Innsbruck is a very nice city in alpine part of Austria. When you think of Innsbruck you probably think of skiing and other winter sports. But there is much more to see and do in this city at any time of the year.
We went to Innsbruck in summer during our holidays in Austria and had a very nice two days there. We explored the city by foot and in this post I’m going to write about things you can see and do in Innsbruck during a short visit (that doesn’t include winter sports 🙂 ).
Altstadt von Innsbruck (Old Town)
Have a walk in Innsbruck’s old town center – Altstadt. It is pretty compact and can be easily explored by foot – lively decorated houses, narrow streets and historical landmarks – you will find it all in the Altstadt of Innsbruck.
Cathedral of St. James
Innsbruck Cathedral (or Cathedral of Saint James) is an 18th century cathedral in the old town featuring two bell towers seen from afar when you approaching the Altstadt. Go inside to see the cathedral’s baroque style interior.
Another historical church located in the old town is The Hofkirche (Court Church) – 16th century church executed in Gothic style. It’s famous for its collection of German Renaissance sculptures and Emperor Maximilian’s marble cenotaph.
The Golden Roof
The Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) – is another historical landmark in the old town. The iconic Innsbruck structure has been constructed in the 16th century for Emperor Maximilian I. The balcony with the golden roof has been used by the emperor to observe different events happening in the square in front of it.
Every city has some sort of a central square and Innsbruck is not an exception. Innsbruck’s Town Square is located in the center of the old town. It’s a pedestrian area with a beautiful view of the mountains. In the middle of the square you will find St. Anne’s Column – 18th century’s marble monument.
Maria-Theresien Strasse – a street with many shops, cafes and nice looking houses starts at the town square.
Triumphal Arch (Triumphpforte)
If you walk from the Town Square along the Maria-Theresien Strasse you will end up at the Triumphal Arch. It’s a beautiful historical landmark and if you look through it to the south you will see famous Bergisel Ski Jump.
Bergisel Ski Jump
Even though it’s a tower for ski jump you can visit it all year round. Buy a ticket to get on top of the tower to enjoy sweepings views to Innsbruck and surrounding Alps or even have a lunch or dinner at the Bergisel SKY restaurant.
There are not just things to see in Innsbruck, but also to taste. Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol region, which is famous for its gourmet meat products such as ‘Tiroler speck’, cold cut ham and beef. Taste in a restaurant or buy in one of the meat shops in the city.
While me and the boys viewed rubber duck toys made with Austrian motifs in a souvenir shop, Yuriy went to “view” cold cut meat varieties in a store on the same street… and returned with a sac full of Tyrolean meat products (ok, it was a small sac, but still a sac! 🙂 )
If you are not into meat products, then try strudel! 🙂 Traditional Austrian strudel is a delicious sweet and they make it with all kinds of fillings and often service with a scoop of ice-cream. Yum!
Innsbrucke (Inn Bridge)
Of course, after you ate a strudel you need to keep walking to compensate all the calories in it 🙂 So, head out from the old town towards the river and Innsbrucke bridge. Did you know that ‘Innsbruck’ name of the city actually means a Bridge over the river Inn?
There are nice views opening while standing on the bridge – beginning of the old town on one side, neat colorful houses on the other side and cretaceous colored river in the middle.
Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
Walking in the city you can’t possibly miss the huge complex in the old town, which previously was an Imperial Palace. The main building – Hofburg – is only a part of the larger complex including the Hofkirche, Innsbruck Cathedral and other buildings.
You can buy a ticket to go inside and see the imperial apartments, chapels, stateroom and halls.
Hungerburgbahn funicular and Nordkette cable car
To enjoy panoramic views of the city take a funicular to Hungerburg district.
Hungerburgbahn funicular starts its ride at the station in the city center (address is Rennweg 3), you can buy tickets right there at the cashier. Next stop is at Hungerburgbahn Löwenhaus station, where you can also hop on/off (address is Rennweg 12a), then it goes up the mountain and makes a stop at Hungerburgstation Alpenzoo where you can get off to visit Alpine Zoo of Innsbruck. If you don’t want to visit the zoo, then just continue on the funicular all the way up to the last stop – Hungerburgstation Hungerburg.
At Hungerburg you can enjoy panoramic views of Innsbruck from the Hermann Buhl Platz (big square with the viewpoint to the city), walk around or have a bite at one of the cafes.
If you want to get even higher to the mountains (for skiing or hiking or nature watching), get the The Nordkette Cable Car. The cable car station is just across Hermann Buhl Platz and it will take you to the Nordkette, the southernmost mountain chain of the Karwendel.
Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal World)
If you’re ready to go further from the city, you can go to Swarovski Crystal World approx 25 minutes by car (or bus) from Innsbruck. We didn’t go there, but you can check their web site for detailed information.
Instead, we stopped by the Swarovski shop in the old town of Innsbruck (address is Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 39) where you can also see Swarovski jewellery and crystals on display.
Go to Salzburg
After you had a nice time in Innsbruck, go to another famous Austrian city – Salzburg. Check out my other posts: One day in Salzburg for the ideas on what to see and do in Salzburg, and 5 Best one-day trips from Salzburg – if you want to travel more in this part of Austria.
We came to Innsbruck by train from Munich (just under 2 hour by train), spent in Innsbruck two days falling in love with Austria even more (our first visit to Austria and the love from the first sight was during Christmas 2017), and then continued our journey to Salzburg by train (again, just under 2 hours trip). We absolutely loved Innsbruck and hope you will do too!