The city of Innsbruck in western Austria is popular due to its lush vegetation and plethora of outdoor activities. From palaces to skiing opportunities, there are many ways to enjoy the historic and mountainous Innsbruck region.
Once the seat of the royal Hapsburg family for nearly half a century, the palace is now used as a museum and for formal Austrian state events.
Take the funicular up Hungerburg mountain for breathtaking views of the mountains and city below, followed by a trip to the small alpine animal zoo.
This popular Alpine summit has many ski resorts just 7km outside of Interlaken.
Experience a ski-jumpers view from the top of the monument, which also has a cafe serving coffee and treats.
A top class heritage museum within Europe, located right across from the Hofburg.
Built by Emperor Ferdinand I, the Hofkirche of Innsbruck church is a monument of sorts to Emperor Maximilian. The church itself holds the remains of Andreas Hofer, a national hero of Tyrol. The interior boasts a stunning Renaissance design with German late Gothic flourishes, and you don't have to be an art history major to appreciate the beauty of the intricately crafted choristers, majestic altar, the galleries, and colonnettes of red marble. Maximilian's cenotaph resting within the church is a grand testament to German sculpture in itself.
Translated to "Golden Roof", the Goldenes Dachl is crafted of over 2,500 fire-gilded copper tiles, a symbol of Austrian decadence, and in celebration of Emperor Maximilian's wedding to Bianca Maria Sforza. The entire building opens up to the square below and is decorated in murals, coats of arms, and frescoes. Visitors can also view reliefs of Maximilian's life and times, invasions of the territory, and other captivating stories.
The beautiful and majestic St. Anna's Column is open to all visitors as they take a tour of Innsbruck. It stands tall, as part of Austrian skyline, and commemorates the liberation of the region from Bavarian troops. The Column is adorned by statues and sculptures of angelic cherubs, posed at its base. There is a small but lush grassy area that surrounds the Column and this is where visitors can relax in the middle of town and get in photos of the stunning column and its beautiful red marble.
On a clear day, grab a cable car from the heart of Innsbruck and be transported to the very height of Karewendel mountain range. At its very peak, you can enjoy the world's most stunning views and, along the way, embark on beautiful alpine trails and world-class powdered slopes, perfect for skiing and boarding enthusiasts. The Nordkette Cable Car and two of its stations are built by Zaha Hadid to resemble cloud-like, curved formations. One of the stops along the way is a buffet restaurant and cafe, the perfect place for lunching before heading all the way up.
The Swarovski Crystal Worlds started out as a museum in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company but over time it has evolved into an entire experience that any traveler to Innsbruck would do well to consider. The Crystal Worlds begins with a giant head, imagined by Austrian artist André Heller, spitting water out like a mini waterfall into a feeding pond. It is this fantastical and whimsical creation that marks the rest of the "worlds" exhibits. Move through the subterranean labyrinth of crystal and you'll be reminded of David Bowie's own movie. The "piece de resistance" of the Swarovski Crystal Worlds (just one amongst so many crowning jewels) is the Crystal Cloud, a stunning work that features over 800,000 hand-crafted Swarovski Crystals shimmering above a black Mirror Pool.
The city is a popular winter destination (between December to April) for its access to world-class slopes suitable for skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports.
Kranebitten International Airport is located 5km outside of Innsbruck. One way tickets from London cost about 65EUR.
Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof (central) Train Station in the city center services transport both within Austria and to other European countries.
The A1 highway will take you from the capital Vienna to Innsbruck in just under 5 hours.
GoEuro and FlixBus offer rides to Innsbruck from many different European capitals for as little as 6EUR each way.
The Sporthotel Igls is a baroque-style hotel in the city center with rooms starting at 150EUR a night including breakfast.
Old Town - This area showcases old baroque and Gothic architecture, with the Hofburg and other national monuments within its confines.
Tirol - This area is the capital of the Innsbruck region and is the economic, social and political capital of the area.
Voralberg - Nestled between the Alpine, Tuxer and Stubai ranges, this neighborhood is popular for winter sports and arlberg ski chalets.
InnBus operates the system of buses and trams throughout Innsbruck. Tickets and daily passes can be bought from local vending machines, with a single ride costing 1.7EUR.
There are many taxi stands from which to travel around Innsbruck. Tariffs start at 6.20EUR and can cost up to 15EUR for a standard ride.
Rental vehicles can be picked up at the airport, train station or downtown, with daily prices starting at 100EUR.
Maria Theresien-Straße is the main boutique shopping pedestrian street in Innsbruck, with cafes, bars and shops selling traditional Austrian crafts.
The main food shopping markets in Innsbruck are Markthalle, MPREIS and Billa AG. A dozen eggs costs 3.5EUR.
Speckeria near to Hofburg serves a great selection of local meat dishes and wine. A typical meal will cost you between 20-25EUR.