It’s hard to find a city as quiet as Austria’s Innsbruck. This place stands out with rows of colorful vintage houses located right at the foot of the snow-covered mountain. With 800 years of history, this land is known as the “capital of the Alps” really is a destination that is hard to ignore on the beautiful Austrian travel itinerary. So, what to do and how to visit Innsbruck for the first-time? Let’s check out our Innsbruck travel blog (Innsbruck blog) with the fullest Innsbruck travel guide from how to get there, where to stay, best time and best places to visit, top things to do to clear the answer!
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Innsbruck travel blog: When to visit?
Peak tourist season: The summer from May to September is always the tourist season in Innsbruck. This period always has great conditions for visiting such as no snow, nice weather and daytime lasts until 9pm. Fun activities, cultural and arts performances are also very exciting.
The “shoulder season”: Spring and autumn, the weather is not so perfect as the peak season. But the travel cost is slightly lower and tourists are less. Spring has a number of Austrian public holidays. In the autumn, you have the opportunity to participate in wine festivals and Harvest Festival of local people.
Winter in Innsbruck is not a good time to travel and explore. It is cold and also dark quickly, it is only 4pm and it starts to get dark. However, if you planning a trip, you can choose the end of November and December, the Christmas market in Innsbruck opens quite early, and experience its winter (skiing, winter activities…).
Innsbruck travel guide: How to get to Innsbruck?
You can fly to Innsbruck via Kranebitten Airport. This is the airport serving for the entire Tyrol region in western Austria. The airport is located in the west and 4km from the city center. The routes connecting to Innsbruck Airport include London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Edinburgh…
From the airport you can catch a bus, taxi or other airport transfer services to get to city center. Bus line F right outside of the airport will take you to Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof central station in just 20 minutes. Bus runs every 10 minutes / trip and costs € 2.90 / trip.
The most convenient way to get to Innsbruck is by train. You can book tickets on the website of ÖBB or Trainline. The travel time from Vienna to Innsbruck is about 4-5 hours, or from Salzburg is about 1 hour 45 minutes.
Due to Austria is located in the heart of western Europe, Innsbruck is a very convenient place for you to arrange your itinerary. For example, if you want to take the train from some Italian cities such as Florence, Milan to German cities, or Switzerland, the travel time will be very long. So, you can spend 1-2 nights in Innsbruck during these journeys.
Innsbruck travel blog: Transportation in Innsbruck
Bus: There are more than 20 bus lines serving all day and night in the city of Innsbruck. Which including 11 night bus lines running from 11PM to 5AM the next morning. If you want to take a quick tour around Innsbruck, you can get on the Sightseer bus – Hop on-Hop off. This bus passes many attractions such as Schloss Ambras (Ambras Castle), Bergisel and Alpenzoo (Alpine Zoo) from the city center.
Trams: There are 4 lines operating in the city. Line 1 and line 3 run in the city while line 6 departs from the ending point of line 1 in Bergisel. This line 6 takes you to Igls village and passing many beautiful view spots along the way.
Tickets and travel passes
Traveling in the Tyrol region is quite convenient by train and Innsbruck is the region’s capital. There are 3 main railway companies including IVB for Innsbruck, VVT for Tyrol and the national railway of ÖBB. The VVT ticket you can use for the IVB system while traveling in Innsbruck and there is an additional surcharge. Public transport in Innsbruck includes tram and bus with the following tickets:
Single ticket: Used to travel between points in the center (Kernzone), ticket price is €2.40 and surcharge of €0.60 if you buy on tram / bus. This ticket can be purchased at IVB Customer Center, ticket vending machines or buy directly from the driver. You can buy 8 trip ticket with 25% cheaper price.
24-Hour ticket: Valid within 24 hours as soon as you validate on the bus / tram for €5.60. With this ticket you get unlimited travel within 24 hours in the Kernzone, buy at the same places as single ticket or buy via IVB’s app (Android, iOS). Another ticket call 24-Hour 2-Plus for 2 adults and 3 children up to 15 years old, priced at €8.10.
Innsbruck Card is a great card choice with 24, 48 and 72 hour options. With this card you get unlimited travel and free access to a number of attractions and museums, including the cable car to the top of Nordkette as well as the hop-on hop-off bus. Prices for 24h, 48h and 72h types are €43, €50 and €59 respectively. You can buy online here.
Innsbruck blog: What and where to eat?
Some of the restaurants serving outstanding traditional food in Tyrol – Innsbruck such as the Weisses Rössl (Agoda.com or Booking.com) hotel and restaurant (Address: Kiebachgasse 8, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria) or Stiftskeller (Address: Stiftgasse 1-7, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria/Hours: 10AM–12AM) is located in an ancient monastery. Another restaurant you should try is Ottoburg (Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 1, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria/Hours: 11:30AM–2:30PM, 6PM–12AM), one of the oldest restaurants here serving traditional Austrian cuisine.
Regarding of cuisine, you must definitely try Tiroler Gröstl. Simply a dish of mixed potatoes with fried meat and topped with a half-fried egg with. Just look, it’s so delicious, and the energy is full.
Another very popular traditional dish in Innsbruck is the Strudel apple pie, which is quite suitable for breakfast. This cake consists of thin layers of sponge cake rolled up and filled with apple inside, quite similar to the Trdelnik Donut in Prague but the crust is much thinner. You can easily find this cake in the lovely cafes in the Old Town.
Eating at Innsbruck Christmas Market
A very interesting place for you to experience street food, as well as Innsbruck cuisine is the Markthalle Innsbruck market. If you come here in Christmas, local people will set up a series of stalls and shops for Christmas market. You can try a lot of street food, or simply sipping a glass of Rum is also very interesting.
Address: Herzog-Siegmund-Ufer 1-3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Hours: 7AM–6:30PM/Saturday: 7AM–1PM/Sunday: Closed
See also: How to spend 1 day in Vienna, Austria.
Innsbruck travel blog: Where to stay?
In my trip to Innsbruck, I had stayed for 2 nights in an Airbnb apartment which was quite good. This apartment is located in the quiet of Müllerstraße, right next to the center of Innsbruck. Inside is fully equipped, large room with double bed, including both sofa and television like in a hotel. Price at EUR44/night, you can book through this Airbnb link.
If you want to stay in the heart of the city with a beautiful view, you definitely cannot miss the STAGE 12 Hotel by Penz (Agoda.com or Booking.com). Inside, there is a large campus, and the rooms overlooks the snow-covered mountains of Tirol region.
If you love vintage style but luxury, you can choose the Best Western Plus Hotel Goldener Adler (Agoda.com or Booking.com). Design style bearing bold historical image of Tyrol from the 1390s. Many outstanding figures such as Mozart, Goethe and Royal members have stayed here.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Innsbruck, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $150/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Adlers Hotel, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $142/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Mondschein, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $142/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Innsbruck blog: What to do and best places to visit?
Triumphal Arch (Triumphpforte)
Triumphpforte was built in 1765, is the gateway to Innsbruck’s Old Town. Right after Leopold’s wedding, Queen Maria Theresa’s second son to the Spanish princess, Leopold’s father passed away. This work depicts the wedding and the death of the emperor.
Address: Leopoldstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Hours: Open 24 hours
Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof)
This golden roof building and museum is located in a small street in the Old Town. This is a bustling and crowded neighborhood, but Golden Roof stands out with 2,657 sparkling gold-plated copper tiles. You can enter the museum, but to step out onto the balcony you will have to buy a ticket. Right next to the Golden Roof is Helbling Haus featuring a unique architecture reminiscent of Gaudi’s works in Barcelona.
Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Other attractions in Old Town
Nothing is more interesting than wandering around the small streets of Old Town. Watching the stalls and shops selling souvenirs, street food. Also you can visit other famous spots like the Hofburg Imperial Palace, City Tower and the Gothic achitecuture of Court Church (Hofkirche mit Silberner Kapelle).
The Hofburg Imperial Palace is a historical witness to the ages of the Austrian Royal Family and the changes of this land. Inside the palace there are both a museum and conference area. Admission is €9.5 / adult, but it is free if you have a Innsbruck Card. Also Sunday is a family day, free for kids and young people, accompany 2 adults.
Colorful houses by the River Inn
The image of the colorful houses at the foot of the snow-capped Nordkette mountain is really a symbol of Innsbruck. What’s more wonderful than walking along the River Inn, watching the majestic houses and mountains of Austria. Enjoy the rhythm of the people living with the breath of Innsbruck.
Bergisel Ski Jump
Right across from the Old Town you can explore the Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump. This sports complex has hosted many Winter Olympics, with stadiums for football, figure skating, and ski-related sports … With its location on a hill not too high, but enough for a panoramic view of Innsbruck.
Address: Bergiselweg 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Hours: 9AM–4PM/Monday, Tuesday: Closed
Tirol Panorama Museum
If you hike up the Innsbruck Ski Jump complex, you will find the Tirol Panorama museum. The museum is a witness of history and is depicted on a giant painting up to 1.000 square meters wide. The ticket price is €9.00 to visit the museum, and €12.00 for the 5 museum complex including Ferdinandeum, Museum of Regional Heritage, Armory, Court Church, Tirol Panorama.
Address: Bergisel 1-2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Hours: 9AM–5PM/Tuesday: Closed
Amusement parks and night bars in Innsbruck
If you are interested in the bustle of amusement parks, restaurants and bars, you cannot miss Historical City Center. Travel to Innsbruck and experience the wide selection of Craft Beer in Trobaun, or cafes like Max Standard and Crema. The people of Innsbruck are very excited, they often sit in small groups together and chatting all evening.
Mountain climbing, experience nature while traveling to Innsbruck
Take the train to Hungerburg
Innsbruck is a paradise for outdoor activities in the snow. It has the Nordkette mountain range covered with white snow. You can easily take the train halfway up the mountain at Hungerburg Station. This station is almost an ecological park with entertainment services, and you can enjoy panoramic views of Innsbruck with a telescope.
The train departs from Innsbruck at Hungerburgbahn Löwenhaus station, goes deep underground and then up the mountain to Hungerburgbahn station. Along the way you can visit the Alpenzoo Innsbruck zoo, with the unique architecture of the station. Ticket price to Hungerburg EUR6/trip and EUR11/round-trip.
Take the cable car to the top of Nordkette
If you love snowy peaks and have plenty of time, you must go to the top of Nordkette. From Hungerburgbahn station you buy a cable car ticket to the top of the mountain, passing Seegrube station and finally Hafelekar station. Cable car is open every day and every 15 minutes with a trip. The fare from the foot of Mount Löwenhaus up to Hafelekar is EUR22.8/one-way and EUR38 for round trip. Full information on ticket prices for each route can be found here.
Hafelekar Station is located at an altitude of 2.256m, with beautiful snow-capped mountains. Winter here is surrounded by a white snow color, if you go on a sunny day, it’s really stunning! At the top is an observatory called Hafelekarspitze. You will have to climb a bit to the east to reach it, the path is not too bad but the narrow slopes, so you need to be careful.
Innsbruck travel itinerary: Suggested on how to spend 3 days in Innsbruck?
Day 1 – Take the train to Innsbruck
10PM: Take the train to Innsbruck, check in the Airbnb apartment in Innsbruck. Since I went in winter near Christmas it is quite cold, the streets are quieter except for the Christmas markets.
Day 2 – Visiting downtown
- 9AM-10AM: Wander around Markthalle Innsbruck market and have breakfast here too.
- 10AM-11AM: Morning stroll around the river Inn.
- 11AM-2PM: Visit Old Town, see Triumphal Arch, Golden Roof, Hofburg Imperial Palace,
- City Tower. Lunch at Old Town.
- 2PM-5PM: Visit the Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump and Tirol Panorama Museum.
- 5PM-8PM: Dinner at Historical City Center.
Day 3 – Day for mountain climbing
- 8AM-9AM: Breakfast
- 9AM-11AM: Take the train to Hungerburg, panoramic view of Innsbruck. There are a number of cafes and restaurants here for resting and relax.
- 11AM-2PM: Cable car ride to Seegrube.
- 2PM-4PM: Continue to take the cable car to Hafelekar, the highest stop. Surrounding are majestic mountain scenery covered in white snow.
- 4PM: I took the cable car to get down the mountain, then went back to the apartment to get the luggage to continue moving to another city.
For spots in the central area, walking is enough. On the day climbing to the mountain you should buy a Innsbruck Card, priced at EUR58.19, but get free cable car ride to the top of the mountain, take hop-on hop-off bus tours and other attractions and museums in Innsbruck.
Innsbruck blog: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Innsbruck you can refer to
- Austria Innsbruck City Card Plus
- Cable Car Round-Trip Ticket to the Top of Innsbruck
- Hungerburg Funicular Round Trip Ticket from Innsbruck
- Innsbruck City Tower Ticket
Are you looking for more top things to do in Innsbruck: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here.