Quick and Comprehensive guide to Innsbruck

Tyrol mountain view with confierous trees and dolomites seen from Innsbruck top

When I think of Innsbruck, I get dazed – It is Austria’s alpine capital with loads of history. We call this a city, but it has a stunning mountainous landscape. It is cosy enough to call a town; the skyscrapers prove it is a city. Our Innsbruck Travel Guide shows you how to enjoy the best of it in two days.

Index

Is it worth it to go to Innsbruck?

few travellers at Innsbruck square in front of golden roof after rain

Hundreds of cities let you take a break by the sea within a few minutes of walking from the city centre. But, finding a city by the mountain isn’t common – And that is why Innsbruck is the rarest of all.

Is Innsbruck worth visiting in the summer?

Innsbruck city view with colourful tall and narrow buuildings and mountains behind

You will find a lot of articles on Innsbruck hiking. But shopaholics and party people describe Innsbruck with a hipster twist. People like me blabber about how grand the interiors of Hofburg palace are. Being Tirol’s capital, Innsbruck has meadows and mountains like its neighbour countries Switzerland-So you are a few minute’s bus ride away from cheese farms! Tirolean folk culture is as unique as their cuisine. As a multi-cultural town, you are never far away from Halumi or Punjabi lassi.

Which is better to visit – Salzburg or Innsbruck?

My favourite place in Austria is Salzburg, maybe because I spent a long time there – Almost a week. But certainly, both Innsbruck and Salzburg have different atmospheres. Salzburg’s cake vibe is replaced with cheese noodles here. Mozart’s music is great, but in Innsbruck, you can witness the fun and lively Tyrolean folk music. I called Salzburg “a place where mountains meet history.” Innsbruck is where “A city is built within the mountains.” Innsbruck isn’t fast-paced and carefree like Vienna. But neither as old school as Salzburg!

So the tough match ends with a draw.

Why is Innsbruck famous?

If you have read my Vienna stories, you know who Queen Maria Teresa is. She built a grand palace and called it “Little Schonbrunn Palace.” So this city is famous for Hofburg grandeur too. The impressive vista beside the river Inn shows you a unique blend of glass skyscrapers to traditional Gothic and Baroque buildings.

innsbruck ski slide with rolling green behind

If you have had too many history lessons from me, let me tell you something about sports. The 1964 Winter Olympics was held here at Innsbruck. So, Innsbruck is famous for skiing in winter and hiking in summer.

weird Swarowski illustration resembling a monster at Innsbruck

We can talk a lot about inventors from Salzburg. So is Innsbruck. The miracle crystal Swarowski was invented by Daniel Swarowski at Wattens, a nearby village in Innsbruck.

How much time do you need in Innsbruck?

I spent two days and three nights in Innsbruck. There is a lot to see and experience here. So I wish I had spent one more day here. So anywhere between 3-4 days is good to explore the highlights of Tirol’s capital along with some day trips to wonderful nearby places.

Is Innsbruck worth a day trip?

That depends on what you want to do! If you want to go hiking, I recommend Kirchberg or Kitzbuheler over Innsbruck. The palaces are grander in Vienna than here. You will enjoy Innsbruck if only you stay for two days – Like a combo of mountains and history. So I suggest staying for a minimum of two days in Innsbruck or skipping it.

When should I go to Innsbruck?

  • For skiers – December to February is the best time.
  • For City breaks – April to August is best. However, remember that June to August is the peak tourist season. So I recommend April to June as the best time to visit Innsbruck.

Is Innsbruck safe for tourists?

You find all age group hiking and walking at any time of the day at Innsbruck.

In general, Austria is safe. Innsbruck is no exception to that. We walked back to our room at 10.30 pm after the Tyrolean show. In that half an hour, all we met were some humans jogging (yes, in the night), skaters, and friends catching up with beer- because the summer nights are way cooler than the mornings. Besides being conscious about your belongings, which you must do in any part of the world, Innsbruck is safe for all travellers.

How do I get to Innsbruck?

I am a huge fan of Austria’s railways. They are convenient and easy to book. They are accessible to everyone, and their trains are always on time. So irrespective of which region you are in, Austra, Trains are the best way to get to Innsbruck, even if you are travelling with your pets and bicycle.

From Innsbruck railway station, take a city bus if you have a lot of luggage or walk.

Is the train ride from Munich to Innsbruck Scenic?

Not exactly! I left for Munich from Innsbruck and found this journey like any other regular route amidst maize fields. If you have made train rides in places like Melk to Salzburg, Kandy to Ella, Tranz Alpine Train in New Zealand or the Swiss alps, you will find Innsbruck to Munich train journey “sleep worthy.”

Can you fly into Innsbruck?

Yes, you can. Innsbruck has an International airport. Most international flights are from neighbouring cities like Munich and Frankfurt. So if Innsbruck is your first City in Austria, it is better to land in Munich and take a train from there to here instead of landing in Vienna.

How To Get Around Innsbruck Easily & Cheap

Major historic attractions are within walking distance. Like any other Austrian city, Innsbruck has separate cycle lanes. So Innsbruck is a walkable city. Otherwise, buses are the best way to explore Innsbruck.

Avoid Taxis!

There is no Uber in Innsbruck. So if you need a taxi service, you must rely on a local taxi. Call 5311. I used this service while getting to the train station from my Innsbruck hotel. The waiting period is usually 20 minutes. A kilometre journey costs you more than 10 Euros!

How do you ride the bus in Innsbruck?

You can get around Innsbruck by bus and tram. Major public transportation is by bus managed by IVB. Trams run in fewer areas. So buses are your buddies in Innsbruck.

There are three types of buses –

  • Hop on, hop off bus – A good option for sightseeing tours. I am not a fan of this in any cities, personally. As an analytical traveller, I prefer taking the transport mode locals take. That is the tiniest step I take to peek into locals’ lives and hear them speak their language.
  • Regular buses -Bus number with a prefix of an alphabet. I saw “J” numbered buses most.
  • Post buses -Buses that connect the outskirts and other towns of Tirol to Innsbruck

Except for the post bus, the Innsbruck city card gives you access to free public transport.

How much is an Innsbruck Card?

The Innsbruck passes are available for 24/48/72 hours. We started using our 48 hours at 4 pm on 27th July and were active till 29th July at 4 pm. Unlike Vienna’s card and similar to Salzburg’s, the Innsbruck card gives you access to more than 20 attractions. Unfortunately, only the “regular” buses (marked with letters) are included in the Innsbruck Card, and post buses are excluded. 

Ludicrous alert ahead!

On the second evening, we took a post bus to Wattens. The bus was partly empty with fewer people. I thought of getting my Innsbruck card validated by the driver after sitting for 10 minutes. When I showed him my card, he nodded his head in denial. We had already crossed two stops. So we bought the ticket to Wattens from that point. Of course, I asked for sorry for my mistake, and he smilingly said – “It happens with many tourists.” If you are caught without a valid ticket to ride these buses, you can be fined up to 100 Euros!

Types of Innsbruck Card

  • The Innsbruck card: 20+ city attractions, some cable cars for people on a city break and access to all Public transport.
  • The Innsbruck Welcome Card  – Issued by some hotels that got limited access to public transport and discount on museums. So this isn’t useful for tourists.
  • Ski plus city pass Stubai Innsbruck – Also called Tyrolean ski pass, valid for all ski lifts – Which you won’t need in summer.

Buy either an Innsbruck card or a Ski pass, depending on the season of your visit.

Is the 72-Hour Innsbruck Card Good Value for Money?

Apart from considering the number of days in Innsbruck, you need to do more math to check whether you need the card. Let us say you are in Innsbruck for three days. On the first day, you are going on a day trip from Innsbruck to places like Mittenwald in Germany. Or spend time wandering in the streets – Your Innsbruck card won’t bear the expense of either of the activities. In which case, you will buy 48 hours’ worth of Innsbruck card instead of 72.

Was my Innsbruck 48h card worth it?

This short calculation shows how our Innsbruck card was worth the money.

  1. Nordkette Cable Car’s two-way ride to the top of Innsbruck cost 47 euros – which was included in my card.
  2. I visited Hofburg palace, Ambras castle and Swarovski Kristallwelten – 9.5, 12, and 23 euros, respectively.
  3. The cost of the Tyrolean show – is 33 euros. However, there was a 25% discount for those who held Innsbruck cards. So I paid 24.75 euros.

So without an Innsbruck card, I would have paid 124.5 Euros. Buying 48h Innsbruck card + discounted Tyrolean show = 87.75 Euros. I should add at least five buses that I took in Innsbruck. So I have saved a minimum of 36.75 Euros along with I escaped from waiting time to buy tickets on the spot.

What are some popular places to stay in and around Innsbruck?

Innsbruck gives you multiple neighbourhood choices.

  • The old town or Altstadt – The heart of old where major tourist attractions, shopping streets and food joints are located. But expensive.
  • Tivoli – Outskirts of the city closer to Ambras castle. The neighbourhood is newer compared to the old town. Cheaper but fewer cafe options. 
  • Hungerburgweg – Closest to Nordkette. Most suitable for hikers. It is a small neighbourhood with few pensions.
  • Innstrabe – On the west of Inns and the other side of the old town is where I stayed. It is cheaper than the old town and closer to the river Inn. With plenty of food joints and within walking distance of the old city, this neighbourhood was ideal for me. I stayed in Hotel Engl. The locality of the hotel was perfect, rooms were comfortable. But the breakfast was quite the opposite.

Best Things to do in Innsbruck.

It is surprising how a mountainous city hides so many interesting things in its womb. Honestly, two days went with a blink of an eye. Mom and I visited some gorgeous places that every tourist does. And did some off-beaten things too! Read my post “Two days of summer in Innsbruck” to know more.

Found our Innsbruck Travel Guide helpful? Let us know in the comment section below.

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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