24 Jan COMPLETE CITY GUIDE TO INNSBRUCK
Located in the heart of the Austrian Alps, Innsbruck is a picturesque city surrounded by majestic mountain peaks. Where you can combine winter sports with wandering around this charming and historic city.
Skiing in Innsbruck
Hop on the bus and in no time imagine yourself on the slopes where the snow-capped mountains of the Alps will greet you. Blue, red and some black runs alternate in terms of difficulty, as well as choices in ski areas. Thus, you can take a bus directly from the city to different slopes.
Kuhtai is one of the larger areas you can easily get to from Innsbruck. With a scenic drive through the valley, you’ll drive to this winter village in 50 minutes. No big gondola, but you’re right at the chairlifts upon arrival. At 2020 meters, Kuhtai is one of the highest ski resorts in Austria – with some 38km of slopes. There is little blue for beginners, but experienced skiers can go wild for a few days. We ate the most delicious Kaiserschmarren here at restaurant Dorfstadl!
This small but fine ski area is a little closer (about 35 min by bus from downtown). Here you take only 1 gondola to the top and ski down between the trees, insane! Did you know that, among other things, the Winter Olympics were held here in 1964 and 1976? Patscherkofelbahn is especially popular with the locals, but we love that. You have a modern restaurant at the top of the gondola (Das Kofel), where you can have a good breakfast and lunch. Looking for a traditional mountain hut? Then ski down via the right side and stop at Patscher Alm for peak views and mulled wine.
With a small train going up steeply from the town, you arrive at a gondola that takes you to the Nordkette. Especially fun for children who can exercise and sled here.
If you are looking for excellent winter fun off the slopes, head to the toboggan runs in the Innsbruck area. The region’s toboggan runs are universally popular and attract not only families with children, but also youngsters, adults, groups of friends and individual toboganners. The fresh air, winter atmosphere, breathtaking views and snowy landscapes make it no surprise that the local toboggan runs are regularly visited by tourists and locals alike. Fun guaranteed!
Handy! During our stay, we used a Ski Plus City Pass, which allowed us to use 13(!) ski resorts, 40+ buses, streetcars and trains and visit 23 different museums and attractions. You can purchase this card from 2 days for 136 euros for adults and children for 68 euros. Ideal if you want to combine the city and winter sports.
A bit of history
Innsbruck’s Old Town is full of cultural heritages, such as the famous golden roof, and several churches and museums. Here are a few of the highlights.
The Golden Roof
This specially designed roof is made of gold leaf and was gifted by Emperor Maximillan to his 2nd wife. 500 years later, it is still the eye-catcher in the Old Town.
This building can now be visited as a museum, with the showpiece being the giant hall with the portraits of all of Maria Theresa’s children, including Marie-Antoinette. The “Hofkirche” attached to it has impressive bronze statues cast in one piece, a remarkable feat in that period.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds
This special place surprised us tremendously! This museum was built in honor of Swarovski’s 100th anniversary. Step into the giant and marvel at the 17 special rooms with crystal works of art. Also fun for children because there is a special play tower and carousel. From Innsbruck catch a shuttle bus that will take you here.
Breakfast on top of the ski jump
You really don’t want to miss this activity. On the hill Bergisel sits Bergisel Ski Jump (Bergiselschanze) designed by architect Zaha Hadid. This 50-meter high tower features a restaurant “Bergisel Sky” with an impressive view of the ski jump, Innsbruck and the Alps. What not many people know is that here you can have extensive breakfast and brunch with prosecco, fresh sandwiches, waffles, fruit while enjoying the view of Innsbruck. Open until 6 p.m.
Where to eat in Innsbruck
There are plenty of hotspots to be found in Innsbruck, but you have to look carefully for the trendy ones. They are often hidden away, but fortunately we have compiled a list for you with the best places to eat and drink;
Café Bar moustache
The place to be in the center of Innsbruck, and full of young creatives! This super relaxed café serves tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes, delicious coffees with oats and more. Every Sunday at Bar Moustache they offer an all-you-can-eat brunch including water, tea and orange juice for 19 euros per person. A reservation is definitely required, as these brunches are very popular with locals. Cash only!
This Asian fusion restaurant and bar is in the same building as Café Bar moustache. They serve (take away is also available) delicious boa buns, hot and cold healthy bowls, tropical lemonades, cocktails (the lychee cocktail is yum) and local beers.
Opened last year, this Pop Up restaurant is located outside the city, but the youth are all too happy to come here. Luju’s is known not only for their delicious ramen, but especially for their awesome local parties that take place outside (on the large terrace) and inside with local DJs.
Kater Noster Cafe & Bar
A trendy and relaxed neighborhood cafe located in the heart of Innsbruck with fine music playing in the background. Whether you go for a coffee or cocktail, everything is prepared with love. If you feel like a snack, you can order the homemade Flammkuchen.
Wilten brunch & bar
During the day you come here for breakfast and brunch (consisting of many options, including vegetarian) and in the evening for delicious cocktails. Fancy a party? There is a DJ on the ground floor every Friday and Saturday!
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This franchise is known for its healthy bowls, prepared with seasonal vegetables from local farmers. You can customize your meals and add additional healthy options. They have a wide range of tasty vegetarian dishes, but they also offer organic meat options. They do take away!
Small but cozy! Delicious Mexican food at this trendy and fairly new restaurant on the shopping street. Everything comes from the region and is seasonal. They don’t take reservations so you may have to wait a while, but then you’ll have something.
This 800-year-old restaurant still has the original stones of the former prison. Plenty of seating, and serves classics like schnitzel. Even our Dutch King Willem Alexander once ate here. Please note that they only have 1 vegetarian dish on the menu.
Strudel Cafe Kröll
They serve up to 20 different strüdels here, from sweet to savory. Inside you can see the original prison wall.
If you are looking for some local delicacies, a fresh meal, coffee, fresh pasta or some goodies, this is the place to be. Locals do their shopping here and all products are just a bit more special than in the supermarket. Open every day, except Sunday!
Check here for a full list of the best places to eat lunch in Innsbruck!
This is where you score the tastiest coffee
There may be a line outside the door, but it’s definitely worth it! It doesn’t take long before they have a spot for you inside or outside. This little coffee joint has delicious homemade cakes (many different options), yummy coffees with oat milk, as well as scrumptious breakfast and lunch options. The homemade granola was to die for!
a coffee joint hidden inside the Wagnersche bookstore! You’ll find it on the second floor. Expect fresh cakes, coffee and some lunch options. Please note that lunch is only served until 2 p.m. In summer, you can sit outside on the rooftop terrace.
You can find this little coffee joint on a side street of the city. Stop by for a coffee and banana bread, or take a seat and enjoy a healthy lunch.
Hotel Stage 12
There are three things that make this modern hotel special and pleasant: the location, the view of the mountains and the spa. The entrance is in a courtyard with many rooms adjacent so you have little to no noise. You can easily walk anywhere from here. The hotel has 2 sauna cabins, a steam room, and an area where you can relax. Perfect for after skiing! Breakfast is varied and you can have cocktails in the bar. From 150 euros per night. Book here.
This trendy hotel is located in the cozy neighborhood of Wilten. The outside of the hotel may look modest, but wait until you step inside. The hotel is funky and modern. All rooms are different (check out the golden room) and some have balconies and kitchen facilities. From 130 euros per night. Book here.
*Header photo credit: City © Innsbruck Tourismus Markus Mair