The Tyrolean capital is known for its historical charm, including old buildings and narrow cobbled streets, as much as its proximity to world-class ski areas.
Innsbruck is steeped in history, and its charming alleys and medieval buildings are testament to that. The city is surrounded by picturesque mountains that attract skiers and snowboarders in winter and hikers in the warmer months.
Wander around the Old Town, with its pastel-colored houses and narrow cobbled streets. See the landmark Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) building, commissioned by the Emperor Maximilian I as a symbol of the Habsburg’s power. St. Anne’s Column (Annasäule) also makes for some great photographs with the imposing peak of Hafelekar Mountain as a backdrop.
Walk from the city center to the grand Imperial Palace (Hofburg), home to the ruling Habsburg family for over four centuries. Across the street, the Court Church (Hofkirche) contains the tomb of Maximilian I. Farther afield you’ll find more royal splendor in Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras), used by the Renaissance Prince Ferdinand II to house his collections of quirky treasures.
Getting around the city is easy, and most choose to do so on foot. Alternatively, make use of the city’s efficient tram and bus networks.
Outside the city, there’s plenty to do in the surrounding ski areas. These areas include the professional-quality snow park where the snowboarding revolution took off in the ‘90s. Innsbruck remains a magnet for the snowboarding crowd. Practice your tricks in the snow park, or explore the extensive network of pistes. Get to the slopes via the futuristic Nordkette Cable Car, which will whisk you all the way to the top of Hafelekar Mountain via a series of architecturally interesting stations.
A 25,000-strong student population keeps the nightlife of the town busy year-round. Those looking for more refined evening entertainment will find plenty of restaurants. There are numerous cafés around the Old Town where you can indulge in local specialities, including thick hot chocolate and delicious Austrian pastries.
Innsbruck is a year-round destination. Once the snow melts in the summer, the mountains burst into color with wildflowers. A network of walking trails, accessible via the Nordkette Cable Car, offer stunning views across the town and over the Italian border.