Austria City Travel + Tourism Guide: Innsbruck

Downtown Innsbruck

Downtown Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus

Innsbruck

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Innsbruck was chartered in 1239, but was already a main stopping point on the highway connecting Italy and Germany well before that. Its Altstadt, or Old City, is hardly changed from four centuries ago. Baroque architecture abounds. The city itself is small and pedestrian-friendly. The mountains are close, and there is a river that runs through the city.

Innsbruck was made the capital of Tyrol in 1429. Later, thanks to Emperor Maximilian, it became the site of the imperial court in the 1490s.

Central Innsbruck

Central Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus

During the Napoleonic wars Tyrol was annexed by Bavaria, then an ally of France, of which it remained a part until 1814. In 1938 the region - and all of Austria for that matter - was again annexed by its German neighbors (and their Austrian-born leader). In the final two years of World War Two, Innsbruck was bombed heavily.

In spite of that, the city is about as beautiful a place as you will find. It combines an alpine beauty with old Europe elegance. Of its many attractions, the Goldenes Dachl is the city's most famous building. The Golden Roof is a Gothic mansion that features, surprise, a very beautiful (and heavy) gilded roof. It was built in 1420 and has become something of a symbol of the city. Entrance is €3.63. 0512/581-111.

Just down the street is another well-known tourist attraction: Stadtturm, a tower constructed in the fifteenth century. Entrance is €2.50, and the view is well worth the admission price. A serious climb to the top. (Tel: 0512 561 500).

Located between the Goldenes Dachl and the Stadtturm is the gothic Helbling House, which features both gothic and rococo design elements. Built in 1560, it has a blue and white exterior.

Around the corner, on Hofgasse, is the former Imperial Palace, or Hofburg. It was built on the orders of the above Maximilian, and today costs €5.45 to enter. (Tel: 0512 587 186). Catty corner you can find the emperor's mausoleum, the Hofkirche. €2.20. (Tel: 0512 584 302).

5km south east of the Old Town is Schloss Ambras, a 16th century Renaissance palace and gardens associated with Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-1595) with some fine period artefacts and portraits in the Archduke's Kunst- und Wunderkammer collection. Take tram #6 or the Sightseer Bus.

To the north of the Old Town is the Rundgemälde, a late nineteenth century panorama displaying the events of the battle of Bergisel in 1809.

Nearby is the Hungerburgbahn funicular which takes visitors across the River Inn up the slopes of Nordkette. It's possible to travel on by cable car to the summits of Seegrube (1905m) and Hafelekar (2334m) mountains. On a clear day there are beautiful views of the Inn Valley below from these two peaks.

Hofburg Palace, Innsbruck, Austria.

Innsbruck Nightlife

If the football is not enough, there is always gambling. Next to the Hilton on Salurner Street you can play blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and the slots until 3 am at a local casino. (Tel: 0512 587 0400). There is an admission fee. A safer bet might be Limerick Bill's Irish Pub on Maria-Theresien Strasse. (Tel: 05121 - 582 011). On the same street at number 53 is the larger Theresienbrau (Tel: 05121 - 587 580), which brews its own beer.

A decent strip club, Lady O, on Brunecker St. costs €2.00. Be warned: drinks are steep. (Tel: 0512 582 011).

Innsbruck Shopping

Innsbruck cable car.

Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus

Head for Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse and Maria-Theresien Strasse. You will find the usual fashions and lederhosen.

Tourist Offices

Innsbruck Tourismus
6021 Innsbruck, Austria
+43-512-5 98 50
office[at]innsbruck.info

Getting To Innsbruck

Air

The Innsbruck Airport does handle a fair volume of flights. Unless you have a charter, however, you will probably have to transfer. Another possibility is flying directly to Vienna and then taking the train (see below).

Train

From Vienna, there are several options. A non-stop train takes a bit more than four hours. For details, go to the Austrian federal railway's site: OBB's web site. There are also trains to Zurich, Munich and Verona (4 hours).

Bus/Road

River Inn, Altstadt and mountains, Innsbruck.

Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus

There are long-haul buses from the UK to Zurich or Munich: 18 hours in a Eurolines coach. It is however the cheapest way to get within shooting distance.

From there you will need to take a train or bus.

There are several private bus lines within Austria:

IVB
Columbus: (Tel: 01 53 41 10)
Post und Bahn: (Tel: 01 50 18 00)
Dr Richard: (Tel: 01 33 10 00)

By car, the city is at the intersection of the A12 and A13 routes.

From the east or west, use the 12 Autobahn. If you are driving from the south, take A 13 Brenner Autobahn.

Getting Around Innsbruck

Innsbruck cable car in winter.

Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus

Getting around by foot is no problem in compact Innsbruck. Innsbruck has an efficient integrated tram and bus network.

There are 24-hour tickets and weekly passes available.

The Innsbruck Card (24, 48 or 72 hours) available from the tourist office allows for free public transport, free admission to most of the city's sights plus free rides on the half-hourly Sightseer Bus between Schloss Ambras and the Alpine Zoo.

Car Hire

Car hire is available at the airports and in the major cities throughout Switzerland and Austria. Driving is on the right.

Innsbruck Station, Innsbruck, Austria.

Accommodation

Featured Hotel

Goldener Adler - Innsbruck's most charming hotel dates from the 14th century - guests include kings, queens, Mozart and, of course, Julie Andrews.
Classic Hotel Binders - budget option with smallish rooms but with downstairs bar and internet connection. 5 minutes walk from Tivoli Neu.

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Schloss Ambras and gardens.

Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus

Eating in Innsbruck

Traditional surroundings, great beer and Weiner Schnitzel with cranberry sauce at Gasthaus Goldenes Dachl (Tel: 0512 589 370). Step outside and you are in the main square.

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Drinking

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Internet Cafe

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Football Teams

FC Wacker Tirol logo.FC Wacker Tirol was created in 2002 and play their home matches at Tivoli Neu Stadium, which will have a capacity of 30,000 for Euro 2008. The team is descended from FC Wacker Innsbruck, which went bankrupt in the same year. FC Wacker Innsbruck dated from 1915 and had its heyday in the 1970s winning a number of Austrian championships and cups. Wacker Tirol plays in the Austrian Bundesliga and the team's colors are green and black stripes.



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