Things to do in Innsbruck: The 17 Best Places to Visit and Highlights
You want to visit Innsbruck, in Austria, and you’re looking for the best places to visit?
You’re at the right place!
This small town in the Tyrol region is famous for its colorful houses and architectural wonders such as the Golden Roof or the Imperial Palace. Bonus point: it’s less touristy than Vienna or Salzburg and can easily be visited on foot!
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this guide of the 17 best things to do in Innsbruck, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.
In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also give you itineraries to visit Innsbruck in 1, 2, or 3 days as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.
So, what are the best things to do in Innsbruck? Where to stay?
Let’s find out!
- Things to do in Innsbruck: The 17 Best Places to Visit and Highlights
- Visiting Innsbruck: 17 Must-See Attractions
- 1. The Golden Roof
- 2. The Hofburg Imperial Palace
- 3. The Court Church / Hofkirche
- 4. The City Tower / Stadtturm
- 5. St. James Cathedral
- 6. Maria-Theresien-Strasse - Where to stroll in Innsbruck
- 7. Museums to visit in Innsbruck
- 8. Wilten Basilica
- 9. Bergisel Ski Jump
- 10. Ambras Castle
- 11. Nordkette
- 12. The Alpine Zoo of Innsbruck
- 13. What to do in Innsbruck at night?
- What to do around Innsbruck?
- How many days to visit Innsbruck?
- Visit Innsbruck in 1 day
- Visit Innsbruck in 2 days
- Where to stay in Innsbruck
- Where to eat in Innsbruck
- How to get to Innsbruck?
- Innsbruck Tourist Map
- You're traveling in Austria? These articles will help you!
- Visiting Innsbruck: 17 Must-See Attractions
Visiting Innsbruck: 17 Must-See Attractions
1. The Golden Roof
We begin our tour of Innsbruck with the main tourist attraction and symbol of the city, the Golden Roof or Goldenes Dachl in German.
Located in the historic center of Innsbruck, it’s the most photographed place of interest in the city.
This famous Golden Roof is made up of 2,657 gilded copper shingles and serves as the roof of a ceremonial balcony.
Its construction was ordered in 1500 by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. He made public appearances from this balcony and also used it to participate in the numerous festivities organized at the foot of the Golden Roof.
Nowadays, the Golden Roof is a museum that retraces the history of the city, the imperial family, and Emperor Maximilian. The museum is well-done, interactive, and very much interesting. You can take an audio guide in English.
Open every day year-round from 10 am to 5 pm but closed on Mondays in the low season (October to April).
To visit Innsbruck, you should buy the Innsbruck Card. It offers many free services including a visit to the Golden Roof museum and a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.
You can also use public transportation and the shuttle for free to get to the Swarovski Crystal World.
Book your card/pass for your trip to Innsbruck now by clicking on the green button below:
2. The Hofburg Imperial Palace
Also located in the historic center and not far from the Golden Roof, you'll find Innsbruck's 2nd must-see attraction, the Imperial Palace.
Throughout the 15th century, the palace underwent numerous expansions, with each Tyrolean ruler wanting to put his mark on it. But the current size of the palace is owed to Emperor Maximilian Ist, who completed it in 1500.
Its interior has also been frequently redesigned to better suit the taste of the day. The current Baroque and Rococo style is attributed to Empress Maria Theresa, who sent the best artists from Vienna to Innsbruck for a major renovation.
Indeed the imperial palace had to be perfect to accommodate the 2,000 guests at her son Leopold II's wedding!
During 14 days it was party every day at the Hofburg Palace, until the sudden death of Emperor Francis Stephen I, (Maria Theresa's husband) put an end to the festivities. His body now lies in the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna (more details on this topic in my article dedicated to the city).
Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz Joseph also lived there in the 19th century.
Today, it is Austria's third most important historical and cultural monument. During your visit, you can discover:
- The state rooms
- The Hall of Giants, still used as a ballroom
- The imperial apartments: a unique opportunity to delve into the intimacy of the imperial family by visiting their former bedrooms, bathrooms, and offices.
- The chapel
- The coat of arms tower.
With the Innsbruck Card, you can visit the Imperial Palace.
To explore the main sights of Innsbruck and learn about the history of the city, you should go for a guided tour.
Book by clicking on the button below:
3. The Court Church / Hofkirche
You should visit the Court Church or the Imperial Church during your tour in Innsbruck. They're both located in the historic center, next to the Imperial Palace.
The church houses the tomb of Maximilian Ist (him again) and is famous for the 28 imposing bronze statues that surround it. It is even nicknamed "the Black Men Church" by the people of Innsbruck.
The 28 statues represent the emperor's ancestors, his 2 wives, and some historical figures, including the famous King Arthur! They're particularly impressive: between 2 and 2.5 meters high.
Actually, the statues don't guard much since the tomb is very much empty. The church and the tomb being still unfinished at the time of the emperor's death, his body lies in the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna.
During your visit to the Hofkirche, make sure you don't miss the Silver Chapel as well.
In addition to the silver altar that gives the place its name, it's also the resting place of two other Innsbruck celebrities: Archduke Ferdinand II and his wife. She was quite a talk of the town at the time, as some even suspected her of being a witch!
For music enthusiasts, the Court Church also houses Austria's best-preserved Renaissance-era organ.
4. The City Tower / Stadtturm
Another historical attraction you should not miss in Innsbruck, located next to the Golden Roof is the Innsbruck City Tower.
Built in 1450, the tower was used for more than 450 years to alert the population in case of danger. Guards patrolled it every day to watch the surroundings. The tower's lower floors, on the other hand, served as a prison.
At the time, with its 51 meters in height, the tower was the pride of Innsbruck.
Today the Stadtturm, Innsbruck's tower, is a very popular tourist attraction.
You'll find a panoramic platform after a short but pleasant climb of 130 steps where you'll be able to rest first... and enjoy a stunning view of the Tyrolean regional capital, the Bergisel, and the Nordkette.
It may not be the CN Tower in Toronto or the Vancouver Lookout but it still is one of the best things to do in Innsbruck!
Plus the ticket only costs €4.50 and you can conveniently get it online by clicking the button below:
5. St. James Cathedral
Another must-see site in Innsbruck is St. James Cathedral or Dom Zu Sankt Jakob.
Quite symbolic for believers since it marks the beginning of the Way of St. James (Pilgrimage of Compostela).
From the outside, there is not much to see; it's the interior that's really worth the visit. The cathedral, crafted in Baroque style, houses magnificent ceiling frescoes that portray scenes from the life of St. James. Remember to look up and admire them.
Innsbruck Cathedral is especially famous for housing the famous painting by Lucas Cranach, "Our Lady of Prompt Succor" or "Maria Hilf". The painting is quite popular all over the world and there are many copies of it throughout the Alps.
Also worth seeing are the canopy mausoleum of Maximilian III and the magnificent organ.
Entry to Innsbruck Cathedral is free but you will have to pay €1 if you want to take pictures. It is open from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm from October to May and until 7:30 pm from May to September.
6. Maria-Theresien-Strasse - Where to stroll in Innsbruck
Strolling along Maria-Theresien-Strasse is a must in Innsbruck.
It's the shopping and tourist street par excellence, with a fair amount of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Enjoy shopping, buy yourself a hot chocolate or a nice meal on a terrace and admire the sumptuous Baroque facades at Maria-Theresien-Strasse.
Plus, the area is entirely pedestrian, making it even more pleasant and one of the best places to go for a walk in Innsbruck!
Also worth checking out in the neighborhood: St. Anne's Column, that offers a beautiful panorama of the peaks of the Nordkette to the North and the Bergisel ski jump to the South.
7. Museums to visit in Innsbruck
You can also go on a little cultural tourism in Innsbruck by paying a visit to some of its museums:
- The Tyrolean State Museum "Ferdinandeum" devoted to fine arts with a collection ranging from late prehistoric times to the present day. It hosts several baroque and gothic works.
- The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, which focuses on life in the Tyrol and its culture by displaying everyday objects, furniture and costumes that are characteristic of the region.
- The Tirol Panorama chronicles 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 relating the Tyrolean resistance against the armies of Bavaria and France. It is one of the longest frescoes in the world.
- The Grassmayr Bells Museum presents the entire manufacturing process of the famous bells from the house of Grassmayr, bells that can be found throughout all of Austria and the world.
- The Archaeological Museum of Innsbruck with a good number of Greek and Roman sculptures.
- The Visual Museum dedicated to optical illusions.
Admission to Innsbruck's museums is included with the Innsbruck Card. If you were wondering what to do in Innsbruck when it's raining, you now have a good set of options!
8. Wilten Basilica
Wilten Basilica is one of Austria's most beautiful Rococo-style churches.
Having undergone restoration, the interior is truly stunning with its fresco-covered ceiling. Baroque art enthusiasts will be delighted!
A gate usually closes off the entrance, but you'll still be able to get a good view and take some photos during your stay in Innsbruck.
9. Bergisel Ski Jump
Continuing with this Innsbruck travel guide, we have the Bergisel Ski Jump, the (very) modern emblem of the city of Innsbruck.
Aerodynamic and elegant, the springboard is Europe's most modern ski jumping facility. It hosts the Four Hills Tournament, a world-renowned sporting event.
For tourists, the Bergisel Ski Jump mainly offers a stunning 360° panorama of Innsbruck and its surroundings.
A panoramic elevator takes you to the top, about 250 meters high, in about 2 minutes.
Tickets for the Bergisel Ski Jump can be booked directly here:
At the top of the ski jump, you'll also find a restaurant if you're feeling peckish. And if you've chosen to visit Innsbruck in the summer, you might have the chance to witness international ski jump athletes training.
Access to the ski jump is included with the Innsbruck Card.
She is also known for her involvement in the expansion of the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid and the opera house in Guangzhou, southern China.
Next to the ski jump, if you want to take in even more breathtaking views then you should head to the Patscherkofel observation point.
The panorama is magnificent and allows you to gaze upon the entire Inn Valley and the city. If you want to enjoy some lovely walks during your Innsbruck vacation, you'll find several hiking trails that start from Patscherkofel.
Book your round-trip ticket for the cable car to Patscherkofel below:
10. Ambras Castle
Looking for another activity in Innsbruck?
You should visit the impressive Ambras Castle that you'll find on the city's heights.
Originally a medieval fortress, it underwent a transformation orchestrated by Ferdinand II of Tyrol, who turned it into a Renaissance-style castle to please his wife.
Inside, you'll find a unique collection of weapons and objects, art and curiosity cabinets, as well as a gallery of over 200 portraits of the Habsburg family.
The Ambras Castle also has a beautiful park where you can go for a pleasant walk.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed throughout the month of November.
Skip the line and secure your entrance tickets for Ambras Castle effortlessly by clicking the button below:
Entrance to the castle is included with the Innsbruck Card.
From Innsbruck's town center, you can take the Hungerburg funicular and explore the Nordkette mountain range.
The departure is from Congress Station, directly located in the historic center of Innsbruck.
The funicular goes up to the Alpenzoo station (I will talk about the zoo right after) and then continues to Hungerburg, at an altitude of 860 meters.
From there, you take the cable car and continue the ascent to Seegrube at an altitude of 1,905 meters.
Finally, a last cable car takes you to the Hafelekar, at an altitude of 2,256 meters. The ascent allows you to admire breathtaking natural landscapes.
From up there, I promise you that the view is splendid! You'll be amazed by a breathtaking view of the entire Inn valley, the Austrian Alps and even the Italian border.
As you can imagine, you often have to wait in line to get to the cable car.
To avoid it, simply book your tickets online in advance by clicking on one of the links below:
- Ticket for the Hungerburg funicular (please note that this does not include Seegrube or Hafelekar).
- Round-trip cable car ticket to the top of Innsbruck (Hafelekar).
12. The Alpine Zoo of Innsbruck
What to do in Innsbruck with kids?
As I mentioned before, during your ascent by cable car, you can also choose to stop along the way to visit the Alpine Zoo of Innsbruck.
As the highest park in Europe, it serves as a home to 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. There you'll get to see wolves, bears, ibexes, vultures and cute little otters.
A great idea for a family outing if you have decided to visit Innsbruck with your kids!
Admission to the Alpine Zoo is included with the Innsbruck Card. Otherwise, you can also book combined zoo + cable car tickets to save some money:
- Alpenzoo + Hungerburg Cable Car Combo Ticket
- Alpenzoo + Hungerburg, Seegrube and Hafelekar cable car combined Ticket
13. What to do in Innsbruck at night?
If you feel like spending a nice evening in a festive and family atmosphere while staying in typical Austrian surroundings, you should book this Tyrolean evening.
The program of the show includes Tyrolean folk dances, the traditional thigh-slapping, yodel singers and songs from the Austrian repertoire.
When booking you'll also be able to add the dinner option.
Prepare yourself for a delightful and entertaining show that will captivate you for around 1.5 hours.
Book your Tyrolean evening in Innsbruck by clicking the button below:
What to do around Innsbruck?
Now that you know all about the best things 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 near Innsbruck, in the medieval village of Hall. Once the economic center of Tyrol, Hall is a very charming and picturesque town with its pretty little streets and almost medieval feel.
It is here that you can visit Hasegg Castle, former minting house where the Thaler (silver coins of great value considered the ancestor of the dollar) were struck.
There you will learn about its history and manufacturing techniques and you can even strike your own coin.
You can also enjoy the view of Hall and its surroundings at the top of the Mint Tower.
15. Swarovski Crystal Worlds
Also around Innsbruck, you should better not miss one of the main activities to do in Austria, the visit of Swarovski Crystal Worlds or Swarovski Kristallwelten.
Located in Wattens, just 15 km from Innsbruck, this underground museum showcases crystal through really well-designed atmosphere and lighting effects. The 14 "Wonder Chambers" are really beautiful. A most dazzling experience!
And of course, at the end of the visit you'll find an official shop with lots of beautiful Swarovski jewelry. Definitely the worst time to forget your wallet 😋.
If you were clever enough to get the pass to visit Innsbruck, you'll be able to take the shuttle bus for free from the city center to Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
As this is an extremely popular tourist attraction, you should better purchase your skip-the-line ticket in advance online. You can get it by clicking on the button below:
16. Seefeld in Tirol
About 20 kilometers west of Innsbruck, you will find the most popular ski resort in the Alps, Seefeld in Tirol.
This charming town, home to a population of 3,000, sits proudly at an impressive elevation of 1,180 meters above sea level. It has earned a reputation as a highly popular destination for tourists throughout the year, attracting visitors in both summer and winter.
It proudly stands as one of the top 12 most renowned Alpine tourist destinations in Europe, recognized worldwide for its allure.
During winter, you can fully embrace the excitement of snow sports there.
Seefeld is indeed famous for its perfect snow conditions for cross-country skiing on nearly 260 kilometers of trails.
There are also family ski areas and sled tracks in case you decided to visit Austria with your kids.
In summer, you can swim in the pools of the Olympic Sports and Congress Center or, for a more natural experience, in Lake Wildsee. You'll also find many marked trails for hiking.
17. Sports activities in Innsbruck
In addition to classic tourist visits, you can enjoy your stay in Innsbruck by indulging in some super cool activities:
- White-water rafting in the Tyrolean Alps. The extreme version for those who are done with "standard" rafting is right here!
- Tandem paragliding is the best way to admire the splendid Austrian views from above!
- Bungee jumping of 192 meters from the Europabrücke Bridge, one of the best spots in Europe!
- The Ziesel, an all-terrain electric vehicle equipped with caterpillars track which you can drive on a track to experience a strong adrenaline rush! It's brand new and made in the Austrian Tyrol.
How many days to visit Innsbruck?
To visit Innsbruck, 1 day is enough.
Tourist attractions are almost all concentrated in the historical center which can be easily explored on foot.
But if you also want to explore the surroundings of Innsbruck such as the Nordkette and the Crystal Worlds for example, then you should stay for 2 days.
To discover Innsbruck with great ease, you should buy the Innsbruck Card. It's one of the most interesting City Cards I've seen in terms of price and included visits.
All the points of interest in Innsbruck that I mentioned in this article are included, such as the Golden Roof museum, Imperial Palace, City Tower, and more. But that's not all!
- Free public transport
- A sightseeing bus tour
- The cable car to the Nordkette (€33 by itself!)
- Ski lifts around Innsbruck
- A guided walking tour of the city
- And even the shuttle and entrance to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds!
The card is only €53 for 24h, €63 for 48h, and €73 for 72h.
You can get it directly by clicking on the green button below:
Visit Innsbruck in 1 day
To make the most of your one-day visit to Innsbruck, you should follow this itinerary:
- Morning in the historic center to see the Golden Roof and visit the Imperial Palace, the City Tower, the Hofkirche, and St. James Cathedral.
- Lunch break at one of the restaurants on Marie-Theresien-Straße
- Cable car ride up to Nordkette from Innsbruck's old town, with a visit to the Alpine Zoo
And for the evening, why not attend a traditional Tyrolean evening with singing and dancing?
The show lasts about 1.5 hours during which you'll get to enjoy traditional Tyrolean music and dancing. You also have the option to make a dinner reservation.
Information and reservations right here:
Visit Innsbruck in 2 days
To visit Innsbruck and its surroundings in 2 days, follow the previous itinerary and add:
- Stop by Wilten Basilica to admire the interior
- Climb up to the panoramic terrace of Bergisel Ski Jump
- Visit Ambras Castle
- Lunch break
- Step into Hasegg Castle to discover the secrets of the Thaler
- Sparkling discovery of the Swarovski Crystal Worlds
Where to stay in Innsbruck
Here is my selection of the best hotels to stay in Innsbruck based on your budget.
Remember to book as early as possible to get the best rate!
- Hostel Marmota: A hostel located 500 meters from Ambras Castle. Dormitory bed from €40 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the hearty and varied breakfast, the modern and clean rooms. The best choice for budget 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. Strong points: the quiet and comfortable rooms, the friendly staff, the quality of the evening meals. My favorite for its value for money!
- Motel One Innsbruck: Located next to Innsbruck train station and a 10-minute walk from the old town. Modern and bright double room with large bay windows from €120, breakfast for €15. Strong points: the mountain views, the location, the cleanliness.
- Hotel Central: Located just 300 meters from the historic center. Cozy and warm double room from €160, breakfast included. Strong points: the location, the amazing breakfast, sauna and steam room.
- Hotel Innsbruck: Located 200 meters from the Golden Roof. Elegantly decorated double room from €270, breakfast included. Strong points: the indoor pool, unlimited access to the spa, the friendly staff. The best hotel in Innsbruck for a luxury stay!
Where to eat in Innsbruck
- Gasthof Weisses Rossl: Located in the center of Innsbruck. The restaurant offers Austrian, Tyrolean, and even vegetarian dishes. A wide variety of choices and everything is quite tasty. The service quality is excellent. Good value for money. Book in advance!
- Ludwig Das Burger Restaurant: Also located in the center, the perfect place to enjoy a quality burger! Excellent meat and homemade fries, ketchup, and even lemonade. Several ingredients are organic. Simply delicious. I highly recommended to book in advance.
- Olive: Located outside of Innsbruck's historic center. The restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan dishes. The cuisine is delicious, very flavorful, with fresh and organic ingredients. The desserts are excellent as well and everything remains within reasonable prices. No need to be a vegetarian to enjoy your meal there.
If you want to discover typical Austrian dishes, nothing beats a culinary tour!
The one I've selected for you lasts 4.5 hours and allows you to visit Innsbruck's covered market. It also includes several tastings of local products.
Book by clicking on the button below:
How to get to Innsbruck?
- By plane: Innsbruck has a small airport. Some flights connect Vienna to Innsbruck in 1 hour, but expect to pay around €200 one way.
- By car: 4h50 drive
- By bus: 10h drive
- By train: 4h15 drive
You should check the train schedules and fares before leaving and book your tickets here:
- By car: 1h45
- By bus: 5h30
- By train: 2h20
From Munich (you could choose to land in Munich if you want to start your Austrian tour by visiting Innsbruck):
- By car: 1h45
- By bus: 2h30
- By train: 2h50
Innsbruck Tourist Map
To help you visualize the city a bit better, I've created a tourist map of Innsbruck listing the places to visit that I talk about in this top 17 things to do. You can display the map legend by clicking on the button with a small arrow in the top left corner.
And you? Are you planning to visit Innsbruck during your trip to Austria?
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
You're traveling in Austria? These articles will help you!
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