Innsbruck is a beautiful capital city in Austrian Tyrol region. Tyrol is a region amidst the Alps with an enchanting mountain landscape, breathtaking scenery, romantic lakes and long hiking trails. It is a popular destination in summer as well as winter. The south and east Tyrol lies in Austria and Innsbruck is its capital. Innsbruck is also the largest city in Austria and is surrounded by beautiful Alps ranges.
Innsbruck is very easily accessible by plane, train and by car. We visited the city during late spring. The weather was pleasant with warm days and cold nights. This is the best time to visit Innsbruck as it is not yet flooded with the tourists. Winter is long gone and mountains are covered in green blankets.
Things to do in Innsbruck
Though Innsbruck is quite a big city, the central old town can be explored on foot. We had a car and we parked it outside the city center and walked along Museum-street. The first destination – Tyrolean state museum was on the right-hand side. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 5. The main collection includes Historic collections from the Roman era to early middle ages, Arts and crafts from Gothic to modern time and many more.
After the museum, we walked further towards the city center and reached on Maria Theresia Street. The tourist office is also located here. We turned on right-hand side and the ‘Golden roof’ was in front of us. This is a most famous attraction in Innsbruck. This building was constructed in an early 15th century and was used as the residence of Tyrolean sovereigns. In 1493, Emperor Maximillian I, on his second marriage, commissioned the loggia and its roof was covered by approx. 2738 pieces of ‘fire gilded’ copper tiles. Later, this balcony was used by a royal family to observe festivals, tournaments which took place in the square below.
The street in front of the golden roof is Maria Theresia Street and it is pedestrian zone. Like many other pedestrian regions across Europe, this region is also studded with numerous brand shops, cafes, and restaurants. Many street entertainments were also going on. St Anna’s Column is in the middle of the street, in front of Townhall. Servite Church, Triumphal gateway, Austrian Alpine Association museum and some other attractions are also present nearby.
Then we walked back and proceeded towardsInnsbrucker Hofgarten. Just behind the Golden roof, there is a ‘Dom square’. St. Jacob’s church is located here. The Court Garden (Hofgarten) is located further ahead of this church. This garden is spread in about 10-hectare area and is about 600 years old. River Inn flows alongside the garden.
Just outside this garden on other end is more than 100 years old Funicular train. The train track was first in operation in 1906 and continued its operation up to 2005. After it, the train track and train stations have been renovated. The funicular takes travelers up the hill up to the base of ‘Nordkette cable car’.One can ride on the cable car and reach the top of the mountain ‘Hafelaker’. The view over the city from the end station of the funicular is also amazing. We did not take a cable car. There is a restaurant nearby and we rested ourselves for lunch. The food was ok-ok and little bit pricey. The plus point was the beautiful view from there.
Around the Innsbruck
Swarovski Crystal World
Next half day was reserved for Swarovski crystal world. It is only about 20 km from Innsbruck. It is open on all the days except a few holidays. The information and the display about their crystals are amazing and a treat for eyes. If you shop in their shops, that will be a treat to the pocket also. Outside is a beautiful garden and in front scenic mountains steal the heart.
From Swarovski Crystal world, in about half an hour drive, one can reach to another heavenly destination – Achen lake. This is Tyrol’s largest lake with crystal clear water which is almost drinkable. The lakesides are nicely developed with lots of option to walk along the lake, hike in the surrounding mountains or enjoy the scene while sipping a cup of coffee in one of the restaurants. There are typical cute wooden hotels and restaurants with friendly staff. There are few cable car routs around the lake to go atop the mountains. ‘Rofan’s peak’ is the tallest of them and the view from there over the Achen lake valley is absolutely amazing. When we went there, it was raining and entire valley was filled with clouds. Therefore we did not go up the mountain. Nevertheless, the scenery was still stunning. Due to its position in the valley, it’s a perfect place to enjoy windsurfing on clear summer days. I think Achen lake must be visited with a pace to enjoy its serene beauty.
Austrian Tyrol is undoubtedly scenic and much budget friendly. They have a rich culture and warm-hearted people.
I always say, ‘Tyrol is the cheaper but equally scenic option for Switzerland.’
I would only suggest visiting the place with relax itinerary. Spend some time at each destination to admire the beauty. You will never get done with that.
While in Austria, visit the capital city Vienna. Here is a nice article about what to see in Vienna in 2 days.
Are you planning to visit Switzerland? Read here.