What to see and do in Innsbruck, the prettiest city in Austria

What to see and do in Innsbruck, the prettiest city in Austria

Hello again everyone! Today I am continuing on with our chapter on Austria and it is now the turn of the city of Innsbruck, which we visited the day after being in Salzburg. Before visiting this city, I always said to my friends that Salzburg was my favourite city in Austria, but the truth is that after visiting Innsbruck, my opinion changed in the space of a day. It has beautiful streets, buildings and a great atmosphere, all in harmony. Also, the city of Innsbruck is packaged between giant snowy mountains, which is hard to beat. So in today's post, I am going to tell you some interesting things about Innsbruck, what things you can see and why you should include it on your bucket list no matter what. So let's start!

General information

Innsbruck is the most Eastern city that I have visited in this country. It is located in the state of Tirol (which is for me, the best region in the whole of Austria) and it is the fifth biggest city in Austria, with 120,000 habitants, of which 40,000 are students. Interesting, right? I never would have imagined that this student would have had such a big student atmosphere since I remember it more as a very peaceful place to chill and relax.


Formerly, Innsbruck was an important trade passageway between the North and South of Europe through the Alps. And this is because in Innsbruck, wherever you are, you will always have those big mountains behind you. I don't know if they are snowy the whole year long, since the snow is what gives them that magical touch, but when we went there it was already April, quite warm and they were covered in snow. In fact, on our route along the motorway, we could see how lots of travellers had capes and skiing equipment; as since there are so many mountains, Innsbruck is a great place to do winter sports. Saying that, they have held the Winter Olympic Games here twice. In fact, when we were on our way to Innsbruck, we went past the suburbs in the car, and from inside, in the distance we could see a trail for ski jump, which you can visit (it features in all the tourist guides); but we weren't really interested, even though maybe you should check it out, because they say that the views are worthwhile seeing.

As another interesting fact, Spanish football team played the Eurocup in Innsbruck in 2008 and after more than 40 years of not winning anything, Spain won the Eurocup title. The final was in Vienna but, as I told you, the team stayed here, in Innsbruck.

My Austrian friend had already told me a couple of times that it is the most beautiful city in the whole country for many Austrians, but in her opinion, she also warned me that in Winter it is a very depressing place for some since the sun goes behind the mountains very early and thus, the hours of light are very scarce and it becomes a bit of a somber and dark place.


Sometimes, we could see how some planes would fly very close-by to the mountains, in a bit of a risky way. And honestly, Innsbruck airport is notorious for being dangerous. I couldn't even imagine how such a small city could even have an airport, but reality says differently. It is very surprising to see the plane, tiny, bearing in mind the reference to the scale of the mountains just behind. I imagine that with bad weather, flying and landing in such conditions has to be a very complicated maneuver for the pilot. Saying that, for the passengers, it is one of two things: a pleasure to see the mountains from up above if you like flying; and if you have a phobia, a nightmare.


My friends, Angel and I stayed in a hostel called Marmota (marmot), an animal which we all related to since we love sleeping.


It was a bit further out from the centre, about a 50-minute walk, but we had a car and it was a 7-minute drive so it didn't bother us that it was far out. The hostel was located on one of the hills in the city, so the view that we had from there is in the photo below. You don't know how incredible it is to have breakfast to these views. They are breathtaking.


I only have good reviews about the hostel. They gave us a room for us 5, which had two bathrooms and a kitchen with all the utensils; which we didn't hesitate in using to prepare our food for the next day. Also, the room only had four beds but they were very kind that they gave us an extra mattress so that we could all be together. As for breakfast, it was a buffet and had everything you could ask for. Milk, cereal, fruit, vegetables, coffee, cheese on toast... Here is the photo of the breakfast and the reception and eating area in the hostel. We had already hit the jackpot and it was only first thing in the morning!


Just behind the hotel was the Ambras Castle from the 16th century, one of the most popular attractions in the city; although to be honest, seeing as it is in the outskirts, I don't think that that many people visit it.

The hostel had its own parking, but we had to pay 7 euros. It is a bit expensive to be honest, especially bearing in mind that in front of the building there is a super long road with spare space to park on. So that was where we left the car.

After settling in, we went to the BILLA supermarket to buy some provisions for the following day, then we headed towards the city centre. We were hungry and I wanted to get to know the city which a lot of people consider to be "the prettiest in Austria".

What to see in Innsbruck

Now getting into the nitty-gritty stuff, Innsbruck belonged to the Hapsburg Empire which definitely left its mark; with the buildings and churches which are now incredible tourist attractions and that now make it a beautiful city. Most of the points of interest, except for the Ambras Castle, are situated in Altstadt, which is known as the Old Town. This is a big positive for Innsbruck because you can see everything by foot; you don't need to get a bus to go from one place to another like in other big cities like Paris, London or Vienna. The truth is that when I went to Innsbruck, I went there totally blind. Normally I usually do some research before visiting the sites that I travel to, but with Innsbruck I left myself to be surprised by it. We thought about doing a free tour, but when we arrived it was already fairly late and we felt like exploring the city aimlessly. Later, I will tell you the places that we visited and that are essential visits.

Goldenes Dachl

Also known as the Golden Roof, it is one of the symbols of Innsbruck. The emperor Maximilian I orders its construction so that he could watch the tournaments and festivals celebrated in this plaza from his balcony. In those days, gold was a symbol of power and importance, so he ordered them to build the bronze tiles but gilded with fire. So, this made them look like gold and right when the sun hits the roof, it is very mesmerising. When we saw it for the first time, it was surrounded by tourists taking photos of it or admiring the different shapes and dips which lit up in the whole structure. Here are the photos that I took, when the sun was shining.


The main street, Maria Theresien Strasse

Just in front of the Golden Roof is the main street of Innsbruck, which is quite long and very narrow. The very bright colours of the buildings that make it up caught our attention. That day, there was a mini-market that had little stalls which sold little decorative typical symbols of Easter, a time of the year which is very important for Austrians. Right when I saw this little market, I knew that this is the same square where they put the Christmas Market, which is very typical in this part of central Europe.


This street naturally reminded me of Getreidegasse in Salzburg since each shop or local had their iron lettering which stood out above and decorated the street amazingly. Here you have this photo which I would love if not for the "M" for McDonald's in it, which spoils it in my opinion. On this street, there were an infinite amount of restaurants, some of which looked more appetising than others. Italian ones, Austrian ones or fast food. And lots of people going past, taking photos and enjoying the good weather.


In this pedestrianised alley you can see the Arc de Triumph and the Saint Ann column in the middle of the square. It is one of the most important monuments and whenever you search up images of Innsbruck on the internet the column will always appear, surrounded by different pastel-coloured buildings. Here you can find the best shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafes in the city. It is a must-do walk, from the start to finish.



This is the imperial palace, which has the same name as the one in Vienna, which I have already talked to you about in previous entries. It marks the border of the Old Town and the New Town in the city. We didn't visit the inside since it was already a little late, but we saw its inside square, which in some ways reminded us of Bratislava castle. As for its outside, it is white with green tiles. Right there was where I was able to take this photo, where you can the sparkling reflections of the sun rays, which were pointing towards something golden and then were reflected on the walls of the Hofburg Palace. I liked it a lot.



Walk down the River Inn.

Not by chance, Innsbruck's name means "bridge over the Inn", since Inn is the name of the river and bridge in German is "Brucke. " For me, a walk along the riverbank is a must-do activity, it is the best part of the city. From a riverbank, you can admire all the little different-coloured houses, guarded by the big snowy mountains which are just behind.


The truth is that I think that we went at the perfect time because the photo lighting was ideal. I will leave them below so that you can judge for yourselves. It is one of the prettiest images of the city. I felt tiny in front of such immensity. Also, from there, you can see how at the highest point of the mountains there are small cabins; which are the only illuminated parts of the mountain when nightfall comes. The truth is that it must be a great place to disconnect: a wooden cabin at the top of the mountains, surrounded by snow and tranquillity, far away from the city.

This area is full of restaurants. Along the pavements and streets parallel to the river there are lots of cafes, where locals and tourists have dinner or have a coffee whilst enjoying the views. It is definitely the best part of the city. We returned here when it was already night time, to go back and admire the whole landscape lit up by the lights of the lampposts and the cafes. I highly recommend it!

And that is my post for today, written with lots of love. I could say that this is my favourite city in Austria by far. Its streets, its atmosphere and the mountains are simply incredible. I definitely recommend that you visit it. I hope that you have liked the photos, I will read your comments and opinions below and I will see you for the next post, with more content about Austria. Best wishes.

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