Innsbruck is situated next to the river Inn, at the heart of the Austrian Alps, this means the city has a beautiful and dramatic appearance, with peaks that loom over the town and it's pretty buildings. Martyn and I visited the city on his 40th birthday and managed to cram in a lot of sightseeing into one day. We caught the train from our base at Zell am See and we managed to get some super cheap single tickets in advance for €9 each way. I think a lot of visitors tend to head for Vienna or Salzburg when visiting Austria but I'm glad I visited Innsbruck with its Habsburg legacy and stunning Old Town.
Innsbruck is definitely one of the most picturesque cities I have visited in Europe and I wish I could have spent 48 hours there but I did manage to see some of the main sights and get a good overview of the city in just one day.
Our first stop once we arrived in Innsbruck was to head to the Touristinformation Innsbruck. You can buy tickets for buses and trams, and the Innsbruck Card, which offers free entry to most of the city's key attractions as well as unlimited public transport: 24 hours costs €29; 48 hours, €34; 72 hours, €39. Martyn and I picked up a 24 hour card and nearly made our money back after visiting one attraction. The main activity we wanted to do that day was to get the Hungerburg Funicular and the Cable Railways to get panoramic views over the city. A round trip costs €24 alone so the 24 hour card was pretty good value. We headed straight to the cable car as the weather was looking bright and clear and we didn't want to risk our views being obscured by cloud later in the day.
We started at Congress station where you catch the Hungerburg funicular(a cable operated shuttle) to Hungerburg - transition to the Cable ride to Seegrube and if the weather is clear you take the next cable ride to Hafelekar. We were treated to phenomenal views at all three stops along the way to the top. Planned and designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the cable car Hungerburg has pretty unique stations and was by far the most modern and striking architecture I saw on my holiday in Austria.
Once we had made our way back down the mountain we visited the Court Church, also known by the locals as the 'Schwarzmander Church' thanks to the 28 life sized bronze figures that stand guard watching over the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I. The tomb is actually empty but is a work of great craftsmanship. I particularly loved the way we were introduced to the life of the emperor and his acheivements through originally presented displays before a door opened to the magnificent tomb.
We spent the rest of our day in the Old Town which is the focal point for most visitors to Innsbruck. The decorative Helbling Haus (picture above), was one of my favourite buildings even though it is a tad over the top. Originally a Gothic townhouse built in the 15th century, over the years the exterior has changed quite a bit, most notably in 1730 when the front was adorned with the many bows, ribbons, and other ornamental Rococo details seen on it today giving it a bit of a doll house look.
Visitors gravitate towards the Golden Roof (comprising 2,657 copper tiles) on Herzog Friedrich-strasse, still the city's main landmark five centuries after it was built.
Martyn and I felt like our day in Innsbruck was a little rushed and would definitely like to return and have more time to visit places like the Imperial Palace and experience the nightlife. I would highly recommend making Innsbruck a stop off on any inter rail itinerary and you could even visit for a day trip if you are staying in areas such as Munich or Salzburg which are only a couple of hours away by train. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long to return to Innsbruck. Maybe I can add it to the honeymoon itinerary...