Innsbruck – the Capital of the Alps
Anyone who comes to visit Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region, will immediately notice the close coexistence of culture and nature. This union and alpine character is visible all around: The view down the splendid Maria-Theresien-Street towards the 800-year-old medieval Old Town is always crowned by the majestic Nordkette mountain chain. The Nordkettenbahnen cable cars take you directly from the Old Town to 2000m in just 20 minutes, which is unique worldwide. Visitors to Innsbruck and its 25 holiday villages can also use the hiker’s bus with their guest card, as well as take part in a fabulous mountain hiking programme, rent equipment and are accompanied by a guide – all for free! Innsbruck is also home to the highest altitude zoo of Europe – the Alpine Zoo, one of the main family attractions.
Innsbruck’s urban character is among other things reflected by the numerous summer festivals. The free Promenade Concerts every evening in July in the sumptuous courtyard of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music in July and August at the romantic Ambras Castle or the New Orleans Jazz Festival in July. On top, two shopping malls in the city centre, small craftsman stores in the Old Town and the Swarovski Flagship Store guarantee finding the right souvenir for the loved ones at home.
Innsbruck is the only city in the world that has hosted the Winter Olympic Games three times so far. This itself shows the good reputation the city has in regard to winter activities. The skiing season is from Dec. until mid of April. At that time 9 ski areas with 300km of slopes are spread on the mountains surrounding Innsbruck and each caters to different needs. On top, the Stubai Glacier offers skiing and snow adventures the entire year through. Experts, families, beginners, snowboarders, freestylers or simply sun worshipers are all well catered for. Traditional cuisine on a mountain hut restaurant included! But not only skiing is popular in the Capital of the Alps, additionally there is cross-country skiing, ski touring, snow-shoe hiking, tobogganing, ice skating, horse sleigh riding, winter hiking and much more. The brave ones can even go down the Olympic Bobsleigh Igls with speeds of up to 120km/h all year around.
Winter in Innsbruck is not only a very active time, it is also the romantic season with six different Christmas Markets. From mid of Nov. until beginning of Jan. they can be found across the town. Hot wine, the smell of freshly made cookies, handcrafted souvenirs and the sound of brass bands compose the atmosphere you get at that time.
Must Have – the Innsbruck Card
The Innsbruck Card is the best way to experience the city. It is an all-inclusive and best value-for-money offer. With it entrance to all sights, all 7 cable cars, all public transport, sightseeing bus, shuttle bus and entrance to Swarovski Crystal Worlds, daily guided city tours in English and discounts at shops is included. It is commissionable.
The best and easiest way to explore the city and make use of the available time is via the Innsbruck Card. The "All inclusive Innsbruck Card" means no worries for the guest as everything is included. It invites you to travel for free on Innsbruck's public transport network, 7 different cable cars which will take you up to 2.300 m above sea level, the city sightseeing bus and the shuttle bus to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds. This fabulous card grants also free admission to all of Innsbruck's museums and sights, 18 by number, including the Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the Hofburg
Imperial Palace, Ambras Castle, Alpine Zoo and so on. In addition, it includes a guided city tour in English twice a day and a welcome drink at the famous Innsbruck Casino as well as discounts in several shops.
The Innsbruck Card is available for 24, 48 and 72 hours with prices starting at € 39; children pay half price (age 6-15). The Innsbruck Card is commissionable.
The Golden Roof is the landmark of Innsbruck. In Austria when you mention the word Innsbruck, everyone will picture this Golden Roof. Actually, it is a three-story balcony on the central plaza in the heart of the Old Town. The late Gothic oriel is capped with 2,738 gold-plated copper tiles. It was constructed in 1500 for Emperor Maximilian I and served as a royal box where he could sit in luxury and enjoy tournaments in the square below. Nowadays it is home to a museum of the historic development of the city.
The Nordkette mountain chain is Innsbruck’s landmark mountain. It is very popular by locals and a hiking and skiing mecca and a must visit attraction. Star architect Zaha Hadid designed the stations. Innsbruck is also the only town in the world that has a cable car station directly in the Old Town. The designer cable car whisks you up to 2.300m altitude in just 20 minutes.
At 750m altitude, it is the highest zoo of Europe and the only themed wildlife sanctuary worldwide. More than 2,000 animals and 150 species can be viewed in their natural habitats as the zoo’s enclosures, aviaries, aquariums and open-air terrariums are home to the most complete populations of animals native to the European Alpine regions. This means bears, wolves, eagles, lynx, mountain deer and more. What makes the zoo very special is the way it was naturally build onto the landscape of the mountain. It is located on the middle station of the Nordkettenbahnen Cable Cars and, therefore, easy to reach in 10 minutes from the Old Town.
The Swarovski Crystal Worlds, a 15 min bus ride east of Innsbruck, count among Austria’s most visited attractions. Swarovski Crystals were invented in Tyrol and this unique museum invites visitors to immerse themselves in a mesmerizing world of wonders. Accurately timed to mark Swarovski’s 120th anniversary and the 20th year since the Swarovski Crystal Worlds first opened their doors, a ‘new era of wonders’ started in May 2015. 800.000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals are drifting star-like above a black mirror
pool, giving the impression of a magical 1,400m² Crystal Cloud. Additionally the innovative play tower and outdoor play area and a new restaurant as well as a vast Swarovski Store, one of the largest of its kind worldwide, awaits the visitor. Don’t forget to also stop by at the fascinating Swarovski Flagship Store in Innsbruck’s historic old town. It offers visitors a brilliant crystalline experience with its magical Chamber of Wonders, enticing Iconic Items and an exciting array of glittering Swarovski products waiting to be explored.
The Hofburg Imperial Palace was built in late Gothic style around 1460 and rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18th century. The Imperial Apartments consist of 25 state apartments and show how the royal family once lived as well as the Giants' Hall, a majestic ballroom once used for royal receptions. The Promenade Concerts play classical music concerts every evening in July in the sumptuous courtyard of the Imperial Palace free of charge.
This Imperial Church from the 16th century is famous for its memorial for Emperor Maximilian I and is the most prominent tomb memorial for an emperor in Europe. The extensive monument consists of a cenotaph with the figure of the kneeling emperor and 28 larger than life statues of his ancestors. Among them the legendary fairy-tale king Arthur of England.
Ambras Castle is delightfully located above Innsbruck and is one of the city's most noteworthy attractions. The Castle was built in the 16th century. It is divided into a lower and an upper castle, set in the remains of a medieval fortress and extensive imperial gardens. The emperor at that time collected everything he thought of as being exotic, therefore, the Ambras Castle has e.g. one of the largest Asian exhibitions of that time. It is shown in the so-called chambers of wonder. The castle is very romantic and a marvellous place for weddings. Innsbruck’s Festival of Early Music takes place there in July and August each year.
Innsbruck is the only city in the world that hosted the Olympic Winter Games three times so far (1964, 1976, 2012). Because of that Innsbruck has a lot of Olympic facilities that can be visited by guests. Zaha Hadid designed the Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump Tower in 2002 with a panoramic terrace and a restaurant with stunning views over Innsbruck’s city and the impressive Alps. Easily accessible by means of a funicular and a lift to the 50-metre panoramic tower. In summer, ski jumpers train regularly on the sight and jump 100 metres and more down into the stadium. The 4-Hills Ski Jump Tournament takes place there every January.
High speed adventure down the Olympic bobsleigh run in Igls The ultimate challenge awaits all those who want to step into the footsteps of previous Olympia medallists and fly down the course in an original four-man bobsleigh. A qualified pilot and a brakeman will accompany two guests (from the age of 14) per ride down the 1,270-metre long track featuring 14 awe-inspiring curves.
All over the world – in nearly 100 countries – bells from Grassmayr Bell Foundry in Innsbruck can be heard tolling. The Grassmayr family has been casting bells for the whole world for 14 generations. It has 400 years of experience, history and tradition to build upon. The Bell Museum is a unique combination of bell foundry, bell museum and a sound room. Especially kids have fun exploring sound in an active way.
It is home to the 1000m² Giant Panoramic Painting, one of the few remaining of the 19th century. In the museum, visitors embark on an exciting journey through major stages of Tyrolean history and cultural history, and on a search for the “myth of Tyrol”. The freedom fights against Napoleon are visualised there. The Bergisel hill boasts this architectural attraction with a fantastic panoramic view of the 19th century Innsbruck.
Situated immediately adjacent to the Court Church, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum’s comprehensive collection charting the history of the Tyrol makes it a gem of cultural history. With the focus on the different phases inherent in life, it examines people’s cares and anxieties from the past. The panelled parlours are a special feature, and further highlights are the historic Tyrolean costumes, and cribs and cots from the 18th century to the present day.
4. Summer Activities in Innsbruck
A walker’s paradise! Innsbruck invites you to hike in the Alps with 1200 km of maintained paths. It offers one of the most beautiful surroundings for outdoor exercise and relaxation. No matter whether you watch the sunrise, walk along a nature trail on a glacier and experience snow or enjoy a gourmet menu 2000m above sea level – the experience will definitely be unforgettable.
Hiking programme, approved guide from the Alpine School Innsbruck, equipment rental (hiking boots and backpack) and transportation on the hiking bus is free for all guests staying in Innsbruck or one of its 25 holiday villages and owning a guest card from 1 June - 23 October 2015. The guest card can be collected for free at check-in at the hotel.
Its vast array of leisure options has made the Mutterer Alm Adventure Mountain a firm favourite with all the family. The latest attraction promises great fun for visitors of all ages who enjoy whizzing down the slopes on gravity-fuelled mountain carts.
The best part, however, comes at the end when everyone – children sit on the lap of an accompanying adult – zooms back into the valley on a zippy mountain cart. You descend back to the holiday village Mutters on a small road, which acts as a toboggan run in the winter, featuring a total length of 5km and a respectable altitude difference of approximately 750m.
In the close-by holiday village Natters the lake awaits children with a fun activity programme and free child-minder take care of the small ones. Just present your guest card for this service. The lake is open from 1 June – 18 September and the water is of drinking quality, as all of the spring water in Innsbruck.
Bike & Fun
In terms of mountain biking, Innsbruck and its 25 holiday villages caters to all needs. Bike routes of any difficulty level can be found on a total of 115 km, between 600 and 2,250 meters above sea level.
With the Innsbruck Card, your key to the most beautiful sights of Innsbruck and its holiday villages, you can also pedal away ‘all inclusive’ - for all cards, whether they are valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, now include three hours of free bike rental with BikeBörse.
Holiday Village Mutters
Lake Plenderle in Kühtai Valley
Mountain Chapel near Innsbruck
5. Hotels in Innsbruck and its holiday villages
Innsbruck boasts a total bed capacity of 18,500 beds and has a wide variety of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets ranging from deluxe hotels to cosy guesthouses. A few of the prominent hotels are :
- Grauer Bär hotel 4star
- Grand Hotel Europa 5star
- Ramada 3star superior
- Adlers design hotel
6. Shopping, Gambling and Dining in Innsbruck
A traditional city centre, modern shops and an urban atmosphere - the centre of Innsbruck is a very special open-air shopping mall.
The Casino Innsbruck is the perfect spot after a leisurely shopping day in Innsbruck. Try out your luck with all what a gamblers heart needs with roulette, black jack, poker and slot machines and a restaurant and bar for refreshments and dinners
Innsbruck’s culinary scene is very international and caters to all needs. Due to the vicinity to the Mediterranean a lot of Italian, Greek and Spanish cuisine can be found. The density of Asian cuisines is also very high, dozens of Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Nepalese and Thai restaurants compose the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Innsbruck.
Indian Cuisine in the Capital of the Alps
Innsbruck is proud to call itself home to six Indian restaurants, all run by Indian people. Additionally, the Nordkette mountain chain offers Indian food for group-bookings on top of the mountain on 2000m altitude. Desi flavours in a pardesi setting! You have Little India, Madhuban restaurant, Restaurant Rama, Namaste India Deluxe & Sahib to name a few.
Innsbruck and its mountain villages offer all it takes to combine the best of city life and untouched nature. A recent study proofs that Innsbruck's Holiday region comes out on top of 245 European holiday regions as far as environment, living and safety are concerned.
All these typical mountain villages are situated at a sunny terrace at 1.000 m above sea level easily accessible by tramway and bus from the city center.
Nordic walking, cable car rides and a lot more!
8. A sheer luxury: taking a morning shower with mineral water
Innsbruck's water is pure nature
Experts describe Innsbruck's water as "natural mineral water", as 99% of it is spring water. Before bubbling out of every tap it is stored in the mountains for up to 20 years, purified and enriched with minerals. Almost too precious for using in the shower!
In Innsbruck, you do not have to buy water in bottles, as it simply comes out of the tap: directly from the mountains, completely free from germs, untreated, naturally enriched with calcium, magnesium and hydro carbonate - an energy drink with the label "pure nature".
9. Innsbruck the ideal location for Shooting Movies and Serials
Location, location, location! Innsbruck has been the first choice when it comes to choosing the perfect location for Bollywood films and serials. With its dreamy and picturesque alpine mountains, no wonder Karan Johar chose it for his latest movie, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”! There are also several upcoming projects for Star Plus that will be shot exclusively here.The recent Star Tv show "Pardes Mein Hai Mera Dil" was shot here. No production is ever too big, because Innsbruck has the best possible ground support when it comes to experienced crew, location and ample accommodation. Come and have the filmy experience and lose yourself in a romantic song midst the Alpine.
10. Fast Facts Innsbruck
Location: Capital of the Tyrol region in western Austria. Tyrol shares boarders with Germany, Italy and Switzerland
Time: GMT +1 hour
Language: German is the official language but English is widely spoken.
Area: City - 105 km²
Population: City –150.000
Religion: 70 % of Innsbruck’s population are Roman Catholics
Electricity: Austria uses a 50 Hz and 230 V power system. Plug-type F is used.
Telephone Code: +43
Currency: The Euro
Passport/visa requirements: Indian travelers do need a visa to travel to Austria.
Airports: The Innsbruck airport is situated just 5km of Innsbruck
Distances for Arrival or Daytrips
Innsbruck main station in the city centre
Innsbruck airport 5 km; 10 min (by car or bus)
Salzburg airport 185 km; 2h (by car or train)
Munich airport 190 km; 2h (by car or train)
Verona airport 274 km; 3h (by car or train)
Zurich airport 289 km; 3h (by car or train)
Vienna airport 475 km; 4h (by car or train)