What to do in Innsbruck?
To visit Innsbruck, in Austria, is to discover the capital of the Alps.
Located in the Tyrol region, this small town can easily be visited on foot. With its houses with colorful facades and many places of interest such as the Golden Roof or the Imperial Palace, Innsbruck will certainly be able to keep you hooked. Especially since, unlike Vienna or Salzburg, it is a little less known to tourists!
To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve put together a complete guide!
We start with the top 15 things to do and see in Innsbruck, then we continue with our ideas for itineraries to visit the city in 1 or 2 days.
At the end of the article, you will also find our selection of the best accommodation and our advice for your stay in Austria.
Let’s go for a bit of sightseeing in Innsbruck! What to do and see?
Visit Innsbruck: the must-sees
1. The Golden Roof
We begin our discovery of Innsbruck with the main tourist attraction and the symbol of the city, the little Golden Roof or Goldenes Dachl in Austrian.
Located in the historic center of Innsbruck, it is the city’s most photographed landmark.
The small Toit d’Or is made up of 2,657 copper shingles gilded with fine gold and serves as a roof for a ceremonial balcony.
Its construction was ordered by Emperor Maximilian 1st in 1500. He appeared in public from this balcony and also used it to participate in the many festivities organized at the foot of the small Golden Roof.
Today, the little Golden Roof is a museum retracing the history of the city, the imperial family and Emperor Maximilian. The museum is well done, interactive and interesting. You can take an audio guide in French.
Open all year round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays in low season when it is closed (from October to April).
The shingles of the little Toit d’Or would still be all original. However, in 2012, some were stolen but they all reappeared, as and when, in different places in the city, and they were put back in place!
Tips for your Innsbruck itinerary:
To visit Innsbruck, I strongly recommend that you purchase the Innsbruck Card. It offers many free services including a visit to the Petit Toit d’Or museum or a multiple-stop bus tour .
You can also take public transport and the shuttle free of charge to get to the world of Swarovski crystals.
2. The Hofburg Imperial Palace
Also located in the historic center and not far from the Golden Roof is Innsbruck’s 2nd must visit, the Imperial Palace.
During the 15th century, the imperial palace underwent many enlargements, each ruler of Tyrol wanting to make his contribution. But we owe the current size of the palace to Emperor Maximilian 1st who completed it in 1500.
Its interior has also often been redesigned to bring it up to date. We owe the current Baroque and Rococo style to Empress Maria Theresa, who sent the best artists from Vienna to Innsbruck for a major renovation.
The Imperial Palace had to be perfect to accommodate the 2,000 wedding guests of his son Leopold II!
For 14 days, it was a party every day at the Hofburg Palace, until the sudden death of Emperor Franz-Stephen I, husband of Maria Theresa. His body rests today in the crypt of the Capuchins in Vienna (I tell you about it in our article dedicated to the city).
Later, in the 19th century, Empress Sissi and Emperor Franz Joseph also stayed there.
It is now the third most important historical and cultural monument in Austria. During your visit, you will be able to discover:
- State rooms
- The Hall of Giants, still used as a village hall
- The imperial apartments : the opportunity to discover the intimacy of the imperial family by visiting the bedrooms, the toilets and the offices.
- The Chapel
- The coat of arms tower.
With the Innsbruck Card you can visit the Imperial Palace.
Tips for your Innsbruck itinerary:
To discover the main places of interest of Innsbruck and the history of the city, I recommend that you opt for a guided tour.
3. The Court Church / Hofkirche
Still in the historic center, next to the Imperial Palace, I advise you to visit the Court Church or the Imperial Church during your tour of Innsbruck.
The church houses the tomb of Maximilian 1st ( him again) and is famous for the 28 imposing bronze statues that surround it. It is also nicknamed “the church of the black men” by the Innsbruckois.
The 28 statues, some of which are women, represent the ancestors of the emperor, his 2 wives and certain historical figures including the famous King Arthur! Measuring between 2 and 2.5 meters high, they are particularly impressive.
Well, the statues don’t keep much because the tomb is actually empty. As the construction of the church and the tomb had not yet been completed at the time of the emperor’s death, the body rested in the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna.
During your visit to the Hofkirche, do not miss to admire the silver chapel.
In addition to the silver altar that gives the place its name, this is where the remains of 2 other Innsbruck celebrities rest: Archduke Ferdinand II and his wife. She had been talked about a lot at the time, because she was suspected by some of being a witch!
For organ lovers, Austria’s best-preserved renaissance organ is also located in the court church .
4. Beffroi / Stadtturm
Another historical place not to be missed in Innsbruck and located next to the Golden Roof, the belfry of Innsbruck.
Built in 1450, the belfry served for more than 450 years to warn the population in case of danger or fire. Guards patrolled there every day to monitor the surroundings. The lower floors of the belfry served as a prison.
For the time and with its 51 meters high, the belfry was the pride of the Innsbruckois.
Today, the Stadtturm, Innsbruck’s tower, is a real tourist attraction.
After climbing some 130 steps, and reaching the viewing platform at 31 meters high, you will have a breathtaking view of the regional capital of Tyrol, the Bergisel and the Nordkette.
In addition the ticket costs only 4.50€ and you can buy it directly online.
5. Saint-Jacques Cathedral
Another must-see place of interest in Innsbruck: St. James’s Cathedral or Dom Zu Sankt Jakob.
Important fact for believers, it marks the beginning of the road to Santiago de Compostela.
From the outside nothing specific to see, it is the interior that is really worth the detour. Baroque in style, the cathedral has magnificent frescoes on the ceiling depicting scenes from the life of Saint James. Don’t forget to raise your head to observe them.
Innsbruck Cathedral is best known for housing the famous painting by Lucas Cranach, “The Virgin of Good Help” or “Maria Hilf”. The painting is very popular all over the world and there are multiple representations of it in the Alps.
Also worth seeing: the canopy mausoleum of Maximilian III and the magnificent organ.
Entrance to Innsbruck Cathedral is free but you will have to pay €1 if you want to take pictures. It is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from October to May and until 7:30 p.m. from May to September.
6. Maria-Theresien Street
Strolling along Maria-Theresien Street is a must in Innsbruck.
It is the shopping and tourist artery par excellence with many shops, cafes and restaurants.
Shopping , enjoying a coffee on the terrace or a good meal, admiring the sumptuous Baroque facades, that’s all you can do at Maria-Theresien-Strasse.
In addition, the area is entirely pedestrianized, which is even more pleasant and makes it one of the best places to walk in Innsbruck!
Also to be seen in the district: the Sainte-Anne column from where you will have a beautiful panorama of the summits of the Nordkette to the north and the Bergisel ski jump to the south.
Tips for your Innsbruck itinerary:
Are you going to Innsbruck?
You know it: the hardest part is certainly to find a hotel offering a good price/performance ratio!
And yes, the closer you get to your travel date, the less availability there will be. Many tourists will be visiting Innsbruck on the same dates as you, and you can be sure that all the best-placed and best-priced rooms will have already been booked!
Fortunately, the solution to this problem is simple: do like me and plan ahead!
So take 5 minutes now to take a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Innsbruck.
And if you like a hotel, book it!
Cancellation is often free, it’s quick, easy, and it will protect you from the inconvenience of finding nothing, except mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.
To see the best deals on Innsbruck right now, just click here.
Once your hotel is booked, it’s time to continue reading this guide!
7. Museums to visit in Innsbruck
You can also do some cultural tourism in Innsbruck by visiting several museums:
- The Tyrolean regional museum Ferdinandeum dedicated to fine arts with a collection ranging from the end of prehistory to the present day. You will also find Baroque and Gothic works there.
- The Tyrolean folk art museum which focuses on life in Tyrol and its culture by presenting many everyday objects, furniture and costumes typical of the region.
- The Tirol Panorama retraces the social, political and religious history of Tyrol. The museum owes its name to a huge fresco of 1,000m² in the form of a panoramic painting recounting the Tyrolean resistance against the armies of Bavaria and France. It is one of the longest frescoes in the world.
- The Grassmayr Bell Museum presents the entire manufacturing process of the famous Grassmayr bells, which are found all over Austria and around the world.
- The Archaeological Museum of Innsbruck with a good number of Greek and Roman sculptures.
- The Visual Museum on optical illusions.
Entry to Innsbruck’s museums is included with the Innsbruck Card.
If you want to know what to do in Innsbruck when it rains, this is also a great idea!
8. Wilten Basilica
The Basilica Wilten is one of the most beautiful Rococo churches in Austria.
Having benefited from a restoration, the interior is really beautiful with its ceiling covered with frescoes. Baroque art lovers will be served!
A gate generally closes the entrance but you can still see everything well and take some pictures during your stay in Innsbruck.
9. The Bergisel Ski Jump
We continue this Innsbruck tourist guide with the Bergisel ski jump, the (very) modern emblem of the city of Innsbruck.
Aerodynamic and elegant, the springboard is the most modern ski jumping facility in Europe. One of a kind, it hosts the 4 ski jumps tour, a world-renowned sporting event.
For tourists, the Bergisel ski jump especially allows you to admire a magnificent 360° panorama of Innsbruck and its surroundings.
A panoramic elevator takes you to the top, about 250 meters above sea level, in just 2 minutes.
Access tickets to the Bergisel ski jump can be booked directly here.
At the top of the springboard, you will also find a restaurant if you are peckish. And if you have chosen to visit Innsbruck in summer, you will surely have the opportunity to see international ski jumping athletes training.
Access to the springboard included with the Innsbruck Card.
In 2002, the architecture of the springboard was renewed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to have received the Pritzker Prize (the Nobel Prize for architects) for her work.
She is also known for having participated in the expansion of the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid or the Canton Opera House in southern China.
Tips for your Innsbruck itinerary:
Not far from the springboard, if you want to take in even more of the view, I advise you to go to the observation point of Patscherkofel.
The panorama is magnificent and allows you to contemplate the entire Inn Valley and the city. From Patscherkofel, you will also find several hiking trails if you want to take beautiful walks during your vacation in Innsbruck.
10. Ambras Castle
Looking for another activity to do in Innsbruck?
Located on the heights of the city, I recommend you to visit the impressive castle of Ambras.
Originally a medieval fortress, it was transformed into a Renaissance-style castle by Ferdinand II of Tyrol to please his wife.
Inside you will find a unique collection of weapons and objects, cabinets of arts and curiosities as well as the gallery of more than 200 portraits of the Habsburg family.
Ambras Castle also has a very beautiful park where you can walk.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed every November.
Skip the line and book your Ambras Castle entrance tickets here.
If you have the Innsbruck Card, the entrance to the castle is included in it.
From Innsbruck city centre, you can take the Hungerburg funicular to explore the Nordkette mountain range.
Departure is from Congress Station, directly located in the historic center of Innsbruck.
The funicular goes up to the Alpenzoo station (I tell you about the zoo just after) and then continues to Hungerburg, at 860 meters above sea level.
From there you take the cable car and continue the climb to Seegrube at 1,905 meters above sea level.
Finally, a last cable car takes you to Hafelekar, at an altitude of 2,256 meters. The climb allows you to admire breathtaking natural landscapes.
From up there, let me tell you that the panorama is splendid! View over the entire Inn Valley, the Austrian Alps and even to the Italian border, you will be amazed.
Tips for your Innsbruck itinerary:
You often have to queue to access the cable car.
To avoid this, you just have to book your tickets in advance online, thanks to the links I give you below:
- Ticket for the Hungerburg funicular (note this does not include the Seegrube or the Hafelekar)
- Return cable car ticket to the top of Innsbruck (the Hafelekar).
12. Innsbruck Alpine Zoo
What to do in Innsbruck with children?
As I told you just before, during your ride up the funicular, you can also choose to stop on the way to visit the Innsbruck Alpine Zoo.
The highest park in Europe welcomes 2,000 animals in their natural environment.
Of course, don’t expect to see elephants or giraffes, the hundred or so species presented are typical of the Alps. You can therefore observe wolves, bears, ibexes, vultures or even otters.
A good idea for an outing if you have chosen to go to Innsbruck with your family!
Entrance to the Alpine Zoo is included with the Innsbruck Card. Otherwise, you can also book combined zoo + funicular tickets to save some money:
- Alpenzoo + Hungerburg funicular pass
- Combined ticket Alpenzoo + Hungerburg, Seegrube and Hafelekar cable car
13. What to do in Innsbruck at night?
If you want to spend a good evening in a festive and family atmosphere while remaining in the typical Austrian, I advise you to book this Tyrolean evening.
The show program includes Tyrolean folk dances, the famous thigh slap, yodeling singers and songs from the Austrian repertoire.
When booking, you can also add the dinner option.
The show which lasts about 1h30 is very nice and entertaining.
What to do around Innsbruck?
Now you know what to do in Innsbruck! It’s time to continue your itinerary in Austria by exploring the surroundings.
I have prepared for you my selection of the best things to do around Innsbruck.
14. Hasegg Castle
Hasegg Castle is located around Innsbruck in the medieval village of Hall. Former economic center of Tyrol, the village is charming and very picturesque with its pretty little streets.
This is where you can visit Hasegg Castle, the former mint where the Thaler was minted , high-value silver coins considered the ancestor of the dollar.
You’ll learn about its history and manufacturing techniques, and you can even mint your own coin.
At the top of the Mint Tower, you can also enjoy the view of Hall and the surrounding area.
15. Swarovski Crystal Worlds
Around Innsbruck, I advise you not to miss one of the main activities to do in Austria, the visit to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds or Swarovski Kristallwelten.
Located in Wattens, just 15 km from Innsbruck, this underground museum showcases crystal thanks to a really well-made atmosphere and play of light. The 14 “chambers of wonders” are truly beautiful. No doubt you will be dazzled!
And of course, you will find at the end of your visit, an official store with lots of beautiful Swarovski jewelry. Now is not the time to forget your wallet :P.
If you have purchased the Innsbruck Sightseeing Pass, you can take the free shuttle bus to Swarosvki Worlds from the city center.
Tips for your Innsbruck itinerary:
How many days to visit Innsbruck?
To visit Innsbruck, 1 day is enough.
The tourist monuments are almost all concentrated in the historic center, which can easily be visited on foot.
But if you also want to visit the surroundings of Innsbruck (the Nordkette and the Crystal Worlds for example), I advise you to stay there for 2 days.
To discover Innsbruck, I strongly recommend that you buy the Innsbruck Card. This is one of the most interesting City Cards I’ve seen in terms of price and visits included.
It’s easy, all the places of interest to see in Innsbruck and which I told you about in this article are included (museum of the small Golden Roof, imperial palace, belfry etc.) +:
- Free public transport
- A tourist bus tour
- The Nordkette cable car (which alone costs 33€!)
- Ski lifts around Innsbruck
- A guided walking tour of the city
- And even the shuttle bus and entry to Swarovski Crystal Worlds!
The card costs only €53 for 24 hours, €63 for 48 hours and €73 for 72 hours.
1 Day Innsbruck Itinerary
To visit Innsbruck in 1 day, I recommend the following itinerary:
- Morning in the historic center to see the little Golden Roof and visit the Imperial Palace, the belfry, the Church of the Court and the Saint-Jacques Cathedral
- Lunch break in one of the restaurants on rue Marie-Theresien-Strausse
- Ascent by cable car to the Nordkette from the old town of Innsbruck with discovery of the Alpine Zoo
And for the evening, why not attend a traditional Tyrolean evening with songs and dances?
The show lasts about 1h30 during which you can discover traditional music and admire the Tyroleans dancing. As an option, you can also book your dinner.
2 Days Innsbruck Itinerary
To visit Innsbruck and its surroundings in 2 days, take the previous circuit and add:
- Passage through the Wilten Basilica to admire its interior
- Climb to the panoramic terrace of the Tremplin de Bergisel
- Ambras Castle Tour
- Lunch break
- Stopover at Château Hasegg to discover the secrets of the Thaler
- Sparkling discovery of the worlds of Swarovski Crystal
Accommodation in Innsbruck
Here is my selection of the best hotels to stay in Innsbruck according to your budget.
Remember to book as soon as possible to get the best rate!
- Hostel Marmota : Youth hostel located 500 meters from Ambras Castle. Dormitory bed from €40 per night, breakfast included. Most: the rich and varied breakfast, the modernity and cleanliness of the rooms. The best choice for cheap accommodation in Innsbruck!
- Gasthof Walzl : Located 2 km from Innsbruck, at the foot of the Olympic ski jump. Warm and spacious double room from €110 per night, breakfast included. Most: the calm and comfort of the rooms, the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the evening meals. It is our favorite for its performance / price ratio!
- Motel One Innsbruck: Located next to Innsbruck train station and 10 minutes walk from the old town. Modern and bright double room with large bay windows from €120, breakfast at €15. Most: the view of the mountains, the location, the cleanliness.
- Hotel Central: Located just 300 meters from the historic center. Comfortable and cozy double room from €160, breakfast included. Most: the geographical location, the very good breakfast, sauna and hammam.
- Hotel Innsbruck: Located 200 meters from the Golden Roof. Double room with elegant decoration from €270, breakfast included. The pluses: the indoor swimming pool, unlimited access to the Spa, the friendliness of the staff. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Innsbruck.
Where to eat in Innsbruck
- Gasthof Weisses Rossl : Located in the center of Innsbruck. The restaurant offers Austrian, Tyrolean and even vegetarian dishes. There are lots of choices and the food is very good. The quality of service is excellent. Good value for money. To book in advance!
- Ludwig Das Burger Restaurant : Also centrally located, this is the perfect place to eat a quality burger! Excellent meat and the fries, ketchup and even the lemonade are homemade. Several ingredients are organic. Simply delicious. Reservation highly recommended.
- Olive: Located outside the historic center of Innsbruck. Restaurant offering vegetarian and vegan dishes. The cuisine is delicious, very tasty, the products are fresh and organic. The desserts are also excellent and the prices are reasonable. Even without being a vegetarian, you will enjoy it.
To discover typical Austrian dishes, nothing better than opting for a gastronomic tour!
The one I have selected lasts 4h30 and allows you to visit the covered market of Innsbruck and includes several tastings of local products.
How to get to Innsbruck?
- By plane: Innsbruck has a very small airport. Some flights connect Vienna to Innsbruck in 1 hour but count in the 200€ one way
- By car: 4h50 journey
- By bus: 10h trip
- By train: 4h15 journey
- By car: 1h45
- By bus: 5h30
- By train: 2h20
From Munich (you can choose to land in Munich if you want to start your Austria tour by visiting Innsbruck):
- By car: 1h45
- And bus: 2h30
- A train: 2h50
Innsbruck Tourist Map
To help you visualize the city a little better, I made you a tourist map of Innsbruck, listing the places to visit that I talk about in this top 15 things to do. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow.
And you? Are you planning to visit Innsbruck during your trip to Austria?
Are you going to Austria? Read also:
- Discover all our articles about Austria: all our articles about Austria are listed here.
- What to do in Austria? The TOP 20 things to do and see in Austria
- Itinerary: A week in Austria: Itinerary to prepare your trip to Austria
- Graz: Top 10 must-see places
- Hallstatt: The 6 things to do during your stay
- Innsbruck: Top 15 places to visit
- Linz: The 12 places to see
- Salzburg: The 17 must-sees to visit
- Vienna: Top 25 Must-See Things