Things to Do in Innsbruck in Winter: Your Ultimate Guide to Austria’s Alpine Gem

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Advisor - Alexandra Murphy
Curated By

Alexandra Murphy

  • Austria

  • Active Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Nature Escapes

  • Winter

  • Hidden Gems

  • History

  • Outdoors

Beautiful view of the alps in Innsbruck.
Curator’s statement

Innsbruck, Austria, nestled in the Alps, offers a blend of history and outdoor beauty. Explore the historic Old Town, visit the Imperial Palace and marvel at the Golden Roof. Don’t miss the Bergisel Ski Jump for panoramic views. Enjoy outdoor activities in the Nordkette mountain range or relax at the Hofgarten. Try Tyrolean cuisine at local eateries, and consider a day trip to Swarovski Kristallwelten or Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. In winter, Innsbruck transforms into a winter sports paradise, hosting various ski resorts. Consider this your chance to ski on a glacier at nearby Stubai Glacier! Lastly, remember to take in the sights and embrace the unique winter magic of Innsbruck by experiencing the vibrant Christmas markets during the holiday season.

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Things to do in Innsbruck

The Colorful Houses of Innsbruck

Premier Ski Resorts:

Innsbruck really makes skiing there super simple, accessible and easy to enjoy. Most of the local hotels will gladly assist you with information on the best public transportation routes to the surrounding ski resorts. Think busses, shuttles and cable cars, or a combination of all three. The public transport and lift tickets are all reasonably priced, well worth it and easy to access. My personal favorite part about getting to Stubai Glacier was admiring the local architecture of the neighboring towns as we drove through. It was like a real-life holiday movie set! The nearby ski shops offer daily rentals and will usually coordinate with your hotel, making pickup and return a breeze. You can rent everything from winter sports equipment to clothes as well. Skiers, snowboarders and the like are all welcome! I highly suggest booking a lesson refresher in the morning. You’ll learn the area better and thank yourself when you’re exploring and getting around in the afternoon.

Nordkette: about 15 minutes from the city center of Innsbruck.

Axamer Lizum: about 30 minutes from the city center of Innsbruck.

Stubai Glacier: about 50 minutes from the city center of Innsbruck, but well worth it for its high altitude and fantastic runs. Highly recommended by locals!

Sightseeing:

Known for its imperial and modern architecture, Innsbruck is a fantastic city to stroll around and admire. Pop into a neighboring cafe or two to people watch and take in the sights.

Alstadt Innsbruck: Old Town Innsbruck is a fantastic place to start your journey and see the landmarks below.

Golden Roof: An ornate Habsburg residence decorated by 2657 shiny tiles, now a museum charting Innsbruck history.

Imperial Palace: Hofburg Innsbruck, a 16th-century, later Renaissance and Baroque imperial palace, housing lavish interiors with frescoes.

Colorful Houses of Innsbruck: Located along the river bank, an idyllic spot to take memorable photos of your trip and take in the sights.

Stadtturm: Landmark watchtower built in the 1400s with an observation deck and copper-clad onion dome.

Bergisel Ski Jump: Ski-jump venue that has an updated design by architect Zaha Hadid, with a viewing platform and cafe.

Alpenzoo: Unique mountainside conservation-minded zoo for rare Alpine birds and animals, from wolves to golden eagles.

Hofgarten: Landscaped royal palace gardens dating from 1410, with a pavilion, butterfly house and restaurant.

Lumagica Innsbruck: A magical light display located within Hofgarten during the winter months. Even more magical when it’s snowing!

Congress (Hungerburgb mahn): One of the best ways to explore all Innsbruck has to offer!

Day trips

Day Hikes:

Olympic Ski Jump: Different from the Bergisel Ski Jump.

Partnachklamm - Berg Eingang: A short 15-minute drive from the Olympic Ski Jump, or a nice hike. You will find stunning gorges close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a German ski resort in Bavaria.

Zugspitze: Mountain known as the nation’s highest. Well-known alpine destination with a ski resort, glaciers and cable car rides offering scenic views.

Hafelekarspitze: Accessible by cable car with a promising hike, views and restaurant. Also accessible to the zoo.

Swarovski Crystals:

Swarovski Kristallwelten: Explore the world of crystals at a museum of the famous crystal seller with jewelry displays, quirky exhibits and a face-shaped waterfall. Be sure to see the crystal cloud and mirror pool before leaving.

Swarovski Crystal World: A small version of the above located in the city center.

Neuschwanstein Castle: A 19th-century hilltop fairytale castle built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, easy to access via car or bus. Views from the nearby suspension bridge are a must!

Places to eat & drink in Innsbruck

Some of the best restaurants in Innsbruck can be found near Golden Roof.

Hearty, alpine-inspired dishes characterize Tyrolean Cuisine. Perfect after a long day of hiking or winter sports in the Alps. It prominently features ingredients like potatoes, dairy products (the cheese - drool), and meats, including game meats. Specialties include “speck” (smoked ham), “knödel” (dumplings), “käsespätzle” (cheese noodles) and “strüdel” (layered pastry). Rich flavors, often influenced by German and Italian culinary elements, are common in Tyrolean gastronomy, and a must-try when visiting.

Pro Tip: A restaurant that has a Tiroler Wirtshaus (Tyrolean Inn) logo means the establishment serves dishes using mostly home-grown, fresh, local ingredients and is also owner-operated.

To find out more about Tyrol’s unique cuisine, visit: www.tyrol.com/food-beverage

Fine Dining:

Restaurant Oniriq

Sitzwohl

Restaurant Sailer

Restaurant Lichtblick

Loved by Locals:

Altstadtbeisl

Stiftskeller

Restaurant Goldener Adler Innsbruck

Breakfast/Cafe:

Restaurant SKY im Schanzenturm

Café Crema

Lunch:

FRANZS Bier+Bar+Beisl

Restaurant Café im Hof

Non-Bavarian:

Himalayan Nepali Kitchen

Kilin Asia Japan Restaurant

Vegan:

Restaurant Olive Wiltener Platz’l

Green Flamingo Innsbruck

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out check out Fora Advisor Lizz Callaway’s guide, Vienna: A Classical and Cultural Getaway.

Advisor - Alexandra Murphy

Travel Advisor

Alexandra Murphy

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Austria.