Things to Do in Innsbruck
The state-of-the-art Hungerburg Railway (Hungerburgbahn) is a hybrid funicular connecting Innsbruck to the mountain suburb of Hungerburg. More than just a transport link, it’s also an architectural landmark—the Zaha Hadid–designed stations are space-age masterpieces that draw as many visitors as the railway itself.
Amid the brightly painted buildings and historic monuments of Innsbruck’s Old Town, one landmark shines brighter than all the others. Standing proud over Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) is the dramatic focal point of the 15th-century New Court (Neuhof) building and glitters with 2,657 gilded copper tiles.
Themed around one of Austria’s best-known exports, Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) is a dazzling attraction devoted to sparkling crystals. Twinkling exhibitions created by contemporary artists and designers, together with a playground, play tower, and hand-shaped hedge maze, make for a family-friendly day out.
Framing the northern horizon of Innsbruck, the jagged peaks of the North Chain (Nordkette) range are a natural playground for hikers, climbers, and adventurers. The central Hafelekar Mountain (Hafelekarspitze), accessible by cable car, is the gateway to the mountains, with views that expand over the Innsbruck valley and the surrounding Austrian Alps.
On the sunny slopes of the Hungerburg plateau, surrounded by snow-capped Alpine peaks, the Alpine Zoo Innsbruck (Alpenzoo Innsbruck) is a unique wildlife reserve with a spectacular setting. Devoted to protecting native Tyrolean wildlife, the zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals, with over 150 different Alpine species represented.
An architectural landmark, legendary sporting venue, and tourist attraction all rolled into one, the Bergisel Ski Jump is one of Innsbruck’s most visited sites. As well as hosting international winter sports events, the ski-jump tower affords a spectacular panoramic view of Innsbruck and the surrounding Tyrolean mountains.
Perched above Austria’s forested Inntal Valley, 16th-century Tratzberg Castle is one of the Tirol’s most impressive Renaissance and Gothic castles. Guided tours of this one-time defensive outpost take you on a journey through its history, and the lives of the Habsburg emperors and medieval merchants who once lived here.
Dating back to the 15th century, the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) was among the lavish imperial residences of the Hapsburg dynasty. Redesigned by Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century, it’s a feast of baroque and rococo style, adorned with gleaming marble, glittering gold, and elaborate frescoes.
Built by Ferdinand I in 1553 and part of the grand Hofburg Imperial Palace, the magnificent Court Church (Hofkirche) is among the highlights of Innsbruck Old Town. The star attraction of the church, an impressive example of Gothic architecture, is the elaborate cenotaph of Maximilian I, which dominates the main aisle.
Named for the much-revered Empress Maria Theresa, Maria Theresien Street (Maria-Theresien-Strasse) is Innsbruck’s pedestrianized main street, running through the heart of the Old Town. Lined with architectural treasures, a stroll down the street reveals pastel-painted facades, elaborately carved balconies, and beautiful baroque palaces.
More Things to Do in Innsbruck
Perched in the foothills of the Alps just south of Innsbruck, the 16th-century Ambras Palace (Schloss Ambras) was the onetime residence of Archduke Ferdinand II. Today, the striking Renaissance palace and impeccably manicured gardens play host to one of Innsbruck’s most impressive museums and portrait galleries.
Devoted to the world of hearing, Audioversum—Science Center is a high-tech, interactive, family-friendly museum. Walk through core exhibits like a giant 3D ear and a virtual reality sound labyrinth, try games to test your hearing, and experience the soundproof Scream Box to measure the volume of a shout.
Towering 167 feet (51 meters) over the northern mouth of Maria Theresien Strasse, Innsbruck City Tower (Stadtturm) is one of the city’s most recognizable monuments. Built in 1450 and topped with a striking green dome, the historic clock tower is best known for its open-air observation deck, affording views over the Old Town.
Founded in 1823 and brimming with treasures relating to Tyrolean history, cultural heritage, and art, the Tyrolean State Museum (Tiroler Landesmuseum) is Innsbruck’s most notable museum. Named after Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the sprawling Ferdinandeum is just one of five properties managed by the Tyrolean State Museum.
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