Innsbruck is a well-known destination amongst skiers and other winter sports enthousiasts. The city itself is charming and you can find plenty of things to do in Innsbruck to have a great time.
For us, its biggest attraction is the wide mountain range surrounding the city. There’s just something about breathing in fresh air on top of a mountain gazing around at the eternal snow.
As we only had one day to spend, we had to make choices what to put on our wish list. So, we made a compromise between city time and mountain time. Before noon, it was very cloudy and grey so we decided to start our exploration in the Altstadt of Innsbruck.
After lunch we headed to the Nordkettenbahn that took us up high in the mountains. This part was surely the highlight of the trip. There are 3 major stops on this mountain cable car and there even is an Alpine Zoo where you can admire mountain animals in their natural habitat.
So, let’s take a look at what places to visit in Innsbruck and make a fun day out of it.
Things to do in Innsbruck in 1 day
Morning in Innsbruck
We started our cloudy day with a morning walk to Innsbruck Old Town. From our Airbnb apartment it took us about half an hour next to the river Inn to reach the Altstadt.
Start your day well with a good breakfast. We decided to make our own scrambled eggs at our accommodation. But you can find plenty restaurants within the city that serve breakfast.
The breakfast club – Maria Theresien Strabe 49
Der Backer Ruetz – Maria Theresien Strabe 18
Café Namsa – Ambergasse 1/65
Hahn Coffee and breakfast – Innrain 16
Get your Innsbruck card
First thing to take care of after breakfast is to get an Innsbruck card. With this card you have free entrance to museums and the Nordkette cable car. All public transportation is payed for and you can also use the touristy hop-on-hop-off bus and plenty more.
You can buy a card at various sales points in town. There are several tourist information centers where you can buy it and in addition you can get the Innsbruck card at all the participating attractions.
Tip: Preorder the card online before your visit to Innsbruck and get it delivered at home. This way you can immediately start exploring the city on arrival.
Cost of the Innsbruck card
24 hours – 43 €
48 hours – 50 €
72 hours – 59 €
Children (6-15 years):
24 hours – 21,5 €
48 hours – 26 €
€72 hours – 29,5 €
In the heart of Innsbruck Old Town you can find the Golden roof. This famous landmark was once build for Emperor Maximilian who loved to observe the hustle and bustle of the city below from the balcony.
We aren’t interested in architecture that much so we just took a quick look and a photo here. It’s nice place to start exploring Innsbruck Old Town.
May to September: Monday to Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
October to April: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
Afterwards we continued our sightseeing with a visit to the Hofkirche. The Court Church is quite special. You can find the (empty) tomb of Emperor Maximilian here which is guarded by 28 life-size bronze statues of heroic figures and ancestors. After a quick peak at the Silver Chapel and the Organ we took off to visit the Hofburg.
Monday – Saturday: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Sunday, holidays: 12.30 am – 5 pm
The Imperial Palace is an important historical building in Austria that was initially build for Emperor Maximilian in the year 1500. 250 years later, Maria Theresa decided to rebuilt the Palace in the Viennese late Baroque style. You can find richly adorned halls and rooms at the Hofburg like the Giant Hall, the Guard Hall and the Imperial Apartments.
Monday – Sunday: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Maria Theresien Strabe
Enjoy a walk down the popular Maria Theresien Strabe with its many shops, restaurants and the Sint Anne’s Column. End your small city walk at the Triumph Arch.
Right behind the Triumph Arch you find Vapiano’s. We always love the have a meal at Vapiano. You can choose between a lot of pasta’s, pizza’s, fresh salads and homemade juices. It isn’t pricy and very tasty.
If you rather have lunch up in the mountains, wait a bit longer and eat at a stop on the Nordkettenbahn.
Afternoon in Innsbruck
Nordkettenbahn into the mountains
After lunch we headed to the Congres building to start our ride on the Nordkettenbahn. With your Innsbruck city card the entrance is fully covered.
Take the Nordkettenbahn to the top station, Hafelekar. Therefore you need to change at Hungerburg and at Seegrube. At Hafelekar you have gorgeous view of the surrounding mountain range. You can continue your climb with a 15 minutes walk to the top for the best views. Don’t forget to wear descent hiking boots. It can be snowy and slippery.
- Karwendel viewing point: view over the mountains
- Innsbruck viewing point: view over the city
- Have a drink in the Karstube restaurant
Descend to Seegrube station
After some cool views on top of Hafelekar station, we descended to Seegrube station. This is where we spend all of our afternoon. At this station you have a lovely restaurant with an outside terrace that, of course, has amazing views over the city. This is an ideal location to have a drink or meal before you start hiking.
Numerous trails start at the restaurant and all of them offer terrific views over the surrounding mountain range. It was still very cloudy when we left downtown, but the cable car took us above the clouds so we could enjoy a blue and sunny day in the fresh air.
We decided we have to come back just to spend some days walking around the mountains taking in the superb views and just be.
- Path of perspectives
- Restaurant with mountain view
Descend to Hungerburg
We took a quick look around at our way up to Hafelekar station at the top of the mountain. With just one day in Innsbruck we decided to spend most of our time at the Seegrube station.
- Nicest station of the Nordkette Bahn by architect Zaha Hadid
- Free cable car museum
- Church of St. Theresa with murals: short walk from the station and very nice
- Square named after mountain climber Hermann Buhl
- 2 restaurants: Hit and Sohne & Cafe+Pension Alpina
For a visit to Alpine Zoo of Innsbruck, descend to Alpenzoo station. It is just a few minutes away.
Good to know:
Address: Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen – Congress, Rennweg 3, A-6020 Innsbruck/Austria
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 07:15 AM – 07:15 PM. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 08:00 AM – 07:15 PM
Entry: Euro 36.50 for a round trip right till Hafelekar, 9.50 Euros round trip till Hungerburg. Included in the Innsbruck card at no extra cost.
Other Innsbruck tourist attractions
Other famous tourist attractions around Innsbruck to fill up your itinerary are:
Swarovski Crystal worlds
This museum is immensely popular and well-known with an inside and outside area of 7.5 hectares. Admire the Swarovski creations of many artists around the garden and have snack at Daniels cafe and restaurant.
Monday – Sunday: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm
July and August: 8.30 am – 10.00 pm
Bergisel Ski jump
Architect Zaha Hadid designed this spectacular ski jump. The tower stand 47 meters high upon the Bergisel Hill. The facilities include a gondola, and elevator and a panoramic cafe.
Opening hours November – May: Wednesday – Monday: 10 am – 5 pm
Opening hours June – October: Monday – Sunday 9am – 6 pm
The Ambras Castle created for Archduke Ferdinand II in the 16th century. It now houses an impressive art collection that you can admire with the Habsburg Portrait Gallery and a collection of late medieval sculptures.
Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
Closed in November
Tips on visiting Innsbruck
- Get yourself a city card. It pays itself back in no time and you get a lot of profit out of it as well.
- Stay inside the city center if you want to be in short walking distance of the action and main Innsbruck tourist attractions.
- There are nice Airbnb options for your accommodation in Innsbruck.
Tips on taking the Nordkettenbahn
- Dress in layers for a mountain visit.
- Wear appropriate hiking shoes and a good wind jacket.
- Take extra water and some snacks.
- Don’t forget your camera.
Conclusion things to do in Innsbruck
Okay, the city is pretty great and you can find a lot of cool hipster places mingled with old-school restaurants and bars. But the absolute best part of Innsbruck are the mountains, even if you don’t ski. The area is perfect for hiking.
We just loved the hiking paths at the Seegrube station so much that on our next visit this is where you’ll find us. From early morning until the sun goes down. It is pretty easy to reach and there is a restaurant, an outside terrace and toilets. Basically everything you need for a comfortable stay.