What to see in Innsbruck: guide with practical tips about the city

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

It is perhaps the most "Italian" of the Austrian cities, thanks to its proximity to the border of our beautiful country. This is exactly what makes Innsbruck the ideal destination for a short trip out of town, excellent for weekends, especially if you live in Northern Italy. Small in size and characterized by a historic center with various attractions, it attracts many tourists every year. Suitable for any season, it is the perfect location for a regenerating holiday between nature and culture.

But here it is what to see in Innsbruck and what to do during your stay: all the useful information in this guide with practical tips on the city!


  1. Golden Roof
  2. Civic tower
  3. Arch of Triumph
  4. Column of Sant'Anna
  5. Ferdinandeum Tyrolean Regional Museum
  6. Ambras Castle
  7. Helbling House
  8. Wilten Basilica
  9. Hofburg
  10. Cathedral of San Giacomo
  11. Hofkirche, Court Church
  12. Bergisel springboard
  13. Swarovski crystal worlds
  14. Alpenzoo
  15. Hungerburgbahn
  16. Other attractions to visit
  17. 7 things to do in Innsbruck
  18. User questions and comments

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1 - Golden Roof

The Golden Roof, Goldenes Dachl, definitely is one of the icons of Innsbruck, located in the historic center. This is the sloping roof of a noble palace covered with about 2.600 gilded copper tiles which dates back to 1500 and was commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I. On its surface there would be an inscription that has not yet been deciphered but which, according to the "legend", should sound like a warning to live life to the full.

Although most people stop to admire only the roof, inside the palace there is a museum dedicated to the Emperor. Spend an hour visiting the museum accompanied by a Kunz von der Rosen, or a court jester of Maximilian I, who will make you discover the incredible history of the city.

Look carefully at the exterior decorations: you will be able to see various types of figures; among these there is a man with two women, namely the Emperor Maximilian, the first wife Maria of Burgundy and the second Bianca Maria Sforza

  • in Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, in the historic center, can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 5 min; alternatively bus 4162 arrives approximately 250m, at the bus station - Get directions
  • Tettuccio d'Oro always accessible / Museum Mon-Fri 10: 00-18: 00
  • Tettuccio d'Oro free / Full museum € 5,00, reduced € 2,50

2 - Civic tower

Not far from the Golden Roof is located another symbol of Innsbruck: the civic tower, 51 m high and built in 1450. From here, for over 450 years, the guards made the lookouts to warn citizens in case of fire or other dangers; the lower part was used instead as a prison.

To reach the viewpoint, which is located at 31 m, it is necessary to climb the 130 steps that allow you to get up a terrace from which you can enjoy a complete view over the city and surrounding mountains. From here you can also see the Bergisel Olympic ski jump and the Patscherkofel, the unmistakably rounded peak.

This is also the starting point for several panoramic city tours, ideal for settling in on the first day and to have a general approach to the new destination! The local guide will take you to discover the most famous areas and will tell you about various curiosities about Innsbruck.

  • in Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 21, 1 min walk from the Golden Roof, you can also walk from the Arc de Triomphe in 8 min; alternatively bus 4162 arrives approximately 250m, at the bus station - Get directions
  • every day, winter 10: 00-17: 00, summer 10: 00-20: 00
  • single € 4,00 / Combined ticket Museum of the Golden Roof + City Museum + Civic Tower € 8,40

3 - Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is located at the end of Maria-Theresien-Straße, the main artery of the city.

The monument is formed by 3 arches and recalls the style of a Roman triumphal arch and, although it is relatively recent, it was built with local archaic rock, the same present on numerous arches of historic buildings.

It was built by Maria Teresa in 1765 as entrance of honor for the wedding of the son, Archduke Leopoldo, whose celebrations are celebrated in the engravings on the south side of the Arch. However, in those same days Maria Theresa lost her consort, the emperor Francesco Stefano di Lorena; therefore she decided to commemorate her late husband too by inserting engravings on the north side of the arch.

It is located in Leopoldstraße 2, in the historic center of Innsbruck and can be reached on foot in 6 minutes from the Central Station along Salurner; nearby the Golden Roof (700 m, 8 min), the Civic Tower (700m, 8 min) and the columns of S. Anna (400 m, 4 min) - Get directions

4 - Column of Sant'Anna

Walking through the historic center of Innsbruck you cannot miss the St. Anne's Column.
Located in Maria-Theresien-Straße, it dates back to the first decade of the 1700s and was erected by the Assembly of the Tyrolean States to remember the foiled invasion of the Bavarian troops of 1703 during the War of the Spanish Succession.

In Corinthian style, it was designed by the Italian architect Cristoforo Benedetti. At the base you can see carved cherubs and the 4 statues of Saints: San Giorgio, one of the protectors of Tyrol, San Cassiano, San Virgilio and Sant'Anna, from which the sculpture takes its name, each facing a cardinal point. At the top of the column is the statue of the Virgin Mary.

It is located in Maria-Theresien-Straße, in the historic center of Innsbruck, it can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 4 min; from the station take bus 4123 and continue on foot on Innsbruck Museumstraße. Nearby the Tettuccio d'Oro and the Civic Tower (350 m, 4 min walk) - Get directions

5 - Ferdinandeum Tyrolean Regional Museum

The Tyrolean Regional Museum is one of the six Tyrolean regional museums, where you can admire 7 collections that include the history of art, archeology, history, natural sciences and music. Inside there are historical and artistic finds ranging from the Stone Age to the Contemporary Age and you can admire collections of musical instruments, works ranging from Gothic to Baroque, without forgetting the Biedermeier collection and the Modern Gallery.

In addition, the visit to the museum also includes a visit to the Corte Church and the Museum of the Hunters of Emperor Maximilian I. At the museum it is possible to admire the instruments of the well-known Tyrolean luthier Jakob Stainer, whose works were as famous as those of Stradivari. Among the works, however, important paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Rembrandt, Franz Defregger, Albin Egger-Lienz and Max Weiler.

  • in Museumstraße 15, can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 7 minutes or by tram Lines 1, 2, 3, STB (Landesmuseum stop), Bus Lines A, C, J, M (Landesmuseum stop). Nearby the Sant'anna column (300m), the Hofburg (450m), the Golden Roof (500m).
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, closed Mon
  • for all exhibitions full € 12,00, reduced € 9,00 / It is possible to purchase single tickets for each activity inside the museum, consult the official website

6 - Ambras Castle

About 4 km from the center of Innsbruck is located the oldest museum in the world, known as Ambras Castle. This place is closely linked to Archduke Ferdinand II who, during the Renaissance, was one of the major promoters of the arts and sciences of that time. Ferdinando collected armor, weapons, portraits, natural objects, musical instruments and jewels and it was for this reason that the Castle was renamed a museum.

Visiting this place, in addition to being a fundamental stop on a trip to Innsbruck is also a way to deepen the European Renaissance culture; it is no coincidence that Ambras is the branch of the Vienna Museum of Art History and also hosts temporary exhibitions. Not only that, being a real castle, there are huge halls (the Spanish Room is very beautiful), apartments, bathrooms and wonderful gardens.

Visit it in the summer: in the summer the castle often hosts a series of concerts, such as the "Ancient Music Festival" and the "Ambras Castle Concerts". In the warm months you can also enjoy the surrounding park. In winter, however, the Habsburg Gallery and the Gothic Sculpture Collection are not accessible.

  • in Schloßstraße 20, southeast of Innsbruck. It can be reached in 9 min from the central station (Hauptbahnhof) by bus 4134 or bus line C stop "Luigenstraße" (600 m from the castle). By car in 7 min via Schloßstraße - Get directions
  • all year 10: 00-17: 00, closed November. In winter not all parts of the castle are accessible, check timetables, extraordinary closures and events before visiting the official website
  • from the end of March to October full € 16,00, reduced € 12,00, from December to the end of March full € 8,00, reduced € 6,00

7 - Helbling House

Casa Helbling is not a museum, but it has nothing to envy to the other buildings in Innsbruck that house beauties of all kinds. The wonder here is not inside, but outside with yours facade full of stucco and decorations representing acanthus leaves, fruit cascades, shells, masks and more.

Its structure is a classic example of 1730th century Gothic art, then revisited in when late Baroque stuccos were added, made by the skilled hands of the artists of the Wessobrun school. Unfortunately, its interior cannot be visited since it houses shops and private homes.

It is located in Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 1, in the historic center and can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 8 min; from the Central Station by bus 4165. Nearby the Golden Roof (30 m, 1 min), the Civic Tower (120 m, 2 min) and Hofburg (250 m, 3 min) - Get directions

8 - Basilica Wilten

The Wilten Basilica, also called Our Lady under the Four Columns, is a true masterpiece of Baroque art, considered the most beautiful in the region, home to the famous children's choir of the Wiltener Sängerknaben.

Inside you can breathe centuries-old history, in the form of an effigy of the "Madonna under the four columns", early Christian remains dating back to the 1751th century and 1756th century stuccoes. The church was rebuilt several times over the centuries and what can be admired today is the result of the work wanted by the parish priest-architect Franz de Paula Penz who, between and , designed the building in Rococo style with decorations and light stuccoes pastel color.

  • in Pastorstraße 694, in the district of Wilten, can be reached on foot in 15 minutes from the Arc de Triomphe. Cn bus 4134 from the Central Station. Nearby the Kaiserjagermuseum (550m, 8 min) - Get directions
  • every day 7: 30-18: 00
  • free offer

9 - Hofburg

The Imperial Palace of Innsbruck is the residence of the counts of Tyrol, also known as the Hofburg. The current palace was built by the archduke Sigismondo, who wanted to expand the existing castle by incorporating the Romanesque wall that lined the city.
Two other alterations by the hand of Emperor Maximilian I and then of his wife Maria Teresa have made it the second most beautiful imperial court in all of Austria, restored according to the model of the Schönbrunn Imperial Palace in Vienna.

The Hofburg features 4 floors and inside there are the royal apartments that can be visited. On the ground floor there are 4 reception rooms but the most beautiful is the Riesensaal, the Sala dei Giganti, where there is also a vault frescoed with the portraits of the 16 children of the Empress Maria Theresa. In some periods you can also see some exhibitions or attend events that the structure hosts.

Enjoy a slice of Sacher: after dreaming in the rooms and gardens of the Hofburg, we recommend that you try the delicious Sachertorte at the palace bar.

  • in Rennweg, in the historic center. It can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 10 minutes or by bus F Congress stop. Nearby Golden Roof (200m, 3 min) and Ferdinandeum Museum (450m, 6 min) - Get directions
  • every day 9: 00-17: 00
  • internal € 9,50, reduced € 7,00

10 - Cathedral of San Giacomo

In the heart of Innsbruck, on Domplatz, it is located the most important religious building in the city: the cathedral of St. James, in German Dom zu St. Jakob. Testimony of the Tyrolean baroque, the external façade with numerous windows and two identical towers is particularly striking.

The interior is characterized by a Latin cross nave and by various decorations and religious canvases, among which the "Madonna of Cranach", painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder stands out. The pulpit is covered with gold and silver and in the church there is also the mausoleum of Archduke Maximilian III.

Hear the bells: every day at 12:15 p.m. the 48 bells of the Carillon della Pace ring which spread the melody throughout the city

  • in Domplatz 6, in the historic center, can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 10 min or by bus F stop Congress. Nearby Golden Roof (200m, 3 min) and Ferdinandeum Museum (450m, 6 min) - Get directions
  • every day 8: 45-18: 30, from May to October until 19:30. Limited tourist visits during the celebration of Holy Mass and religious occasions
  • free

11 - Hofkirche, Court Church

Commonly called the Church of the Black Men, as they are there are 28 black statues that stand guard, the Hofkirche is a milestone when visiting Innsbruck. In the central part of the religious building there is the funeral monument of Emperor Maximilian I and around it are placed the dark bronze guards who guard him. In reality, 8 of the black men are women, among these there are both wives (Maria di Borgogna and Maria Sforza), while the other figures represent relatives, real and fictional, of the emperor and, in addition to the members of the Royal family, there are also characters such as King Arthur. The statues guard the emperor's sarcophagus, magnificent to admire, but it is empty because his remains are in Wiener Neustadt.

Inside the church there are also the graves of local heroes like Andreas Hofer, hero of the Tyrolean resistance against the Napoleonic troops, while in the silver chapel lie two other famous people: Archduke Ferdinand II and his wife Filippina Welser, a heartthrob woman and involved in witchcraft.

Discover the majestic organs of the Church: in the church there are also two organs; the Renaissance one is more than 500 years old and is the oldest and best preserved in Austria; the most recent one dates back to 1900 and is located on the women's gallery.

  • in Universitätsstraße 2, in the historic center, can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 10 min; alternatively by bus F. Nearby are the Golden Roof (250 m, 3 min), Hofburg (300 m, 4 min) and the Ferdinandeum Museum (200 m, 3 min) - Get directions
  • Mon-Sat 9: 00-17: 00, Sun and holidays 12: 30-17: 00
  • full € 8,00, reduced € 6,00

12 - Bergisel springboard

Another attraction not to be missed is the ski jump which is located on Mount Isel, a hill about 800m south of the city. The place on which it stands is rich in history, because here about 200 years ago a group of courageous Tyroleans headed by Andreas Hofer fought for the freedom of their homeland.

The modern ski jump, named Bergisel ski jump, was designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, inaugurated in 2001 and inserted within the most modern ski sports facility in the world, the Bergfeld, which hosted two winter Olympics, in 1964 and 1976. The ski jump can be reached in 2 minutes with an inclined lift or by climbing the 455 steps and on the top there is a beautiful terrace, from which you can enjoy a spectacular panorama, and the Bergisel Sky restaurant, where you can have a meal surrounded by the mountains.

Watch a sports competition: the Bergisel arena is the scene of various competitive competitions. You can consult the calendar with all the races and events scheduled on the official website.

  • on Bergiselweg 3, 2 km south of the old town. It can be reached on foot in 30 min with a walk from the Arc de Triomphe or by bus line 4140 or 4141 stop Innsbruck Tirol Panorama (10 min) - Get directions
  • Bergisel and Bergisel SKY Stadium Wed-Sun 9: 00-16: 00 / Restaurant Wed-Mon 10: 00-18: 00, closed Tue and for dinner / For competitions and events consult the official website
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

13 - Swarovski crystal worlds

Although this attraction is not located in Innsbruck, but in Watttens, 20 Km away, the Swarosvski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten), are an unmissable stop if you are around here. The leading crystal company has created an enchanted world in this location where young and old are dazzled and jaw-dropping. Born in 1995 to commemorate the centenary of the brand, is characterized by sparkling environments, among which the Chamber of Wonders with a crystal tree stands out. In addition, you can admire a spectacular cloud with 800.000 crystals floating on the black mirrored pool, while at the entrance you will be greeted by a gleaming-eyed Alpine giant from whose mouth crystal waters flow.

In this place events and concerts are also set up, such as the "Musica nel Gigante" review. Inside the complex, however, you can find the Daniels Kristallwelten, Café & Restaurant.

Book the tour with transfer included: if you do not have a car available, we recommend that you take the tour from Innsbruck which includes the round trip transfer and the entrance ticket

  • in Swarovskistrasse 30, in Wattens, 20 km from Innsbruck. It can be reached by car via the A12 (20 min) or by bus 4123 from Innsbruck Marktplatz to Wattens Hauptplatz / B171 (50 min), then 10 min on foot - Get directions
  • every day 10: 00-19: 00
  • full € 19,00, reduced € 6,00

14 - Alpenzoo

An attraction especially suitable for families with children is the Alpenzoo, the highest wildlife park in Europe, which is located at the foot of the Nordkette mountain range, at about 727 m of altitude.

This zoo it was once the imperial zoo wanted by Prince Ferdinand II and today it is possible to meet over 2.000 animals of 150 different species all year round, such as blackbirds, beavers, ibex, lynxes, wolves, snow roosters, bears and many other species, some of which are at risk of extinction. All the animals are monitored daily by scientists and park maintenance staff, therefore they live in excellent condition.

  • at Weiherburggasse 37, about 4 km north of the center. It can be reached by bus line W from Marktplatz to Alpenzoo (35 min). Alternatively, Hungerburg Funicular or by car via Weiherburggasse (10 min) - Get directions
  • estate 9:00-18:00; inverno 9:00-17:00
  • € 17,00 full; € 9,00 reduced

15 - Hungerburgbahn

Being in Innsbruck and not going to 2.000m on the Nordkette chain is like being in Rome and not seeing the Colosseum. Reaching the peaks from the city center is really simple thanks to the funicular active since the early 900s and which, in 2007, was radically transformed thanks to the intervention of the architect Zaha Hadid.

The renovations have made it a means of transport a real tourist attraction. With about 100 seats it allows you to reach Hungerburg in just 8 minutes; There are several stops along the way, including the Alpine Zoo, a popular point of interest for families. Once you get off at the last stop instead you can admire a beautiful panorama and, if you wish, relax or have lunch at Café Hitt & Söhne or Ristorante Alpina.

Buy your ticket online: now the cable car has become a real attraction! To make sure you don't waste precious time queuing at the ticket office, we recommend that you buy your return ticket online

  • Congress station in Rennweg, in the city center. It can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe in 13 min. Alternatively, bus to Marktplatz. Nearby Hofburg (300 mm 3 min), the Golden Roof (500 m, 6 min) and the Ferdinandeum museum (550 m, 7 min) - Get directions
  • lun-ven 7:15-19:15, sab-dom 8:00-19:15
  • depending on the route, from € 8,00 return

Other attractions to visit

In addition to the attractions seen so far, there are others museums which are worth a visit: the Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art (€ 12,00), to deepen your knowledge of Tyrol; the wonderful Tirol Panorama Museum, a museum of Tyrolean history and culture with a large panoramic painting (€ 12,00); and the Alpine Club Museum (€ 12,00), dedicated to the history of mountaineering. Finally, enjoy one walk in the Hofgarten garden.

If you love winter sports, we recommend you to visit Stubaier Gletscher, the kingdom of perennial snow! In winter it is a ski paradise, with many slopes, while in summer you can visit the Ice Cave (€ 6,50). Those in search of adrenaline can also try tandem paragliding! If you are traveling with children in the summer, you could instead consider a day at Area 47, a large outdoor adventure park (53 km, prices vary according to the activities, consult the official website).

7 things to do in Innsbruck

  1. Take part in a Tyrolean evening: to discover traditional culture, including gastronomic specialties, Jodel songs and Schuhplatter dances. Info and costs here
  2. Visit the Christmas Markets: during the holidays the city lights up and the streets of the center are filled with stalls. The centerpiece of the celebrations is Piazza Mercato, where the tree stands out with 175.000 Swarovski crystals
  3. Eat a Sacher: take a seat at the Sacher Café, in the historic center of Innsbruck, and order the exquisite chocolate-based cake. You may have to wait a bit, but the location is really beautiful and the dessert sublime
  4. Lunch break at the Markthalle Innsbruck: the market of Innsbruck, on the bank of the river. Ideal to buy local products or to taste the typical local specialties in one of the many internal cafes
  5. Stroll along the Inn River: another unmissable location for photography enthusiasts is the long river that crosses the city. In winter it can get very cold so cover up well
  6. Go shopping at Kaufhaus Tyrol: Take a trip to the largest shopping center in Innsbruck, a must for shopping lovers, located right in the historic center. Between shops and restaurants, there are so many activities to do
  7. Relax on the Lanser See: wonderful lake surrounded by nature, 8 km from Innsbruck. Ideal to visit during the summer days, for a walk or to find a moment of relaxation away from the city

Plan your stay in Innsbruck: flights and hotels

Innsbruck is an enjoyable destination always, although the best time is winter and especially at Christmas. The city is well connected by car or train to Northern Italy.

Moving around the city is guaranteed by the excellent public transport system. As for accommodation, we recommend that you choose a facility between the station and the historic center (accommodation from € 60,00 per night), in this way you can easily walk around and have bus and tram stops. If you are looking for nightlife, the areas where the most animated are near the railway bridge and the historic center, especially in Maria-Theresien-Strasse.

If you are traveling with children, Innsbruck is a perfect destination; do not miss the Via delle Favole Marchengassein Kiebach Gasse in the historic center, a small street where the characters of the most famous fairy tales emerge from windows and buildings. The cable car that leads to the high mountains, the visit to the Alpenzoo and the Svarowski crystal museum are also very impressive.

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