Day 1 in Innsbruck
Welcome to Innsbruck, Tyrol`s capital!
Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you
opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for
you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in
to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Start your afternoon by strolling through Old Town, it is compact, scenic, and easy to visit. Innsbruck is steeped in over 800 years of history with each building having a separate story to tell. Most of the city`s most popular sights, like the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Hofkirche (Court Church), and the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), are all within walking distance of each other. With its cobblestone streets, charming cafes, shops, and lively atmosphere it is a great place to stroll, go shopping, and if you are lucky, you may be able to see a street performance.
Running through Old Town is Maria Theresa Street, named for the woman who ruled the Hapsberg dynasty for a time. Most of the shopping is concentrated along this steet. Stop in one of the charming cafes for a bite to eat and take in the friendly vibe of the town.
Make sure to visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace, considered by most as one of three top significant cultural buildings in the country. This is a must-see in Innsbruck where you can access the throne room, imperial apartments, a chapel and the gardens. The complex has become home to five differently themed museum areas. Make sure to check out the rooms of Empress Maria Theresa, the 19th-century apartment of Empress Elisabeth, the Ancestral Gallery, the Furniture Museum, and the Painting Gallery. Each museum reflects various political, cultural and historical aspects of the Hofburg throughout the centuries.
As evening approaches, fill up on some Austrian fare in the Old Town area where you`ll find plenty of delicious restaurants and pubs. One staple dish is Tirolean Speckknödel, round boiled bread and bacon dumplings consumed with a broth. Another favorite is Tiroler Gröstl, a satisfying fried dish of bacon, onion, potato and egg. Or, dig into some Schlutzkrapfen, a ravioli-style meal stuffed with potato and served sprinkled with herbs.
After dinner, take in the city at night before heading back to your hotel for a restful night sleep.
Day 2 in Innsbruck
Grab a quick bite to eat before
heading out to the Nordkette
Mountains (North Chain Mountain Range), this is part of Austria`s
largest nature park and can be reached directly from Innsbruck city center in
just a few minutes.
You have three options for ascending these mountain ranges. The Hungerburg Funicular takes riders a short ways up to Hermann Buhl Square. This is the cheapest, quickest option (just 8 minutes) where you`ll be rewarded with some amazing views over the city.
From Hermann Buhl Square, take the Nordkette cable car (also called the Innsbruker Nordkettenbahnen) to Seegrube (6,250 ft). Once at the top, enjoy the breathtaking views. You also have the option to hike the Panorama trail, an easy hike that can be completed in 30 minutes.
The third cable car, from Seegrube to Hafelekar Peak, takes you as high as you can go, 7,545 ft. From here, you`ll be rewarded with views of the Alps. You will also find a number of sports and leisure activities offered in Seegrube and Hafelekar Peak. Good downhill mountain biking, hiking, handgliding, skiing, and more.
There is also an excellent restaurant here, Seegrube restaurant, the highest in restaurant in the city serving up Austrian favorites with panoramic views. The restaurant is two floors - on the ground level it`s a cantee-style affair, expect an informal atmosphere, local beers on tap and snacks. The 2nd floor is where you`ll find the Seegrube restaurant. Here, it`s much more formal dining experience with a menu offering a true culinary feast.
Once you descend, head over to discover Olympiaworld. Innsbruck hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. The sports complex at Olypmiaworld was used during the Olympics and are still in use today. Make sure to check out the Bergisel Ski Jump, the top of the ski jump offers stunning panoramic view of Innsbruck. The ski jump is also used for training and competitive purposes, so if you are here at the right time, you will also be able to watch ski jumping.
Adjacent to the Bergisel Ski Jump, you`ll find the Tyrol Panorama. The Museum presents the history of Tyrol. The centerpiece of the museum is a 10,000 square ft panoramic painting which depicts a key battle from 1809. The painting took one artist and four helpers just three months to paint. Other exhibits at Tyrol Panorama cover religion, nature, politics, anthropology and local culture. Outside the museum, there is a over a mile of trail circling the mountain for amazing views of the surrounding areas.
After a busy day of sightseeing, head back to your hotel to refresh before hitting the town at night. Innsbruck is a university town and its nightlife is quite lively and varied. You can find hundreds of locals gathering towards Maria Theresien street and the alleyways of the Old Town where there are a number of cafes, pubs and bars. For a livelier scene, there`s the Viaduktbogen railway arches where you`ll find local pubs, clubs and live music bars. And you can always try your luck at the Casino Innsbruck that offers several gaming options like poker, black jack, roulette as well as 84 slot machines. They also have dining options.
Day 3 in Innsbruck
Start your day at the Swarovski Kristallwelten
(Swarovski Crystal Worlds), located 20 minutes outside of Innsbruck, there is
nothing quite like this museum! You will need a least half a day to fully enjoy
all the Swarovski Crystal Worlds. The crystal headquarters is part art museum,
party crystal shop, part goumet haven, all in the middle of the Tirolean
mountains. While here, make sure to walk the Chambers of Wonder, the `Giant,` a grass and crystal
covered head that spouts water into a pond. Inside the chambers there is 17
rooms filled with crystal art by international stars. After strolling the
grounds, allow some time to shop in the largest Swarovski store in the world,
which features unique items only available in Austria.
Finish your tour of Swarovski Crystal Worlds at the restaurant Daniels Kristallwelten for lunch (which actually warrants a trip on its own). It is housed in an amorphously-shaped pavilion in the sweeping garden area. Enjoy excellent views of the art in the park while feasting on the delectable creations by award-winning chef and the restaurant`s very own patisserie.
Next, make your way back into town to check out a few of the highlights you may have missed. Some suggestions are the Schloss Ambras, a Renaissance Castle built in 1563; the Alpine Zoo, one of the highest elevation zoos in Europe with about 2,000 local animals; the Cathedral of St James, a Boroque cathedral in Old town; the City Tower, an observation deck which stands over the city offering stunning views of Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains, and so much more!
Additional Days in Innsbruck
If you`re finding yourself with an
extra day to spare, check out some of the active pursuits in Innsbruck.
Ski areas around Innsbruck are excellent for winter activity or for summer mountain
walks. In winter, the city is also known for bobsled and toboggan runs and
ice-skating rinks. In summer, you can enjoy tennis, golf, or go horseback
riding, mountaineering, gliding, swimming, or hiking.
You may also choose to head out of town for a day trip. The medieval town of Kufstein is only 46 miles from Innsbruck, where you can spend the day wandering the small town. There is a fortress on a hill over the village, which is accessed by funicular or a footpath. In addition to the fortress, there`s a local museum, narrow streets lined with traditional Tyrolean houses and the Riedel glass factory.
If you`re here in the summer, you may want to spend a day in Tirol`s largest lake, the beautiful Lake Achensee. Head to Achensee for a day of swimming and scuba diving off the shore of Maurach. During the warmer months, the shallow waters remain a pleasant 70 degrees F. Another fun option is to take a padal boat or an electric boat to sightsee around the lake. The southern inlet is surrounded by the luscious green Rofan Mountains, ensuring your dip in the lake is as picturesque and calming as possible.
Your Last Day in Innsbruck
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.