Innsbruck is a very nice city in alpine part of Austria and it’s the capital of Tyrol region. 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. ‘But what to do in Innsbruck in summer?’ you might ask? Read on and you will find the answer! We spent two days in Innsbruck in summer during our holidays in Austria. Exploring the city by foot we truly enjoyed it as there is definitely things you can see and do in Innsbruck besides winter sports.
Altstadt von Innsbruck (Old Town)
Start with 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 a famous 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 a public 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 and there is a 18th century’s marble monument – St. Anne’s Column – in the middle of the square.
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. You can even have a lunch or dinner at the Bergisel SKY restaurant at the top.
There are things not only to see in Innsbruck, but also to taste! Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol region that is famous for its gourmet meat products such as ‘Tiroler speck’, cold cut ham and beef. Taste Tyrolean meat in a restaurant or buy it in one of the meat shops in the city.
While me and the boys were wondering in a souvenir shop in one of the old town’s small streets, Yuriy instead went to (I quote) “just to browse” cold cut meat varieties in an opposite store. He returned with a sac full of Tyrolean meat products (ok, it was a small sac, but still a sac! 🙂 ).
We brought the meat back home to enjoy it long after our trip to Austria. If vacuum packed Tyrolean meat is a good gift idea to bring from your holidays in Austria.
If you are not into meat products, then try strudel! 🙂 Traditional Austrian strudel is a delicious dessert and they make it with all kinds of fillings. You will find strudels for all tastes. Sweet varieties are often served with a scoop of ice-cream. Yum!
Innsbrucke (Inn Bridge)
After you ate a strudel you need to keep walking to compensate all the calories in it, right? 😉 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?
Nice views open from 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 – a former 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 (the address is Rennweg 3), you can buy tickets right there at the cashier. Next stop is at Hungerburgbahn Löwenhaus station (the address is Rennweg 12a), where you can also hop on/off. 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 scenic 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), then ride 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.
There are many museums you can visit in Innsbruck.
Visit the huge complex of a former Imperial Palace and take a tour to see the 18th century fully restored interior of the palace.
Learn about Tyrolean heritage in Tyrolean Folk Art Museum or go to the one of the oldest national museums – Tyrolean State Museum in Innsbruck.
If you are travelling with children take them to The Tyrolean Museum Railways or perhaps even to The Armoury – a former military arsenal that is now a museum.
Another interesting museum for children and adults alike is Visual Museum Innsbruck – a world of optical illusions.
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. Otherwise, you can stop by the Swarovski shop in the old town of Innsbruck (the address is Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 39) where you can also see Swarovski jewelry and crystals on display.
Go to Salzburg
After you had a nice time in Innsbruck, go to another famous Austrian city – Salzburg (it’s only a 2 hour trip by train). Check out my other posts: One day in Salzburg for the ideas on what to see and do in Salzburg, and 5 Best Day Trips from Salzburg – if you want to travel more in this part of Austria.
We spent in Innsbruck two days and truly enjoyed the city. Hopefully, after reading this post you are convinced that Innsbruck is absolutely worth a visit in summer!