Innsbruck, Austria is already on my list to go back to this year. The capital of Tyrol is situated in the alps and can only be described as picturesque. If you are looking to get in some winter sports, see the lovely pastel colored architecture, or visit the Imperial Palace- you need to make a trip.
We only spent a day and a half in Innsbruck but because of it's small size, it was easy to get around and see the city. Here's a quick travel guide to Innsbruck, Austria.
Below you can find a map of all the places discussed in this post:
It's truly like stepping right in to a postcard. Rolling snow capped mountains flanked by exquisite buildings, cut by a river. I think I had my mouth open the entire time. It's super easy to get around, see the city, and enjoy what Innsbruck has to offer. Fair warning, this post is super picture heavy because it was just so lovely!
Where to stay:
We stayed in a very inexpensive but lovely little guesthouse called “Pension Stoi” where we were able to walk to almost everything we wanted to see in the city. We also used Trip Advisor to find this last minute deal. It's a small city, but I recommend staying as close as possible to the Old Town so you are close to nearby restaurants and things to do.
I didn't really realize that Innsbruck would this be this stunning, but it was easy enough to spend our short time there. Luckily, Christmas decorations were still up and were lit up in the early evening to late night.
What to bring:
If you are going during the winter months dress warm. Like really warm. You're going to be up in the mountains and it's FREEZING. Thank goodness I packed accordingly. We had to buy my mom a coat on the way, it was just too cold!
Upon arrival, we dumped our stuff and dogs (yes, it's also a dog friendly hotel!) and headed out to get something to eat. We walked around and marveled at the beautiful Renaissance and baroque style buildings all situated right next to each other. Since we live in Germany, we didn't go towards some of their more German cuisine (Austrians speak German). But, we were very hungry and wanting a nice hot meal as the snow fell outside.
We landed on a lovely Greek restaurant that I'd highly recommend (get the baked goat cheese with peppers and onions as an appetizer… mouth watering) called Akropolis. Prices are great – you'll find that at most restaurants, and service was fast.
Since we got in late, we spent the rest of the evening walking around the Old Town and looking at the beautiful buildings. A few places to see are the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) which is one of the city's most famous symbols. Built in 1500 by Emperor Maximilian to honor his marriage to Bianca Sforza, it's decorated with 2,738 fire-gilded copper tiles! Some other sites are: Inn Bridge, Jesuit Church, and City Tower. Don't forget to walk Maria Theresien Strasse to shop, see the lovely buildings and the mountains behind.
I kept stopping and taking pictures of the incredible architecture. It was just so stunning!
We also stopped at the Trimphal Arch that's a lovely monument welcoming you to Innsbruck.
We got up early to tackle the day straight away. First things first, we headed to the tourist office in Old Town (the city center) and bought an “Innsbruck Card.” This is 40 Euro and gives you access to a round trip lifts and cable car ride up to the top of the mountain, the hop-on-hop-off bus tour, public transportation, museums, attractions, and more. So yes, it's worth it!
The day started out cloudy and we were worried our views from the mountain would be hard to see. Luckily it cleared right up!
After we had our card, we headed to breakfast. It was a very very sweet breakfast as we had traditional apple strudel. Strudelcafe Kroell is right in the city center and a short walk from the tourist office.
We walked off breakfast in a nearby snow covered park.
Then we went to the Imperial Palace or Hofburg. I HIGHLY recommend going here. It's free entry with your Innsbruck card and comes with an audio tour. I learned quickly that I have a lot of studying up to do for my European history. The museum focuses on how it changed since it was built in 1460. It shows how Emperor Maximillian I expanded it. But Maria Theresia really made lasting changes. I had no idea that she is the mother of Marie Antoinette and birthed 13 children with her husband Francis I who died in the palace.
It also focuses on Empress Elisabeth's Apartment from the 19th century. I loved the beautiful pink room. It was said she spent 3 hours getting her hair done – every day. AND had multiple wardrobe changes.
After touring the palace, it was time for some mountain views. We headed over to the lift that stops 3 times. Each time the view is more and more epic as you climb up to the top of the mountain.
Truly a winter wonderland. Adorable shops, restaurants, and inns that you can grab a warm drink from.
Stop 2 views:
This is where we really started seeing some skiers and snowboarders. When we first got here it was all white and we could hardly see! It cleared up a bit on the way down.
Stop 3 views:
This was the TOP of the mountain and it was epic. Seriously, it took my breath away and will be a memory I'll always cherish. It is VERY cold, but so worth it for the views.
At the top there is a small building pictured above where they serve warm dumpling soup for only a few Euro! Totally delicious and will warm you up from the inside, out.
After the mountains, I grabbed some shots of the beautiful brightly colored houses on the river with a backdrop of the mountains.
I could not get over the color of this water! It's a soft green-blue and looks unreal next to the mountains and buildings.
We also made our way to Hofkitrche (kirche is German for Church it's also known as Court Church of Innsbruck) where the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I is inside. It's surrounded by larger than life size statues of warriors, a beautiful alter, and intricate ceiling.
Maximilian was very influential and helped establish Innsbruck and make it the lovely city it is today.
Michael and I took a hike in Hungerburg since there was ample parking and easy to get to trail. We brought both the dogs and unfortunately we went after sunset and I have no pictures since it was just too dark. Our hike was lit only by the moon which was so beautiful and the dogs loved it.
All in all it was a fabulous trip and I can't wait to go back. I absolutely loved Innsbruck and I think everyone could add it to their list since there's so much to do for a variety of travelers.
Have you been to Innsbruck- what are your recs?