Austria

17 Amazing Things to Do in Innsbruck, Austria

Last Updated on 26/04/2024 by kami

Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region, is one of the most interesting and beautiful places to visit in Austria. Surrounded by the majestic Alps, the city is a perfect combination of long history, impressive monuments, and incredible natural surroundings, offering something interesting to each taste. With so many wonderful things to do in Innsbruck, getting bored is impossible.

things to do in innsbruck austria

After visiting Innsbruck for the first time some twenty years ago, I keep returning there for more. It’s one of my very favorite places to visit in Austria. There is always something to see and do there, and all the great Innsbruck attractions make me want to plan another trip there as soon as I leave the city.

And so, after my recent trip to Innsbruck, I put together this guide with the best things to do in Innsbruck so you can plan your stay there too. Read on and visit Innsbruck soon!

things to do in innsbruck austria

Where is Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck, the fifth largest city in Austria with a population of around 130.000 inhabitants, is located in the western part of the country, near borders with Germany and Italy. Vienna, the capital of Austria, is 475 km east of Innsbruck.

things to do in innsbruck austria

Is Innsbruck worth visiting?

Definitely! There are so many amazing and diverse things to do in Innsbruck.

The city has a beautiful Old Town with some of the most famous Innsbruck landmarks dating back to the 15th century. But there are also some great examples of modern architecture, including the works of renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

What makes Innsbruck stand out among other interesting places in this part of Europe are the mountains, which are only a stone’s throw away from the center, creating a breathtaking vista and a perfect combination of cityscape and nature. This is also one of the reasons why Innsbruck hosted the Olympic Winter Games twice, in 1964 and 1974, and is home to numerous winter sports competitions every year.

Since Innsbruck has a large student population, with two universities and a few colleges, you can expect a vibrant atmosphere in the city as well as an excellent nightlife.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to visit Innsbruck as the city is straightforward, with good connections from within Austria and nearby places abroad.

things to do in innsbruck austria

How to get to Innsbruck

The easiest way to reach Innsbruck is by train. There are direct connections from Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Munich, Zurich, and Venice; many of them are operated by high-speed trains.

If you buy tickets in advance, you can get them at very affordable prices (like €35 for the Vienna-Innsbruck high-speed RailJet train). You can search for connections and book tickets here at the Austrian Railways website.

Innsbruck also has its airport, although you can get here only from a handful of destinations within Europe, like Berlin, London, Frankfurt, or Prague.

things to do in innsbruck austria

How to get around Innsbruck

The majority of the Innsbruck tourist attractions are located in the center of the city, mainly in the Old Town. You can walk everywhere here, especially since many streets are pedestrian-only.

However, a few interesting places to visit in Innsbruck are a bit far from the center. You can reach those by public transport, a good network of trams and buses. They are free to use with an Innsbruck Card, which I highly recommend getting for visiting Innsbruck (more about it below).

things to do in innsbruck austria

How many days for visiting Innsbruck

I think you need at least two days in Innsbruck to get to know the city a bit and see all its highlights. Many places worth visiting, such as Ambras Castle, Top of Innsbruck, or the Bergisel ski jumping hill, are away from the center, in different directions, so reaching them all can take a while.

If you only have one day in Innsbruck, you can still focus on its stunning Old Town, which is packed with attractions, too. But of course, the longer you stay there, the better, as with more days in Innsbruck you can also enjoy the surrounding nature and visit some interesting places nearby.

things to do in innsbruck austria

Innsbruck Card – is it worth it?

For my recent trip to Innsbruck, I purchased the Innsbruck Card, and it was the best idea. With the card, I could visit all of the best attractions free of charge (including the pricey cable car to reach Hafelekat mountain) and use public transport to get around the city.

In two days, I saved €50 on entrance fees and transportation. I wrote the review of the Innsbruck Card, with exact prices and savings, here.

Click here if you would like to purchase an Innsbruck Card for your trip to Innsbruck.

things to do in innsbruck austria

Where to stay in Innsbruck

Since this is a large city and a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Stay somewhere in the Old Town or near it to be near the main attractions.

Here are some recommended places to stay in Innsbruck:

things to do in innsbruck austria

Things to do in Innsbruck

And finally, without further ado, here are the best things to do in Innsbruck, in no particular order.

Climb the City Tower for the best views

Located right in the heart of the Old Town, the City Tower offers the best views of the area and surrounding mountains. You need to climb 148 steps to get there, but the 360° panorama you can admire from the top is definitely worth the effort. You will see the maze of medieval streets with the stunning Golden Roof right in front, as well as modern parts of the city and breathtaking surrounding mountains.

The City Tower itself dates back to the mid-15th century, and it played an essential role as the protector of Innsbruck. With its height of 51 meters, it dominated the area. In the past, it served as the viewpoint for guards who also alerted citizens about the possible danger.

A nice addition to the place is a beautiful spiral staircase with separate stairs for going up and down.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Admire the Golden Roof

One of the most popular Innsbruck landmarks is Golden Roof. This stunning medieval masterpiece quickly catches the attention of all visitors. What makes it unique are the 2,657 gilded copper tiles, hence the name of the attraction.

The Golden Roof was created in 1500 to commemorate the wedding of Emperor Maximilian I and Bianca Maria Sforza – the couple later used the balcony to watch numerous events taking place in the square below it.

Besides the gilded tiles, another interesting feature of the landmark is artistically carved reliefs, an excellent example of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Those you can see today are the replicas, but the original six tiles are displayed in the Golden Roof Museum.

The best time to see the Golden Roof is early in the morning – that’s when there are still not too many people around, and you can fully admire this masterpiece.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Wander around the Old Town

The Old Town in Innsbruck isn’t very big, but it definitely is charming. The maze of winding lanes (some of them with picturesque arcades) is perfect to wander around and feel the vibe of the place.

Innsbruck was founded in the 12th century, but its peak of prosperity happened during Emperor Maximilian I rule in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Still today you can find some buildings and monuments from that period when exploring Innsbruck Old Town.

Besides the major landmarks, it’s worth taking a closer look at beautiful buildings and townhouses, many of which are richly decorated in the Baroque and Rococo styles. The best example of the stunning architecture of this part of the city is Helbling House, which is located across the square from the Golden Roof (and often in the shadow of this more popular attraction).

But this is only one of many interesting buildings in the area, so wander around with curiosity and open eyes; you might be surprised by what kind of gems you will find there.

You might also want to explore the area with a guide, which is an even better way to explore Innsbruck Old Town and learn more about this fascinating place. Here are recommended guided tours:

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit Hofburg Imperial Palace

Another significant Emperor Maximilian I legacy placed in Innsbruck is Hofburg Imperial Palace, completed in the year 1500 but rebuilt during Maria Theresa’s rule in the 18th century in the Viennese late Baroque style.

When looking at the building from the outside, it might not seem very impressive, but once you step inside its courtyard, you will quickly notice what a grand place this is. And it gets only better when you visit the place inside. This is, in fact, the third most important historic building in Austria!

During your visit, you can wander along the staterooms from the time of Maria Theresa and imperial apartments, including the one where Empress Sisi stayed.

But the biggest highlight of the building is the so-called Giant’s Hall – the stunning banquet hall with impressive ceiling frescoes from the 18th century. This room itself is a good reason to visit Hofburg Palac in Innsbruck.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit the Court Church

One of the most important churches in Innsbruck is the Courty Church, located only a few steps away from Hofburg. Even if you are not religious, it’s worth visiting it for its great historical significance, as this is where you will find the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I. It is actually empty (the Emperor is buried in Wiener Neustadt), the cenotaph is a real art masterpiece he designed himself.

Besides Maximilian’s resting place, you will also find 28 life-sized bronze figures guarding the tomb (eight of them are women). You will find ancestors, relatives, and heroes among them, such as King Arthur, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Elizabeth of Luxembourg. The church itself is beautiful, too, with rich decor and details.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art

In the building adjacent to the Court Church, you can visit the fascinating Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art. There are various displays of carnival masks (those can be scary), household items and handicrafts, 18th-century nativity scenes, traditional costumes (this part was a bit creepy to me, but that’s what made it fun), or parlors in different styles from the Tyrol region.

A secret passage in the museum will take you to the upper part of the Court Church, where you can admire the beautiful temple from another perspective. Since the Court Church and Tyrolean Folk Art Museum share the same entrance, including both in your Innsbruck itinerary is easy.

You can also learn more about the local culture and customs at the Tyrolean music and folk dancing show. Click here to get the tickets.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Wander along the riverside

Innsbruck is strictly connected with the river Inn flowing through it; even the name of the city means “the bridge above the Inn.” Depending on the day, it can be a calm river or a rushing mountain stream. But no matter the day, the riverside is one of the best places to admire the panorama of surrounding mountains, and one of the most popular photos stops in Innsbruck.

Across the river from the Old Town, you will find rows of colorful, centuries-old townhouses. With the majestic Alps in the background, they create one of the most famous views of Innsbruck.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit St. James’ Cathedral

Originally from the 12th century, Innsbruck Cathedral is another famous landmark, with two towers dominating above the Old Town. This was one of the most important stops on the Way of St. James pilgrim route in medieval times. Still, today, this is a place of big religious significance.

The building is impressive already from the outside, its current look dating back to the early 18th century when the Cathedral was rebuilt after earthquakes. Once you step inside, you will be enchanted with beautiful art. The interior is full of paintings, frescoes, stuccoes, and more.

Visiting the Cathedral is free of charge, but you need to pay a small fee if you wish to take pictures inside.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Take the cable car to the “Top of Innsbruck”

In Innsbruck, you are surrounded by the impressive Alps. Fortunately, you can also easily go to the mountains and enjoy the stunning panorama of the city and its surroundings, as well as perfect views of the natural beauty around you.

The most popular and accessible place to get to is Hafelekat Mountain, also known as “Top of Innsbruck,” located 2300 meters above sea level. To get there, you first need to take the funicular (the stop is located near Hofburg) and then change for two cable car rides.

The views from the top are breathtaking, with the city down in the valley and majestic Alps all around you. If you want to go hiking, Hafelekar is a good starting point.

You can purchase the tickets for the cable car ride here; it is also included in the Innsbruck Card.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Another attraction here is the funicular stations designed by the famous Zaha Hadid. Fans of architecture will surely appreciate this nice touch in the city.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit Alpine zoo

On the way to the “Top of Innsbruck,” you can visit the Alpine Zoo (it’s one of the stops on the funicular). Located at 727 meters above sea level, this is one of the highest-elevation zoos in Europe.

Inside, you can see about two thousand animals from 150 species, some of them typical only for the Alps. Some of the most unique ones you can find in the Innsbruck Zoo are Alpine ibex, Alpine marmot, Chamois, Ural owl, or wallcreeper.

You can get the tickets to the zoo, together with the funicular ride, here. It is also included in the Innsbruck Card.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit Bergisel ski jumping hill

The reason why I visited Innsbruck for the first time almost twenty years ago was the ski jumping competition on Bergisel Hill. Still today, visiting Bergisel is one of my favorite things to do in Innsbruck.

The first ski jumping hill was created here in 1925, but the current, modern one designed by Zaha Hadid dates back to the early 2000s. The Bergisel hill hosted two Winter Olympic Games and is home to the third competition of the Four Hills Tournament every year on the 3rd or 4th of January. You can still find two Olympic torches located in the Bergisel stadium.

While the ski jumping hill might be a fascinating place for winter sports fans (like me), it’s worth coming here even if you don’t follow sports. You can take the funicular and the elevator to the top of the ski jumping hill to see a beautiful panorama of Innsbruck and the mountains around it.

Or, if you are unlucky like me, you can walk all the way to the top as the funicular was not working at the very moment of my visit (it was fixed when I was on my way down). Either way, the views from Bergisel are worth all the effort!

Click here to purchase the entrance ticket to the Bergisel arena; you can also visit the place for free with the Innsbruck Card.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

See the Tyrol Panorama

A short walk from the Bergisel ski jumping hill, you can visit the Tyrol Panorama Museum and its highlight – the 360° painting showing the Tyrolean fight for freedom. This masterpiece is pretty big – 1000 m² – and very impressive when you look closer at all the details portrayed. It was created in 1896 and is an important artifact in the local pride and identity.

Besides the Tyrol Panorama painting, the museum also shows a small exhibition of the regional military history with some interesting items on display.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit Ambras Castle

Even if it is a bit far from the center, Ambras Castle is one of the must-visit places in Innsbruck. The first castle in this location was mentioned in the 11th century, but the current look of the place dates back to the mid-16th century.

In the lower castle, you can visit the armory – the second-largest one in Austria after Graz – and the weirdly interesting items in the chamber of art and curiosities. This is only a reconstruction of the fascinating collection that used to belong to Archduke Ferdinand II in the late 16th century, but nevertheless, you can find some quirky artifacts there.

In the impressive main castle, besides the large number of Habsburg family portraits or the the chapel, you can see the stunning Spanish Hall from 1572. With 43 meters in length and 13 meters in width, this is one of the most important free-standing hall buildings of Renaissance times.

Not only are the dimensions impressive, but the hall’s interior is richly decorated, including 27 portraits of the Tyrolean Counts, stuccos, colorful details, and a wooden-carved ceiling. During my visit, the Renaissance music group had their rehearsal, and the beautiful sounds only added to the atmosphere of the room.

You can purchase the skip-the-line tickets to Ambras Castle here; you can also visit the place with the Innsbruck Card.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Visit Swarovski Crystal Worlds

Another popular one of tourist attractions in Innsbruck that is located away from the center (some 20 km away) is Swarovski Crystal Worlds. The extravagant place was founded in 1995, a hundred years after the company was established.

Besides the elegant park with the crystal-made creations, there are also 18 Chambers of Wonder. Each is unique, designed by world-famous artists, and focuses on a different theme. There’s a Blue Hall, the Crystal Dome, the Ice Passage, and more. Even if you are not into crystals and jewelry, these fantastic creations can still impress.

The easiest way to get to Swarovski Crystal Worlds from Innsbruck is by shuttle bus departing a few times per day from the main train station and the stop near Hofburg. You can also visit the place with the tour, here are the recommended ones:

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Enjoy Maria Theresien Strasse

The favorite place where locals and visitors mingle is Maria Theresien Strasse, a street stretched between the Triumphal Arch (built in 1765 to commemorate the wedding of Archduke Leopold) and the Old Town. This is where you will find numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants (many of them are outdoors), as well as beautiful Baroque architecture and some iconic city views, with the St. Anne’s Column and majestic mountains in the background.

Part of the street is pedestrian, and that’s mostly where the vibrant city life takes place. This is a place not to miss when visiting Innsbruck!

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Try winter sports

Innsbruck is the capital of winter sports, and two Olympic Winter Games and numerous skiing competitions are the best testimony of this.

There are many opportunities to try winter sports in and around the city for each experience level and an excellent infrastructure to support snow activities. In the Innsbruck region, you can ski on 299 kilometers of slopes and use 138 ski lifts.

If skiing or snowboarding are not your things, there are other winter activities to enjoy: sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. You can even try bob rafting at the Olympic ice track in Igls.

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Go for day trips

Since Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol region, with good public transport, you can use the city as a base for day trips. And there are some great places to visit nearby, not only in Austria but also in surrounding countries.

Some of the best ones to visit are:

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Final thoughts on visiting Innsbruck

As you can see above, Innsbruck offers many diverse attractions, so whether you like history, culture, architecture, or being close to nature – this city has it all. Moreover, this is such a lovely, vibrant place so simply being there and enjoying the lively atmosphere is a reason good enough to visit Innsbruck.

But no matter why you’ve decided to plan your trip, you are in for a treat! Innsbruck can’t disappoint you, and I’m sure you will enjoy this place, too! Have a great time discovering Innsbruck!

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

things to do in innsbruck austria

Further reading

I published many articles about Austria that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in Central Europe and ask your questions there.


Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Innsbruck

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Austria here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

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  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Austria too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!

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things to do in innsbruck austria


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