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Best things to do in Innsbruck
This post was last updated in summer 2023.
Simply writing about this city makes me feel excited :)
I first came to Innsbruck, Austria 9 years ago as part of a Eurotrip I did in the summer of that year.
From the very first moment I walked down the city's main street and my eyes watched the snow-capped Alps surrounding it, I knew I was in love. Difficult.
Since that visit, I had no doubt that I would return to this place, and maybe one day I would live there.
9 years later, in the autumn of 2019, I returned to Innsbruck again, walked its streets again, with the snowy Alps still surrounding it, and with a smile that never left my face.
Once again I came to Innsbruck as part of a solo trip to Europe, only this time I collected information about the city so that you too can get to Innsbruck, and that you too will not lose a smile on your face when you wander around the most beautiful city in the world (promise!).
In this post I will describe the best things you can do in Innsbruck, where to sleep, where to eat and what are the best attractions to do in Innsbruck.
So shall we begin? Because it's hard for me to wait :)
A little about Innsbruck
At the western tip of Austria, in a valley between the Alps, lies the beautiful city of Innsbruck.
Innsbruck is considered the capital of the amazing Tyrol region, and when I first traveled in this region I felt like I was in a continuous postcard landscape, or as if I had been pulled straight into The shire from The Lord of the Rings.
To this day, to me, it is among the most beautiful areas I have traveled.
But the truth is that one of the most special things for me about Innsbruck is also its strong connection to sports, especially a sport that is close to my heart - climbing.
Every year Innsbruck hosts the World Climbing Championships, and is also considered the place with the best artificial climbing wall in the world. (Not to mention the amount of rock you can climb surrounding it.)
Apart from climbing, Innsbruck is very strong when it comes to winter sports, and has already hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice.
Not surprising by the fact that the city is surrounded by snowy mountains :)
I traveled in Innsbruck in the summer and autumn, and both times the views around me were special and different.
In autumn I got to see the city in its fall colors, and I believe that in winter when it is painted white it is a magical experience in itself (and some say it is amazing for Christmas celebrations).
How to get to Innsbruck?
Flights to Innsbruck
The best way to get to Innsbruck can be taking a flight to Vienna, Salzburg or Munich and cross overland to the city.
If you are already traveling in Europe and want to get to the city, there are flights to Innsbruck from many European cities and there are specific routes of flights that are considered especially cheap!
Try checking out the flight line from Amsterdam to Innsbruck, for example, the locals claim that you can find really surprising prices.
Use Skyscanner to check your options.
Ground access by car/public transport to Innsbruck
In my opinion, the best way to visit Innsbruck and also on the way to explore the Tyrolean region is by public transport / car.
I did my trip to Innsbruck by night bus, which is efficient and I could sleep on the way (and I barely woke up on time to get off the bus), but it turned out that I missed the amazing view of the Dolomites on the way and of course the Alps.
This is another reason by the way that I recommend doing many of the roads in the world by bus, because the view is often worth the way. (And that air travel pollutes our world)
Innsbruck is a total of two and a half hours by bus from Munich and about four hours from Vienna.
The city is directly connected to other major European cities such as Zurich in Switzerland, Verona in Italy, Zagreb in Croatia and many others.
I went to Innsbruck on a train line that starts in the city of Trieste in Italy and continues to Munich. Sometimes the lines are direct and sometimes there is also a change on the way – pay attention.
So what do you do in Innsbruck?
Wandering around the city of Innsbruck
As with almost any city, and even more so in a beautiful city like this one, just wander around.
I will mention again that the city is surrounded by mountains, and just walking down the main street and seeing this view before your eyes is worth every minute.
However, if you're not as fond of random wandering as I am, there are a few places worth deliberately wandering:
A fun area to stroll around during the day and enjoy the restaurants, architecture, and tourist shops typical of ancient cities.
The main pedestrian street - Maria-Theresien-Straße - is flanked by dozens of old buildings. From there you can visit the small alleys of the city and access the city's main attractions such as the famous Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl).
By the way, I highly recommend you go there in the evening, because everything is bright and beautiful with a young and lively atmosphere.
The Old City area is small, but its alleys are really special and nice to discover.
This river is unlikely to be missed because it crosses the city and is an inseparable part of its special landscape.
The river can be crossed through the bridges that were built along it, and I stopped quite a few times to just stand on one of the bridges and look at the landscape around me for a few minutes.
One of the city's hallmarks, the Arc de Triomphe is located on the corner of Maximilianstraße and Maria Theresien Straße.
You probably can't miss it :)
Hiking in the surrounding mountains
If you are coming to Innsbruck I so recommend you to get out of the city and hike in the surrounding mountains!
You can start trails right from within the city itself and walk around the dozens of trails marked in the mountains.
Out of the ten days I was in the city, I spent almost a week in the mountains (and that was only because I got a kidney infection there that confined me to bed).
The rest of the time I went out alone and with friends to hike in the mountains, each time on a different route. Some routes are even suitable for half a day, some for whole days.
Difficulty levels range from very easy hiking trails suitable for families with children, to mountaineering trails to the high peaks of the mountains.
To be honest one of my moments of supreme happiness on this trip was right at the vantage point I reached when I hiked alone in the mountains, saw this beautiful city from above and just felt like the luckiest girl in the world to experience this moment there.
If you are a fan of mountain biking then there are trails specially designed for this, some of them are even very challenging and to me at least looked quite extreme.
Palaces, churches and other buildings
Like other European cities, in Innsbruck you can enjoy and visit some important historical buildings:
Hofburg Palace and the Royal Gardens
Built in 1453, this palace is located in Innsbruck's Old City.
You can wander through the palace's chambers, the various halls and then visit the royal gardens close to the palace.
Entrance to the palace is not free, but the gardens are open to the public.
For more inquiries visit their website >>
Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras)
This castle is located in the hills above Innsbruck and overlooks the city at an altitude of 587 meters.
The castle was built in the 16th century and is considered one of the most prominent attractions around the city, so it is very worth popping in for a visit and looking at the city from a different angle.
Also located in the Old City, its construction was completed in 1563 for the ruler Maximilian.
The church is built in Gothic style and its second name is Schwarzmanderkirche and is famous for its 28 bronze statues of major historical figures.
Vegan food in Innsbruck
So if you have already read this blog then you know that the blog maintains a vegan character, so the recommendations presented in this post are also aimed at vegan restaurants or with a variety of vegan options.
Probably the most well-known restaurant among vegans - link to the restaurant page at Happy Cow >>
100% vegan rich menu of delicious and big dishes like burgers, pizzas, various stews and desserts :)
You won't leave this place hungry, that's for sure!
I visited the restaurant when they also had a special menu for Halloween, so the dishes were painted in the famous colors of the holiday like black and orange.
In my culinary choices, I'm pretty predictable, so I chose to order a "regular" dish - their classic burger - flamingos, whose bun is pink (because flamingos).
Truth? The dish was cute, I've tasted better burgers than these, but the whole experience around was very cool.
Some of my friends dared and ordered dishes from the special menu for the holiday and came out getting black dough and pumpkin pizza on top, it was definitely interesting to taste.
I went inside and the place looked really cute and tasty, but in this case the pizza was not in my budget.
There are three different options for vegan pizza, in two different sizes, and if you're an avid pizza fan like me - this is probably the only vegan pizza option in town.
A Turkish shawarma stand, a very common sight throughout Germany and Austria, but also one that offers some nice vegan dishes.
I will prepare you in advance for the fact that vegan food in this part of the world is still not very successful.
I tasted two dishes at this stand - the falafel and the "vegan kebab" which didn't look like a kebab but more like the sole of a shoe simply made of seitan.
I was hungry so I ate, but to say it was delicious and recommended - not particularly.
What's more, the "pita" in which they serve the dishes is pretty cool but not very sophisticated in terms of the efficiency of holding the contents of the dish in it.
The falafel is nice - in Israel it's more delicious :)
I went in here too and ran away because of the prices (forgiveness - I went on this trip on a really low budget), but they actually have a separate section of the menu for vegan dishes that would sound pretty good at all!
The place also got a very good rating on Happy Cow >>
A cute place that might satisfy Europeans' need for falafel, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed when the seller took the cute falafel balls and put them in the microwave to heat them. Yes. You heard me correctly.
That said, they have dumplings stuffed with vegan magic inside - very tasty and recommended! Look for their vegan kofte.
Recommended Hotels & Hostels in Innsbruck
So like many places on this trip, I stayed in Innsbruck with good friends, or in a van in the mountains, so I didn't have to pay for accommodation there.
However, I went and inquired about places for travelers to stay when they came to the city, and local friends told me about a few such places:
Montagu Bed & Beers
A hostel designed for young people and backpackers who come to visit the city.
It has a basement for concerts, a bar, and various events that take place there that can be reached even if you do not sleep in the hostel.
The atmosphere there is really pleasant and you can meet other travelers from all over the world.
This is another hostel that is recommended, and is not far from the city center.
You can find a variety of room types, wifi, and basically everything you need per night + the price per night includes breakfast :)
And if you have already passed the backpacking stage and want to be really pampered, you should try this hotel.
A 4-star hotel with all the luxuries you want, including a pool, mountain views and breakfast.
The hotel is right in the heart of the city and from here you can reach all the best points in Innsbruck.
Ibis Innsbruck Hotel
Another hotel in Innsbruck at a more than reasonable price.
3 star hotel with big and clean rooms, located near the train station.
Good breakfast and also pool :)
Innsbruck is a perfect city for lovers of European cities and lovers of nature and mountains alike.
In my opinion, Innsbruck is a perfect combination of culture, city atmosphere, nature and travel, and of course a combination of the sport I love to do such as climbing and highlining.
The people here are nice and wonderful, and it can be a wonderful destination if you are already traveling in the Tyrol region of Austria.
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Thank you very much for the support and I wish you an amazing trip in Austria :)
All photos in this post were taken by me and should not be used without permission. Thanks :)
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Enjoy your trip :)
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