Innsbruck, Austria’s ‘capital of the Alps’, offers tourists and locals a fairy-tale-holiday destination, boasts some of the country’s most idyllic and scenic landscapes. Here are some of the ways visitors can experience the best of nature, outdoor activities, and attractions during their time in this picturesque city.
Innsbruck hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976, and it has always garnered a reputation as a paradise for skiers, snowboarders, skaters, and cross-country hikers. There are eight primary resorts to choose from, all designed for people with varying degrees of ability—from beginner’s-baby slopes to epic-sharp drops for adrenaline seekers. Grinzens, located south-west of the city, is home to highest skiing village in Austria, boasting fairy-tale landscapes and a wide range of jumps, slopes, and a natural ice rink.
Innsbruck | © Joergelman/Pixabay
Mingle with locals and try haggling at this bustling and historic market awash with tasty-local treats from the areas surrounding the city. Austrian wine, meat, cheeses, and sprawling displays of colourful, fresh produce all await patrons to sample. The market truly comes to life Saturday mornings. After patrons have their fill of browsing the stalls, they can settle down at one of the open-air restaurants that look out to the river for a glass or regional wine and a spot of lunch.
Herzog-Siegmund-Ufer 1-3, Innsbruck, +43 512 584837-0
Markthalle | © Øystein Vidnes/Flickr
Innsbruck is a champion of terrific views. For those who do not enjoy hiking and gliding is a little too dicey, the cable car offers a great option to experience the scenic delights surrounding the city. Swooping across the country’s largest nature park, Karwendel, visitors can enjoy an uncompromised, panoramic scene of the complex landscapes below. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, whose work includes the Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump, the car picks people up from the Old Town and transcends them 6,560 feet (around 2,000 meters) up into the clouds in around 20 minutes.
Höhenstraße 145, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 512 293344
Cable Car | © Austrian Tourist Board
Many visit Innsbruck during the colder months for its famously-festive atmosphere. The Christmas Markets, warmly lit under the dark-blue sky, against a snowy landscape won’t fail to stir spirits. The Old Town hosts one of the most spectacular markets. With wooden stalls set beneath a square of Baroque buildings, nearby attractions include the iconic glittering Golden Roof—an icon of Innsbruck. Sip on punch and munch on hot ‘Kiachln’ (Austrian doughnuts laced with Sauerkaut) while browsing the treats for sale.
Christmas Market at Old Town, Innsbruck, +43 664 465 03 84
Christmas Market Innsbruck | © Austrian Tourist Board
Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump
This futuristic structure, designed by star architect Zaha Hadid, juts out of the greenery like an alien antenna—in stark contrast to its lush natural surroundings. In addition to the incredible views from the top of the tower, visitors can catch show jumpers in action from May through to October—a dramatic experience that they can watch while enjoying breakfast at the panorama restaurant.
Bergiselweg 3, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 512 589259
Austria-01376 – Bergisel Sprungschanze | © Dennis Jarvis/Flickr
Mountain Soaring Experience
There is no better way to experience the dramatic landscapes of Innsbruck than soaring through the skies above. This gliding school offers a variety of courses, from a one-day introductory package that takes gliders above the Tyrolean Mountains to a week-long Alpine touring expedition, instructing students in the main topics of ‘advanced mountain soaring.’. The adventures set off from Innsbruck Airport and are run by highly-experienced pilots and instructors.
Kranebitter Allee 105, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 650 7837830
Tyrolean Alps | © hamist/Pixabay
Despite its name, this attraction is not, in fact, a seller of baked goods (although Innsbruck has plenty to offer in this department), Instead, it offers a pioneering force of Innsbruck’s cultural scene. Self-described as ‘a dynamic space that combines communication, production and presentation,’ check out their website for details on upcoming events, including lectures, exhibitions, workshops, and explore the inner workings of Innsbruck’s artistic circle.
Dreiheiligenstraße 21a, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 680 2472260
Cafe In Innsbruck | © Niels Heidenreich/Flickr