7 must-do things to do in Innsbruck

Visiting Innsbruck: what are the best things to do in Tyrol’s capital?

The regional capital of the Austrian Tyrol, Innsbruck lies in the heart of the Alps, on the River Inn. A picturesque, historic town, it boasts a remarkable architectural and cultural heritage.

Coveted by all surrounding nations throughout its history, Innsbruck was the seat of Maximilian I’s imperial court in the late 15th century. Today, imperial monuments from the Habsburg era stand side by side with more modern buildings in the Old Town, set against the backdrop of the high mountains. This ensemble lends the city a unique charm!

Wondering what to do in Innsbruck during your stay? Here’s the answer, with our 7 must-do’s for a proper visit to Innsbruck!

Also read in the Innsbruck guide :

1. Innsbruck’s Little Golden Roof

Le petit toit d'or, Innsbruck

Photo credit: Flickr –
Pixelteufel

The emblem of the city, the Little Golden Roof was built at the request of Emperor Maximilian I. This facade is the most photographed in Austria. Adorned with a loggia of honor, it is surmounted by a second loggia covered by a roof made of 2,657 gilded copper plates. You can admire it as you stroll through the Old Town.

2. Mausoleum of Emperor Maximilian I

Mausolée Empereur Maximilien, Innsbruck

Photo credit: Flickr – Sorenza

Not far from the Golden Roof is the Mausoleum of Emperor Maximilian I, the man who made the Habsburgs one of Europe’s greatest dynasties. Built during his lifetime, this monument is one of the most important achievements of all German Renaissance sculpture. Twenty-eight bronze statues, each nearly 2 meters tall, stand guard over the empty tomb. Called the Black Men by the locals, they represent the ancestors of the Habsburgs in the broadest sense, including Charlemagne, Clovis and Godefroy de Bouillon.

3. Ambras Castle

Located south of Innsbruck, Ambras Castle was originally a medieval fortress before being transformed into a Renaissance-style castle by Ferdinand II of Tyrol. His passion for the arts and sciences led him to assemble a formidable collection of weapons, paintings and elaborate armor, as well as works of art and exotic objects from all over the world.

The castle is now a museum, a must-see when you visit Innsbruck!

4. Imperial Palace Innsbruck

The Hofburg is the former imperial and royal residence of Austria-Hungary. Originally a medieval castle, Maria Theresa of Austria had it demolished to build the present rococo building in the pure style of the Viennese court.

Extremely well preserved and restored, a visit to the imperial palace allows visitors to admire the wealth of the Austrian Habsburgs, while discovering the daily life of some of the great figures, such as Maria Theresa of Austria and Empress Sissi. You can also visit the rich interior apartment, with its unique Sissi style!

5. Tyrolean Folk Art Museum

The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum in Innsbruck is one of the most beautiful of its kind in Europe. Located next to the Mausoleum and the Imperial Palace, it’s a must-see if you’re visiting Innsbruck. Spread over three floors, this ethnographic museum immerses you in the history and picturesque life of the Tyrol!

6. Also in Innsbruck

If you’re still wondering what to do in Innsbruck, here are more attractions to visit and activities to enjoy:

  • Tirol Panorama: a modern museum offering an impressive 360° view of Tyrol’s eventful history.
  • The Nordkette funicular railway: a curious construction that sparkles in the sun.
  • The Nordkette funicular railway: a curious construction that sparkles in the sun.
  • Helbling House: a Gothic-style building that was converted to Rococo style in 1732.
  • Triumphpforte: a superb triumphal arch, magnified by the Alps in the background, built by order of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria to celebrate the marriage of her son Leopold to the Spaniard Marie-Louise.
  • The Christmas Market: one of the most beautiful and romantic in the Alps, lasting from mid-November to early January.
  • New Year’s Eve waltzes: for the New Year, the Old Town is transformed into a giant ballroom. Rhythmic live music, culinary specialities and entertainment are on the program, along with a superb fireworks display that lights up the surrounding mountains!

A visit to Innsbruck in winter or summer is a guarantee of a typical, picturesque and unspoilt atmosphere. Winter is enchanting thanks to the end-of-year festivities and the snow that covers the mountain foothills. Summer is warm and inviting, with the gentle Tyrolean way of life.

7. Things to do near Innsbruck

A visit to Innsbruck will allow you to discover many wonders. But it would be a shame to confine yourself to the city and not explore the surrounding mountains and nature! For example:

  • Visit the Alpenzoo: take the impressive Hungerburgbahn funicular, designed by Zaha Hadid, to reach this superb animal park. A must-see if you’re visiting Innsbruck: the park lets you discover Alpine fauna up close, and exhibits allow you to learn more about Tyrol’s sensitive ecosystems.
  • Climb aboard the cable car at the funicular terminus to reach the Seegrude restaurant at an altitude of 2,000 metres: at the very top, you’ll find yourself facing a stunning panorama.
  • Skiing: Visiting Innsbruck and the Tyrol gives you access to 300km of slopes in 9 nearby ski areas.
  • Hiking and mountain biking: the Tyrol is particularly beautiful in summer, and is also renowned for its stunning scenery during charming hikes. The famous hiking trail, the Eagle Way, has a stopover in Innsbruck.

How to get to Innsbruck

The best way to get to Innsbruck is by plane (2 hours from Paris). As the city has its own airport, you’ll find a cheap flight on the website of our partner Ulysse. The advantage of Austria is that it’s accessible by any means, so you can get to Innsbruck by train, bus or car. The choice is yours!

Where to stay in Innsbruck

From the historic city center to the charming Hötting district, the « Capital of the Alps » is brimming with charming places to stay. For a stay in the heart of the city, opt for a hotel in Altstadt: you can find a cheap hotel in Innsbruck by searching on this hotel comparison site. If you prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city and as close to nature as possible, like in Hötting, opt for Airbnb: the site offers pied-à-terre accommodations that make you feel right at home!

Now you know what to do in Innsbruck during your stay. Winter or summer, have you already decided?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Innsbruck,at