The city of Innsbruck can easily be reached by air, train, bus or car. Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport is the largest airport in Tyrol region and has regular scheduled flights from Vienna and Frankfurt. Direct trains from cities like Venice, Zurich, Munich, Graz, Vienna etc also operate. If you have a car, in just 30 minutes you can be in either Germany or Italy. Once you reach Innsbruck , you can park your car and start to explore the city on foot or public transport.
The Innsbruck card :
Since finding a parking at every possible place of interest in Innsbruck is not easy , I will highly suggest to invest in Innsbruck card. The card is available in options for 24, 48, or 72 hours and covers everything , I mean really everything. It costs 39 euros per person for 24hrs and covers the public transportation within the city, cable car to Nordkette Mountains, entry fees to museums and other attractions . Specially if you plan on riding the Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen and visiting the Bergisel Ski Jump Stadium , the card pays for itself.
Things to See :
1) Aldstadt von Innsbruck (the Old Town) :
I will start with the old town of Innsbruck because a) its is just so so charming b) it is beautiful and c) it is full of history. The old town is compact and very photogenic. It is car free so definitely take your time strolling in the streets, catching the street performances and of-course shopping. There are many gift shops and some amazing restaurants in the old town. For the taste of Bavarian food , this place is amazing.
2) The Town Tower :
While you are strolling in the old town , head to the the Town Tower. If you have the Innsbruck card , the entry is free otherwise it is about 4 Euros. Over 133 steps lead up to the 31-meter-high viewing platform, which overlooks the medieval streets of Innsbruck and offers stunning views of Bergisel, Patscherkofel mountain, the River Inn and the Nordkette mountain range. A definitely must do.
Opening times –> June – September: 10.00 am – 8.00 pm , October – May: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
3) The Hofkirche and the Cathedral of St. James :
Next in old Town , head to these two small churches. The Cathedral of St. James is a favorite of tourists for its Baroque architecture while the Hofkirche is notable for its 28 bronze statues of the ancestors and heroes of Austria.
4) Bergisel Ski Jump and Olympiaworld :
Away from the the old town , head to Bergisel Ski Jump area. In 1964 and 1976, the Innsbruck was venue of the Winter Olympics and sports complexes at Olympiaworld were used during the Olympics competitions. The ski events took place in Bergisel Ski Jump tower. The Bergisel Tower stands 47 meters tall and provides spectacular views. The Stadium facilities include gondola, elevator, panoramic café, and vantage spot on the jumping platform . It has a stylish restaurant from where you can enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views of the lofty surrounding peaks of Patscherkofel, Nordkette, Hohe and ofcourse the city of Innsbruck. This ski jump is also used for training and competitive purposes, so if you are here at the right time, you will also be able to watch ski jumping.
5) The Nordkette Mountains :
For more panoramic views of the city and its surroundings , head to Nordette mountain. There are a series of cable cars that can take you to the top of the Nordkette Mountains for 360° views over the area. Start with Hungerburg Funicular which will take you to Hermann Buhl Square. This is the cheapest and quickest option and view from this very spot are impressive in case you do not have time and you do not want to go further.
From here hop on to Nordkette cable car and reach Seegrube. At Seegrube, you can grab something to eat and enjoy your meal at on one of the wooden tables, taking in the majestic views of the alps.The next station, Hafeleker, is 2300m above the city and this is as high as you can go. From here you have view of Alps as far as you can see. Keep in mind that this place is extremely windy and cold , so dress accordingly.
For more information on ticket prices , hours of operation etc. click here.
Note : Catch the live streaming of mountain top from the link here . This will definitely convince you to add this place in your list of Things to see in Innsbruck .
6) Swarovski Kristallwelten ( Swarovski crystal world) :
Swarovski Kristallwelten is not exactly in Innsbruck but in the nearby town of Wattens. But dont worry the shuttle and the entry tickets to the museum are covered in Innsbruck Card. I had earlier imagined this place to be a giant gift shop forcing the customers to buy the best and latest in the Swarovski crystal world but buoy was I wrong :). This place was magical . As you enter the Swarovski Kristallwelten , the entrance features an impressive giant with a waterfall cascading from his mouth – truly magnificent. There are 16 rooms in Swarovski’s Chambers of Wonder, each designed by great artists from around the world and each better than the other . As you move from room to room , you will find the crystal dome , the largest hand cut crystal in the world, the crystal forest , the crystal clouds and of-course my favorite Cindrella’s slipper made out of crystal.
Note : For more details on tickets and schedule – click here .