Located in the heart of the Alps, Innsbruck is a small, picturesque town in Austria. Its late-medieval architectural marvels are heart-stirring, while its majestic peaks take your breath away. Innsbruck is famous for its fascinating nature and world-famous monuments, as well as its well-known province, Tirol. The Old Town mixes Gothic and Baroque architectural styles into a sweet cultural blend, while the town’s smaller districts serve as a student meeting hub. In short, spending one day in Innsbruck is well worth it!
What’s the best time to visit Innsbruck?
The best times to visit this charming little town are the summer and winter seasons. For those passionate about skiing or snowboarding, a winter season spent in Innsbruck is the perfect Christmas gift.
During the summer, the temperature can reach the mid-70s (mid-20s in Celsius), so even if it’s hot during the day, you might need to use a light jacket at night. The months of June-August are rated the best months to visit Innsbruck. College students are out of town during this time, so the town is quieter and more enjoyable.
Some tourists rated the months of March-May great for visiting Innsbruck. Remember that during the spring season, the temperature can hit the mid-40s (below 10 degrees Celsius).
If you’re aiming for better offers, prices go down during the fall season; this might also be something to consider. However, most attractions close between the months of September and November, so if you’re choosing to visit Innsbruck in the fall, you might miss out on some of them.
A few facts about Innsbruck
Innsbruck, the capital of the Tirol province, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Its story began in the year 1180, when it was declared a small market town owned by the Bavarian counts of Andech. Due to its strategic geographical position and surrounded by Germany, Switzerland and Italy, the region has developed into what it’s become today – a wonder of the Alps.
Located at the intersection of Central European roads and having hosted the Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976, this town’s activity grew quite rapidly. Today, Innsbruck is the home of renowned Austrian colleges, tasty beer, and a quickly expanding textile market.
If you’ve decided to spend at least one day in Innsbruck, your stay must include a visit to the Golden Roof, the city’s landmark. You should also check out the Ambras Castle’s beautiful gardens and tiny waterfalls and include the Imperial Palace on your walking tour.
If you’re here during the upcoming Christmas season, don’t forget to pay a visit to the famous Christmas Market. There are also a bunch of concerts and shows to check out, if you’re an art lover. One last thing – don’t forget to include the Nordpark Cable ride in your itinerary.
One Day in Innsbruck Itinerary
In case you can’t afford to spend more than one day in Innsbruck, here are your top activities to consider. This one-day itinerary includes the town’s best sights and delicious food options, as well as all of the must-see attractions. Transportation between sites might be omitted, as Innsbruck is best tasted when explored on foot.
Morning in Old Town
Your morning visit to the Old Town cannot be short. Plan to spend at least two to three hours here, taking pictures and admiring the incredible views. The city center’s architecture is one of a kind, so leave enough time to take it in. The must-sees:
The Golden Roof and Museum, as mentioned. Very informative, important for a better understanding of Innsbruck’s history.
The Imperial Palace, a must-see for its Baroque-like décor and elegance.
The City Tower, the town’s landmark. A former prison with amazing views featuring a small museum.
The Court Church, where Maximillian I is buried. Essential to better understand Innsbruck’s history.
The Tyrolean Folk Museum, worth it for its festivals and pretty costumes.
Hofgarten, a great park to spend some quality time in nature. It features a music pavilion, a museum, a playground, and other small buildings worth seeing.
You’ll also find a bunch of coffee shops, tourist shops, and souvenirs to bring back home with you. So, explore the Old Town as long as you wish before heading to lunch.
Lunch at the Markthalle
Having explored so much of the city, you’ll be veeeery hungry. So, it’s high time you explored the Markthalle. This food hall will make you consider moving to Austria forever because this huge space is dedicated to food only. You’ll find lots of fresh pastries, produce, meat, and wine to taste. One of my favorite dishes is the Italian ravioli at one of the stands.
Don’t forget to take some pictures while you’re here. This place is located on top of a massive building, facing the Colorful Houses of Innsbruck and the Inn River. The view is breathtaking once again.
The Nordpark Cable Ride
After lunch, it’s time for a beautiful cable ride. The Alps are worth exploring, even from afar. You’ll be visiting the Nordkette mountain range if you take this route. It’s worth mentioning that the cable ride is divided into two portions, so you must leave enough time for this activity as well. The first leg goes from Hungerburg to Seegrube, and the second one from Seegrube to Hafelekar. You can choose either one, they’re both worth exploring.
If you plan on spending more time in the air, you could check out the Hungerburgbahn funicular just to visit the Alpine Zoo and the famous Congress Station.
At the top of each peak you’ll find nice restaurants and coffee shops and will be able to enjoy some outstanding views.
The Ambras Castle
Your next stop is the Ambras Castle, a 16th-century castle renowned for its art collection. The castle’s grounds are worth exploring and, if visiting between November and December, check out the castle’s Christmas festivities. They’re amazing!
Get drinks in Innsbruck
Austrian beer is quite exquisite, so you cannot leave Innsbruck without a trip to Tribaun or the Café Bar Galerie. Get yourself some crafted beer and head to dinner.
Check out a traditional Austrian folk performance right before dinner. The costumes, the songs, the dancing, the instruments, the energy, the people will amaze you. The Tyrolean Evenings Family Gundolf events are located just outside the city, so take a cab if needed.
For dinner, try Fischerhausl. This is a very popular option for locals, so you’ll enjoy the best and most traditional dinner in the city. Make a reservation in advance as it can get crowded quickly.
Where to stay in Innsbruck, Austria?
AC Hotel by Mariott Innsbruck
Salurner Strasse 15, Innenstadt, 6020 Innsbruck
AC Hotel by Mariott in Innsbruck is probably the most luxurious stay around. A panoramic view of the Alps, an excellent restaurant, a casino right next to it… Honestly, you’ll feel a bit like James Bond here. AND you’re in the city center. The rooms are awesome, naturally, with huge TVs and AC, plus the building has 14 floors, so you may want to pick a room up high for an amazing view.
Wilhelm-Greil-Straße 11, Innenstadt, 6020 Innsbruck
Hotel Zach is a great choice for your stay because it offers an impeccable service at an affordable price. It is close to the historic city center, was fully renovated in 2016 and has very comfortable and well-equipped rooms that come with free WiFi, a private bathroom and a desk. Oh, and the breakfast here is very, very good, too!
Geigenbühelstraße 185, 6100 Seefeld in Tirol
Now, if you REALLY want to live it up, Astoria Resort is the place you need to visit. It has an enormous and exceptionally beautiful park surrounding it, a huge spa center and boasts an incredible view. Everything you could ever want from a five-star hotel is here, and you will be thoroughly pampered in this amazing resort.
7 Höttinger Gasse John Montagu, 6020 Innsbruck
Montagu Hostel is a great budget option for a night or two, but the best thing about it is its great location – you are right in the city center in an amazingly picturesque part of the town. Plus you can enjoy a bar and an incredible view of the mountain, so the stay here will be quite memorable.
Day trips from Innsbruck
If you’re planning to extend your trip and check out the surroundings, here are some of the most interesting day trips from Innsbruck.
All things here SHINE! The Swarovski Crystal Worlds is an experience attraction, consisting of a park, art museum, retail area, and restaurant. A very special day trip from Innsbruck indeed.
Full of fascinating history. It is home to a local history museum and the huge, open-air Heroes Organ.
It’s like you’re in heaven. The lake can be reached by Streetcar Line 6 from the city. The lake is popular due to its green environment, so this is a day trip from Innsbruck where you just take it easy.
Check out the Tyrolean Sea (is Tirol’s largest lake and is surrounded by five small villages),
…and there are other options available if you’re planning on staying even more.
Extra tips for visiting Innsbruck:
Here’s what I wish I knew before visiting Innsbruck.
– Learn a bit of German before heading to Austria – it’ll help!
– Ride the bus if you don’t want to explore the whole city on foot.
– Try to explore the whole city on foot – it’s inspiring!
– Don’t say no to cable rides, even if you’re afraid of heights. You’ll regret it.
– Visit Innsbruck between April and October to have access to everything.
– Pack a jacket and some winter boots!
– Plan on spending more than one day here to get the whole Innsbruck experience.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.