Situated at the heart of the Tyroler Mountains, Innsbruck sits at an important junction between Germany and Italy and over the centuries it has been fought over by these two countries but in fact retained its ties with Austria and own distinct character. Situated at the heart of the Tyrol province it became the region’s capital in 1187 and remains so to this day. A compact city Innsbruck offers the best of two worlds namely being the gateway to some of the best Alpine ski resorts making it highly popular during the winter as well as offering a wealth of activities to enjoy during the summer months. In fact outdoor types are spoilt for choice with skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, mountain biking, hiking, horse riding, hot air ballooning as well as much more all catered for. Lastly, the picturesque town centre contains many medieval monuments and buildings as well as a surprising choice of restaurants and bars set against a breathtaking mountain backdrop.
The main attractions of Innsbruck itself are located in the Altstadt (Old Town) around the main areas of Maria Theresienstrasse and Herzog-Friedrich Strasse with many historical monuments and museums all within walking distance of each other. On the latter of these streets you will find the Stadtturm (City Tower) which rises high above the town, if you climb to the top you will get unparalleled 360-degree views of Innsbruck itself as well as the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Two of the most notable museum are Ferdinandeum containing an extensive art collection from the Middle Ages to modern day and the Zeughaus, housed in a former armoury, it offers a journey through Tyrol’s history and geology.
One of Innsbruck’s most famous landmarks is the gleaming Goldenes Dachl meaning Golden Roof, part of a former royal residence the name refers to the medieval bay window protected by a canopy of gilded copper tiles which glisten like real gold in the sun.
The Imperial Palace (Kaiserliche Hofburg) is a sumptuous testament to Innsbruck’s former glory, it stands at the centre of the town and has done for over 500 years. The interior rooms recall Austria’s more opulent years.
Lastly, just on the outskirts of Innsbruck, namely in Wattens, is the Swarovski Crystal Museum (Swarovski Kristallwelten) which offers a permanent display of crystals form this world renowned manufacturer including designs by Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
Although the town is very compact and easily explored on foot, should you need to make use of the local bus and tram networks these are well run and tickets can be purchased on boarding. During the winter months there are free bus services running between the main ski areas. If you’re planning to invest some time in exploring Innsbruck it may be worth purchasing an Innsbruck Card which entitles you to discounts on public transport and some of the main sights.
Recommended places and events to visit in Innsbruck