22 best sights of Innsbruck – descriptions and photos
One of the most notable monuments of Innsbruck, the City Tower with its rounded, as if inflated reliefs and a hollow emerald roof brings back memories of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales. The history of the tower dates back to 1450.
Hofburg Palace in Innsbruck
The Hofburg is an impressive testimony to the power of the Holy Roman Empire, of which it was once the official residence. The Hofburg was built by Archduke Sigismund the Rich around 1460 and was given the predominant Gothic form of architecture at the time.
The Golden Roof
Blinding the eyes of visitors to Innsbruck for six centuries, the Golden Roof is the city’s calling card and main attraction. Strictly speaking it’s not an entire roof, but rather a covered balcony decorated with 2,500 gold-plated copper petals.
Nordkette aerial tramway
The Nordkette cable car takes delighted hikers in just a few minutes to the top of the Hafelekar, looking out over Innsbruck from the flight of angels at 2,334 meters. The top station of the funicular offers a stunning panoramic view of the Nordkette mountain range, the Intal Valley and Innsbruck itself.
The Tyrolean State Museum, also called the Ferdinandeum, after the famous collector Archduke Ferdinand, is a visual and fascinating testament to the region’s rich history. Its diverse exhibits, from mammoth fossil remains to Klimt paintings, will guide you through Tyrol’s history.
Modest on the outside and exceptionally beautifully decorated inside, the Hofkirche Church is the beauty and pride of Innsbruck’s religious buildings. The black marble sarcophagus of Maximilian I, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, is impressive in size and design.
The highest zoo in Europe, the Alpine Zoo in Innsbruck is situated at 727 meters above sea level. This exotic location does not prevent its inhabitants from thriving and breeding – 150 species of animals are represented here.
Alpine Museum in Innsbruck
The Alpine Museum in Innsbruck, located on the first floor of the Royal Palace Hofburg, is an eloquent testimony to the passion with which man has been professionally conquering the mountains for two hundred years.
Anatomical Museum in Innsbruck
The “creepy but cute” Anatomical Museum in Innsbruck proudly shows its lazy visitors all that the fine art of dissection has achieved over centuries of practice. From skulls painted with flowers and monograms to the skeleton of Austria’s tallest man.
If you don’t mind walking a dozen kilometers around Innsbruck to get inside the basilica, a real treat awaits you – stunningly beautiful rich Rococo interiors, valuable ceiling frescoes by the famed Matthaus Günther, and an exquisite statue of the Virgin Mary.
Hofgarten Botanical Garden
The Hofgarten surrounds the royal palace of the Hofburg like a carpet of bright green, lively colors of flowerbeds. Thanks to the efforts of Empress Maria Theresia, the beloved Empress of Austria, ten hectares of Alpine meadows were transformed into the canonical European garden.
One of the most extraordinary buildings in Innsbruck, the Helblinghaus more or less resembles a whipped cream cake. It seems possible to peel off a piece of its facade and enjoy the ethereal marshmallow flavor of the sweets. It’s all about the opulent Baroque style of which Herr Gelbling was an admirer.
The snow-white building of Ambras Castle soars over Innsbruck from the height of an alpine hill. Looking at the castle, it’s hard to say that it was once the favorite residence of Archduke Ferdinand II – its appearance is very modest, and the entire complex looks more like an administrative building of recent times.
St. Anne’s Column
The dominant feature of Maria Theresia Street, the St. Anne’s Column is the most prominent monument in Innsbruck, recalling the long and glorious history of the city and of the Tyrol region. The dark pink marble column, surmounted by a Corinthian capitol and a statue of the Virgin Mary, is surrounded by four sculptures of Innsbruck’s patrons.
Swarovski Museum in Wattens
The entrance to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds Museum, topped with the head of the “Giant”, is a grass-covered hill decorated with sparkling crystal eyes and a mouth from which water flows as a fountain. Visitors are in for a magical adventure and an immersion into the mysterious depths of underground crystal worlds!
Grassmayr Bell Museum
The Grassmayr family is the pride of Innsbruck, Tyrol and all of Austria. For fourteen generations, the members of this family have been providing crimson bells not only for Austria, but for over a hundred countries on almost every continent. This amazing know-how just couldn’t help but turn into something more.
The Tyrol panorama
Panorama Tyrol, connected by an underground passage to the Museum of the Royal Infantry, is a small but interesting museum devoted to the history, culture and everyday life of the Tyrol region and its capital Innsbruck. The highlight of the program here is an epic painting depicting this very panorama.
St. Jacob’s Cathedral in Innsbruck
St. Jacob’s Cathedral is Innsbruck’s main cathedral whose characteristic Baroque outline with two massive bell towers can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. In addition to its important religious role, the cathedral is also worth a visit because of the many masterpieces contained within its walls.
Tyrol Folk Art Museum
The Museum of Folk Art in Innsbruck is the ideal place to get an accurate and comprehensive look at the culture, traditions and customs of the Tyrol region. Located next door to the Hofkirche Church, the museum offers the tourist a glimpse of examples of national costume from various Tyrolean towns.
Bergisel ski jump
The Olympic ski jump at Bergisel looks like a UFO hovering above the outskirts of Innsbruck and the silver belly of the long tongue and groove ladder. The Olympic flame was lit here twice, in 1964 and 1976.
Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, is a cozy, charming and colorful picture postcard city nestled neatly in a natural valley between the ridges of the Nordkette mountain range. Innsbruck is one of the most visited cities in the Alps. The reason for its deserved popularity is its proximity to the ski resorts (the best in Europe, do not forget!), the abundance of attractions for all tastes – from the amazing Museum of Bells to the pompous Hofburg Palace and Austrian service in hotels, restaurants and everywhere else – the standard of service, which became almost synonymous with quality. In breaks between the “races” on the sights of Innsbruck we recommend to have a cup of hot chocolate in chamber coffee houses with indispensable fluffy blankets on outdoor chairs. And when all of them have been explored – do not neglect the opportunity to travel through the fabulous Tyrol.
The first thing tourists tend to see in Innsbruck is the elaborately decorated balcony called the Golden Roof.
Architecture of Innsbruck
Architectural sights are the first thing you pay attention to in a new place. Innsbruck has had a particularly benign history: for centuries it was the ancestral home of the Habsburg dynasty, which, like all self-respecting (and respected people) monarchs, sought to ennoble their fiefdom and beautify Innsbruck to the envy of neighboring lands. The first thing that tourists want to see in Innsbruck is a beautifully decorated balcony called the Golden Roof. There are over two and a half thousand covered with gold copper plates (the city’s fathers were Austrian wise), thanks to which the balcony literally glows in the bright Alpine sun. The introduction to Innsbruck continues on Maria Theresa Street, the main pedestrian and shopping artery of the city. The number of boutiques here is equal to the number of restaurants and coffee shops, and all this is “diluted” with sights – the Arc de Triomphe, the column of St. Anne and old Baroque mansions.
Innsbruck’s City Tower is definitely worth a visit as it was used to announce decrees and the exact time for four centuries – a good example of European values! Not forgetting the modern evidence of the popularity of Innsbruck – the Bergisel ski jump, above which the Olympic flame was lit twice.
Go to the Royal Palace Hofburg, which was the official residence of the Austro-Hungarian emperors for almost five hundred years, and experience the charms of the Austrian monarchy. You can trace the history of the Habsburgs in the Hall of Giants – all of them, including Maria Theresa and her sixteen offspring, are “displayed” there.
The raison d’être of the Ambras Castle is a collection of, it seems, everything that could be collected at the time, which belonged to Archduke Ferdinand. Among the masterpieces are amazingly preserved examples of the full uniform of mounted knights, works of art from all over the world and curiosities of the Gallery of Wonders.
The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum is a good place to see how ordinary Tyrolean people used to live. Carved sledges, troughs, cow bells, everyday and festive clothes and the entire rooms of Tyrolean houses from different eras are the core of the collection.
22 sights to see in Innsbruck
Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol. This quiet and picturesque Austrian city is a great holiday destination throughout the year. But especially many tourists come here at Christmas time, when the city is transformed into a fairy-tale winter country. Innsbruck has a long list of sights to see – museums, churches, historical buildings and modern structures, a zoo and more.
So what is worth seeing in Innsbruck?
The museum, which is located in Ambras Castle, has a rich collection of artifacts relating to the history of Innsbruck since the 1500s. From the top of the hills one can enjoy a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside outside the city limits.
The address is Schloss Ambras, Schloßstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The Gothic Hofkirche is the beauty and pride of Innsbruck’s religious buildings and one of the most beautiful churches of the royal courts of Europe. Its construction was commissioned in 1553 by Ferdinand I., who employed such famous artists of his time as Albrecht Dürer, Alexander Colin and Peter Vischer the Elder.
Most impressive is the empty sarcophagus of the Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). It is a masterpiece of German Renaissance art, skillfully carved in black marble.
Address: Hofkirche mit Silberner Kapelle, Universitätsstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Hofburg Palace. | Photo: wikimedia.
This palace immediately catches the eye with its pearly white facade and emerald domes. The Hofburg was built for Archduke Sigismund the Rich in the 15th century, expanded in size by Emperor Maximilian I in the 16th century and finally rebuilt in baroque style by Empress Maria Theresia in the 18th century.
The centerpiece of the sumptuous Rococo apartments is the 31-meter-long Room of the Giants (Riesensaal). It is decorated with frescoes and paintings depicting the Habsburg dynasty. Of particular interest is the portrait of Maria Theresa and her 16 children (including Marie Antoinette), who look strangely similar – perhaps the artist feared the wrath of the royal offspring because of the childish rivalry in beauty.
Address: Museum Hofburg, Rennweg 1/3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The house with the golden roof
The house with the golden roof.
This Gothic bay window with golden roof is called the most dazzling (in every sense of the word) landmark of Innsbruck. It was built for Maximilian I (1459-1519), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The bay window is adorned with picturesque frescoes and the roof is covered with 2,657 gilded copper plates.
The building is attractive not only for its external beauty, but also for the collection of the museum inside – the exhibition is dedicated to the history of the Golden Roof and the milestones in the history of Tyrol. Among the most interesting exhibits are the grotesque tournament helmets. They are modeled on the helmets of the Ottoman Turks – the enemies of Austria-Hungary at the time.
Address: Goldenes Dachl, Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The Tyrol State Museum Ferdinandeum
Tyrol State Museum Ferdinandeum.| Photo: wikimedia.
The collection of this museum is a veritable treasure trove of exhibits devoted to the history and art of Tyrol, from Bronze Age artifacts to authentic bas-reliefs of the Golden Roof balcony. Along with masterpieces by the Dutch painter Rembrandt, the gallery features a stunning collection of Austrian art, including Gothic altarpieces, a number of paintings by Klimt and Kokoschka, and some shocking works by Viennese action artists.
Address: Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Museumstraße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Bergisel ski jump
View of the Bergisel Ski-jump.
The glass and steel ski jump over Innsbruck looks like a staircase descending from heaven. The structure was designed by the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. The observation deck can be reached either by climbing the 455 stairs or taking the funicular, which takes about two minutes.
From the summit a breathtaking view of the ridge of the Nordkette, the Inntal Valley and Innsbruck can be seen from a height of 50 m. A streetcar is available to get to the ski jump from the city center.
Address: Bergisel Schanze, Bergiselweg, Innsbruck, Austria.
Nordkette aerial tramway
The cable car takes you up to the Nordkette Skyline Park, a snow park beloved by many skiing fans. It offers stunning panoramic views of Innsbruck and the distant mountain range.
The address is Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen, Rennweg 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Maria Theresia Street
Maria Theresa Street. | Photo: wikimedia.
Take a leisurely stroll along the idyllic Maria Theresia Street. Here you can admire the picturesque buildings framing the busy street on both sides. It’s also one of Innsbruck’s most popular shopping areas.
The address is Maria-Theresien-Straße 31, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Hungerburg aerial tramway station
View from the Hungerburg aerial tramway station. | Photo: Sean Rowe / Flickr.
You can get here by cable car (or on foot if you’re in great physical shape). The views from the observation deck at the station are spectacular!
Address: Hungerburgbahn Bergstation, Höhenstraße 151, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Helblinghaus | Photo: wikimedia
It is one of the main attractions of the old town. The beautiful mansion was built in the 15th century. Its architectural style is quite unique – it combines elements of Gothic, Baroque and Rococo.
The address: Helblinghaus Haus, Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 10, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Monastery of Wilten
The monastery of Wilten. | Photo: wikimedia.
The sunlit facade of the 16th century abbey looks simply stunning against the bright blue sky. The interior is just as impressive, lavishly decorated with statues, murals and intricate carvings.
The address is Stift Wilten, Klostergasse 7, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Hofgarten Botanical Garden
Photo: Richard Lee / Flickr.
The history of this magnificent garden in the old town dates back to imperial times. That’s when the grounds of the palace park were transformed into a well-kept botanical garden under the guidance of the Empress. Rumor has it that Maria Theresia personally planted a few plants during one of her visits to the park.
The address is Innsbrucker Hofgarten, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Tyrol Folk Art Museum
Tyrol Folk Art Museum.
This museum offers the opportunity to learn more about the culture, customs and traditions of Tyrol. The halls display a rich collection of folk art objects, from hand-carved sleighs and nativity scenes to carnival masks and cow bells.
On the first floor there is a beautifully restored Gothic hall – a living room with wooden panelling, low ceiling and an ancient tiled stove.
Address: Tyrol Folk Art Museum, Universitätsstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
St Jacob’s Cathedral
St. Jacob’s Cathedral | Photo: Andreas Issleib / Flicrk.
This 18th-century cathedral in Innsbruck is a true celebration of Baroque flourishing. Much of the lavish wall decorations, painted ceilings and stucco work was executed by the master craftsmen from Munich, the Asam brothers. The image of the Madonna above the high altar, however, is by the German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Address: Dom St Jakob, Dompl. 6, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Photo: Felix Kälin / Flickr.
This zoo is focused on the study and conservation of species of alpine fauna. Visitors can get up close to wildlife from the Alps, such as golden eagles, chamois and ibex.
Address: Naturschutzbund Tyrol im Alps Zoo, Weiherburggasse 37a, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Handbell Museum. | Photo: pilot_micha / Flickr.
The museum introduces visitors to the 400-year-old bellmaking tradition of the Grossmayr dynasty. In addition, you can see the huge exhibits – Romanesque and Gothic bells, observe the casting process and even find the notes for your own chime.
Address: Glockenmuseum, Leopoldstrasse 53, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The City Tower
The City Tower. | Photo: wikimedia.
The tower was once a watchtower, from where the guards constantly monitored the surroundings of the city. The construction of this structure with a dome in the form of an onion was completed in 1450. If you risk climbing the 148 stairs, at the top you have a wonderful panorama view of the city rooftops, spires of churches and peaks of the Alps surrounding Innsbruck.
Address: Stadtturm, Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 21, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The mountain peak Höttinger Alm.
Those who venture to climb Höttinger Alm will be rewarded with spectacular views from the mountain peak. There are several routes for tourists – all of them amazingly picturesque and quite challenging.
The address is Höttinger Alm, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Tyrol Local History Museum | Photo: wikimedia
The former arsenal of Emperor Maximilian I now houses a museum with an exhibition spanning the history of Tyrol chronologically. In the halls are exhibits on history, mineralogy, mining, etc. For example, you can see ancient medieval coins made of silver mined in the mines of Halle and Schwaz. A special exhibit is dedicated to the greatest national hero of Tyrol – Andreas Hofer.
Address: Tiroler Landesmuseum – Museum im Zeughaus, Zeughausgasse 1, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The Column of St. Anne
St. Anne’s Column | Photo: Tim Sackton / Flickr.
Crowned with a capitol and a statue of the Virgin Mary, the column was erected in 1703 as a symbol of the city’s victory over the unwanted Bavarian invaders.
Address: Annasäule, Maria-Theresien-Straße 18, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
Arc de Triomphe
Arch of Triumph. photo: Andrew-M-Whitman / Flickr.
The Arch of Triumph in Innsbruck was erected in 1765 in honor of the marriage of the future Emperor Leopold II.
Address: Triumph Forte, Leopoldstraße 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
The Alpine Mountains.
The Alps. | Photo: Inga Vitola / Flickr.
Climbing the Alps, which surround Innsbruck, is ideal for the adventurous. The route requires a lot of stamina, but at the top the lucky ones will enjoy unforgettable panoramic views. Those who are not a fan of the difficult routes can get to the top on a regularly scheduled cable car.