Innsbruck Olympia SkiWorld lets you stay in the beautiful historic city of Innsbruck, and commute by bus or car to 9 different ski areas that surround it: Nordkette, Patscherkofel, Axamer Lizum, Muttereralm, Kühtai, Glungezer, Schlick 2000, Oberperfuss/Rangger Köpflnd, and the snowsure Stubai Glacier.
Innsbruck’s location is a natural crossroads in the Alps. Just to the South of it is the Brenner Pass connecting Italy to the rest of Europe, whilst East to West lies the strategic Inn Valley. It’s therefore not surprising that the city’s history dates back to Roman times, or that its still thriving university was founded in 1669. If the Alps has an intellectual and cultural capital, this is it – a place where Hapsburg imperial buildings are framed by snowy mountain tops, and where even a ski jump can be designed by a world famous architect (Zaha Hadid) and made into art.
Innsbruck therefore offers skiers and boarders a very different winter holiday experience from a normal ski resort. From the airport, the transfer to your accommodation (by bus or taxi) should only take about 15 minutes, so you can arrive in the morning, spend the afternoon skiing, then instead of the normal apres-ski, you could visit ancient churches or cutting-edge art galleries, or just stroll around the traffic-free historic centre, browsing the high-end shops and stopping off in a traditional beer keller or café or one of the many student bars, before moving onto a high-class restaurant.
But you should not stay up too late if you are to get the best out of the skiing, because there is a lot of it, and certainly enough to keep most holiday makers entertained for a week. Stubai is one of the best glacier resorts in the world and fully deserves its separate entry in the Ultimate-Ski guide. On the way to Stubai, and too often bypassed, is Schlick 2000. Nordkette is the closest ski area to the city: in fact you can even walk to its base station from some parts of the city. There are some gentle pistes here but it’s known for the freeriding on its steep, North-facing slopes. There is also freeriding at Axamer Lizum Olympia Park and Kühtai but these are modern high-altitude resorts, with mostly intermediate-friendly pistes. Oberperfuss/Rangger Köpfl and the Muttereralm Playground are oriented towards children – especially beginners. Patscherkofel and Glungezer are small, quiet resorts with a just a handful of lifts and runs.
There are free ski buses from the city to all these ski areas. And alpine skiing is not the only sport on offer when you get there. Mutteraralm has almost as many toboggan runs as ski runs, Glungeezer is a major centre for cross-country skiing, and there are plenty of ice rinks all around. Nor is skiing purely a day-time activity. There is after-dark floodlit skiing at one or two of Innsbruck’s ski areas every niight of the week except Sundays. So Innsbruck’s many historical, cultural and culinary attractions might not get the attention they deserve after all.
Innsbruck Ski and Board hire
There are ski equipment rental shops in town and at the various resorts. You can save money by hiring through ALPINRESORTS.COM which works with a number of the shops and rewards people who book online in advance with significant discounts. See shop locations and current special offers here. SKISET also has outlets and gives discounts if you book online here.
+ Wonderful historic city and nine diverse ski areas + Just 15 minutes from airport to city centre + Efficient free ski bus services during the day + Breathtaking views of city from Nordkette + Skiing for all abilities across a wide area + Extreme skiing locally at 2300m + Plenty of accommodation + Lots to see and do + Perfect for short breaks and best for grown-ups + A refreshingly different “City & Ski” experience – Commuting to ski areas will be an issue for some – Strong Fohn wind can cause lift closures
Innsbruck Ski Areas
Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck offers a choice of nine varied ski areas with a combined offering of 240km and 9,000 vertical metres of skiing and boarding for all abilities from beginner to expert including 140 pistes, 20 ski routes and four snowparks.
Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck’s nine ski areas are served by 88 ski lifts including an imposing funicular and cable car ascent from Innsbruck city to the south-facing Nordkette, and an efficient free ski bus service for commuting between Innsbruck city centre and eight more ski areas to the south of the city; chiefly Patscherkopfl, Axamer Lizum, Schlick 2000 and more snowsure skiing at higher altitude at Stubai Glacier and Khutai. Some ski areas are exposed to wind from the south with high winds up to 150-160km at altitude sometimes causing some ski lifts to close temporarily or for a few days even!
With 20 ski routes, 18 black runs, 74 red runs and 48 blue runs the variety of ski terrain ranges from sublimely easy to seriously tough and the chance to enjoy fast downhill cruising on Patscherkopfl where Franz Klammer famously won gold in the 1976 Winter Olympics Downhill. There’s plenty of family-friendly skiing on offer, but Innsbruck as a base will appeal more to grown ups able to enjoy Innsbruck city life, history and culture to the full and to move quickly from one ski area to the next.
Nine distinct ski areas combined offer very diverse experiences. Ranging from 15km to 60km in extent with longest runs between 5 km to 7.5 km and widest possible variety of ski terrain from novice to expert depending on snow conditions. Where else in the Alps can you enjoy breath taking city views, in bound aircraft landing in the valley 1,700 m below then ski 40 degree south-facing slopes and 4.5km relaxing red run to base station, then hop in a taxi for a final 30-minute sprint to the airport? Or ski the 10km longest run from the Stubai Glacier Wildspitz top station (3,210 m) to the base station (1,750 m) then a mere 45-minute taxi ride to the airport?
Nordkette / Seegrube (860-2,300 m)
The Nordkette is reached by a 21st century funicular mountain railway, which runs from the Congress station (just 400 meters from Innsbruck’s historic city centre) to Hungerburg, then cable car connections to Seegrube (1,950 m) and Hafelekar (2,300 m). The panoramic views of Innsbruck (575 m), the Inn valley and Southern Alps from the Restaurant Seegrube and hip sun terrace are truly breathtaking. The top lift station at Hafelekar offers more distant views and a choice of extremely steep off-piste descents for experts only, which are not to be underestimated. Small, but sweet with 1,440 metres vertical and 15km of challenging skiing including four ski routes, one black, four reds, a blue run and the Nordkette Skyline Snowpark, all south facing and offering magnificent views of the city. Easily skied in half a day and a “must visit” for skiers and non-skiers. Also home to some of the steepest mountain bike trails in the Alps in summer.
Patscherkopfl (900-2,250 m)
The closest of eight ski areas to the south of Innsbruck, the Patscherkopfl above Igls is a small family-friendly ski area with a choice of nine pistes (three reds and six blue runs) served by a cable car, two chairlifts and a handful of surface lifts. The runs are pleasantly wide, undulating and well groomed, but never boring. Ideal for beginners they are also wide enough for cruising safely at speed and for perfecting your carving technique with expert tuition available from the local ski school should you need it. Ski the 3.5km Olympic red run from the top immortalised by Franz Klammer’s victory in the 1976 Winter Olympics with a winning time just under 1 minute 46 seconds. The Schutzhaus Panorama Restaurant, originally a mountain refuge established over 150 years ago, is worth visiting and a good bolthole in bad weather. Situated just 8km / 15 minutes drive from Innsbruck with accommodation available locally in Igls.
Gunglezer (950-2,334 m)
Gunglezer is a small ski area above Tulfes offering 1,384 m vertical and 21km of skiing on easy red and blue runs, and for ski touring or hiking to the Glunglezer Hutte. Mainly for the convenience of locals, Gunglezer is not a priority for those visiting on a short ski break. 16km / 25 minutes drive from Innsbruck.
Axamer Lizum (1,580-2,340 m)
With 760 m vertical and 22 pistes offering over 30km of mostly easy red and blue runs for intermediates and beginners with spectacular views of the Kalkkogel (chalk cliffs) to the south. There is snowpark for boarders and freestylers, good off-piste terrain between some pistes and ski touring tracks on the Kalkkogel reveal the ambitions and antics of some local experts. Proposals for a new ski lift connecting Axamer Lizum to Schlick 2000 are opposed by some on environmental grounds but likely to be granted sooner or later. About 21 km / 45 minutes drive from Innsbruck and the huge car park at the base station is evidence of the popularity of Axamer Lizum ski area for day visitors from Innsbruck and beyond.
Mutteralm (950-1,800 m)
A small ski area for locals with 850 metres vertical and 20km skiing including relatively steep red runs reached by gondola from Gotzens (or can ski over from Axamer Lizum) and easier blue runs and tobogganing accessed by gondola from Mutters. Just 7km / 13 minutes drive from Innsbruck to Mutters and 8km / 15 minutes drive to Gotzens.
Schlick 2000 (1,000-2,300m)
Schlick 2000 in Stubaital offers 1,300 meters vertical and 20km piste skiing for all abilities including interesting off-piste opportunities in good conditions. Marked pistes include eight blue runs, five red runs, three black runs and a marked ski route. Quiet and family-friendly Schlick 2000 is a useful alternative to the bigger and more popular Stubai Gletscher ski area at the far end of the Stubaier valley. Just 17km / 25 minutes drive from Innsbruck and with a accommodation available locally at Fulpmes,
Stubai Glacier (1,750-3,210m)
The biggest of nine ski areas commutable from Innsbruck, the Stubaier Gletscher ski area offers 1,460 metres vertical between 1,750 m and 3,210 m and 23 ski lifts serving 60km of skiing for all abilities including nine ski routes, three black runs, seven red runs and 11 blue runs. The highest and only glacier ski area in Olympia SkiWorld, the Stubai Glacier is open for skiing from October until May, but no longer for summer skiing due to environmental concerns. With a full range of accommodation in the nearby villages of Neustift and Fulpmes and dotted along the Stubai valley, the Stubai Glacier is both a stand alone ski destination and a must-ski day or more in any Innsbruck City & Ski experience. Approximately 40km / 55 minutes drive from Innsbruck City centre and just 45-minutes from the airport.
Kuhtai (2,020 – 2,520m)
One of the highest ski villages in Austria, Kuhtai is a purpose built ski resort now occupying the former hunting grounds of the Emperor Maximilian and home to the exclusive 5-star Hotel Jagdschloss Kuhtai, whose aristocratic owner Count Christian zu Stolberg-Stolberg carefully scrutinises each booking request before reservations can be confirmed. Just 500 metres vertical separate top and bottom lift stations and the 44 ski runs totalling nearly 40km in extent offer good skiing for all abilities including eight black runs, 29 red runs and seven blue runs served by 11 ski lifts. Located entirely above the tree line it offers great skiing and pleasing views on a blue ski powder day, but in poor weather it’s a bit exposed and under a cloudy grey ski the village looks distinctly ordinary, more industrial than alpine and unlikely to charm you unless hidden away in the Jagdschloss Kuhtai apart from the hoi polloi. Approx 40km / 55 minutes drive from Innsbruck.
Oberperfuss Rangger Kopfl (800-2,000 m)
A small stand-alone ski area with 1,200 metres vertical and five lifts serving just 12 ski pistes totalling17km in extent including nine red runs and three blue runs. Also tobogganing from the Rosskogelhutte and from middle station at Stiglreith on a tree-lined descent to the base station at Oberperfuss. Easy family-friendly skiing, mainly for locals and just 16km / 20 minutes drive from Innsbruck.
Innsbruck Ski lifts & Lift Passes
Innsbruck Olympia Skiworld's lift system includes an impressive funicular railway and two cable cars from Innsbruck (575m) to Nordkette 2,300m with magnificent views of the city. As many as nine ski areas surrounding Innsbruck are served by a total of 90 ski lifts and numerous free ski bus services providing efficient and comfortable transportation to and from most ski areas with multiple pick up points within the city.
Innsbruck Ski Lifts
Innsbruck’s Olympia SkiWorld lift system features an ultra modern 21st Century funicular railway located close to the city centre and nearly 90 ski lifts serving nine ski areas including three cable cars on the Nordkette and Patscherkopfl dating from 1928, 11 gondolas, 27 chairlifts including some older fixed grip chairlifts and 36 T-bars which prove their worth when the Foehn wind blows.
Innsbruck Ski Lift Passes
A 1-Day Lift Pass costs 37 Euros for Innsbruck Nordkette; 43 Euros for Stubai Glacier and the full Innsbruck Olympia SkiWorld lift pass valid for all lifts in the region costs 124 Euros for 3-days (minimum) and 209 Euros for 6-days. All prices here are peak season dates 2014/15 with discounts of 10% for seniors, 20% for teenagers and up to 50% for children, and cheaper prices off-peak.
Innsbruck Free Ski Bus Services
There is a good free ski bus service from Innsbruck city centre to all main ski areas and it’s a worth investing a little time on arrival to read the Olympia SkiWorld information leaflet (available in all hotels) to identify nearest bus stop and timetable for each route. Knowing something about the free ski bus services may also influence your choice of accommodation in Innsbruck.
The free ski bus to the Nordkettebahn funicular in Innsbruck calls at the Hotel Ramada, Hilton Hotel, Grand Hotel Europa, Hotel Sailer and Hotel Café Central and drops off close to the Congress Centre and the ski lift (three minutes walk) from the Bus Terminal. First bus from the Ramada at 8:45am; last return service 16:30pm and takes 10-minutes or less.
Free ski bus services from Innsbruck to Patscherkopfl, Axamer Lizum, Mutteralm, Stubai Glacier, Schlick 2000 and Kuhtai call at Austria Trend Hotel Congress, Hotel Ramada, Hilton Hotel, Grand Hotel Europa, Hotel Sailer and Hotel Café Central. First bus from Austria Trend Hotel Congress at 08:50am; last return times between 16:30 pm and 17:15pm and journey time 15-45 minutes from Innsbruck plus pick up time. The ski bus service utilises luxurious air-conditioned coaches with skis stowed underneath or rear ski compartment and are for skiers only. Locals use the regular PostBus service, which is a useful back up for skiers.
If staying on the outskirts of Innsbruck you can request a pick up and transfer to connect you with the free ski bus service to Patscherkopfl, Axamer Lizum, Mutteralm, Stubai Glacier and Schlick 2000. Advance reservation essential and by 6:00pm the previous day. Tel: +43 676 84 63 11 528; Email: email@example.com.
Check locally for timetables (and to identify the correct bus line for each destination) or contact Innsbruck Tourist Office for more information.
Innsbruck Card available online at www.innsbruck-shop.com allows free one-time admission to all museums and sights in and around the city, one return trip on any of the lifts and cable cars in the Innsbruck Olympia SkiWorld region (Nordkette highly recommended) and free use of public transport services (IVB), not to be confused with the free ski bus which is a separate service.
The City of Innsbruck
Innsbruck is an outstanding city in every sense. The Tirolean capital sits in the heart of Europe amongst the Alps, accessible by air, road or rail. It has heritage, culture and soul. It has great hotels, shops and restaurants. A sightseer’s paradise and easy to walk around: an absolute must-see and ski.
As capital of Tirol and the former western capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and indeed much loved by some of its Emperors, Innsbruck benefitted from lavish investment over time in its ancient heritage. And thankfully much of this remains today, despite the ravages of the Second World War (as an important rail transport hub, Innsbruck was a strategic target for allied bombing). Putting this in the context of a modern thriving university city with great bars, restaurants, hotels and shopping and surrounding it with winter and summer sports activities of just about every description, creates a heady cocktail for the modern day tourist. And this is all offered at, by modern alpine standards, quite reasonably affordable rates, so Innsbruck is good value for money as well. They say ‘Culture meets Nature’ here but there is even more than that and so difficult to capture in a single catchphrase.
For architecture and culture fiends, Innsbruck is an historical masterclass of late Gothic meets Renaissance. Some unmissable places amid the glorious streets and alleys (‘Gassen’) of Innsbruck’s historic old town, include the Imperial Palace, the Cathedral (Dom St. Jakob), the City Tower (‘Stadtturm’), the Hofkirche built as a memorial to Kaiser Maximilian 1 in the 16th century and of course the house with the golden roof (the rightly famous ‘Goldenes Dachl’), small but exquisite, together with the Heiblinghaus. Frankly walking the whole length of Marie Theresien Strasse and up into Herzog-Friedrich and finishing at the Goldenes Dachl before circling left or right around the Altstadt’s ancient alleys is a good way to start off in order to soak in this city’s amazing offering. And loads of museums to visit like the contemporary Tirol Panorama Museum and the traditional Tyrolean Folk Art museum.
But Innsbruck really is vibrant as well, not just a museum city. The pleasing contrasts between some of its most modern architecture, for example the avant-garde glass and steel constructions, designed by Zaha Hadid, that are the Nordkettenbahnen cable railway stations as well as the Bergisel Olympic ski jump and Innsbruck’s outstanding medieaval heritage, work surprisingly well. They, like the winter sports arena and the modern football stadium also, serve to remind that Innsbruck is still a thriving living city and moving forward and investing in itself. And you see that not just in the tourists from all over the world but also in the Innsbruckers themselves and in the hotels, bars and restaurants and the shopping on offer here.
Further out from the centre are more treats. Another palace - Ambras Castle, was transformed into a Renaissance home for Archduke Ferdinand 2 in the 16th century. In more modern times, the famous Swarovski Crystal Worlds and their magical underground chambers are also a hugely popular visitor attraction, a short drive from Innsbruck and served by their own shuttle bus system from Innsbruck.
And Innsbruck has excellent shopping as well, with loads backstreets and courtyards and so easy to walk around the Altstadt off the central shopping spine - Maria Theresien Strasse - and take all these in. And with many upmarket clothing brands (eg. einwaller, Tommy Hilfiger, Boss, Mango to name a few but also lots of Austrian and Italian fashion shops) as well as sportswear shops (eg. Peak Performance, Mammut, Schöffel, Kjus, Maloja, Bogner and if that were not enough the Sportler shop on Maria Theresien has just about every top ski and mountain brand going). And loads of stylish home and antiquities shops. There is no shortage of quality shops to choose from here in Innsbruck.
Galleries and small malls are sprinkled around the centre as well, adding more fascination for those in search of retail therapy. The Tyrol Kaufhaus right in the centre of the pedestrianised end of Maria Theresien Strasse is the largest mall in the centre offering shopping on six levels of ultra modern accommodation. Not to be missed either across the street are the Rathaus Galerien with its roof terrace as well as the smaller Hörtnagl Passage and Arkadenhof. Out of town centre presents further shopping opportunities at the West Shopping Centre and the DEZ Einkaufszentrum.
Innsbruck Bars, Restaurants & Nightlife
Innsbruck has a great range of options for the visitor to choose from when it comes to eating and drinking. Old Tyrolean beer cellars contrast with ultra-modern chic cocktail bars and lively student popular café-bars. Dining choice is from haute-cuisine and classical Tyrolean cooking to modern Italian, as well as steaks and high-end burgers.
You can indulge yourself in old Innsbruck kellers so popular with German tourists and there are a few really good ones up in the Altstadt, loaded with old-fashioned Gemütlichkeit or go for even livelier fun in sometimes student dominated bars like Café Moustache.(Herzog-Otto-Straße 8, Zugang über Badgasse,Mobile +43 680 21 63 908) or for something in very evolved contemporary style, you could call in for a martini at the Erlkönig (Meranerstraße 6,Tel. +43 512 20 90 46), named for Goethe’s tragic verse about a father and his son riding from the Elfking through the night, which theme is reflected in the artwork of this elegant cosmopolitan venue, set in vaulted rooms with walnut furnishings. Some other selections from this eclectic range include the following:
This lively bar in the arches under the viaduct parties until dawn. Tel: +43 512 58 53 34
Again underneath the arches this chilled bar-café is a welcoming venue. Tel: +43 512 58 15 89
The Elferhaus is a pretty cool bar in the heart of the old town (Altstadt). Tel: +43 512 58 28 75
Smart bar and terrace with good choice of beers and wines. Tel: +43 512 238 551
Cool cocktail bar with chic ambiance. Good cocktail menu. Happy Hour 7-9pm. Tel: +43 699 15 22 01 39
Great whisky bar with good choice of cocktails. Tel: +43 512 58 71 09
Popular haunt in the heart of Innsbruck with spacious terrace into Maria -Theresienstraße. Tel: +43 512 58 16 39
Republica Restaurant Cafe
Fun bar/café in the heart of the Altstadt. Tel: +43 660 197 8501
Lively bar and popular with students. Tel: +43 512 58 35 4
As you would expect Innsbruck has a very good range of bars and restaurants from traditional Tyrolean to very cosmopolitan and contemporary evolved wining and dining. For all this you will generally want to be in or around the Altstadt (Old Town) at the heart of the Innenstadt (city central area). From classical Tyrolean cooking at the Europa Stüberl to franco-oriental fusion at Lucy Wang, Innsbruck coversmany bases in cuisine. Some of the best include the following:
This multiple award-winning gourmet cuisine restaurant- the Europa Stüberl has 1 toque and 14 pts. In culinary guide Gault Millau - offers Austrian cuisine and international dishes of a high order.The restaurant located in the Grand Hotel Europa, near the station, is divided into a series of connected rooms appointed in ancient Tyrolean farmhouse timbers - utterly charming. Tel: +43 512 59 31
The Pavilion was opened in 2006 and has already become one of the star eateries in old Innsbruck. The strikingly designed steel and glass cube contrasts with its classical surroundings and comprises a restaurant (awarded 1 toque and 14 points by Gault Millau) and a café. Tel: +43 512 25 70 00
The Sensei2 is a very smart Asian restaurant in the heart of old Innsbruck, which does excellent sushi and a wide variety of Asian dishes. Awarded 1 toque and 13 points by Gault Millau. Tel: +43 512 56 27 30
The Sitzwohl is an outstanding contemporary restaurant (awarded 2 toques and 15 points by Gault Millau) producing stylish Tyrolean and Mediterranean dishes in Gilmstrasse, near the centre of Old Innsbruck. Tel: +43 512 56 28 88
Trattoria da Peppino
One of the best Italian restaurants in Innsbruck, theTrattoria da Peppino, is awarded 1 toque and 13 points by Gault Millau. Tel: +43 512 27 56 99
Alfred Miller's Schöneck
At the top end of culinary experience in Innsbruck, Alfred Miller's Schöneck – an inn since 1899 is a beautiful restaurant with garden and views near the Weiherburg, across the river from the centre. Awarded one star by Michelin as well as 2 toques by Gault Millau, the Schöneck has been a leading venue over time. Regional and international cuisine done superbly and served on the verandah,in stuben or in the stylish wine cellar. Tel: +43 512 272728
Das Schindler is an award winning restaurant serving modern Austrian cuisine (1 toque and 13 points by Gault Millau) here in the heart of Innsbruck. Tel: +43 512 56 69 69
Chez Nico Restaurant
Chez Nico (not to be confused with Nico Ladenis in London) serves vegetarian haute cuisine from French chef Nicolas Curtil. Awarded with 2 toques and 15 pts. by Gault Millau. Tel: +43 650 451 06 24
Bergisel - Café im Turm
Visit the Olympic ski jump- the Bergisel - and dine as well. You sit suurounded by ultramodern glass high up on the tower, surveying old Innsbruck beneath you. Closes at 17:00 hrs in winter. Tel: +43 512 589 259 30
The famous Café Sacher finally opened in Innsbruck in 1999. And you can find everything that made the Sacher cuisine renowned in Vienna. Eduard Sacher’s Tafelspitz and Sacher Würstel, Salonbeuschel and Wiener Brathuhn are all here – as well of course as the supreme and original Sacher-Torte. You can’t leave Innsbruck without trying. Tel: +43 512 56 56 26
A wood-stove pizza oven and delicious pasta dishes make L’Osteria – a modern Italian restaurant - a cool place to relax in near the centre of old Innsbruck. Tel: +43 512 58 01 44 10
Ludwig - Das Burger Restaurant
Stylish, modern and friendly, Ludwig serves home-made burgers in the heart of Innsbruck made from locally sourced organic meat with great fries and salads. Tel: +43 512 319222
Restaurant Hotel Sailer
Eat very well in the Hotel Sailer , a notable central Innsbruck hotel, in the traditional farmers parlour, the cozy Wetterstein parlour or in the Sailerstube in traditional Tyrolean style. Traditional Tyrolean fare. Also a beautiful garden terrace for dining al fresco in Summer. Tel: +43 512 53 63
Part of the contemporary Zhero hotel chain of Mallorca and Ischgl fame, Lucy Wang has opened in the centre of Innsbruck, offering evolved franco-oriental fusion cuisine. Also a small but cool cocktail bar. Very hip and atmospheric. Tel: +43 512 35 90 91
Woodfire - Steak & More
The Woodfire is a contemporary restaurant in the Hotel "Grauer Bär", where you can watch the chefs preparing made to order first-class steaks. Tel: +43 512 59 24 757
Innsbruck Other Activities
Innsbruck offers a huge range of activities for skiers and non-skiers alike. Apart from skiing and snowboarding, other activities and events include bob-sleigh, ski jumping, Christmas markets, sightseeing tours, historic buildings, museums, great shopping and lots more. A truly great City to see and ski and so easy to get to!
Innsbruck is a vibrant city with 125,000 inhabitants, everything you need for a great City Ski break and plenty more to surprise you. Considerably bigger than your average ski resort, Innsbruck is packed full of interesting things to see and do. While rich in history and steeped in tradition, the city is home to three universities (over 25,000 students) and has plenty on offer for younger age groups too. It’s also affordable, so whether you need to keep your hands in your pocket or can afford to splash the cash, you can easily have a good time without breaking the bank.
As you might expect, having hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and again in 1976, the Innsbruck Olympia Skiworld offers a wide choice of snow sports. As well as downhill skiing, snowboarding, night-skiing and cross-country skiing, there’s hiking, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice-skating and curling. For bigger thrills and spills, there's the Olympic bobsleigh track and the refurbished Bergisel Ski Jump with 47m tower overlooking the city plays host to the annual Four Hills Tournament in January and easily draws a 28,000 capacity crowd.
Christmas time in Innsbruck is quite special and you can taste Christmas cakes, mulled wine, delicacies such as Kiachln and Spatzln at one of four Christmas Markets. Best known and probably the most traditional of these is the Christmas Market in the historic city: just below Golden Roof of Innsbruck. The market in MariaTheresien Strasse is beautiful at Christmas with lots of lights and crystals and at Marktplatz there are market stalls full of Christmas presents, bakery products and local delicacies; also a petting-zoo for children. Also worth visiting if time permits, the market at Hungerburg Castle is reached via the Nordkettenbahn.
Sightseeing Tours of Innsbruck
Explore Innsbruck with an Authorized Tourist Guide (Tel. +43 512 56 20 00) and discover the history and sights of Innsbruck on foot. Sightseer Bus Tours Innsbruck (Tel. +43 512 53 07) are included with an Innsbruck Card and allow you to hop on and off as you wish. For a more stylish and romantic experience, Fiaker Gritscher Carriages (Tel. +43 676 33 43 17) will guide you around the city horse-drawn carriage, or phone for an Innsbruck Bike-Taxi (Tel. +43 512 280469).
Swarovski Crystal World
The Swarovski Crystal World in Wattens is one of Austria’s most famous tourist attractions, enchanting millions of visitors each year featuring the Giant, the Labryrinth, the Gardens and the recently re-designed Chambers of Wonder. Not far from Innsbruck centre and reachable by the Swarovski tour buses, Swarovski Crystal World is well-worth visiting. Been there, seen it, done it and highly recommend it to you.
There’s night skiing nearby on the Patscherkofel, also at Raengger Köpfl every Tuesday and Friday from 18.30 to 21.30 and at Kühtai, where the lights come on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 19.30 and 22:00, with après ski and mulled wine at Zum Kaiser Maximilian on the mountain.
Cross Country Skiing near innsbruck
In winter around Innsbruck and its ski villages, approximately 120 kilometres of carefully groomed and snow-sure cross-country tracks are prepared along the valleys and in the mountains as well. On Stubai Glacier and in Schlick 2000 cross-country skiers can ski along 4.5km-long and 3.5km-long trails respectively. Various other areas, Rinn, Mutters/Natters and Axams/Birgitz have more than 40km of trails on sunny plateaus round Innsbruck. Some of them use artificial snow to ensure good conditions. There are two new cross-country ski areas known for their reliable snow record: at 1500m around Lüsens in the Sellraintal or higher still at 2000m are the trails around Kühtai.
Winter Hiking & Snowshoeing near Innsbruck
Innsbruck region holiday villages and beautiful winter landscapes features numerous walking trails for hiking and snowshoeing in winter with distances up to about 6km. Examples include Höhenwanderweg – the Altitude Hiking Trail – in good weather conditions from Schutzhaus Patscherkofel to the summit and with lift access via Patscherkofel Bergstation in Igls.
Tobogganing, Ice-skating & Curling near Innsbruck
There’s great tobogganing by day floodlit at night at numerous village locations around Innsbruck and of varying lengths. There’s also ice skating and curling nearby at Igls.
Horse-drawn Sleigh Rides in the Sellrain Valley
Innsbruck offers lots of opportunities for horse-drawn sleigh rides in the middle of the snow-covered landscape. Wrapped in warm blankets, this is a beautiful and romantic way to take in the stunning scenery around the Inn Valley. The Sellrain valley is a great place to try this. Contact: Othmar Jordan. Tel: +43 676 42 76 621
With tables for roulette, black jack, poker, punto blanco (North American baccarat) and over 100 slot machines, you can game, hopefully sensibly, to your heart’s content at the Casino Innsbruck in Salurner Straße. Tel.: +43-512/58 70 40-0. Open 3pm to 3am.
Innsbruck Olympic Bobsleigh Rides
For a truly stunning and adrenaline filled experience, there’s guided bobsleigh run on the 1270m long Olympic track above Igls where you can expect to reach speeds of 100 km per hour round fourteen banked bends and a diploma after. Tel: +43 512 33838 221, Web: www.olympiaworld.at
For more information contact Innsbruck Tourist Office.
aDLERS Hotel Innsbruck is a modern hotel just outside the old town of Innsbruck. The large hotel provides smart accommodation in a desired location close to shopping, sightseeing and restaurants. Guests can experience gourmet cuisine, long drinks and relaxing spa...
Austria Trend Hotel Congress is a smart 4-star hotel conveniently located in Innsbruck. This modern business oriented hotel offers comfortable accommodation with a choice of pillows for your room and contemporary ensuites. Guests can enjoy gourmet food as well as...
Gasthof zum Schupfen is a traditional hotel just outside the city centre of Innsbruck. Guests can expect classic Tyrolean charm here at zum Schupfen. The hotel’s restaurant serves organic freshly made dishes and features a relaxing bar open in the...
The 5-star Grand Hotel Europa, Innsbruck’s only hotel so rated, is set conveniently close to the main railway station in the city centre just a few minutes stroll into Innsbruck’s historic ‘Altstadt’. It offers cosy luxury in a tasteful contrast...
Haus der Begegnung is a contemporary hotel in Innsbruck. This hotel is ideally located away from the busy city centre in a peaceful location near the Nordkettenbahn ski lift. Guests can tuck into a delicious breakfast that is freshly prepared...
Hilton Innsbruck is a modern 4-star hotel in the centre of Innsbruck. Guests staying at the Hilton can relax in the spa and fitness centre in between business or skiing. The hotel also has a good quality steak restaurant and...
Hotel Goldene Krone is a 3-star hotel in the heart of Innsbruck. This modern hotel provides a warm and inviting environment with spacious rooms where guests can relax. Goldene Krone also serves a full breakfast buffet each morning and gives...
Hotel Goldener Adler is a 4-star hotel in old Innsbruck close to many of the main attractions. This historic hotel has a lovely Tyrolean look and maintains its traditions with some bold interior design. Guests can dine in the hotel’s...