Innsbruck is located on the west side of Austria and it’s a popular destination during both summers and winters. The activities can vary based on which season you visit. This city attracts cultural tourists, nature lovers, adventurers, and skiers.
Since we now live in London, we don’t usually see much snow during winters, so we have to travel somewhere new every winter just to enjoy some snow. While we were doing some research we found out how Innsbruck in winter could be an ideal destination for us, since we could enjoy winter sports and have a cultural city break in a single trip.
How to get to Innsbruck
Flying to Innsbruck is a treat
Flying is one of the most convenient and fun ways to get to Innsbruck. There are daily direct flights from Lonon to Innsbruck. You can fly from Easyjet from Gatwick Airport or take a British Airways flight from Heathrow Airport.
We chose Innsbruck, mostly because there are daily direct flights from London to the cute little Austrian city, which is surrounded by wonderful Tyrol mountains.
After taking off from London we didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as we got closer to our destination we were amazed by the change of scenery we could enjoy from our plane’s window. The view of the mountains covered with snow surprised us both, but not as much as our descent towards the town.
Innsbruck’s airport is located on a deep valley with mountains rising on either side. I am glad our flight was in the morning as we had some light and we could enjoy the amazing landing experience, which was pretty unique, and also a little scary. I don’t know how I can explain the experience with words, we left the plane with joy already, and our trip had just started.
Taking a train to Innsbruck
You can take a train from different European cities including Paris, Munich, Salzburg and Vienna. If you are in the UK and wondering if you can travel by train to Innsbruck instead of flying. You should know it is possible but it will take around 12 hours travelling via the cities of Paris and Munich.
From Innsbruck airport to the city centre
Getting out of Innsbruck’s airport, called by the locals Kranebitten Airport, was quick and easy. The airport is about 4km from the city centre, and there are trains and buses that can take you to the city, you can check the timetables here. We took a taxi since it was a short ride and it wasn’t that expensive.
Where to stay in Innsbruck
There are various types of accommodations in Innsbruck, from luxury hotels to budget hostels and bed and breakfasts. You can also easily find a flat or a cosy home on Airbnb to have your own place with cooking facilities.
Regardless of the type of accommodation, you should book a place around the old town or the riverside which gives you access to the local buses (ski buses) and most of the tourist attractions. We stayed in Hotel Mondschein on the riverside, which had a great view of the gorgeous river, the colourful buildings, and the mountains. Whenever we looked out of our window it was like having a beautiful postal card right in front of our eyes. You can book it here.
Things to do in Innsbruck in winters
Visiting the Old Town: Altstadt von Innsbruck
The old town is, literally, the city centre, where you can feel the history. You can walk in the main street and enjoy a view of the medieval houses, some of which are painted in lively pastel colours. By visiting the Golden Roof, the Folk Art Museum, the Imperial Palace, and the Imperial Chapel you can learn more about Innsbruck’s past.
Visiting the old town is a must when you are in the city. You can dine in a nice restaurant or drink coffee at a local cafe or even do some shopping or buy liquor with any of the flavours you like the most.
Skiing in Innsbruck
There is no doubt that Innsbruck is one of the most popular ski destinations in Europe. There are different ski resorts around the city, all they are all easily reachable by hopping on the ski buses.
Most of the hotels, like ours, have a deal with the transport companies and give their guests a free pass for buses to the ski resorts. Most of the resorts have different types of slopes, some are suitable for beginners but most of them are not. You should check before heading there.
I should also add that all of the hotels provide the guests with the ski resorts map, so even if you don’t have the internet on you, you can use a paper map.
If you, like us, don’t have your own ski gear, you can rent it in the town, but you can also rent it at the resorts if you don’t fancy carrying it all the way with yourself.
Taking the Nordkette cable car
The Nordkette cable car can take you directly from the city centre of Innsbruck to the top of the Nordkette mountain, where you can have a breathtaking panoramic view of the Austrian mountains.
Keep in mind that Nordkette is part of the largest nature park in Austria, so be prepared to be amazed. The ride takes around 30 minutes to the 2256m height above sea level.
There are several stops on the way including Alpine Zoo, you can easily get off and get in to continue to the top.
The cable car works every day including Sundays between 08:30 am to 5 pm, but it doesn’t work when the weather conditions are poor. You can book your ticket here in advance.
There are numerous cable cars and Funiculars around Innsbruck which can take you to the top of the Austrian mountains. But, the Hungerburg Funicular is one of the most outstanding one, which represents a state of the art architecture in the heart of the Alps.
Your journey starts from the modern designed station at 560m and you will pass through a tunnel and over a bridge until you reach Hungerburg station at 860 meters above sea level.
You can book your ticket in advance here.
Snow hiking in Innsbruck
Since Innsbruck is surrounded by mountains, it is a must to go for a snow hike if you like to explore around. There are many routes you can take. You can find the hiking trails in the paper map provided by the hotels or check them online.
During our stay, we took a hiking trail in Patscherkofel mountain next to the Igls village in the south of Innsbruck.
We took a local bus to Patscherkofel ski resort and began our hike next to the resort. The path is suitable for all skills and fitness levels, but with snow, you should be more careful. You can hike with snowshoes but don’t worry if you don’t want to, we hiked with our hiking boots and we were totally fine.
I would highly recommend going for a hike in the snow as you will be able to enjoy nature, eat in a local restaurant in the mountains and take some nice photos.
We found Innsbruck and the area around it very lively and we would love to go back there for either winter time or summer time or both. If you have been to Innsbruck, let me know what is your favourite thing to do there.
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