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Pocket Guide: Innsbruck

Visiting Innsbruck

Known as the capital of the Alps, charming Innsbruck is situated in the Inn Valley, within the Austrian Tirol region. Overlooked by the breathtaking Nordkette mountain range, Innsbruck offers much in the way of culture, heritage and nightlife, including fabulous dining and bars. The city also has a large student population, bringing a youthful energy to its streets. Although a leading winter sports destination, Innsbruck is a scenic place to visit all year round. In the warmer months, hiking, swimming and mountaineering replace skiing, snowboarding and ice-skating as the activities of choice.

Where to stay in Innsbruck

When selecting your hotel in Innsbruck, you have the option of either staying in the city itself or in one of its neighbouring holiday village areas. These areas are known as the “five regions” and each has its own distinct flavour. The southern villages are known for being the most peaceful and relaxing, while the western ones are great for sporting experiences and families. The neighbouring villages are the closest to the city, so are a convenient base for enjoying both city life and mountain sports. The Sellrain valley villages offer stunning alpine beauty that’s great for hikers, while the Mieming Plateau and Tirol Mitte is a nature lover’s paradise known for its sunny climate. If you’re staying in Innsbruck itself, the old town area is highly recommended. Filled with medieval houses, atmospheric arcades and fascinating heritage sites, it truly feels as if you’ve stepped into the past. Alternatively, you could stay in picturesque Rum, a market town three miles from Innsbruck city centre in the Tyrolean Inn Valley, near to Karwendel Alpine Park. Whichever Innsbruck hotel you choose, you’re bound to have an enjoyable holiday in this scenic location.

Hotels in Innsbruck

Hotels in Innsbruck offer accommodation to suit a range of budgets. These include simple guesthouses, luxurious hotels and mountain ski resorts. The 5 star Grand Hotel Europa, based centrally, offers luxury accommodation, including a minibar in each room. NALA individuellhotel, near to the old town, is a 5 star design hotel notable for having uniquely decorated bedrooms, an attractive garden and an upper floor deck. The 3 star Hotel Huberhof is situated in the nearby market town of Rum, three miles from the city centre and close to the airport. It offers idyllic mountain views and an outdoor swimming pool. The Basic Hotel is a great budget choice and is based in the city centre near to Innsbruck Market Hall.

What to do during your stay in Innsbruck

Innsbruck has an 800-year-old city centre and many cultural highlights to enjoy. Historic Gothic and Baroque buildings mingle with groundbreaking architecture, including the futuristic Hungerburg Funicular mountain railway terminus and the Bergisel Ski Jump, both designed by famed architect Zaha Hadid. Other attractions include the Golden Roof (really a gilded copper roof) of the Fürstenburg building, the sumptuous Hofburg Imperial Palace, which includes stunning landscaped gardens, the Baroque 18th century Innsbruck Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of St James), and the 16th century Court Church which includes a collection of renaissance sculptures. Other must-sees include Ambras Castle, which is now an art and armoury museum, the City Tower Wilton Abbey Basilica and the huge covered food market, Innsbruck Market Hall, which offers everything from farm produce to craft foodie creations. The 17th century University of Innsbruck is also well worth exploring and includes botanical gardens.

Innsbruck also has a number of unmissable museums and galleries, including the Ferdinandeum, which features prehistoric art and natural history exhibits, the Tirolean Folk Art Museum (housed in the Hofburg palace), the Tirol Panorama Museum, the Alpine Club Museum, the Tyrolean State Museum, and the Museum of the Imperial Rifles. The Alpenzoo Innsbruck is home to many alpine animals and makes for a great family day out.

Swarovski Crystal Worlds museum is a 12-mile journey from Innsbruck, in Wattens. This fairytale world of crystal exhibits is guarded by a grass mound giant at the door, and includes 14 Chambers of Wonder designed by various notable artists. The Nordkette mountain range is easily accessible from the city and you can take the famed Nordkette cable car to view its fabulous panorama of peaks. Also worth visiting is Lanser See lake, located near Lans in the southern highlands above the city and reachable by streetcar. In the warmer months it’s a popular place to bathe and in winter it’s used for ice skating. Ski resorts near Innsbruck include Patscherkofel, Bergisel and Glungezer.

With its fabulous heritage, fascinating cultural sites and world-class mountain sports, Innsbruck is a city that will please everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to nature lovers to culture vultures.

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