Apres Ski in Innsbruck
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.
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 & Nightlife
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 Markets in Innsbruck
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.
Swarovski Kristallwelten, Kristallweltenstrasse 1, A-6112 Wattens
Tel. +43 5224 51080
Email: [email protected]
Night Skiing near Innsbruck
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.