Innsbruck | Adventure Travel Guide

Innsbruck is a mountainous Austrian city offering stunning views and year-round adventures

Innsbruck city on the banks of river Inn

Innsbruck is the provincial capital of Tyrol and with a population of around 120,000, the fifth biggest city in Austria.

It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, and though renowned for the extensive snowsports options, it’s also growing in stature as a spot for summer hiking, mountain biking and road cycling.

Geographically, the city is close to both Northern Italy and Munich, in Germany. Travellers can reach Innsbruck in around two hours on a train from Munich or can fly into Innsbruck direct. With mountains surrounding the city (and thus the airport) on every side, the latter is an experience to remember.

Why Go?

The airport. ILS Innsbruck, landing. Photo: Getty

The moment you get your first look at Innsbruck you’ll be absolutely blown away.

If you land in the airport your descent will take you into a landing strip flanked by snowy mountain tops and stunning ridges, and if you arrive from the train or the bus station, you’ll be able to see the mountains through the wide-roads as soon as you step onto the street.

Innsbruck is cold in winter and hot in summer. This means it’s perfect for all kinds of adventure sports. It’s most famous, of course, for the skiing and snowboarding.

In Patscherkogel you’ll find skiing based around the Olympic downhill course, a snowboard park, floodlit runs and a bobsleigh track too, of course, if that’s your thing.

Mutterhalm offers wide runs bordered by forests. You’ll have great views way down the valley and are likely to get a cracking tan while you ride. Nordpark has one of Europe’s steepest runs for skiiers meanwhile and a terrain park for snowboarders, and Kutai is the higher resort in Innsbruck with technical skiing but reliable snow.

In the summer temperatures can get above 30 degrees. For mountain bikers, Innsbruck Bike Park offers some flowy, rooty, rocky trails capable of keeping the best in the world happy (it was host to Crankworx Innsbruck in June), and there are an abundance of natural mountain bike trails lower down around Innsbruck city centre.

Old town in Innsbruck Austria – architecture background. Photo: Getty

The city is small enough to walk or cycle around with very little effort, and the buses even has spaces for bikes if you’re looking to head up to the bike park.

There’s no shortage of hiking options either. We’d recommend hiking up the nearly 8000ft Nordkette (previously mentioned in our skiing recommendations).

It’s part of Austria’s largest nature park, the Karwendel Nature Park, and you can even bypass the hike if you just want the views of the downhill. Grab the Nordkette gondola, starting in the city centre, and you’ll find yourself about 8000ft high in no time at all.

It’s a view you won’t be forgetting in a hurry, with rocky mountain edges dominated one side of the view and the entirety of Innsbruck visible from the other.

The beauty of Innsbruck of course is in those who love the mountains but have a soft spot for the city life too. Innsbruck is the best of both worlds. You’ve got all the nightlife (we’ll get on to that…), restaurant options and shops you could ask for, as well as some impressive history dotted around the old town.

Then, on the other side of things, you’ve got the Inn river which gives the city its name (Innsbruck meaning ‘bridge over the Inn’) flowing a five minute walk from the city centre and providing another perfect postcard image, and you’re never far away from that sense of freedom and wonder that comes with finding yourself engulfed in mountainous terrain.

Where To Stay?

In summer, Hotel Seppl is a great option for mountain bikers looking to make the most of the city trails and of Bikepark Innsbruck. With a stunning view looking out over the mountains, a great breakfast offering and a spa, it’s brilliant for families or friends, and you’re only one (admittedly steep) hill away from the bike park.

Hotel Eagles Inn is an affordable, ski-in/ski-out hotel in the city in winter. It’s a homey hotel and the food is brilliant. You’ll also be able to open your curtains each morning to a spectacular view if you’re lucky with your room allocation (ask when you’re booking!).

We’d also recommend checking out the Absteige apartments. They vary in size and space but are well priced and offer everything you need. Plus, the city centre and main attractions are just five or ten minutes walk away on the other side of the river Inn, and a walk around the area of the apartments will throw up plenty of photo opportunities. The staff are also incredibly helpful.

Where To Eat?

Die Wilderin is an essential dining stop when you head to Innsbruck. If you’re wanting to eat good, proper, authentic Austrian food while you’re in the country, then this is the place to be. The menu is always changing and ingredients are sourced locally, with an emphasis also being places on the environment. It’s not too expensive either. A great dining experience.

Innsbruck in the summer. Photo: Getty

If you’re looking for a quicker eat or something a bit more casual, then get yourself to Ludwig Das Burger Restaurant. Guess what it sells? Pizza! No. We’re joking. Burgers. It sells burgers. Obviously. It sell big burgers that will do exactly what you expect them to. Surprisingly though, it’s also a great option for vegetarians and vegans, and the sweet potato fries are a must.

Where To Drink?

If you’re looking to chill out with a cool beer with a view, then grab a table on the egde of the river at Cammerlander and drink up. You’ll be looking out over the signature colourful houses of Innsbruck, over the river and onto the mountains.

There’s roughly 25,000 students in Innsbruck of course though. That’s over one fifth of the population. And that means, of course, that there is a thriving nightlife scene in the city.

For a cool place to drink head to Kater Noster. It’s really central, just down the road from the Triumphpforte – a roman-style triumphal arch build in 1765 – and makes for a great spot to hang out with friends around a cool bunch of people. On busy days expect to see a flock of revellers hanging out just outside the entrance, and inside you’ll find a great ambience too.

Dachsbau on the edge of the river is a great place to head after. It’s basically a cool basement rammed with cool people. They play good music and stay open late. Don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of hip-hop in the Innsbruck clubs. They’re big on that.

Local Tip

“Take your mountain bike on the Nordkette gondola in summer and get an uplift up to the top of the singletrack route there. It’s a challenging ride at the start but evens out and the views are great” – Lukas, student in Innsbruck.

For further information on the region, visit the official homepage for tourism


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