Innsbruck is a cozy little town surrounded by the towering Nordkette Mountain Range in the Tyrol Region of Austria. The town is cut by the Inn River and has a stunning old town full of both Gothic and typical Innsbruck-Salzach style architecture. No matter the time of year you visit, you will find something unique awaiting you.
I highly recommend buying the Innsbruck Card for discounts and MANY freebies around the city. It’s good for 24 hours and prices start at 39 Euros (they also have a 48 or 72-hour card for longer stays). Literally, almost everything you could possibly want to see/visit is free or discounted if you have the Innsbruck Card. You can purchase the card online or at one of the ticket offices around town.
THINGS TO SEE & DO IN INNSBRUCK
INNSBRUCK ALTSTADT (OLD TOWN)
Innsbruck’s Altstadt is a stunning display of Gothic architecture. The main street is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. Street performers fill the alcoves (I’ll admit, some do creep me out) and the bustle of everyday life brings you back in time. The old town is home to many of the popular attractions. The Golden Roof and City Tower (more on those below) both reside in the old town. Be sure not to miss the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) or the Triumphal Arch. Grab a coffee, wander the streets, and enjoy the Inn River.
THE GOLDEN ROOF
The infamous Golden Roof is located in Innsbruck’s Altstadt. Emperor Maximilian I had the Golden Roof added to the Neuhof building in approximately 1500. It has a total of 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles that shimmer brightly in the sun. Visit the Golden Roof Museum to learn more about the fascinating Emperor and the vast history of Innsbruck.
Completed in 1450 (making her about 50 years older than the Golden Roof), the City Tower is the landmark of Innsbruck’s Altstadt. Guards used the tower to keep watch over the city and warn citizens of incoming dangers. Take the 133 steps to the top of the tower for sweeping views of the city and mountains. I’ve never met a tower I won’t climb!
BERGISEL SKI JUMP STADIUM
Innsbruck was home to the Winter Olympics in both 1964 and 1976. The ski-jump used during the Olympics was quite old, so the city decided to have it rebuilt. Designed by Zaha Hadid in 1999, the Bergisel Ski Jump provides excellent views of the city below. We were able to watch a few people ski-jumping while we were there. We rode to the top to check out the breathtaking views (and there is a nice cafe) and to watch the skiers dismount. Let’s just say, there is no way in hell you’d get me up there if they only way down was the ski-jump – thankfully, the cable car to the top also comes back down!
SCHLOSS AMBRAS INNSBRUCK
Ambras Castle, built in 1563, was the home of Archduke Ferdinand II. The Renaissance castle is a popular tourist destination in Innsbruck. The castle houses an impressive collection of armor from the eras of Emperor Maximilian I and Emperor Leopold I.
Along with the gardens of Ambras Castle, the Spanish Hall is my favorite part of the castle. A stunning example of German Renaissance architecture, the hall has an intricate wood-inlay ceiling and full-length portraits of Tyrol’s rulers throughout the years. I have dreams of attending a 16th-century ball here!
HAFELEKAR – NORDKETTE MOUNTAIN RANGE
Board the Innsbrucker Nordketten Cable Cars and ride to the Hafelekar (7,401 feet in elevation) at the top of the Nordkette Mountain Range. The 360 views are UNREAL. So is the wind! My husband was the only person at the top in shorts – oops!! They have spots to buy food (and more importantly) beer at the top, so grab a drink and relax while taking in the views. If you go in the winter, check out the Igloo Bar, Cloud 9 – the highest bar in the Alps!
Innsbruck is full of spectacular natural beauty. The mountains, river, and architecture provide a charming landscape unlike anywhere else. With its close proximity to other major cities like Munich and Zurich, it’s the perfect spot for an easy weekend trip. No matter the season, you’ll find yourself Inn-love with Innsbruck.
What’s your favorite spot in Austria?!