When I worked in the Alps, Innsbruck offered a small yet efficient airport that made it easy to reach St. Anton and Seefeld from the UK. But when I had more time to linger in Innsbruck, I realized there’s more to the city than suburbs and transport links.
For me, Innsbruck is most magical in winter—even if there’s no snow on the ground. Think medieval architecture and nature along with hot chocolate, schnapps, and Christmas markets. Whether you’re stopping here for a summer mountain break or on your way to an Austrian ski trip, you’ll find Tyrolean culture and history at its best. Here are my tips to help you get the most out of your time.
Summers can be wet and humid, so pack light layers and raincoats.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a classic Austrian apple strudel—there’s a dedicated strudel café just a few paces from the Golden Roof.
Spend the day getting acquainted with the Old Town (Altstadt) and wandering the tangle of lanes around the medieval buildings. Stop for a photo by the fire-gilded copper tiles of the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) and nip upstairs to the small museum if you want to know more about its history. Afterwards, visit the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) and Tyrolean State Museum for more architectural splendor and insight into Austrian culture.
Get your fill of mountain action today with a trip to the Top of Innsbruck via the Nordkette cable car. The 3-stage ride offers things to do at each station: Step off at Hungerberg to visit the Alpine Zoo Innsbruck, enjoy mountain views over lunch at Seegruber, and snap photos at 7,600 feet (2,300 meters) at the Hafelekar peak.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in a bit more action, see the alpine countryside by bike—or head to nearby Neustift for a piloted paraglide with bird’s-eye views of the Stubaier Mountains.
Spend the morning at the Renaissance Ambras Castle, which sits on a hill above the city. If you don’t have a particular interest in portraits or the Habsburg family, skip the floor that’s devoted to them and focus on the opulent Spanish Hall, the knights’ armor, and the gardens instead.