Cities don’t come much more picturesque than Innsbruck. The capital of the stunning Tyrol in Austria is nothing short of chocolate-box perfection. The elegant pastel coloured houses that line its wide, graceful streets look as though they are made of sugar. In between these rise the soaring green copper spires of beautiful churches that try to outdo their magical backdrop in height. Of course, they can’t. For what frames this picture perfect city are the soaring, majestic Alps that tower over Innsbruck making it feel as though it is made in miniature.
Beneath the vast majesty of the Alps, sugar coated in winter with their blanket of snow, lay lush green flower-filled meadows that ring with the noise of cowbells in spring and summer. In the city itself, the crowning glory of the Altstadt, or Old Town, is the breath-taking Hapsburg Palace with its baroque cathedral. The magnificent bronzes in the Hofkirche, once an emperor’s tomb, and the beautiful Wiltener Basilika with its Rococo stucco, are just two historic sites not to miss.
Explore the diverse architecture of Innsbruck from the curios of the renaissance Schloss Ambras or the rather magnificent Bergiselschanze, the olympic Ski Jump, that now has a cafe at the top from which to enjoy the terrifying views!
There are museums and galleries galore from the Alpine and Anatomical Museums to the Bell Foundary and the Folk Art Museum. Take some time out to people watch in Maria Theresien Strasse, the city’s main pedestrianised quarter, which looks like it came straight out of a Hansel and Gretel story. Herzog Freidrich Strasse, the main street in the Aldstadt, showcases the city’s historic beauty while the Sparkassenplatz is the place to spend spend spend in its farmer’s markets, boutique shops and delightful cafes and restaurants.
Families can take the kids to the Botanic Gardens for a stroll, to the wonderful Alpenzoo to see its array of unusual Alpine fish and mammals, to the Hofgarten for an outdoor picnic in summer or to the exceptional Nordpark where hiking and cycle paths meet some of the most extreme mountain bike trails in Europe. Winters here are skiers and snowboarder’s dream.
Innsbruck is not a showy, glamorous or flamboyant capital like Paris or Rome, but it does not need to be. With a natural beauty that few other capitals can boast, the views in Innsbruck speak for themselves.
The following information is correct as of February 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Innsbruck Airport is located just 3 miles west of the centre of Innsbruck. It can be reached by car in just 10 to 15 minutes. Local buses run every 15 minutes from the airport to the city centre taking just 20 minutes while taxis are also available for hire outside the terminal building.
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to enter Austria. A passport valid for three months beyond the date of departure is required by all apart from EU nationals who are permitted to use an ID card. Nationals of other countries may require a visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The legal age for drinking alcohol is16 year in Austria, for wine and beer, and 18 years for spirits. There is a smoking ban in all indoor public places including bars, cafes, restaurants and on public transport but some places to ignore it or have smoking areas so it is best to ask before lighting up.
Best Time to Visit
Austria is blessed with gloriously warm summers and long white snowy winters so depending on whether you want to meander through meadows or plough through powder, both these seasons are equally stunning.
They are inevitably the busiest times to visit Austria with flights at their peak prices. Spring and autumn are much cheaper seasons in which to visit, with fewer tourists crowding the chocolate box landscapes.
Winter had the added advantage of the breathtaking Christkindlemarkte in all its festive glory and many ski and snowboard events to keep enthusiasts happy like the Alpine Skiing World Cup. March and April come to life with the wonderful Easter Festival while spring begins with the Tirol Speed Marathon and a Festival of Early Music. Autumn still has plenty to offer with an Alpine Folk Music Festival and the glorious sight of the trees turning red and gold. Summer brings everything from an international dance festival to outdoor concerts, local festivals and hiking world championships.
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