Exploring Innsbruck: 10 Places to Visit & 5 to Avoid
Innsbruck is a city situated in the Austrian Alps that serves as the capital of the Tyrol region. It’s an outdoor paradise, known for its ski resorts and attractions for winter sports, but there are plenty of things to do throughout the year, too. With its picturesque alpine backdrop, cobblestone streets, quaint architecture, and beautiful gardens, Innsbruck is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Before you start exploring Innsbruck, here are 10 of the city’s most popular tourist spots, as well as five places to avoid:
1. The Hofburg Palace
The Hofburg Palace was once home to Austria’s Habsburg dynasty and today it serves as the city’s main residence. This majestic building is one of Innsbruck’s most popular attractions and houses several museums, including the Tirolean State Museum, the Imperial Palace Museum, and the Imperial Library.
2. The Golden Roof
The Golden Roof is a stunning structure located in the center of the old town and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Featuring more than 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles, this roof was the grand balcony from which Emperor Maximilian I used to watch tournaments in the square below.
3. The Alpenzoo
The Alpenzoo is Austria’s largest mountain zoo, located at the foot of the Nordkette mountain range and boasting an impressive collection of animals. Here you can get up close with snowy owls, lynxes, wolverines, and even wolves.
4. The Hungerburg Funicular
The Hungerburg Funicular, otherwise known as the Nordkettenbahnen, takes riders up to the top of the Nordkette mountains, where they have an unparalleled view of the city. At the end of the journey, visitors can even take a cable car to a nearby peak.
5. The Bergisel Ski Jump
The Bergisel Ski Jump is an impressive sight, featuring a 132-meter tower and a wide, curving ramp made of reinforced concrete. On sunny days, visitors can watch skiers and snowboarders leaping off the jump before sailing through the air.
Stadtturm is a medieval tower in Old Town, built in 1450 and sporting a Gothic design. Today, visitors can still climb the tower to get a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
7. The Hofkirche
The Hofkirche is a cathedral built in 1553 and dedicated to Emperor Maximilian I. It houses several of the emperor’s tomb effigies and contains two of his suits of armor, as well as a crypt filled with interesting artifacts.
8. The Ambras Castle
The Ambras Castle was built in the 16th century and today is open to the public. Its interior features several pieces from the Habsburg art collection, such as paintings, sculptures, porcelain, and armor.
9. The Olympic Ski Jump
The Olympic Ski Jump is an impressive structure that was used during the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Visitors can take a ride on the chairlift to the top of the jump, then enjoy a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
10. The Hofgarten
The Hofgarten is a beautiful garden located at the heart of Innsbruck’s Old Town. This public park features several walking paths, as well as a small lake, ideal for relaxing walks and picnics.
Places to Avoid
1. The Alpenzoo After Dark
Although the Alpenzoo is an excellent place to visit during the day, after sunset the zoo can become a dangerous place. Crime rates rise, and it’s not advisable to wander around the zoo alone at night.
2. The Inn River
The Inn River is a prominent part of Innsbruck, and it’s an impressive sight to behold. However, due to the river’s fast-flowing currents, swimming in it is not advised.
3. The Maria-Theresien Street
The Maria-Theresien Street is a popular shopping area in Innsbruck, but the area is also known for pickpocketing and other types of crime. Be sure to keep your bags and belongings close and be aware of your surroundings.
4. The Main Railway Station
The main railway station in Innsbruck, like many railway stations, is known for petty theft. Be sure to keep an eye on your possessions when visiting this area.
5. The Kristallwelten
The Kristallwelten is a popular tourist attraction in Innsbruck, but it can be overcrowded and chaotic. If you don’t like crowds, it would be best to avoid this attraction.