Nestled in a valley and surrounded by stunning mountains, Innsbruck is a little Austrian town that will take your breath away.
You’ll be charmed by the colourful buildings, delicious Austrian cuisine and 360-degree views of the mountains wherever you look.
The city gets its name from the Inn River which flows gracefully around the city and a particular bridge, or “bruck” as they say in German, that crosses it.
If you’re after a long weekend itinerary or a few days away as part of a longer trip, this is an ideal small city break in a gorgeous part of Europe.
Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll have plenty to do in Innsbruck.
Things to do in Innsbruck
Mountain activities: Ski in winter and hike in summer
If you’re a ski bunny, then Innsbruck is a great launch pad for some of the best ski resorts in Austria.
Nearby is the impressive Stubai Glacier where you can ski all year round. Just 45 minutes by car, you have the idyllic ski village of Kühtai.
You can also take the impressive Nordkette cable car from the centre of town and ski at Nordpark with views overlooking the city.
If winter isn’t your scene, then head to Innsbruck in the warmer months and enjoy the beauty of the mountains by foot. There are hundreds of hiking trails and endless routes to wow you.
Ski Austria: Nearest skiing area is Nordpark. There is a lift in the city centre.
Innsbruck hiking trails: Start your trek from the centre of town.
Walk through the Old Town
One of the best things to do in Innsbruck is take a leisurely stroll and admire the charming architecture and the historic feel of the Altstadt (Old Town).
Cobbled streets line narrow alley ways, buildings are decorated with ornate features while quaint and quirky shops will delight you.
We recommend a self-guided tour with no time limit – just enjoy a wander.
Old Town: Use the map for a self-guided tour.
Swarovski Crystal World
For the lovers of all things that sparkle, a visit to the Swarovski museum and shop in the centre of town will satisfy your every glittering desire. Installations, models and incredible creations will impress you.
Additionally, there’s the spectacular Kristallenwelten, also known as Crystal World. A short distance from the city, this magical world of crystal was created to showcase the creativity and artistry of the people behind Swarovski in the land where it was invented. If you have an afternoon spare, be sure to take a tour of this fantasy world.
Swarovski museum and shop: Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 39, 6020 Innsbruck
Swarovski Crystal Worlds or Kristallwellten: Kristallweltenstraße 1, 6112 Wattens
Places to eat and drink in Innsbruck
You can’t go all the way to Austria and not visit a beer hall. Don’t expect doting and dedicated service, though. This is a traditional bier hall which is busy, vibrant and the wait staff are constantly on the move satisfying their hungry, and thirsty, guests.
As this is an Ale House, you must enjoy their delicious house brew Augustiner Brau Munchen. We highly recommend sampling the hearty Sweinshaxe (pictured, above) – ham hock or pork knuckle – served with knödel (boiled potato or bread dumplings), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and lashings of gravy.
Stiftskeller: Stiftsgasse 1-7, 6020 Innsbruck
As Innsbruck is located so close to Italy, you’ll find that a lot of the cuisine caters to the neighbouring tourists. Cammerlander will give you a good choice of fine Italian dishes as well as more traditional Austrian food.
We recommend the braised beef Osso Bucco (pictured, above) served with the exquisite red cabbage, which is traditional Austrian cuisine.
Located next to the Inn River, this restaurant is the perfect stopping point for lunch or dinner after a long day of sightseeing.
Cammerlander: Innrain 2, 6020 Innsbruck
A trip to Austria would not be complete without sampling some schnapps. The liquor is a signature delicacy of the country and Tirol Geniessen has the best selection available for you to sample.
With flavours ranging from blueberry to chocolate and even the more traditional Pine Cone flavour, there’s something to suit every taste.
They also offer gift packs and beautifully-packaged bottles which make the perfect souvenir or treat for a friend back home.
Tirol Geniessen: Hofgasse 5, 6020 Innsbruck
Where to stay in Innsbruck
We recommend treating yourself while visiting this fine city and staying at TC Hotel (formerly Hilton Innsbruck), right in the centre of the city.
There are some great deals online and really it isn’t much more expensive than an Airbnb or some lesser known hotels. The views are worth every Euro!
TC Hotel: Salurner Strasse 15, 6020, Innsbruck
Getting to Innsbruck
Fly to Innsbruck Airport from many cities across Europe.
Train routes into Innsbruck, from multiple cities throughout Europe, are also available.
Alternatively, buses and car-pooling services offer an affordable way to travel to Innsbruck from neighbouring countries such as Germany and Italy.
More information on how to get to Innsbruck is available here.
All images by Emma Lovell.
Disclaimer: The writer travelled at their own expense.