Winter is fast approaching. If you are looking for something new to do this coming winter, then enjoy a laid-back sightseeing tour or enjoy a thrilling skiing adventure in Innsbruck, Austria. The city is known as the Capital of the Alps, and is one of the oldest ski centers in Europe. This 2-day suggested itinerary is for those who are short on time, but still want to get a good taste of what Innsbruck has to offer.
Things to know before traveling to Innsbruck, Austria:
Language – The official language of Austria is German, which is spoken by about 98% of the population. Most Austrians speak English, so you can absolutely get by without speaking the German language. Slovenian, Croatian and Hungarian are the other official languages of the country. Like in other countries, do not expect everyone to speak English so, speaking at least some German phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.
Etiquette – The Austrians are warm, family oriented and very welcoming to foreign visitors. However, it’s important to remember some do’s and don’ts to enjoy a faux pas free journey. Greetings for both men and women are a simple handshake, direct eye contact and an appropriate greeting depending on time of the day. Always greet with titles unless you’re on familiar terms with them or until your Austrian friend suggests otherwise. Another important thing to remember is that most Austrians are Roman Catholics, so behave respectfully inside the churches.
Currency exchange – Austria uses Euros, the same currency now used by most European Union countries with the exception of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Prior to traveling, you can buy some euros (enough for one day or whatever your preference) and then exchange your money in the banks to get the best rates. You can also use the Bankomat (ATM), exchange bureaus which can be found at the airports, major railways stations and in other tourist areas.
Getting around – Innsbruck is very compact, so you can get around easily by walking or biking. If you see yourself taking public transportation often, then you may consider getting an Innsbruck card (options include 24, 48, or 72 hours) from the tourism office. It allows unlimited travel on trams, hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses and cable cars, and provides free entrance to most city attractions. For more information, visit Innsbruck’s website.
Where to stay – There are many types of holiday accommodation in Innsbruck, from luxury hotels to cheap accommodation like youth hostels and bed and breakfast. There are also plenty of apartment rentals if you prefer the comfort and convenience of having your own place with cooking facilities. If you are going to stick with this suggested itinerary, you would need to look for accommodation in the old town or riverside. If you’ve been to Innsbruck once before, or if you would like to stay away from most tourists, then you can look for accommodation options in the nearby Alpine Villages like Seefeld.
Detailed itinerary: A 2-day winter escape to Innsbruck, Austria
Take time out of your Vienna or Salzburg vacation by heading to Innsbruck, known as the Capital of the Alps. If you are coming from Vienna, travel time to the city can last up to 5.5 hours via the ÖBB Railjet high-speed train. If you are coming from Salzburg, then the ÖBB Railjet high-speed train shuttles you in the heart of Innsbruck in just 2 hours. Upon arrival in the city, check into your preferred accommodation then head out to explore.
Hotel to consider in Innsbruck:
There’s no better way to get acquainted with the city than exploring the Old Town (Altstadt). Start with the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), one of the most famous attractions in the city. This architectural masterpiece is slated with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles and is overlooking the main square of the old town. After a quick photo session in the Golden Roof, make your way to your next destination, Innsbruck’s Hofburg Imperial Palace. This former imperial palace in the center of Innsbruck is well-loved by the members of the Habsburg dynasty.
In the afternoon, visit the enchanting Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds). Located just 20 minutes away from the city, this grand and sparkling attraction features awe-inspiring art installations made by world renowned artisans and designers. You may also shop some jewelry and accessories in the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store.
Celebrate your first day in the city with a traditional Tyrolean dinner with Tyrolean dance performance.
After breakfast, check out from your hotel and leave your luggage at the receptionist for the day. Then, enjoy a full day at leisure to continue your fun in Innsbruck. Check out city attractions you might have missed or enjoy an exciting ski holiday at one of the ski resorts in the region. If you choose to stay in the city, you may start your tour at Nordkette, the southernmost mountain chain part of the Karwendel Nature Park. Be whisked away in just 20 minutes to another world high above Innsbruck aboard the Nordketten Cable Car. Another option you have for the magnificent Austrian Alps is the Hungerburgbahn Funicular, another famous funicular railway. The funicular will take you up to Hungerburg, one of Austria’s famous sightseeing routes.
Have you been to Innsbruck or anywhere else in Austria? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Cups of typical hot mulled gluhwein wine, Punsch and roasted chestnuts at Christmas Market in Innsbruck, Austria (sasimoto / Shutterstock.com).