Austria

Itinerary: 2 Days in Innsbruck – Top 15 Things to Do – 2018

What to do for 2 days in Innsbruck

Visit Innsbruck, in Austria, is exploring the capital of the Alps.

Located in the Tyrol region, this small town can be easily visited on foot. With its colorful facade houses and many places of interest such as the small Golden Roof or the Imperial Palace, Innsbruck will certainly suspend you. Especially, 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 go on with our itinerary ideas 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 tips for your stay in Austria.

Let’s go for a little sightseeing in Innsbruck!

Visit Innsbruck: the must-sees

1. The little Golden Roof

We begin our discovery of Innsbruck by the main tourist attraction and the symbol of the city, the small Golden Roof or Goldenes Dachl in Austrian. Located in the historic center of Innsbruck, it is the most photographed place of interest in the city  !

The small Toit d’Or consists of 2,657 copper shingles gilded with fine gold and serves as a roof to a balcony ceremonial. Its construction was ordered by Emperor Maximilian 1 st in 1500. The Emperor made his public appearances from the balcony and was also used to participate in the many festivities at the foot of the Golden Roof.

Today, the little Golden Roof is a museum retracing the history of the city, the imperial family and the Emperor Maximilian. The museum is well made, interactive and interesting. And if it’s your thing, you can take an audioguide in French.

Open all year from 10h to 17h except in November, where it is closed.

The shingles would still be original. However, in 2012, some were stolen but they reappeared all the way to different parts of the city, and they were put back in place!
small innsbruck gold roof

2. The Hofburg Imperial Palace

Also located in the historic center and not far from the small Golden Roof is the 2nd visit to Innsbruck, the imperial palace.

During the fifteenth century, the imperial palace underwent many expansions, each Tyrolean ruler wanting to contribute. But we owe the current size of the palace of Emperor Maximilian 1 st that was completed in 1500.

Its interior has also often been redesigned to be adapted to the taste of the day. The current Baroque and Rococo style is due 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 welcome the 2,000 guests of the wedding of his son Leopold II  !

For 14 days, it was the party every day at the Hofburg Palace, until the sudden death of the Emperor François-Etienne I, Marie-Thérèse’s husband. His body is now in the crypt of the Capuchins in Vienna (I tell you about it in our article about the city).

Later, in the 19 th century, Empress Sissi and Emperor Franz Joseph also stayed there.

It is today the third most important historical and cultural monument in Austria. During your visit, you will discover:

  • State rooms
  • The giant hall, still used as a party room
  • The imperial apartments : an opportunity to discover the intimacy of the imperial family by visiting the rooms, washrooms and offices.
  • The chapel
  • The Coat of Arms Tower
To visit Innsbruck, I strongly recommend you to buy the Innsbruck Card. It offers many free amenities including a visit to the Hofburg Imperial Palace. I tell you about it in detail in the section “How many days to visit Innsbruck”.
imperial palace hofburg innsbruck

3. The Church of the Court / Hofkirche

Also in the historic center, next to the imperial palace, I advise you to visit the church of the court or the imperial church.

The church houses the tomb of Maximilian 1 st (again) and is famous for the 28 towering bronze statuessurrounding it. It is also nicknamed “the church of black men” by the Innsbruckers.

The 28 statues, some of which are women, represent the ancestors of the emperor, his 2 wives and some historical figures including the famous King Arthur! Measuring between 2 and 2.5 meters high, they are particularly impressive.

Well, the statues do not keep much because the tomb is actually empty. The construction of the church and the tomb is not yet complete at the time of the death of the emperor, the body rests in the crypt of the Capuchins in Vienna.

When visiting the Hofkirche, do not miss the Silver Chapel.

In addition to the silver altar that gives its name to the place, this is where rest the remains of 2 other celebrities of Innsbruck: Archduke Ferdinand II and his wife. She had talked a lot about her at the time, because she was suspected by some to be a witch!

For organ lovers, it is also in the courtyard church that you will find the best preserved Renaissance organ in Austria.

imperial church

4. The Belfry / The Stadtturm

Another historic site located next to the small 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 for them of prison.

For the time and with its 51 meters high, the belfry was the pride of Innsbruckois.

Today, the Stadtturm, the Innsbruck tower, is a real tourist attraction. After having climbed the 130 steps and reached the panoramic platform 31 meters high, you will have a breathtaking view of the regional capital of Tyrol, Bergisel and Nordkette. While it’s not the CN Tower in Toronto or the Vancouver Lookout, it’s still one of things to do in Innsbruck!

Open from 10h to 20h from June to September / from 10h to 17h from October to May.

Innsbruck Belfry

5. The Saint-Jacques cathedral

Another interesting place to discover in Innsbruck is St. Jakob Cathedral or Dom Zu Sankt Jakob.

Important for believers, it marks the beginning of the road to Santiago de Compostela. From the outside nothing specific to see is the interior that is really worth seeing. In the Baroque style, the cathedral has magnificent frescoes on the ceiling depicting scenes from the life of Saint-Jacques. Do not forget to raise your head to observe them!

The Innsbruck Cathedral is best known for its famous Lucas Cranach painting, “The Virgin of the Good Help” or “Maria Hilf”. Painting is very popular all over the world and there are many representations in the Alps.

See also: the canopy mausoleum of Maximilian III and the magnificent organ .

The entrance to the cathedral is free but you will have to pay € 1 if you want to take pictures. It is open from 10:30 to 18:30 from October to May and until 19:30 from May to September.

cathedral st jacques innsbruck

6. Maria-Theresien-Strasse

Strolling down Maria Theresien Street is a must in Innsbruck.

It is the shopping and tourist artery par excellence with many shops, cafes and restaurants. Go shopping, enjoy a coffee on the terrace or a good meal, admire the sumptuous Baroque facades, that’s all you can do in Maria-Theresien-Strasse. In addition the area is completely pedestrian, which is even more pleasant!

See also in the neighborhood: the column Sainte-Anne from where you will have a beautiful panorama on the Nordkette summits in the North and on the Bergisel springboard in the South.

Maria Theresia Strasse innsbruck

7. The museums of Innsbruck

In Innsbruck, you can also do some cultural tourism and visit several museums:

  • The regional museum of Tyrol Ferdinandeum  devoted to the fine arts with a collection ranging from the end of prehistory to the present day. You will also find Baroque and Gothic works.
  • The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, which is interested in 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 the Tyrol. The museum owes its name to a huge fresco of 1,000m² in the form of a panoramic painting telling the Tyrolean resistance to the armies of Bavaria and France. It is one of the longest frescoes in the world.
  • The Grassmayr Bell Museum presents the entire process of making the famous Grassmayr bells, which are present throughout Austria and around the world.

8. Wilten Basilica

Wilten Basilica is one of the most beautiful rococo churches in Austria.

Having recently benefited from a restoration, the interior is really beautiful with its ceiling covered with frescoes. Baroque lovers will be served! A grid usually closes the entrance but you can still see all and take some pictures.

wilten basilica

9. The Bergisel springboard

The Bergisel springboard is the (very) modern emblem of the city of Innsbruck.

Aerodynamic and elegant, the springboard is Europe’s most modern ski jumping facility. Unique in its kind, it hosts the tour of the 4 jumps, a sport event internationally recognized.

For tourists, the Bergisel ski jump offers a wonderful 360 ° panorama of Innsbruck and its surroundings. A panoramic lift takes you to the summit, about 250 meters above sea level, in just 2 minutes.

At the top of the hill, you will also find a restaurant if you have a small hollow. And in summer, you will surely have the opportunity to see the international ski jumping athletes train.

In 2002, the architecture of the springboard was renewed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Prize (the Nobel Prize for Architects) for her work. She is also known to have participated in the expansion of the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid or the Canton Opera in southern China.
Bergisel springboard

10. Ambras Castle

Located on the heights of Innsbruck, I recommend you to visit the impressive castle of Ambras.

Originally a medieval fortress, it was transformed into a renaissance castle by Ferdinand II of Tyrol to please his wife.

Inside you will find a unique collection of weapons and objects, art and curiosity cabinets as well as the gallery of more than 200 portraits of the Habsburg family.

Castle Ambras also has a beautiful park where you can walk.

Open every day from 10h to 17h and closed all the month of November.

castle of ambras

11. Nordkette

From Innsbruck city center, you can take the funicular to explore the Nordkette mountain range.

The Hungerburg funicular takes you in just 8 minutes to Hungerburg, 300 meters above sea level, then continue climbing up to Seegrube at 1,905 meters above sea level. Finally a last cable car takes you to Hafelekar, at 2,256 meters above sea level. The ascent allows to admire breathtaking natural landscapes.

From there, as much to tell you that the panorama is splendid  ! View of the entire Inn Valley, the Austrian Alps and even the Italian border, you will take full view.

Nordkette

12. Innsbruck Alpine Zoo

When you climb the cable car, you can also choose to stop on the way to visit the Innsbruck Alpine Zoo.

The highest park in Europe is home to 2,000 animals in their natural environment. Of course, do not expect to see elephants or giraffes, the hundreds of species presented are typical of the Alps. You can see wolves, bears, ibex, vultures or otters.

A good idea to go out if you are visiting Innsbruck with your family!

zoo alpin innsbruck

13. Hasegg Castle

The Hasegg Castle is located just minutes from Innsbruck in the medieval village of Hall. Former economic center of Tyrol, the village is charming and very picturesque with its pretty narrow streets.

It is here that you can visit the Hasegg Castle, the former hotel of the currency where the Thaler was minted, valuable silver coins considered as the ancestor of the dollar. You will learn more about its history and manufacturing techniques and you can even hit your own piece.

At the top of the Mint Tower, you can also enjoy the view of Hall and the surrounding area.

hasegg castle

14. The worlds of Swarovski Crystal

In the vicinity of Innsbruck, I advise you not to miss one of the main activities to do in Austria, visiting the worlds of Swarovski crystal or Swarovski Kristallwelten.

Located in Wattens, just 15 km from Innsbruck, this underground museum showcases crystal with an atmosphere and play of light really well done. The 14 “rooms of wonders” are really beautiful. No doubt you will be dazzled!

And of course, at the end of your visit, you will find an official shop with lots of beautiful Swarovski jewels. This is not the time to forget your wallet.

Information to organize your visit can be found on the official website.

The green giant, entry of the Swarovski crystal factory

15. Seefeld in Tirol

About 20 kilometers west of Innsbruck you will find the most popular ski resort in the Alps, Seefeld in Tirol.

This small town of 3,000 inhabitants, located at 1,180 meters altitude is a favorite destination for tourists in both summer and winter. It is one of the 12 most famous European Alps tourist destinations.

In winter, you can indulge in the practice of skiing. Seefeld is renowned for its perfect snow conditions for cross-country skiing on nearly 260 kilometers of slopes. There are also family ski areas and toboggan runsif you come to Austria with your children.

In summer, you can swim in the pools of the Olympic Sports and Congress Center or, for a more natural version, in Lake Wildsee. There are also many marked trails for hiking.

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 is easily visited on foot. But if you also want to visit the surroundings of Innsbruck (the Nordkette and the worlds of Crystal for example), I advise you to stay there 2 days.

To discover Innsbruck, I strongly recommend you to buy the Innsbruck Card. This is one of the most interesting City Card I’ve seen in terms of fare and tours 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 tour by bus + the cable car to Nordkette (which alone costs 33 €!) + The ski lifts around Innsbruck + a guided tour of the city on foot and even the shuttle and the entrance to the Worlds of Swarovski crystal  ! It’s really crazy because the card costs only 39 € for 24h, 48 € for 48h and 55 € for 72h.

You can get it directly on the website of the Innsbruck Tourist Office. Besides, do not hesitate to take a tour on the site because it is well done and very interesting.

It will be particularly useful to find the opening hours of the attractions to visit because (as you may have noticed) I have no links to the official sites because most are not translated or do not exist at all.

1 day Itinerary Innsbruck

To visit Innsbruck in 1 day, I suggest the following route:

  • Morning in the historic center to see the little Golden Roof and visit of 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
  • Ride by cable car to Nordkette from the old town of Innsbruck with discovery of the alpine zoo

2 days Itinerary Innsbruck

To visit Innsbruck and its surroundings in 2 days, take the previous circuit and add:

  • Passage through the Basilica Wilten to admire the interior
  • Ascent to the panoramic terrace of the Bergisel springboard
  • Visit of Ambras Castle
  • Lunch break
  • Stop at Hasegg Castle to discover the secrets of Thaler
  • Sparkling discovery of the worlds of Swarovski Crystal

Where to sleep in Innsbruck

Here is my selection of the best Innsbruck hotels to suit your budget. Remember to book as soon as possible to get the best price!

  • Hostel Marmota : Hostel located 500 meters from Ambras Castle. Bed in dormitory from 40 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the rich and varied breakfast, the modernity and the cleanliness of the rooms.
  • Naterrerboden  : Located 8 km from Innsbruck, the property welcomes you in a rural setting on the edge of the forest. Comfortable and cozy double room from 75 € per night, breakfast at 6 €. Most: the quiet location, the friendly welcome, the traditional restaurant.
  • Gasthof Walzl  : Located 2 km from Innsbruck, at the foot of the Olympic springboard. Double room warm and spacious from 110 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the calm and comfort of the rooms, the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the evening meals. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio!
  • Stage 12  : Brand new hotel located 300 meters from the small Toit d’Or. Spacious and contemporary double room from 200 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the geographical situation, the rich breakfast, the comfort of the rooms, the design of the hotel. This is the best hotel in the city, perfect for a luxury stay in Innsbruck.
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 many choices and the dishes are very good. The quality of the service is excellent. Good value for money. To book in advance!
  • Ludwig Das Burger Restaurant  : Also located in the center, this is the perfect place to eat a quality burger! Excellent meat and fries, ketchup and even 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 food is delicious, very tasty, the products are fresh and organic. The desserts are excellent too and the prices are reasonable. Even without being a vegetarian, you will enjoy.

How to get to Innsbruck?

From Vienna:

  • 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 journey for about 30 € one way
  • By train: 4h15 ride for 25 € one way

From Salzburg:

  • By car: 1h45
  • By bus: 5h30 for 20 €
  • By train: 2h20 for 20 € one way

From Munich  (you can choose to land in Munich if you want to start your tour in Austria by visiting Innsbruck):

  • By car: 1h45
  • By bus: 2h30 for 10 € one way
  • By train: 2h50 for 30 € one way

Tourist map of Innsbruck

To help you visualize the city a little better, I made you a tourist map of Innsbruck, listing the places to visit I’m talking about in this top 15 things to do. You can display the legend of the map by clicking on the button at the top left with a small arrow.

And you ? Are you planning to visit Innsbruck during your trip to Austria? 

Are you going to Austria? Read also

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Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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