Amazing views? Tick. Fantastic food? Check. Big on adventure? Absolutely. The Austrian city of Innsbruck, Tirol has it all - get the perfect introduction with this snapshot guide...
How about savouring a world-class city that loves music, food and culture, where you can escape from the historic core 2,000m high into the Alps in just 20 minutes? Welcome to Innsbruck, Capital of the Alps – an ideal hub for exploring the Austrian Tirol that offers a refreshing splash of nature to complement its more cerebral urban charms.
Innsbruck’s Old Town tempts with its baroque and gothic splendour. Highlights include the Golden Roof, Imperial Palace and Court Church, which open up intriguing layers of history.
Elsewhere, the upcoming areas of Mariahilf and Wilten Square boast a hip vibe fuelled by the local students; tuck into hearty Alpine fare such as cheese dumplings (kaspressknödel) or sliced pancakes (kaiserschmarrn) in a traditional inn, or fine dine in a Michelin gastronomic temple.
Snare an access-easing Innsbruck Card and you get access to top sights, a return trip on seven cable cars and unlimited public transport. You can join the locals taking a tram out to Lake Lans and Lake Natters for a spirit soaring al fresco swim.
Those mountains soar at the end of seemingly every street. Zoom up on the Nordkette cable car (whose stations were designed by Zaha Hadid) from the Old Town city centre, enjoying views up to the Nordkette mountain range before arriving atop Hafelekar, 2,300m high up the Alps. Tuck into lunch at Seegrube restaurant, overlooking Austria’s biggest nature park, Karwendel Alpine Park.
The mountains and valleys around Innsbruck feel like they’ve been sculpted with active adventurers in mind. Hikers can tramp the new seven-day Innsbruck Trek – you can do short taster walks or tackle the whole thing, using mountain huts and inns overnight. The trail can be done solo or with a professional guide, with options for your luggage to be transported for you. Other options for adrenaline seekers in this action-packed region include mountain biking and paragliding.
Summer also sees a number of events grace Innsbruck. There are free promenade concerts in the Imperial Palace’s courtyard every day in July, and a Festival of Early Music at venues around town and at Ambras Castle in August. This being Innsbruck, summer also sees a leg of one of the biggest mountain bike festivals in the world, Crankworx, in June.
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