Tucked away in the dramatic landscapes of the alps, Innsbruck is a true alpine gem and renowned worldwide for its ski resorts and tradition of hosting winter sports competitions. Its long history as the centre of the Tyrol region and modern history as a winter sports haven draw people from all over the globe.
With a wide variety of attractions from historical churches, to breathtaking viewpoints and scenic cable-car rides, Innsbruck has a great deal to offer and is a prime destination to visit in Austria.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Innsbruck:
1. Altstadt von Innsbruck (Old town)
The Altstadt is the old town centre of Innsbruck and stands as one of the main attractions.
With some of the buildings standing for over 500 years there is a great deal of history surrounding this area and a large amount of effort has been put in to maintain the medieval details etc.
You can enjoy a bite to eat, or a coffee in one of the beautiful cafes and restaurants, or admire the wonderful architecture of the buildings and the people of Innsbruck.
2. Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen
The Innsbrucker Nordkette is a cable car ride that takes you up to Nordkette which is part of Austria’s largest natural park.
The pleasant journey takes around 20 minutes and provides you with amazing views of Innsbruck and the jaw dropping mountain scenery surrounding it.
There are several stops on the way and you can simply get off or continue to the top – At each stop there is something different to do, from watching the Skiers speed down the slopes, to climbing on the rocky face of the Karwendel.
Whatever you choose to do, this fun and interesting cable car journey is sure to impress.
You can book your ticket online
3. Ambras Castle
This fine Renaissance castle is one of the most popular attractions in the area around Innsbruck and was home to the important historical figure Archduke Ferdinand II. The castle and grounds stands in the southern part of Innsbruck of the borders of the town and can be reached by both tram and bus.
Inside the castle is the famous Spanish Hall, which is an intricately decorated hall that now hosts classical music concerts.
Aside from that the castle also has a brilliant display of arms, armoury and artwork and a tranquil courtyard to admire.
Book your tickets online right here
4. Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
The Hofburg is a fine piece of architecture and stands as a highly significant building in Austria.
Constructed in the 1400’s, this striking palace has a brilliant white façade with green domed towers and a beautiful interior.
Now split into five themed museums, the Hofburg is a great way to learn about the history of Austria and see what the furnishings of a royal palace look like.
The museums include a furniture display, an ancestral gallery and a painting gallery and illustrate many aspects of the Hapsburgs culture.
Ticket prices come in at €9.90 for adults and children’s admission is free – These reasonable prices make the Hofburg a great value attraction in the heart of Innsbruck.
5. Hungerburg Funicular
Due to Innsbruck’s location in the mountains, there are several Cable car routes and Funiculars used as modes of transportation.
The Hungerburg Funicular is one of the most impressive and serves as transport between Innsbruck city centre and the Hungerburg district.
Instead of a cable car, the Funicular boasts a modern monorail style carriage and the main Congress station has a similar modern and striking design.
The route of the Funicular passes over a bridge, through a tunnel and up a steep incline to reach the Hungerburg 860 meters above sea level.
At the top you are greeted with panoramic views of the central Inn Valley and across to the Italian border.
6. Bergisel Ski Jump
What could be more exciting than watching athletes speed down the 90m slope on their skis and gracefully glide off the edge and plummet to the soft snow beneath them.
The Bergisel Ski Jump has been used at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships and is an impressive site.
The views from the top are fabulous and it is fascinating to watch the Ski Jumpers practice their art.
At the top there is a coffee shop and also a viewing platform just be aware of the fairly steep climb to get up there!
7. Swarovski Kristallwelten
The Swarovski Crystal World is a magical place and fills people with a sense of wonder and delight.
For those who love the brand, or who love sparkling crystals, or for people who love vibrant and exciting displays, this is the place to visit.
This attraction is packed full with several outdoor areas including a large sculptured face and waterfall, and a hedge maze, and some interesting indoor displays about Swarovski.
The indoor displays or “Chambers of Wonder” are dazzling and contain thousands of crystals, all created by a selection of visionary designers.
This is another top sight in Innsbruck for both adults and children alike!
Tip: This ticket includes entrance & transfer
8. Alpine Zoo
Plenty of cities have a Zoo, but what sets Innsbruck’s Alpine Zoo apart from the rest is its concentration on mainly indigenous animals of the area and animals that live in mountainous areas.
You can walk through the Zoo and see such marvels as a mighty Brown Bear, playful Otters swimming in the water, howling Wolves, and a majestic Golden Eagle.
The Zoo also helps biodiversity of the area and provides some of the more endangered animals a home.
If you are unsure about visiting a Zoo, do not be put off; the animals here are all extremely well looked after and have plenty of space to roam around in.
9. Cathedral of St. James
Cathedrals often stand as central points in a city or as a recognisable landmark; St. James’ Cathedral is no exception.
Its front facade stands out with two green domed bell towers and a striking Baroque design, while the interior has all the typical trappings and decorations one would expect from an important religious building.
The ceilings and domes have beautiful artwork and details, while the main altar is lavished with gold and marble and creates a wonderful centrepiece.
Finally on-top of all this the Cathedral also contains the tomb of Archduke Maximillian III (Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights) and eight working ornate bells.
10. Tirol Panorama
Not to be confused with the view (which is breath-taking nonetheless) the Tirol Panorama is a 360 degree painting that depicts the famous battle of Bergisel where the Tirol rebels fought off Napoleonic invaders.
The painting and museum are situated where the actual battle took place and are a great way to learn about the history of this area and the struggles the Tyrolean rebels persevered through.
The actual quality and artistic acumen of this immense 10,764 square foot painting are fabulous and the scenes that it depicts really are interesting.
The Kaiserjäger museum that is next door is also bursting with artefacts, facts and military history from Innsbruck in the 18th and 19th centuries and should be visited together with the panorama.
11. Hofgarten (Garden)
If you want to get away from the busy tourist areas and buildings, the Hofgarten is the perfect place for you.
Located near the Hofburg Palace, it is quite central and easy to reach.
Over the years the garden has seen many different designs and now contains several ponds, a play-park, a restaurant and loads of beautiful mature trees and plant life.
At certain times concerts are also held here and sometimes even chess tournaments.
Whatever you choose to do, the well manicured lawns, luscious greenery and lovely garden landscapes will be perfect to enjoy.
12. The Golden Roof
Yes you guessed it, the Golden Roof, or Goldenes Dachl, is a building with, wait for it…. A Gold Roof! Located in the Altstadt part of Innsbruck, this is considered the cities most famous landmark and was constructed in the 1500’s for Emperor Maximillian I. The striking roof canopy is made up of 2,738 gilded copper tiles while the lower balconies bear coast of arms relating to the Emperors historical territories.
Although not a place you could spend hours at, the Goldenes Dachl is a great attraction to see whilst in the old town area.
13. The Hofkirche
Another of Innsbruck’s impressive religious buildings, the Hofkirche has a gothic design and was built in the 1500’s by Emperor Ferdinand I. While the architecture of this church is interesting in its own right, the real treat is the interior; it is full of beautiful red marble columns and a Cenotaph to the Emperor Maximillian.
The Cenotaph is the main centrepiece of the church and is surrounded by 28 statues depicting various ancestors and heroes including King Arthur and Leopold III.
14. Tyrolean Folk Art Museum
If you choose to see at least one museum in Innsbruck, then the Folk Art Museum is a must and is considered one of the finest of its kind in Europe.
Centrally located next to the Hofkirche you can see the museum together with several other sights to make the best use of your time.
The museum hosts a fine collection of cultural artefacts from the Tyrolean area and also several restored wood-panelled rooms that reflect the style and design of the time.
15. Maria-Theresien Strasse
Stretching from the Triumphal Arch to the Old Town, this street is one of the busiest in Innsbruck and has a wide variety of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and also holds great historical significance in the city.
Part of the street is fully pedestrianized and it is the perfect place to take a stroll, or maybe enjoy a drink while admiring the beautiful architecture lining it.
The Triumphal Arc, St Anne’s Column and the Chapel of St. George are all located on or in close proximity to this street also so there is plenty to do and see.