Innsbruck is a beautiful city that has so much to offer travelers, but it can be hard to know where to start your visit.
There are many things you could do in Innsbruck from skiing and snowboarding, hiking and ice climbing, or even just enjoying the scenery. There are several palaces and museums, and even a breathtaking Renaissance castle ready for you to see on your Innsbruck visit.
We have put together a list of the best things to do in Innsbruck so you can make the most of your trip.
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Fun & Best Things to do in Innsbruck, Austria
Visiting Innsbruck is a great spot for active people and history buffs. Quite frankly, there are things to do in Innsbruck for every type of person!
There are several active adventures like skiing and snowboarding as well as some of the most popular tourist attractions like Hafelekar Mountain and the Goldenes Dachl (the Golden Roof). There are also many museums and historic churches to explore.
Want to know more? Check out this video tour of Innsbruck on our YouTube channel!
1. Take a Walking Tour of Old Town Innsbruck
The first thing to put on your list of things to do in Innsbruck is to take a walking tour of Innsbruck’s ancient Old Town as soon as you step into this beautiful, vibrant Austrian city. If you take a look at an Innsbruck map, Old Town is right in the center.
Old Town Innsbruck, otherwise known as 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, as well as buildings with a touch of Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architecture.
All examples of this beautiful architecture are built evoking the ancient Tyrolese fashion. Helblinghaus is a notable example of beautiful Baroque architecture. Then there’s the Ottoburg residential town tower, an impressive jagged Gothic specimen that was built sometime before 1476.
The Golden Eagle, (known as the Goldener Adler in German), was built in the 16th Century and is also found in Old Town Innsbruck.
It was originally a historic inn that was popular with Goethe, a prominent writer, as well as Austrian royalty. Now it offers a fine dining restaurant with outdoor seating.
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2. Visit the Luxurious Ambras Castle
Of course, a castle visit is among the things to do in Innsbruck. Archduke Ferdinand II lived in Ambras Castle (or Schloss Ambras) from 1563 to 1569.
It is a spectacular Renaissance castle that still stands today and has a great deal of historical value. Ambras Castle is great to visit because it is close to the center of Innsbruck, Austria.
Beyond the gleaming exterior grandeur of the Ambras Castle, the treasures that can be found 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 galleries of the castle.
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, there is a great collection of arms and armor in the lower castle.
There is also a magnificent Spanish Hall, a favorite for those searching for things to do in Innsbruck. The Spanish Hall is 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 garden of the castle is one of the most pleasant things to do in Innsbruck. It has lush vegetation, a beautiful pond, and numerous nooks and crannies for you to explore. Get your tickets in advance to skip the lines!
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3. Visit Nordkette Mountain on the Nordkettenbahn
Another of the top things to do in Innsbruck is to admire the mountain scenery. The most popular to visit is the nearby Nordkette Mountain, which is called “the top of Innsbruck.” It’s an ideal location for winter and summer sports.
The Nordkettenbahn cable car gondola lift, which starts in Hungerburg and travels through Seegrube Station to the summit station, 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 on the Innsbruck City Pass.
It is one of the most beautiful things to do in Innsbruck, Austria, 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.
There are several restaurants and an additional viewing platform on each segment of the trip 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!
For those looking for an outdoor adventure or great locations for photos, several hiking trails through the mountains can be found around here.
4. Innsbruck Cathedral
The Innsbruck Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. James is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in the 18th Century – although historical documentation has mentioned a church on this site as early as the 1100s!
The Innsbruck Cathedral is breathtaking. The Baroque-style architecture and impressive frescos and sculptures make this one of the top things to do in Innsbruck, Austria.
Some of the most notable features are the Tomb of Archduke Maximilian III, the high altar, the stucco work, and frescos (just look up!), and the intricate pulpit. Also, listen for the bells; some are nearly 900 years old and still ring true!
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5. Visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace
A visit to Innsbruck, Austria won’t be complete without checking out the Hofburg Imperial Palace. For a small ticket fee, you can visit this imperial palace that is home to luxurious apartments, frescos, and a lot of gold.
The Hofburg Imperial Palace is Innsbruck’s old Court Palace that was 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 highlights to see when visiting the museum. Viewing the royal residence such as Empress Elisabeth’s Apartment and the lavish Furniture Museum are also essential stops when visiting the Hofburg. While you’re here, you should definitely check out the Innsbrucker Hofgarten – we’ll get onto that in 3, 2, 1…
6. Unwind at Hofgarten
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 get out of the city noise.
As you explore and admire the garden, you will find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and vibrant 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.
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7. Experience Local Culture at Tyrolean Folk Art Museum
Innsbruck is not only home to several historical sites, but it also 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, then the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum is a must-see. It is considered one of the finest galleries and the top folk art museum in Austria to admire examples of regional art heritage in Europe.
The museum is located in a historic Franciscan Monastery in Innsbruck, near other popular attractions such as the Hofburg, Hofgarten, and the Hofkirche, and 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 of which focuses on a different exhibit. There’s something for everyone in this museum, from the Plump Year section to Stuben to the historical exhibits at Miniaturen des Evangeliums. Tyrolean Folk Art Museum
8. Visit the impressive Tyrolean State Museum
The Tyrolean State Museum, also known as the Ferdinandeum after Archduke Ferdinand, is located in the city center of Innsbruck, Austria. This is one of the top things to do in Innsbruck for history and culture fans.
The Tyrolean State Museum in Innsbruck, Austria was founded in the early 1800s and is one of the oldest museums depicting relics from the Austrian empires. Here you can learn about the Austrian state of Tirol through archeological, historical, cultural, musical, and scientific exhibits.
Step into the modern gallery for an impressive Austrian and Tyrolean art gallery. The Tyrolean State Museum offers both modern and historical arts for all to experience.
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9. Admire the Golden Roof
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 itself 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.
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. Whether you’re admiring it from afar or standing on the viewing platform below, it will leave a lasting impression that you won’t soon forget.
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.
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10. Stroll the Maria-Theresien-Strasse
Take a stroll down the bustling and colorful promenade that is Maria-Theresa Street is another one of the most enjoyable activities while 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. Here you can stroll down a row of beautiful 17th and 18th Century structures.
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 is lined with various shops, restaurants, cafés, and other establishments. It is a bustling business district that also has significant historical value in the city.
Several blocks of the street are completely 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.
11. Visit the Magnificent Triumphpforte
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 the city of 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 that contributes to the historic appeal of the city’s ancient architecture.
12. Innsbruck City Tower
In the Innsbruck city center, you will find the Innsbruck City Tower. For a small ticket price, you can climb 133 stairs to see panoramic views of Innsbruck, Austria.
From the top of the City Tower, you can see the Golden Roof, Bergisel, Patscherkofel Mountain, the River Inn, and the Nordkette. It is one of the most famous attractions and things to do in Innsbruck because of the amazing views!
13. Bergisel Ski Jump
One of the top things to do in Innsbruck is the Bergisel Ski Jump stadium. This ski jump tower was first used for the World Championships in 1934 and it hosted many events since then. It is a very large ski jump that few can master!
One of the best things about this ski jump is that it is open to visitors, so you can take a tour on Friday afternoons. You can also view some of the thrilling competitions that are available on Saturday mornings.
Who needs ski slopes when you have a ski jump? Some of the more busy times to visit the ski jump includes the annual Four Hills Tournament. Depending on where you are in the Innsbruck city center, you can see the Bergisel ski jump from afar.
14. Visit Alpine Zoo (Alpenzoo Innsbruck)
The Alpine Zoo is a very popular zoo across Europe with a unique alpine theme. It’s a zoo nestled in the alps offering a viewing platform to see Innsbruck, Austria from above.
I am not generally a fan of going to the zoo since I prefer exploring the wild and seeing animals in their natural habitats, not ours. But the Alpenzoo makes the list of things to do in Innsbruck because of its unique structure and wonderful treatment of its animals.
The Alpine Zoo has bears, wolves, bearded vultures, lynx, chamois marmot, and a huge golden eagle that was rescued after being shot. They also have a wonderful café with an outdoor terrace with views of the mountains and the city below.
The Alpenzoo Innsbruck is one of the most famous things to do in Innsbruck because you simply can’t find anything like it in the world.
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15. Visit the Hofkirche (Court Church) & Emperor Maximilian Tomb
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 make up 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.
16. Tirol Panorama
A must of the many things to do in Innsbruck, Austria is the Tirol Panorama. This art experience is an immense and immersive 360-degree painting.
The Tirol Panorama depicts the Tyrolean Rebellion of 1809. As you walk around the Tirol Panorama you can experience different aspects of the revolution, from dogs resting with soldiers to the many who were wounded.
Visiting the Tirol Panorama can last 5 minutes or an hour. It depends on how much the 1,000-square-meter painting interests you! We spent about a half-hour here, enjoying this unique painting and related exhibits.
See Related: Best Hotels in Innsbruck Austria
17. Go for a Hike in Innsbruck, Austria
Next on our list of things to do in Innsbruck, Austria is to enjoy nature on a hiking trail. There are many great hiking trails to choose from in Innsbruck, and they offer something for every keen walker.
Whether you’re looking for an easy walk or a challenging hike, you can find what you’re looking for in the hills around Innsbruck. There are even tours for winter hikes.
One example is the Hafelekar hiking trail. This well-marked and maintained trail has two options, a three-hour round trip hike up to the top of the plateau, or five and a half-hour hike crossing over the peaks of Drei Zinnen (Three Peaks).
Another option is the Klettersteig Wendelstein mountain trail. This path is best for advanced hikers, as it requires some equipment and knowledge of proper technique. It lets you explore the mountainside on steel cables with only your hands to support you!
18. Mountain Biking and Rock Climbing
For those looking for different active things to do in Innsbruck, a great option is mountain biking and climbing. Innsbruck has some great trails for biking, and there are routes and trails for all sorts of bikers. If you’re a beginner, there are plenty of easy trails to try, while more experienced riders can take on the more challenging routes.
One popular trail is from Innsbruck to Pfeis Hut mountain hut. It’s a six-hour ride from the city center to the heart of Innsbruck, and taking in all of the best things to do in Innsbruck on your way.
For those looking for rock climbing, there is the Innsbruck Climbing Center where people of all experience levels can train before exploring the surrounding mountains. If you are ready to go, try out the Arzbergklamm gorge, the Ehnbachklamm gorge, or Locherboden.
For beginners and children, the best option is the Arzbergklamm climbing area near Telfs or Locherboden on the Mieming Plateau. For those wanting more difficult routes, try the “Dschungelbuch” climbing area at the Martinswand rockface, which can also be climbed in winter.
One of the more rugged things to do in Innsbruck is to ice climb in the Sellraintal Valley. There truly are things to do in Innsbruck year-round!
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19. Swarovski Crystal World
One of the most unique things to do in Innsbruck is to visit the Swarovski Crystal World (tickets available here). It is a bit outside the city, but worth a visit. If you purchase the Innsbruck City Pass the shuttle to get here is included. If you can’t make it, there is a store in Old Town that has large crystal figures to see too.
Swarovski Crystal World has what’s called the “Giant” which houses 17 chambers of wonder. Each room features a different crystal installation that is sure to 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 wonderful restaurant on site.
You can spend several hours exploring all of 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 – it’s a truly wonderful sight to behold!
20. Take a day trip to Feste Kufstein
Kufstein is a short 15 minutes from Innsbruck, Austria 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 historical 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 things to do just outside the city.
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About Innsbruck, Austria
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 and makes it easy to get to a lot of destinations.
Innsbruck is located on the River Inn, which travels to the Ziller Valley. From here you can see beautiful mountain views and lush valleys with hidden towns in the hills. The River Inn connects Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
There are a lot of things to do in Innsbruck. The city is known across the world for its ski resorts and has a long, illustrious history as a winter sports destination. It is among Austria’s most renowned year-round holiday locations, attracting visitors from all over the world.
It’s not simply a winter getaway, either. There are many things to do in Innsbruck any time of the year. Innsbruck offers several beautifully preserved historical sites, such as the medieval Old Town and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. The city has a rich history of monarchy, religion, and sports. There is also a wealth of history of the Holy Roman Empire here.
How to get to Innsbruck, Austria
Before you can start seeing all the things to do in Innsbruck you need to get there. The Innsbruck train station is generally easy to get to from other parts of Austria. We came from Salzburg and it took about an hour’s ride.
You can also come by car or plane. Flights can get pricey, though. Once you get here you don’t need a car as public transportation is so good.
The best option is to get the Innsbruck City Pass which covers all your public transportation needs, including the cable car up the mountain and a shuttle to Swarovski Crystal Worlds, and several museums throughout Innsbruck. There is plenty of underground parking, but Innsbruck, Austria is a very walkable city so it is not necessary to take a car.
The fascinating city of Innsbruck, Austria delivers a remarkable vacation experience, with magnificent natural scenery surrounding the city and beautiful man-made marvels. It is a fantastic tourist destination for anybody visiting Austria.
In each corner of the city, all you can see is its beauty, which itself is emblematic of this stunning country. Interested in traveling to this breathtaking city yet? Follow us on Instagram via our handle @viatravelers or visit our YouTube to learn more!
Is Innsbruck worth visiting?
Yes, Innsbruck is totally 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.
What’s Innsbruck famous for?
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.
Whether you prefer skiing or snowboarding, Innsbruck has some of the best slopes in Austria that offer a range of difficulty levels.
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.
For those seeking more leisurely pursuits, there are plenty of cafes serving hot drinks, crepes, and cakes next to picturesque rivers of ice-covered waterfalls.
How many days in Innsbruck is enough?
To make the most of your trip, it’s best to stay here for three to five days. This will give you time to visit the top places and the scenery. With a few more days you can explore more of the city and countryside on day trips.
Where is the best place in Innsbruck for sightseeing?
Innsbruck’s Old Town is the best place for sightseeing where narrow streets surround massive late-Gothic buildings.
The hotel in the old center of Mariahilf City is the most conveniently located, but road or highway networks are close by with the opposite bank of the River Inn. Skiers staying in this area can easily access Seefeld’s skiing slopes without leaving the Old Town hotel.
What are the best day trips from Innsbruck, Austria
Some good locations which are only an hour or so away by the main train station are Hallstatt (a mountain village overlooked by an imposing castle), Salzburg (a beautiful old town with Baroque domes), and Klagenfurt, Austria’s third-largest city with its fairy tale castle on a hill overlooking the River Worthersee, which is definitely worth a see!
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