Located in the Inn Valley at the intersection between Germany and Italy and also between Vienna and Switzerland, Innsbruck is one of Austria’s best year-round destinations. With its preserved medieval Old Town and modern architecture in the modern parts of town, Innsbruck is a fun city that boasts plenty of beautiful vistas and the massive mountains surrounding you.
Top Attractions in Innsbruck
Innsbruck’s Court Church, completed in 1563, is a three-aisled hall-church best known for its off-center tower and notable interior décor designs. The Monument of Andreas Hofer is where the remains of the man himself are kept, but the most influential part of the church is the breathtaking Tomb and Museum of Emperor Maximilian I. it’s still considered one of the finest forms of German Renaissance sculpture and boasts a humungous back marble sarcophagus with a bronze figure of the Emperor from 1585. The feature is surrounded by a wrought-iron screen and 24 marble reliefs depicting the Emperor’s life. The 28 bronze statues of the Emperor’s ancestors and contemporaries like King Arthur of England and Count Albrecht IV of Hapsburg are equally impressive to see.
The Golden Roof
Lined with old merchants’ houses and entering the Old Town quarter from the south, Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse takes you straight to the Golden Roof. This late Gothic oriel window is roofed with gilded copper tiles and was built in 1496 commemorating Maximilian I’s marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza. The box from which the court watched the festivities in the square below was made from a total of 2,657 gilded copper tiles, and the lower balustrade with its richly decorated coat of arms décor is equally as impressive.
The Old Court Palace of Innsbruck is a former imperial residence that was built during the 15th and 16th centuries. The luxurious apartments are well worth seeing, as is the Giant Hall and the building’s 3 large ceiling frescoes. You might also want to check out Maria Theresa’s Rooms, the Ancestral Gallery and the Painting Gallery while you’re on an English guided tour. Outside of the building in the surrounding district you’ll find amazing attractions like the Silver Chapel, the Old University (Alte Universität), the Tyrolean Provincial Theater, and the Hofgarten with its Art and Concert Pavilion.
Old Town Innsbruck
Lined with narrow house-fronts, impressive doorways, oriel windows and arcaded-façades, Innsbruck’s Old Town speaks of true Tyrolese architecture and southern influences among the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo buildings. Take a walking tour down this side of town and explore sites such as the Baroque Helblinghaus, 16th-century Golden Eagle inn, the 57-meter-high Stadtturm watchtower and the Burgriesenhaus (Castle Giant's House).
About 1km north of Old Town Innsbruck at Schloss Weiherburg, you’ll find Alpenzoo Innsbruck-Tyrol. The zoo is best known for its collection of mountain animals from all across the Alpine regions of the world, and it’s a local and tourist loved destination. Housing more than 2,000 animals from 150 different Alpine species, the Alpenzoo also boasts an abundance of marine life inside the world’s largest cold-water aquarium. You don’t even have to have kids to enjoy the zoo with its park-like setting.
A short drive east from Innsbruck takes you to Ambras Palace, the residence of Archduke Ferdinant from 1563 to 1595. The Lower Castle boasts 2 rooms that house a collection of arms and armor. The Upper Castle also boasts a number of great paintings and sculptures. The best sight is the Spanish Hall between the Lower and Upper Castles.
Innsbruck’s best skiing slopes can be found on the single ski pass that covers over 500km of trails and 6 skiing areas. You might want to pay a visit to the ski village of Igls with its spectacular views over Innsbruck, but expert skiers might not want to stick to the “easy slopes” which would mean a trip to Hungerburg-Seegrube, the gateway to the challenging runs of the Hafelkar is in order. The village of Axams 10km outside of Innsbruck is best known for its Axamer-Lizum and then there are also the Tilfes and Mutters areas for superb skiing opportunities.
Seefeld is the most popular year-round destination of them all, and the small village is a very beloved resort these days. The village stretches out over the valley and the village center is marked by the 15th century parish church of St. Oswald. You might also be interested in visiting the Wildsee at the southern end of Seefeld with its small lake, beach and swimming pools.
Schloss Mirabell and Gardens
In Mirabellplatz you’ll find the remodeled Schloss Mirabell with its Grand Staircase and a number of statues by Georg Raphael Donner and his pupils. The Marble Hall and the Schloss Mirabell Baroque Museum housed in the Gardener's Building are also well worth seeing. The Mirabellgarten is a beautiful Baroque landscape design laid out in 1690 and comprises of various terraces, marble statues and fountains that are simply breathtaking. You might also be interested in seeing the Hellbrunn Palace with its exquisite gardens.