Skiing holiday or city break? In Innsbruck you don’t have to choose
Featured image credit: Innsbruck Tourism / Tom Bause
City thrills and world-class skiing exist side by side in Innsbruck. This historic Baroque town serves as the gateway to some of the most epic ski areas in Austria, offering snow-sure pistes and snowpark action by day, and cosy Christmas markets by night.
“City thrills and world-class skiing exist side by side in Innsbruck”
Innsbruck is the intersection where city meets slopes. That means there’s just as much to do off the mountain as on it. Plus, with the unique, all-encompassing SKI plus CITY Pass, you can enjoy everything on offer, as and when you like. Want front row seats to everything Tirol has to offer? Then this is the place for you.
How To Get There
As far as ski destinations go, Innsbruck is one of the easiest to reach. There are direct flights from most major UK airports, so there’s no faffing with transfers and minimal time on public transport.
If you’re coming from Germany, it’s just under two hours on the train from Munich and the same if you’re coming from Salzburg.
Visitors to Innsbruck really do get their money’s worth. It’s a city break and a ski holiday all rolled into one, and with so many incredible ski areas on its doorstep, you’ll struggle to scratch the surface over the course of a week or even a two-week stay.
There’s so much to do and see in Innsbruck that it can be overwhelming. That’s why the smartest thing visitors can do is to invest in a SKI plus City Pass. With one of these multi-purpose cards, you’ll have access to 13 top-flight ski resorts, 22 city adventures and three swimming pools around the greater Innsbruck area. That equates to around 300km of groomed runs and 50km of ski touring. A free ski bus service that will take you to all the ski areas and the Sightseer bus are included on top, making getting around and having a proper adventure an incredibly easy thing to do.
“There’s so much to do and see in Innsbruck that it can be overwhelming”
Advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to get themselves over to Stubai Glacier, with its epic freeride descents and elite-level Stubai Zoo snowpark. Time your visit right and you might even see the odd pro hurtling through the air while training in the Prime Park – home to some of the biggest kickers in Austria. For beginners, head over to Muttereralm, the Rangger Köpfl or Hochoetz, where there’s no shortage of flowing blue runs and family friendly skiing. Kühtai and Axamer Lizum are two favourites with the locals, and the Olympic slopes at the latter ski area offer some challenging thrills.
It’s not all about skiing in Innsbruck though. The SKI plus CITY Pass also gives visitors access to 22 lifestyle, cultural and sightseeing offers. Check out the alpine zoo or jump on a sightseeing bus and explore the city on wheels. From the Imperial Palace and Ambras Castle to Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump and Swarovski Crystal World, there’s so much to enjoy away from the pistes here. Get some culture in your life.
One thing that’s definitely worth a visit is the LUMAGICA Innsbruck Light Park, where from 5th November until 9th January, the city’s Imperial Gardens will be illuminated. It’s an impressive spectacle and it’s included in the pass for the 2021/22 season.
Where To Stay
Whether you want a traditional alpine hotel with ski-in access or some swanky city accommodation, there’ll be something in Innsbruck that fits the bill. The region has an abundance of wellness hotels too, where you can treat yourself to some pampering after a hard day on the slopes.
“The region has an abundance of wellness hotels”
If you’re all about the ski in / ski out lifestyle, then be sure to check out the Mooshaus Hotel in Kühtai. It’s got the highest infinity pool in the alps, for one thing. Kühtai village also offers you plenty of fun snow activities to choose from; serving up everything from snow shoeing, to cross country skiing and the popular Ziesel ride.
Eating and Drinking
When you’re somewhere as picturesque as Innsbruck, a meal with a view is obligatory. For one of the best in town, head down to Lichtblick Bar and Cafe. It’s perched at the top of the Rathausgalerien town hall and shopping mall and offers incredible 360-degree views of the city and the mountains.
“When you’re somewhere as picturesque as Innsbruck, a meal with a view is obligatory”
The food isn’t bad either. In fact, the entire gourmet menu has been carefully curated by award-winning head chef Andreas Zeindlinger and is some of the best cuisine in Tirol. After dinner, make sure to grab a drink in the adjacent 360° wine bar and lounge.
In addition to all of the skiing and sightseeing, the SKI plus CITY Pass also gives visitors access to three indoor pools around the city. Why not give your legs a day off and have a soak instead?
Hit This Run
You’ll need to bring all of your skill and bottle to attempt the famous Seilbahnrinne Hafelekar. It’s an incredibly steep but well positioned couloir, high above Innsbruck, with a 70-percent descent. It’s not for the faint hearted, but if you do it you’ll be able to say you’ve tackled one of the most dangerous lines in Europe.
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