If you are looking for the city of fairy tales, the one “with the marzipan palaces” and the colored roofs you won’t have to go too far.
Just cross the northeastern border and go through a small portion of Austria, entering the Inn river valley.
And here you will find the city of Innsbruck.
Its ancient origins as a Roman castrum have disappeared over time along with its old name, Oenoponte, although they have not been forgotten and are still present in museums.
Today it looks like the typical alpine panorama of rare beauty.
You will admire the crown of mountains around the old town with pastel-colored houses overlooking the river, and the crisp mountain air will caress your holiday inviting you to enjoy art, history and – why not – even the local sweets.
Innsbruck: what to see
Innsbruck is a capital of 130,890 inhabitants. Not only is it the capital of the “Prince County of North Tyrol” region but also of the federal Land of Tyrol. We are in the westernmost part of Austria, in the heart of the Alpine chains, and precisely between the Tux Pre-Alps and the Karwendel mountains.
The constant presence of the phenomenon of the warm wind of Fohn makes the climate of Innsbruck not too unpleasant: the temperature is on averages of 10-12 C degrees, in summer it can exceed 26 degrees and in winter it falls below zero only in January.
Innsbruck can be reached by car from Italy, through the Brenner Pass, along the A22 highway and then the Austrian Autobahn A13. Remember that before traveling on the Austrian roads you have to put on your car a mandatory label that will be given to you at the customs entrance. You can also arrive by airplane, landing at the local airport which is 14 km away from the city center.
Innsbruck is an architecturally interesting city. There are many buildings, churches, monuments that you can admire, with shapes and colors that make them truly unique. But despite being a city it is also an all-one with the nature that surrounds it. There are parks, initiatives and events organized to enjoy the mountains and the green land around, or the river, in every season. In particular, we point out:
The Palace of Maximilian
The residence of the former emperor Maximilian I is apparently a simple building, with characteristic alpine architecture, but with a precious element on the façade: the Goldenes Dachi, a covered porch painted with gilded motifs and a copper roof that shines under the sun ! The wooden parts complete the work thanks to their refined sculptures.
The house of the noble Helbing family looks like a sculpture of cream and sugar! It stands in front of the palace of Maximilian and attracts attention with its façade studded with rococo stuccos which rises four floors high. It dates back to the 15th century but was restored and completed only in the 18th century.
The palace of Hofburg
It was a “simple” holiday villa of the imperial family, and for this reason it has the appearance and considerable size of a royal palace. Today both the residence and its gardens are part of a state-run exhibition and cultural center. A must-see, inside, is the spectacular Hall of Giants.
Castle of Ambras
Typical example of an alpine castle, with a massive square shape, it stands out white and very high from the top of the hill which in the past also constituted part of its walls. At the foot of the main building there are other buildings called Lower Castle, which house one of the oldest museums in the world: the art collections of Archduke Ferdinand II (1570).
Cathedral of St. James
Among the religious buildings of Innsbruck this one is not the most spectacular, with its classic and severe shape, but it is one of the oldest churches. It dates back to 1180 although it was almost completely rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century. To admire, inside, the vault of Cosmas Asam, a vertiginous and gigantic fresco full of characters painted in perspective, that will make you feel overwhelmed by the huge dome over your head.
Basilica of Wilten
Do not miss this beautiful eighteenth-century church in rococo style. In particular, the interior so rich in decorations to confuse the visitor. In Wilten there is also one of the largest abbeys in Austria.
The Parks of Innsbruck
The city is full of very large and beautiful green areas, among which the garden of the palace of Hofburg stands out, with the many trees that look like a real forest, surrounded by flowery meadows; do not miss also the Alpenzoo and the Botanic Garden full of plants from all over the world.
What to do in Innsbruck
The city of Innsbruck lives thoroughly its culture, history, literature, music and sport. Here you can do everything: visit museums, enjoy classical music concerts, you can also play the sport you like – skiing in winter, trekking and cycling in the hot seasons – and if you love having fun among people and excellent beer, just keep an eye on the rich calendar of festivals that Innsbruck organizes during the year.
If you are looking for history and culture, you could spend your whole vacation just walking around the many city museums: the Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art, the historical museum of the Castle of Ambras, the Alpine Museum are just a few examples. But perhaps you will be more excited to visit the Museum of Bells and the Museum of Buses and Historical Trams.
Sports in every season
If you love skiing, try to go down the slopes of Mt. Isel, south of the city. When the snow is high you could also admire the professionals who try spectacular jumps from the Bergisel ski jump! Or you can have fun on the many cycle paths in the summer and visit the mountain pastures all around the city through organized excursions.
The Festival of Dreams and much more
Among the many festivals held in Innsbruck there is the Festival of Dreams: an event that involves the best circus artists in the world, in particular the clowns, and that will make your children happy and perhaps, deep in the heart, you too ! But you could instead go to Innsbruck to see the Film Festival, or enjoy a week of music at the World Music Festival. Innsbruck turns for a while into an exotic city during AfroMeeting. But it is at Christmas that magic falls over the old town …
The Christmas markets of Innsbruck are the true essence of this European tradition that has been copied from the Tyrolese one. In the square in front of the palace of Maximilian, the chalet-style stalls are mounted, with festoons, lights and Christmas Trees and sweets too. Here you can choose your Christmas gift and taste the specialties of the place: chocolate, blueberries, fruit distillates and the excellent apples.
Want more? Visit innsbruck.info to find a lots of useful information about this lovely place.Categories: Guides
Localities: Austria, Europe, Innsbruck, Tirolo