Standing in front of the colorful architecture and alpine mountains of Innsbruck
Blog Innsbruck | a complete travel guide to Austria’s Tyrolean capital

Innsbruck | a complete travel guide to Austria’s Tyrolean capital

Interested in escaping to a stunning alpine city? Look no further than Austria's Tyrolean capital, Innsbruck. This guide will be your companion as you embark on an unforgettable journey through the history, culture, nature, and food of Austria's fifth-largest city. So, as the locals say, willkommen in Innsbruck!
Introduction to Innsbruck

Imagine wandering through cobblestone streets, surrounded by colorful architecture and towering alpine mountains. That’s what you’ll discover upon visiting Austria’s Tyrolean capital, Innsbruck. Whether you’re an outdoor junkie eager to conquer the slopes, or a culture enthusiast seeking to trace the footsteps of past emperors, this city has something for everyone. So lace up your hiking boots, grab your cameras, and get ready to unveil the magic of Innsbruck. 

Getting started in Innsbruck

Arrival information

By plane

Innsbruck Airport (INN) is located just a short drive away from the city center. Innsbruck Airport has both domestic and international flights and offers convenient access to the city and its surrounding areas. Some hotels and private companies offer airport shuttle services to and from Innsbruck Airport, providing a convenient transportation option for travelers.

By train

Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof is the city’s main train station and is a major hub for both domestic and international train services. I traveled to the city via train, and the views alone made this my preferred mode of transportation! The railway is well-connected to cities across Austria and Europe, I came from Strasbourg, France, for instance. Taking the train is an easy and beautiful way to reach Innsbruck.

By car

If you prefer a good road trip, Austria in general is easily accessible by car thanks to its well-maintained road networks that connect major cities and neighboring countries. The A12 motorway (Inntal Autobahn) runs through the region, providing direct access to Innsbruck.

Overview of public transportation options

Skopje’s public transportation system consists of buses and taxis, providing convenient options for getting around the city and its surrounding areas.

Bus & tram

Innsbruck has an efficient public transportation system consisting of buses and trams that serve the city and its outskirts. The network provides convenient access to various attractions, neighborhoods, and surrounding areas.

Taxi & ridesharing

Taxis are readily available at the airport, train station, and throughout the city. You can also opt for ridesharing services like Uber, which operates in Innsbruck.

Bike rentals

As Dutchies, we have to see what the bike situation is like in any city we visit. To our happy surprise, Innsbruck is a bicycle-friendly city where you can easily explore its streets and scenic routes by renting a bicycle from various rental shops.

Neighborhoods and Accommodations in Innsbruck

Different neighborhoods and their characteristics

Innenstadt (City Center)
Found in the heart of Innsbruck, Innenstadt is where you’ll find historic landmarks, picturesque squares, and easily accessible pedestrian streets. Here stands the famous Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), as well as the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) and the St. James’ Cathedral (Dom zu St. Jakob). If you only have time to visit one area in the city, this is where you need to go.

Wilten
Located south of the city center, Wilten is known for its calm atmosphere and religious sites. The Wilten Basilica (Wiltener Basilika) is a prominent landmark, featuring Baroque architecture and beautiful interiors. Here, you can explore lively squares and parks while simultaneously taking in views of the Nordkette mountain range.

Hungerburg

Situated on the slopes of the Nordkette mountain range, Hungerburg offers stunning panoramic views of Innsbruck and the surrounding area. This neighborhood is popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. Hungerburg is also home to the Hungerburg Tower (Hungerburg Turm), a striking modern structure with an observation deck. Plus, it’s accessible via the Hungerburgbahn funicular, which is a fun experience all on its own!

Igls
For outdoor enthusiasts, Igls is a tranquil residential area known for its natural beauty and recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and golfing in the scenic surroundings of Igls. Furthermore, the Patscherkofel mountain offers winter sports facilities, including skiing and snowboarding.

Amras
Another popular area for outdoor recreation is Amras. Not only does this area feature parks, playgrounds, and sports facilities, but it is also home to the Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras), a Renaissance-era castle with art collections and gardens. This is a diverse neighborhood offering a mix of residential areas, green spaces, and cultural attractions.

Accommodation options

Budget
Montagu Bed & Beers Hostel

This is a great place to stay whether you’re on a proper holiday or just passing through. They offer mixed-girls dorm rooms or private rooms with shared bathrooms. This venue is a good place for sleeping, hanging out after snowboarding, relaxing after skiing, and connecting with people while cooking. If you’re yearning for a drink or simply don’t feel like cooking, swing by the reception, which also doubles as a local bar offering homemade lemonades, cocktails, and cultural events in their arched cellar.

Mid-range
Nala Individuellhotel

Located in central Innsbruck, Nala Individuellhotel is just 800 meters from the iconic Golden Roof! This hotel offers Italian dining, a fitness center, and free WiFi. Breakfast is highly recommended and served until noon on weekdays and 2:00 pm on weekends. Here, you can take in mountain views from our terrace and enjoy 24-hour reception and bike rental. Maria-Theresien-Straße shopping is just steps away and with the train station and airport nearby, this is an easily accessible hotel!

Luxury
Hotel Innsbruck
Looking for a luxurious stay? Then I recommend going to Hotel Innsbruck. This beautiful establishment is situated along the scenic banks of the Inn River in the heart of the Old Town. Just 200 meters from the iconic Golden Roof and a short stroll from the Congress Centre and Nordkettenbahnen Cable Car. You can take your relaxation to the next level by enjoying the two spa areas featuring a golden indoor pool and panoramic wellness facilities that boast bio saunas, Finnish saunas, infrared cabins, and a sun terrace.

Attractions and Landmarks in Innsbruck

Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)
If you’ve only heard of one popular attraction in Innsbruck, it is probably the Goldenes Dachl. This is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks! The Golden Roof is a shimmering balcony adorned with 2,657 gilded copper tiles. It was constructed in the early 15th century by Emperor Maximilian I and has served as a royal residence and venue for royal events for many years.

Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
Located in the heart of the Old Town, the Imperial Palace is a grand Renaissance-style palace that was once the residence of the Habsburg rulers. Visitors can explore its beautifully adorned rooms. The ones most worth checking out include the Giant’s Hall (Riesensaal) and the Emperor’s Apartments.

Alpine Zoo (Alpenzoo)
For animal lovers and those traveling with families, you won’t want to miss out on the Alpine Zoo. Situated on the slopes of the Nordkette mountain range, this fun establishment is home to a diverse collection of alpine animals, including ibexes, bears, lynxes, and birds of prey. It’s the highest zoo in Europe and offers breathtaking views of Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains.

Nordkette Cable Car
If you are looking for panoramic views of Innsbruck and the Alps, we recommend you take a ride on the Nordkette Cable Car. The journey takes you from the city center to the Hungerburg plateau and then up to the Hafelekar peak, where you can enjoy stunning vistas and hiking trails.

Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras)
Culture and art connoisseurs, this is the place for you. Located in the neighborhood of Amras, Ambras Castle is a Renaissance-era palace known for its art collections, historical exhibits, and beautiful gardens. Furthermore, highlights include the Spanish Hall (Spanischer Saal) and the Chamber of Art and Curiosities (Kunst- und Wunderkammer).

Bergisel Ski Jump
Designed by famous architect Zaha Hadid, the Bergisel Ski Jump is a modern architectural marvel and a popular attraction in Innsbruck. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city and watch ski jumpers in action. Also, don’t miss out on the restaurant, Bergisel Sky. Thanks to its big wide windows, you can get a great view of the mountains from the warmth of a cozy, indoor atmosphere.

St. James’ Cathedral (Dom St. Jakob)
Dom St. Jakob stands as a prominent landmark in Innsbruck, Austria, representing the city’s rich cultural and religious heritage. Constructed in the early 18th century in the Baroque style by architect Johann Jakob Herkomer, the cathedral has intricate façades, splendid frescoes, and elaborate altars within its interior. Adorned with sculptures and stained glass windows, it showcases masterpieces by renowned artists like Balthasar Moll and Cosmas Damian Asam.

Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten)
Just a short drive from Innsbruck, Swarovski Crystal Worlds is a fascinating museum and art installation dedicated to the world of crystals. Visitors can explore themed chambers, outdoor sculptures, and a garden of crystal creations.

Dining in Innsbruck

Innsbruck offers a variety of dining experiences, from elegant fine dining to cozy taverns, ensuring that food enthusiasts can enjoy a culinary journey that satisfies every palate.

  • Restaurant Lichtblick: Located at the top of the Rathausgalerien shopping center, Restaurant Lichtblick offers stunning panoramic views of Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains. The menu features modern Austrian cuisine with a focus on seasonal and regional ingredients, beautifully presented in creative dishes.

  • Stiftskeller: Situated in the historic Old Town, Stiftskeller is one of the oldest restaurants in Innsbruck, dating back to the 15th century. This charming restaurant serves authentic Tyrolean cuisine in a cozy and rustic atmosphere, with dishes like schnitzel, dumplings, and hearty stews. Guests can dine in the historic vaulted cellar or the quaint outdoor courtyard, soaking in the ambiance of centuries past.

  • The Penz Hotel Restaurant: Located in the heart of Innsbruck, The Penz Hotel Restaurant offers a sophisticated dining experience in a stylish setting. The menu showcases contemporary European cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and innovative flavors.

  • Gasthaus Anich: Found in the Wilten district, Gasthaus Anich is a cozy and welcoming gastropub known for its traditional Tyrolean dishes and warm hospitality. The menu features classics like Wiener Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, and Tyrolean dumplings, prepared with care and served in generous portions. Thanks to its charming ambiance and authentic cuisine, Gasthaus Anich offers a true taste of Tyrolean hospitality.

  • Osteria Antica: For lovers of Italian cuisine, Osteria Antica is a hidden gem tucked away in the Old Town of Innsbruck. This family-owned restaurant serves authentic Italian dishes made with fresh, high-quality ingredients imported from Italy. From homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas to antipasti and seafood specialties, Osteria Antica offers a taste of Italy in the heart of Tyrol.

  • Café Pension Alpina: One of the highlights of this hospitality establishment is its charming café, where guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast to start their day or relax with a cup of coffee in the afternoon. The café serves a selection of freshly brewed coffees, teas, pastries, and light snacks, providing guests with a cozy spot to unwind and enjoy the ambiance.

Cuisine in Innsbruck

The culinary scene in Innsbruck combines traditional Tyrolean flavors with international influences. Here’s an overview of what food to expect:

  • Tyrolean Cuisine: Characterized by hearty and flavorful dishes, Tyrolean cuisine often features locally sourced ingredients such as mountain cheeses, venison, and freshwater fish. One of the most famous Tyrolean specialties is Tiroler Gröstl, a hearty dish made with potatoes, onions, and meat, typically served with a fried egg on top. Another popular dish is Käsespätzle, a variation of macaroni and cheese featuring homemade noodles topped with melted cheese and crispy onions.
  • Alpine Cuisine: Innsbruck’s proximity to the Alps influences its culinary offerings, with many restaurants serving Alpine-inspired dishes such as fondue, raclette, and hearty soups. Wild game dishes, including venison and wild boar, are often featured on menus during the hunting season. You can also enjoy traditional Alpine desserts like apple strudel, Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancake), and Germknödel (yeast dumplings filled with plum jam). Yum!
  • International Cuisine: Innsbruck boasts a diverse range of international cuisine, including Italian, Asian, and Mediterranean restaurants. Here, you can find wood-fired pizzas, fresh pasta dishes, sushi, Thai curries, and more at the city’s many restaurants and eateries.
  • Local Ingredients and Markets: Home to several markets, there are plenty of opportunities for you to sample and purchase local ingredients, artisanal products, and traditional delicacies. The Markthalle Innsbruck, for instance, is a vibrant indoor market featuring stalls selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bread, pastries, and regional specialties.
  • Cafés and Bakeries: Innsbruck’s cafés and bakeries offer a cozy atmosphere where people can relax and enjoy coffee, pastries, and sweet treats. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Austrian pastries like Sachertorte (chocolate cake), Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), and Linzer Torte (almond tart).
  • Beer and Wine: Beer lovers will appreciate the variety of local and regional beers available here, including traditional Austrian brews and craft beers from Tyrolean breweries. If you are more of a wine enthusiast, like I am, feel free to explore the local wine scene. You’ll discover vineyards producing white and red wines in many of the surrounding regions.
Activities and Entertainment in Innsbruck

Skopje Events and Festivals
Innsbruck offers a vibrant tapestry of events and festivals! From traditional Tyrolean celebrations to international music festivals, there is a rich diversity of experiences that await you here in the heart of the Austrian Alps. 

  • Innsbruck Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt): Held during the Advent season in the Old Town, the Innsbruck Christmas Market is a magical event that transforms the city into a winter wonderland. Imagine festively decorated streets, traditional handicrafts, and seasonal treats like mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread! The market also features live music, nativity scenes, and a charming atmosphere that captures the spirit of the holiday season. Take your adventure to the next level with a guided tour.
  • Innsbruck Festival of Early Music (Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik): As one of Europe’s most prestigious early music festivals, the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music celebrates the rich heritage of Baroque and Renaissance music. The festival features concerts, operas, and chamber music performances in historic venues such as the Imperial Palace and the Court Church, offering audiences a unique opportunity to experience music from centuries past.
  • Bergisel Ski Jump World Cup: This competition, attracts top athletes from around the globe to compete in ski jumping and Nordic combined events. Held against the backdrop of the Nordkette mountain range, the competitions showcase thrilling feats of athleticism and provide spectators with an electrifying atmosphere.
  • New Orleans Festival: As a girl who spent many years in New Orleans, this particular festival enticed me. The New Orleans Festival brings the lively spirit of New Orleans to Innsbruck. Held in March, the festival features a lineup of jazz, blues, and swing performances in various venues across the city. You’ll enjoy the infectious rhythms and soulful melodies of this vibrant musical genre.

Art and Galleries
Innsbruck has a dynamic art scene with a variety of galleries and cultural institutions that showcase contemporary and historical works from Austria and beyond. Galerie im Taxispalais, housed in the historic Taxispalais building, presents thought-provoking contemporary exhibitions, while Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum offers insights into Tyrolean art and culture through its extensive collection of paintings and artifacts. Galerie Bertrand Kass and Galerie Rhomberg highlight contemporary Austrian and international artists, providing platforms for emerging talents to exhibit their work. Kunstraum Innsbruck serves as a hub for experimental and interdisciplinary artistic practices, hosting exhibitions and events that push the boundaries of traditional art forms. Together, these galleries contribute to Innsbruck’s vibrant cultural landscape, inviting visitors to explore and engage with a diverse range of artistic expressions and ideas.

Nightlife and Bars
The nightlife scene here is vibrant and varied. There is certainly something for everyone to enjoy, ranging from casual drinks with friends to lively club nights and cultural experiences.

  • Bars and Pubs: You’ll find a lot of cozy bars and traditional pubs scattered throughout Old Town. Locals and tourists alike gather to unwind and socialize in this area. Sample Austrian wines, enjoy artisanal cocktails, or simply soak in the ambiance of these atmospheric establishments.

  • Clubs and Lounges: Innsbruck has a selection of clubs and lounges where partygoers can dance the night away to the latest beats and tunes. Many clubs feature themed nights, live DJs, and special events catering to diverse music preferences, from electronic and house to hip-hop and R&B.

  • Live Music Venues: Live music enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of venues in Innsbruck showcasing local bands, solo artists, and touring acts. From intimate cafes hosting acoustic performances to larger concert halls featuring rock, jazz, and blues bands, there’s live music to suit every taste. Keep an eye out for special events, open mic nights, and jam sessions where you can discover new talent and enjoy memorable performances.

Language and Customs in Innsbruck

Language
In Austria, the primary language spoken is German. However, due to its status as an international tourist destination, you’ll find that English is commonly spoken and understood here. Many locals, particularly those working in the tourism industry, have a good command of English and may also speak other languages such as Italian or French.

Common phrases

When visiting any destination, it is always appreciated to make an effort to speak a few basic phrases in the local language. Here are some common German phrases that should help you navigate the city. Start with common greetings like “Guten Morgen” (Good morning), “Bitte” (Please), and “Danke” (Thank you). Basic questions such as “Wie geht es Ihnen?” (How are you?) and “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” (Do you speak English?) can help in various situations. When asking for directions or help, use phrases like “Wo ist…?” (Where is…?) and “Können Sie mir helfen?” (Can you help me?). Finally, while ordering food and drinks phrases like “Eine Tasse Kaffee, bitte” (A cup of coffee, please) and “Die Rechnung, bitte” (The bill, please) are useful.

Tipping
Tipping in Innsbruck, Austria, follows a straightforward custom where leaving a gratuity is customary but not obligatory. In restaurants and cafes, it’s common to leave a tip of around 5-10% of the total bill if satisfied with the service, either by leaving it on the table or informing the server. For drinks at bars and cafes, rounding up the bill or leaving loose change is appreciated. Taxi rides usually involve rounding up the fare as a tip, while tipping hotel staff and tour guides is not mandatory but appreciated for exceptional service.

Religious sites
When visiting religious sites it’s important to demonstrate respect for the religious customs and traditions observed by the local community. This includes dressing modestly and adhering to any dress codes in place, maintaining a quiet and respectful demeanor, and refraining from disruptive behavior. While photography may be allowed, it’s important to check for guidelines and avoid intrusive or disrespectful photo-taking. By showing consideration for the beliefs and practices of others, you will have a meaningful and respectful experience.

Shopping in Skopje

Old Town (Altstadt)

Innsbruck’s Old Town is a shopper’s paradise, featuring charming cobblestone streets lined with boutique shops, souvenir stores, and artisanal craft shops. Browse for traditional Tyrolean clothing, handmade crafts, locally produced goods, and souvenirs like wooden carvings, ceramics, and decorative items.

Maria-Theresien-Straße

This pedestrian street is one of Innsbruck’s main shopping areas, offering a mix of international fashion brands, department stores, and specialty shops. From designer boutiques to high-street fashion chains, shoppers can find a wide array of clothing, accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics.

Markthalle Innsbruck

Located near the city center, Markthalle Innsbruck is a vibrant indoor market offering an assortment of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bread, pastries, and regional specialties. You can sample local delicacies, purchase gourmet ingredients, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this bustling marketplace.

Shopping Centers

Innsbruck is home to several shopping centers and malls, including Kaufhaus Tyrol and Sillpark, which feature a diverse range of shops, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment options. These modern shopping destinations offer a convenient and comfortable environment for browsing, dining, and leisure activities.

Christmas Markets

As I mentioned before, during the festive season, Innsbruck comes alive with enchanting Christmas markets held in the Old Town and other locations. Visitors can explore rows of festively decorated stalls selling handmade gifts, Christmas decorations, seasonal treats, and mulled wine. The markets offer a magical atmosphere and provide an opportunity to experience traditional Austrian holiday customs.

Antique Shops and Galleries

For those interested in vintage finds and unique treasures, Innsbruck is home to antique shops and galleries specializing in antiques, collectibles, and rare artifacts. Visitors can discover hidden gems, browse for one-of-a-kind items, and immerse themselves in the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Conclusion 

As you prepare for your journey to Innsbruck, Austria’s captivating Tyrolean capital, we hope this city guide serves as your companion. From the majestic Alpine landscapes to the charming cobblestone streets of the Old Town, enjoy the culture, history, and natural beauty of this area. Finally, we wish you safe travels and for your time in Innsbruck to be filled with fun and incredible discovery!

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4 Responses

  1. Sharyn says:

    I really enjoyed my visit to Innsbruck – apart from seeing the ski jump I loved the shopping and bought the best pair of walking shoes ever!

  2. Sonia says:

    We enjoyed our visits to Innsbruck. Exploring town was fun, but also the side trips to some of the smaller towns in the area.

  3. Marga says:

    What a fantastic guide about Innsbruck! I hope to visit soon so all the details come at the right time.

  4. Hannah says:

    Innsbruck looks so gorgeous! I hope I can go there one day. The mountains are stunning and the streets are so charming.

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Chapter Fernweh
by Kiki & Jazzie

We are Kiki & Jazzie – travel content creators based in the Netherlands. On our website and social channels, we share our European adventures, insights, and discoveries. From immersive travel guides and breathtaking photography to personal reflections and captivating video content.

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