Innsbruck, Austria is a city sometimes overlooked because of the more famous towns of Salzburg and Vienna. However, it wasn’t too long ago that Innsbruck was the “IT” town! You won’t be disappointed in a visit here. It includes romantic castles, Olympic sites, wonderful parks and zoo’s and lots and lots of history. This is just my day trip to Innsbruck, but know you can totally make it a weekend destination or for much, much longer.
A few weeks ago we were staying in Mayrhofen, Austria for the Almabtrieb (Cows coming home celebration) in the Zillertal region. Since we were there for a longer weekend adding a day trip to Innsbruck was a perfect add-on to our itinerary.
Innsbruck is a perfect day-trip distance from southern Germany, Bavaria (Garmisch-Partenkirchen), Berchtesgaden, and Salzburg. On our Sunday visit, we found walking tours, the park, the Augustiner Brewery (from München,) the Hard Rock Cafe, and much, much more.
Where to Park
I typically look for the Altstadt (Old Town) parking garage when visiting older cities of Europe. However, on our day trip today the sign indicated Altstadt was full – so my next go – to is the Congress Parking garages. These were typically designed to be closer to the old town areas and providing additional parking for government buildings. I was right! Very close to downtown and easily accessible to a lot of attractions.
Walking the streets of Innsbruck
We began our walking tour from the parking lot that pops up into Old Town and headed to Maria Theresa Straße this is the main walking area for Innsbruck. I expect it’s quite busy during the spring and summer season but it was not as crowded during our day trip.
- Hofburg Innsbruck – Empress Maria Theresa’s Palace sits beautifully in the center of town and is easily accessible from the CongressParking Garage. Tickets for a guided tour are €9/adult and children up to 19 yrs old are free. If you would like a guided tour prices are a little higher but not much.
- SUNDAYs are FAMILY day – €3/adult, €2/child (guided tour)
- Open daily from 9 – 5 p.m. last tour is at 4:30 p.m.
- Golden Roof Museum – one of the most photographed buildings in Innsbruck, you’ll need PhotoShop to cut out all the people vying to catch a pristine shot of this stunningly beautiful. Emperor Maximilian from the 1450’s was the leading man behind modern warfare. This building was one of the first in government administration and daily tours are available to hear all about the history behind this expansive empire that included the silver trade, massive wars, and its’ booming economic city.
- Annasäule – Anna’s Column – this guilded column sits right in the center of Maria Theresa Straße and was given to the city after the Bavarian invasion in the 1700’s.
Triumphpforte – this mini Arc de Triumph was a wedding – can be found in many cities around Europe.
Innsbruck Hofgarten – this sweet garden is located near the Congress parking garage and is just super fun to walk in and relax. I remember coming here over 20 years ago and I think these same guys were playing the same Chess game ~ if you need a stop to rest and relax after walking the city, I recommend this palatial park.
Augustiner Brewery & Restaurant – we happened upon the Augustiner Keller in Innsbruck. One of the oldest breweries in München right here in town. Great soups and authentic regional dishes – YUM!
Hard Rock Cafe – half way through our very long walking day we decided to check out the Hard Rock Cafe. (It’s under renovation right now.) My Jon is a big fan ~ he likes to check out the collections in each major town in Europe. So we stopped for a mid-day beverage and small snack. Located right in the center of town square in the middle of the day it was quite full. The food was great and the service speedy, we decided to eat right in the bar area. This Hard Rock had Icon collectibles from Madonna to Brittany and more – this was a fun, quick stop!
Food Truck Fest!
Walking around the city led us Marktplatz. I think this area has served as a major “market” for centuries. Today we happened upon a Food Truck Fest! It’s always an adventure, I tell ya.
Another trail led us to the east side of the Inn River which splits the city in two but the colors and skyline of Innsbruck are breathtaking. I recommend hopping the river for amazing views and shots with your camera. We stopped in Waltherpark on the east shore to get these shots.
Not enough time to see everything, but oh ~ so much more!
- AlpenZoo – this zoo in the mountains is accessible by Alpinetrain or Hungerburgbahn, closed this winter for renovations, you’ll have to take the bus. Rated one of the BEST family activities in Innsbruck by TripAdvisor, sounds like a great itinerary add-on. If you’ve got little ones that love fur babies this is your place. We didn’t make it on our day as you can see it was quite full.
- Snow fun – you can enjoy some winter fun on the slopes of Innsbruck, from skiing to snowboarding they have it all for your vacation in the mountains. As you stand in city center you can see remnants of the 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck. Still very much a ski town, you will find more information visiting the tourism office of Innsbruck.
- Swarovski Crystal World – located just outside of Innsbruck this unforgettable crystal visit is worth seeing for the whole family. Mostly open during the spring and summer because of the coldness in the caves, keep this for warmer weather.
- CHRISTMAS MARKETs ~ what?
- There are 6 Christmas markets in 2017!! These markets are held all over the city from the old town to Advent on the Market Square ~ lots of Christmas fun to be had!
Not a “newbie” to Innsbruck, it was a stop on another adventure I had over 20 years ago with my mother, aunt and several ladies. It still captured my heart and makes me eager to visit friendly, beautiful Austria.
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!