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21 Best Things to Do in Innsbruck, Austria

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Innsbruck is a beautiful city with so much to offer travelers, but knowing where to start your visit can be hard. These are the best things to do in Innsbruck, Austria, after visiting both in summer and winter.

Innsbruck is best known as a winter sports venue due to its large ski areas and proximity to the mountains. It is also known for its history and museums. The Hofburg and the Golden Roof are among the most famous sites in town.

Innsbruck is also a major jumping-off point for exploring the surrounding Alps by foot or on Nordic skis – many people hike from Innsbruck up into Tyrol’s higher peaks, going on to explore valleys and lakes located high up in the alpine regions.

Plenty of cafes serve hot drinks, crepes, and cakes next to picturesque rivers of ice-covered waterfalls for those seeking more leisurely pursuits.

Things to Do in Innsbruck, Austria

1. Go skiing and snowboarding

Kyle Kroeger, author of things to do in Innsbruck at Stubai Glacier in snowy weather
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Innsbrook is synonymous with skiing and snowboarding, hosting over five different winter Olympics and other winter sporting events. Innsbruck has an incredible number of ski and snowboard options. I’ve visited multiple of them, including the Nordette and Stubai Glacier. Read more about my experience at Stubai Glacier.

The Nordkette is the closest option to the city center of Innsbruck, whereas the Stubai Glacier is a 45-minute or 1.5-hour drive by public bus. Other skiing and snowboarding options exist between Innsbruck and Stubai Glacier. 

Even beyond the local area of Innsbruck, there are plenty of other options within an hour and a half to 2 Hours drive, including Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Zugspitze, and even options in the northern Italian Alps.

2. Take a Walking Tour of Altstadt

Innsbruck Altstadt (Innsbruck Old Town)
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The first thing to put on your Innsbruck itinerary is to take a walking tour of Innsbruck’s Old Town as soon as you enter this beautiful Austrian city. Old Town Innsbruck, or Altstadt, is surrounded by a circle of streets called the Graben, a delightful area where one can wander through 800 years of the town’s history.

We highly recommend taking a guided tour (like this one) to learn all about the history. The streets are lined with cafes, shops, and street vendors.

The architecture here is incredible. As you walk past the buildings, you’ll notice they come from throughout the ages with smaller house fronts, preserved medieval houses, and buildings with a touch of Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architecture.

All examples of this beautiful architecture are built, evoking the old Tyrolese fashion. Helblinghaus is a notable example of Baroque architecture. Then there’s the Ottoburg residential town tower, an impressive jagged Gothic specimen built sometime before 1476.

See Related: Cities to Visit in Europe

3. Visit the Luxurious Ambras Castle

Ambras Castle

Address: Schloßstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Archduke Ferdinand II lived in Ambras Castle (or Schloss Ambras) from 1563 to 1569. Schloss Ambras is a spectacular Renaissance castle that still stands today and has great historical value. It’s close to the Old Town of Innsbruck.

Beyond the gleaming exterior grandeur of the Ambras Castle, the treasures within the walls make it an even more fascinating place to visit. Archduke Ferdinand II was a big fan of art and learning, which you can now see in his collections in the castle galleries.

At the former Kornschüttgebäude (or grain bulk building) on the first floor of Ambras Castle, visitors can view an extensive art collection, which includes several sculptures and works of applied art. The collection is on display on the first floor of the castle. Additionally, the lower castle has a great collection of arms and armor.

There is also a magnificent Spanish Hall decorated with a gorgeous coffered ceiling and numerous wonderful frescoes depicting lords from the Tyrolese region. Besides the castle’s art collections, Spanish Hall, and other magnificent rooms, it also features various other features worth exploring.

A stroll around the castle’s garden is a must. It features lush vegetation, a beautiful pond, and numerous nooks and crannies to explore. Get your tickets in advance to skip the lines!

See Related: Castle Hotels in Austria

4. Visit Nordkette Mountain on the Nordkettenbahn

A high-resolution photo of the Nordkette mountain range near Innsbruck, Austria, featuring a wooden hut against a backdrop of sharp peaks and a cloudy sky.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Nordkette, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

The most popular mountain near Nordkette Mountain is “the top of Innsbruck.” It’s an ideal location for winter and summer sports. First, you’ll take a funicular to the Hungerburgbahn station, where the Alpenzoo is located.

Then, you’ll take the Nordkettenbahn cable car gondola lift, which starts in Hungerburg and travels through Seegrube Station to the summit station. This is the quickest way to reach the mountain’s peak and Top of Innsbruck.

The ride takes about 20 minutes, and the scenes of the Nordkette mountain range are breathtaking. You can get your tickets in advance to avoid the line. It is also included in the Innsbruck City Card.

Alpine mountaintop view with weathered concrete marker and metallic pole, Nordkette, Innsbruck.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

It is one of the most beautiful places in Innsbruck, especially in the winter, as you take in the scenery and appreciate the mountains blanketed in snow as chilly breezes tweak your ears and nose. 

For those looking for an outdoor adventure or great locations for photos, several hiking trails through the mountains can be found around here.

There are several restaurants and an additional viewing platform on each trip segment to the Top of Innsbruck, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to sample Austrian cuisine.

Here is a video of our experience making it to the Top of Innsbruck from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.

5. Innsbruck Cathedral

Historic Innsbruck Cathedral and River Inn with Alpine backdrop
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Dompl. 6, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck Cathedral, commonly known as St. James’s Cathedral, is a testament to Roman Catholic heritage, originally constructed in the 1700s. Historical records indicate the existence of a church at this location dating back to the 12th century.

Visitors are often captivated by the cathedral’s ornate Baroque design, with its stunning array of frescoes and statues that rank it as a premier attraction in Innsbruck.

Highlights include the grave of Archduke Maximilian III, the magnificent main altar, the elaborate stucco decorations, ceiling frescoes that demand attention, and the detailed pulpit. Furthermore, the cathedral’s bells, some of which have been pealing for almost nine centuries, still resonate with clarity.

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6. Tour the Hofburg Imperial Palace

Breathtaking Baroque Interior of the Hofburg Palace in Innsbruck: Opulent design, frescoes, chandeliers, and artistry.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 1010 Vienna, Austria

A visit to Innsbruck won’t be complete without checking out the Hofburg Imperial Palace. You can visit this imperial palace for a small ticket fee. Home to luxurious apartments, frescos, and a lot of gold.

The Hofburg Imperial Palace is Innsbruck’s old Court Palace, built during the 15th and 16th Centuries and designed in Baroque and Rococo architecture.

The former palace is now a magnificent museum, remodeled at the request of Empress Maria Theresa (a central character of Innsbruck’s history) in the 18th Century. 

The old palace is filled with grand furnishings and stunning apartments. It features awe-inspiring painted ceilings and a fine collection of portraits of the Imperial family. There is also an impressive art gallery throughout.

The luxurious Maria Theresa’s Rooms, Ancestral Gallery, and painting gallery are among the museum’s highlights. Viewing the royal residence, such as Empress Elisabeth’s Apartment and the lavish Furniture Museum, is also an essential stop when visiting the Hofburg. 

7. Unwind at Hofgarten

Person walking in Hofgarten park, Innsbruck, with Nordkette mountain range in the background
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Hofgarten is a lovely imperial garden with an English-style pond and spectacular architecture in the heart of Innsbruck, bordering the Hofburg, near the cable car to Nordkette Mountain.

It’s a verdant haven where you can relax while taking in the tranquil atmosphere of the grounds. It’s the perfect place to unwind and escape the city noise.

As you explore and admire the garden, you will be surrounded by lush greenery and colorful blooms. The imperial garden covers a whopping ten hectares, providing plenty of room for visitors to relax and enjoy themselves. 

The Hofgarten is a lovely area to catch up with friends, relax, and take a delightful stroll. There are multiple ponds, a play area that children will enjoy, and several spots to grab a bite. Whatever you decide to do, the perfectly manicured lawns, lush greenery, and beautiful garden settings will be the perfect backdrops for your experience.

See Related: Beautiful Gardens in Europe to Visit

8. Experience Local Culture at Tyrolean Folk Art Museum

Address: Universitätsstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck is home to several historical sites and boasts several outstanding museums that should not be missed. One of the best museums to visit is the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum.

If you are a fan of the arts, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum is a must-see. It is considered one of Austria’s finest galleries and the top folk art museum to admire examples of regional art heritage in Europe.

The museum is in a historic Franciscan Monastery in Innsbruck, near other popular attractions such as the Hofburg, Hofgarten, and the Hofkirche. It can be easily reached by public transportation from other parts of town.

The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum features a collection of artifacts that provide a glimpse into the life of Tyrolean commoners in the early nineteenth century. The museum is split into several parts, each focusing on a different exhibit.

9. Visit the Impressive Tyrolean State Museum

Tyrolean State Museum Building
image by Simon Legner (User:simon04) is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: Museumstraße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

In the heart of Innsbruck, art and history enthusiasts will delight in visiting the Tyrolean State Museum. Named in honor of Archduke Ferdinand and known colloquially as the Ferdinandeum, this institution stands as one of Innsbruck’s premier attractions for those drawn to the historical and cultural narratives of the region.

Established in the 19th century, the museum is among the most venerable establishments housing artifacts from the times of the Austrian empires. Visitors can journey through Tirol’s past, exploring a wealth of exhibits that span archaeological finds, historical artifacts, cultural treasures, musical history, and scientific advancements.

For art admirers, the museum’s contemporary gallery showcases a vast collection of Austrian and Tyrolean artwork, presenting a fusion of historical and modern pieces. The Tyrolean State Museum is a gateway to past and present artistic expressions, offering a comprehensive cultural experience.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Innsbruck

10. Admire the Golden Roof 

People at the Golden Roof, Innsbruck, Austria
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

The Golden Roof in Innsbruck is a stunning piece of medieval architecture and one of the city’s most visited attractions. Located in the heart of the Old Town, it was built by Emperor Maximilian I to commemorate his marriage in 1420.

The roof is made from 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles and is decorated with ornamental motifs and inscriptions. From the viewing platform below, you can take in amazing panoramic views of Innsbruck’s historic city center.

Golden Roof, Innsbruck's Top Attraction

Visiting the Golden Roof is an absolute must for anyone traveling to Innsbruck. Its historical significance and stunning design make it one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Aside from the stores, the Chapel of St. George and the Triumphal Arch are two of the most notable sights to view near the bustling Austrian boulevard. 

See Related: Magical Castles in Fairytales to Visit

11. Stroll the Maria-Theresien-Strasse

Maria-Theresien-Strasse, Innsbruck
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Maria-Theresien-Straße, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Take a stroll down Maria-Theresa Street’s colorful promenade, another one of the most enjoyable activities in Innsbruck.

Maria-Theresien-Strasse is a charming street in the heart of the city, where the roadway runs from the Triumphal Arch all the way to the Old Town district. You can wander down a row of beautiful 17th and 18th-century structures here.

It is one of the most gorgeous of many gorgeous streets in the city, with views of the mountains to the north serving as a captivating backdrop. Maria-Theresien-Strasse has various shops, restaurants, cafés, and other establishments.

Several blocks of the street are entirely pedestrianized, and it is the ideal area to take a stroll or perhaps enjoy a drink while taking in the stunning architecture that lines the sidewalks.

Aside from the stores, the Chapel of St. George and the Triumphal Arch are two of the most notable sights to view near the bustling Austrian boulevard. 

St. Anne’s Column, also known as the Annasäule, is another must-see attraction, standing in the center of the square in front of the Innsbruck Town Hall, constructed to commemorate the retreat of the Bavarians from the city on St. Anne’s Day.

12. Stop by the Magnificent Triumphpforte

Triumphpforte arch in Innsbruck, Austria against blue sky, vibrant street scene
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Leopoldstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

From Maria-Theresien-Strasse, you can easily visit and look at the Triumphpforte (or the Triumphal Arch in English). It is a remarkable historical monument and one of the most well-known landmarks in Innsbruck. It only takes a few minutes to see, but it is worth a visit.

Empress Maria Theresa commissioned the construction of a triumphal arch in the style of ancient Rome to honor the marriage of the Empress’s son, the Duke of Tuscany, to Princess Maria Ludovica of Spain. The arch is set against the backdrop of the majestic and timeless Alps. 

This magnificent arch is covered with intricate marble reliefs, sculptured figures, and beautiful inscriptions, rich in detail. Today, the monument is a significant landmark contributing to the historic appeal of the city’s ancient architecture.

13. Climb the Innsbruck City Tower

Stadtturm (Innsbruck City Tower)
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 21, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

In the heart of Innsbruck, the Stadtturm (Innsbruck City Tower) stands as a beacon for those looking to soak in the city’s vistas. A modest entrance fee grants you access to ascend 133 steps where breathtaking panoramic sights await.

Gaze upon the iconic Golden Roof, take in the expanse of the Bergisel, marvel at the Patscherkofel Mountain’s grandeur, observe the tranquil flow of the River Inn, and lift your eyes to the majestic Nordkette.

14. Check out the Bergisel Ski Jump

Bergisel Ski Jump

Address: Bergiselweg 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

The Bergisel Ski Jump is a renowned attraction in Innsbruck, notable for its debut at the 1934 World Championships and its subsequent history of hosting numerous events. Its grand scale presents a challenge that only a select few skiers can conquer.

What sets this ski jump apart is its accessibility to the public, with tours offered on Friday afternoons. Additionally, spectators can witness exciting competitions on Saturday mornings.

Who would miss the ski slopes when you can access such an exhilarating ski jump? Peak visitation periods include the celebrated Four Hills Tournament. Depending on your location, the Bergisel Ski Jump is visible from several vantage points within Innsbruck’s city center.

15. Bring Your Kids to the Alpine Zoo (Alpenzoo Innsbruck)

Grizzly Bear at the Alpenzoo Innsbruck (Alpine Zoo of Innsbruck)
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Weiherburggasse 37a, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Nestled in Europe’s majestic Alps, the Alpenzoo offers a distinctive experience with its alpine theme. This elevated mountain sanctuary provides a panoramic vantage point of Innsbruck.

Although I typically gravitate towards encountering wildlife in their indigenous environments rather than curated spaces, the Alpenzoo stands out as a noteworthy destination within Innsbruck for its exceptional animal care approach and innovative design.

Inhabitants of the Alpine Zoo include a variety of species such as bears, wolves, bearded vultures, lynxes, and golden eagles — the latter being survivors of shooting incidents.

Additionally, the zoo boasts a café with an open-air terrace, allowing visitors to enjoy refreshments while taking in the sensational vistas of the surrounding peaks and urban landscape.

The Alpenzoo Innsbruck garners recognition as a premiere experience in the city, unrivaled in its singularity on a global scale. You can book your tickets early to save time and avoid the lines.

See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe

16. Take in the history of the Hofkirche (Court Church) & Emperor Maximilian Tomb

Set of Soldier Statues
image by Allie_Caulfield is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Universitätsstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

The Hofkirche, or Court Church, built in 1563 on the Schlossberg hillside, was designed in the early church Gothic style. The tombs and museums for Emperor Maximilian I can be found here.

Count Albrecht IV’s sculptures comprise most of the 25 granite reliefs depicting events in Emperor Maximilian’s reign. With statues of the Madonna and 11 saints, the Court Church is a place of pilgrimage.

17. Tirol Panorama

Tirol Panorama Scenery
image by AbhijeetRane is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: Bergisel 1-2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

The Tirol Panorama is one of the most unique places to visit, as this expansive 360-degree mural envelops visitors in an artistic rendition of the historic Tyrolean Rebellion of 1809.

As you navigate the circular gallery of the Tirol Panorama, the revolution unfolds around you, displaying scenes ranging from tranquil moments with soldiers and their canine companions to the stark realities of battle injuries.

The duration of your visit to the Tirol Panorama might be as brief as five minutes or extend to a full hour, contingent upon your fascination with the 1,000-square-meter artwork. Our experience was a delightful half-hour spent admiring the distinctive mural and exploring the accompanying exhibits.

See Related: Best Hotels in Innsbruck

18. Dine at a Historic Restaurant

Golden-brown Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad and jam, Altstadt-Schmankerl, Innsbruck
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Given the vast history of Innsbrook, plenty of excellent historic restaurants are located in the middle of the city’s old town. One is the family-owned and historic Goldener Adler, or the Golden Eagle in English, built in the 16th century.

It was initially a historic inn popular with Goethe, a prominent writer and Austrian royalty. Now, it offers a fine dining restaurant with outdoor seating.

The restaurant’s interior features incredible charm and design, and the food is equally impressive, featuring traditional Austrian cuisine, with the local favorite being the steak from Salzburg cattle.

Another local favorite is the Altstadt-Schmankerl, an incredibly underrated gem just around the corner from the more well-known restaurants near the Golden Roof. This spot may have had the best Wiener Schnitzel I’ve ever had. 

19. Take on the outdoor activities in summer

Top of Innsbruck Scenery
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

There are many opportunities for outdoor activities during the summer. If you’re a nature lover, you can enjoy hiking on the hills surrounding the city. You’ll find hiking trails that suit all experience levels, from easy walks to strenuous treks. During winter, you can take guided tours for snowy hikes.

One of the most popular trails is the Hafelekar Trail, which has a shorter 3-hour route to the summit of the plateau or a longer 5.5-hour route that passes through the Drei Zinnen (Three Peaks).

Breathtaking View of Innsbruck from Alpine Summit - Aerial perspective of Innsbruck, Austria.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

For more experienced hikers who want a challenge, the Klettersteig Wendelstein is a thrilling and technical climb that requires specific gear and climbing proficiency. This trail involves navigating the cliff face using steel cables, relying solely on your strength and skill.

If you prefer mountain biking, you’ll find excellent trails in Innsbruck. There are routes and trails for all levels of bikers, from easy to challenging. One popular trail is the 6-hour ride from Innsbruck to Pfeis Hut mountain hut, which has all the best views.

If you want to try rock climbing, plenty of climbing areas are suitable for all experience levels, from beginners to experts. The Arzbergklamm climbing area near Telfs or Locherboden on the Mieming Plateau is a good option for kids and beginners.

For those looking for a real challenge, the “Dschungelbuch” climbing area at the Martinswand rockface can be climbed in winter. Ice climbing in the Sellraintal Valley is also thrilling for those brave enough to try.

See Related: Epic Tips for Stress-Free Travel

20. Swarovski Crystal World

Swarovski Crystal World Landscape

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 39, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

One of Innsbruck’s most unique activities is visiting the Swarovski Crystal World (tickets available here). It’s a bit outside the city but merits a stopover. The shuttle to get here is included if you purchase the Innsbruck City Card. If you can’t make it, there is a store in Old Town with large crystal figures.

Swarovski Crystal World has the “Giant,” which houses 17 chambers of wonder. Each room features a crystal installation that will impress any visitor. There is also a large garden with a crystal cloud comprised of over 800,000 crystals! If you get hungry, there is a beautiful restaurant on site.

You can spend several hours exploring Swarovski Crystal World with its giant garden, lake, and entire play area, all lined with crystal art and statues. Visit the giant chambers of wonder, the labyrinth, and the grounds – a remarkable sight!

21. Take a day trip to Feste Kufstein

Feste Kufstein

Address: Kufstein, Austria

Kufstein is a short 15 minutes from Innsbruck on the bordering town of the Tiroler Alps. The huge Heroes Orgel (Heldenorgel), built in 1841 on 4,300 pipes and 16 stop-clocks, plays on Saturdays from noon onward.

In addition, the castle houses a town-based historic house, the Heimatmuseum, which serves as a museum and concert site with performances for festivals throughout the year. While there are many things to do in Innsbruck, there are even more outside the city.

See Related: Sabbatical Destination Ideas

Best Tours in Innsbruck

1. Innsbruck: Paragliding Adventure Top Recommendation

Looking to live your dreams and soar like never before? Then tandem paragliding is perfect for you! You'll get to fly into the third dimension and enjoy stunning views of the Alps. Plus, the feeling of freedom you'll experience while gliding through the air is simply indescribable.

2. Innsbruck eBike Tours

If you're looking for an immersive and unique way to experience the best of Austria's Alpine scenery, look no further than Innsbruck eBike Tours. This small-group tour, limited to just six people, offers a truly personalized experience as you explore some of the most beautiful sights in the region.

3. Innsbruck: Private Tour with a Local Guide

Get to know Innsbruck with a local guide and learn all the best kept secrets of this charming city! With experienced and knowledgeable guides, you'll explore the ins and outs of getting around, where to shop and eat and more on a customized tour. Traveling should be about making friends and learning new things, and with our private Innsbruck tour, you'll get to do both!

About Innsbruck

Innsbruck Colorful Homes
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Innsbruck sits in the scenic Austrian state of Tyrol. The city is right next door to the countries of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, making it a great spot to set up shop while exploring central Europe. The train station is centrally located, making it easy to get to many destinations.

Innsbruck is located on the River Inn, which travels to the Ziller Valley. You can see beautiful mountain views and lush valleys with hidden towns in the hills. The River Inn connects Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Inn River and Skyline
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Innsbruck is a destination that boasts a variety of attractions, drawing visitors globally for its famed ski slopes and a storied tradition in winter sports. Recognized as one of Austria’s premier destinations for visitors throughout the year, its appeal extends beyond the snowy season.

The city also offers a treasure trove of historical landmarks, including the charming medieval Old Town and the majestic Hofburg Imperial Palace, reflecting its rich heritage of royal, religious, and athletic significance. Furthermore, Innsbruck is steeped in the vast historical legacy of the Holy Roman Empire.

How to Get Around Innsbruck

Enchanting nighttime panorama of colorful houses along the Inn River in Innsbruck, Austria.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Innsbruck train station is generally easy to get to from other parts of the country. We came from Salzburg, and it took about an hour’s ride.

The airport is close to the city center, and the main train station is conveniently located. Flights can get pricey, though, as the airport is small and has limited flight availability. Innsbruck is a very walkable city, so renting a car is unnecessary.

The best option is the Innsbruck Card, a city card that covers all your public transportation needs, including the cable car up the mountain, a shuttle to Swarovski Crystal Worlds, and several museums.

Check out this video tour of Innsbruck on our YouTube channel. Follow us on Instagram via our handle @viatravelers or visit our YouTube to learn more!

Read Also: Ultimate Travel Guide to Vienna


Is Innsbruck worth visiting?

Yes, Innsbruck is worth visiting. There are some fantastic ski resorts within an hour of the city center, like Hinterstoder and Bockelspitze Ski Resort. Or, visit in summer and get amazing views of Innsbruck from the Nordkette Mountain Range.

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