Some cities have a kind of charm that can’t be explained in words and Innsbruck can easily be included to this category. The winter sports hub of Austria, welcomed us with a stunning view of the alps looming over the town. At the heart of the alps, Innsbruck boasts of architectural heritage but at the same time, it perfectly blends the past and the future. We are not sure if it was this snow clad majestic Austrian Alps, the 15th century building or the subtle blend of old and new that made us fall in love with the city.
When we planned the trip, we thought of Innsbruck as a little town but it was rather a big city and a charming one for that matter. We highly recommend that at least one and a half days are allocated for this town, mainly because of the must-visit Nordkette Mountain and the Swarovski Crystal World. With excellent connectivity via trams and buses, one can easily cover everything in a day’s time.
Here is our 24 hours guide to Innsbruck –
First things first – we highly recommend getting an Innsbruck card, before your start your day. It costs 40 euros per person per day but covers everything under the sun! The public transportation within the city, cable car to Nordkette Mountains, entry fees to museums and other attractions – everything is covered. We think, this is the best city card we have come across till date. You can find this card at the main train station or tourist information office.
Start your day by visiting the Nordkette Mountains. It’s the jewel of the alps, aptly named for its grandeur. The panoramic views of the city, from 2300m above is clearly breathtaking. The surrounding mountain ranges with snow covered top is a visual delight. The return ride to the top costs 33 euro but with the Innsbruck City Card, it’s free. Take the cable car from Congress station near the Imperial Palace to Hungerburg and change towards Seegrube. The ride up to the top is an experience by itself and it’s surely impressive. At Seegrube, you can grab something to eat and get a pint of beer, and enjoy it sitting on one of the wooden tables, taking in the majestic views of the alps. The next station, Hafeleker, sits 2300m above the city, is quite cold and windy, but worth spending some time atop to click some lovely pictures. There are cable cars every 15 mins so don’t worry if you missed one.
Lunch in the City
Once you are back from the mountains, you would definitely be hungry and lunch at the city sounds about right. There are a lot of restaurants near the Golden Roof. We found vegetarian food a little hard to find, especially for dinner!
While you are in that area, we would recommend covering the city tower. Built in 1450, the tower used to be a place from where the guards looked over the city and warned the citizens of fire and dangers. The winding stairs (133 steps in total) would take you to the top from where you can view the medieval buildings in the old town, busy streets, Nordkette Mountain ranges and the Bergisel. The entrance fee is covered with Innsbruck City Card.
Swarovski Crystal World
The Swarovski Crystal World should definitely be on your list! It’s not like a regular museum as they have multiple rooms with impressive crystal work and displays. Each room out shines the other and is a treat for photographers. We clicked some amazing shots and the setting gave us an opportunity to play with the exposure control of our camera. The Crystal World has the biggest Swarovski Crystal showroom in the whole world and the display of jewellery in itself is a treat to ones eyes. Again, the entrance fee and the shuttle to the location & back are covered with the Innsbruck Card.
End your day in the city
Spend the last couple of hours roaming around the city. The walk from Marine Stresse towards the city tower is beautiful, and makes you marvel at the architectural heritage the city has to offer. The winding tram lines on the road adds it’s own charm to the already beautiful city and it makes a perfect scene for an excellent photo.
Innsbruck is very well connected and you can reach the city via air, train, bus or car. Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport is the largest airport in Tyrol region and currently regular scheduled flights are available from Vienna and Frankfurt. Regular (direct) trains operate from Venice, Bolzano/Bozen, Zurich, Munich, Graz, Vienna and many other destinations.
We took a Flixbus which costed us only 7 euros per person, one way. The bus dropped us near the Innsbruck Hbf, from where we took public transportation to your Airbnb.
Where to Stay
We always prefer staying in Airbnb as it gives us a taste of local life and houses and most of the time comes out to be cheaper than a hotel. We stayed in this Airbnb and it was definitely a comfortable stay. If you don’t prefer staying in an Airbnb you can always check bookings.com for hotels but make sure that the hotel you choose is near to a tram stop from where you can easily take a ride to the city. Again, with the Innsbruck City Card the tram rides are covered!