One of the most popular vacation destinations year-round in Austria, Innsbruck lies at the intersection of two important traffic routes between Vienna and Switzerland, and Germany and Italy. It is considered an alpine gem and has become renowned globally for its tradition of hosting competitions of winter sports. People all over the world also come to enjoy its ski resorts. Innsbruck is considered a prime destination for anyone to visit in Austria because of its wide variety of attractions, ranging from scenic cable-car rides and breathtaking viewpoints to its historical churches. To help you make the most of your time in Innsbruck, you can refer to this list of the best things to see and do in this city:
1- Altstadt von Innsbruck (Old town)
The old town center of the city, the Altstadt is one of the main attractions in Innsbruck. Some of the buildings here are more than 500 years old, which means there is a great deal of history to explore. You can get a coffee, or a bite to eat in one of the beautiful restaurants and cafes here, or you can also admire the wonderful architecture of the buildings. A lot of effort has been put in for maintaining their medieval details.
2- Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen
This is a cable car ride that goes to Nordkette, which is part of the largest nature park in Austria. The journey is a pleasant one and lasts for 20 minutes. You can enjoy jaw-dropping mountain scenery and amazing views of Innsbruck. There are a number of stops along the way and you have the option of getting off or continuing to the top. You will find something different to do at every stop, from climbing on the rocky mountain of Karwendal or watching the skiers. No matter what you choose to do, this cable car ride can be very interesting.
3- Ambras Castle
One of the most popular attractions around Innsbruck is this fine Renaissance castle that was home to Archduke Ferdinand II, an important historical figure. The grounds and castle are located in the southern part of Innsbruck and you can travel there via bus and tram. You will find the famous Spanish Hall inside the castle, which is intricately decorated and is used for hosting classical music concerts. There is also a wonderful display of armory, arms, and artwork and you can also check out the tranquil courtyard.
4- Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
Considered a significant building in Austria, the Hofburg is an excellent piece of architecture. This striking palace was constructed in the 1400s and has green-domed towers and a brilliant white façade, along with a beautiful interior. The Hofburg is now divided into five museums and it is a great way for learning the history of the country and checking out how a royal palace looks. The museums include an ancestral gallery, a furniture display, and a painting gallery and give some insight into the various aspects of Hapsburg culture.
5- Hungerburg Funicular
As Innsbruck is located in the mountains, there are a number of Funiculars and cable car routes used as modes of transportation. One of the most impressive of them is Hungerburg Funicular and is used as a means of transport between the Hungerburg district and Innsbruck city center. As opposed to a cable car, the Funicular has a modern monorail style carriage and you can see a similar striking and modern design in the main Congress station. The route takes you over a bridge, up a steep incline, and also through a tunnel until you reach Hungerburg that’s approximately 860 meters above sea level. You will be able to enjoy panoramic views at the top.
6- Swarovski Kristallwelten
You will be filled with a sense of delight and wonder when you visit the magical place of the Swarovski Crystal World. Those who love sparkling crystals, or are a fan of the brand, or people who love exciting and vibrant displays should consider this place a must-visit. This attraction has a number of outdoor areas, including a waterfall and a large sculptured face. There is also a hedge maze and various interesting indoor displays. These are known as ‘Chamber of Wonders’ and contain thousands of crystals that are dazzling, which were created by visionary designers.
7- Alpine Zoo
While many cities have a zoo, the Alpine Zoo in Innsbruck is different from the rest because it focuses on mostly indigenous animals of the area and those that live in mountainous areas. A walk through the Zoo will give you the opportunity to see animals, such as playful Otters, a mighty Brown Bear, a majestic Golden Eagle, and howling Wolves. The Zoo also provides a home to some of the endangered animals in the area, thereby helping preserve biodiversity.
8- Cathedral of St. James
The St. James Cathedral, like so many other cathedrals, stands as a central point in the city of Innsbruck. Its front façade has a striking Baroque design and two bell towers, whereas the interior has the usual decorations and trappings you would expect from a religious building. The domes and ceilings have beautiful details and artwork, whereas the main altar is lavished with marble and gold, making a wonderful centerpiece.
9- Hofgarten (Garden)
The Hofgarten is the perfect place for all visitors who want to get away from the buildings and busy tourist areas. It is very easy to reach because of its central location, near the Hofburg Palace. There have been a number of different designs of the garden over the years and it now contains a play-park, several ponds, loads of plant life and beautiful trees and a restaurant. Concerts are also held there at certain times and even chess tournaments are conducted sometimes. No matter what you do, the luscious greenery, well-manicured lawns, and lovely garden landscapes are great for enjoyment.
These are some of the best things you can do and see when you are planning a trip to the beautiful city of Innsbruck, Austria.