Innsbruck has a prime location nestled in the heart of the Alps, making it an exceptional travel destination. Visitors to Innsbruck not only delve into the captivating history of the Habsburg but also feast their eyes on the awe-inspiring alpine scenery that sets it apart from most European cities.
Amidst the mountain ranges that grace the picturesque skyline of Innsbruck, Nordkette catches the eyes of the visitors the most. However, it isn’t only an eye-pleasing sight. Nordkette is also a tourist attraction that can be conveniently reached from the city with ease.
If you want to visit Nordkette and are wondering how you can reach Nordkette, I’ll explain how. And by the end of this post, you also shall have an idea of how to spend time in Nordkette. There will be tips and visiting information to help you maximize your trip as well, so let’s get started!
The mountains, hugely intertwined with Innsbruck history and its people’s daily lives, are also a significant part of the overall experience of a traveler visiting Innsbruck. The mountain peaks you’ll see looming over the city buildings as you explore Old Town Innsbruck; simply explain why.
Rising over 2000 meters in height and situated in close proximity to the city, Nordkette resembles a slumbering snow-capped giant.
This picturesque view is particularly evident when you ascend the Stadtturm or Innsbruck City Tower, which not only offers the most breathtaking views of the old city but also serves as an excellent vantage point to admire the iconic Golden Roof, the symbol of Innsbruck and the elaborate Innsbruck Cathedral.
Nordkette extends not only in height but also in length, stretching from the northeastern to the northwestern parts of Innsbruck. To capture the panoramic views of Nordkette, one can visit the tourist attractions located on the hilly southern outskirts of the city.
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I suggest the Tirol Panorama Museum in Bergisel, where you can find a gigantic historical artwork of Innsbruck. You can also try Ambras Castle, which is the oldest museum in the world. Both places have good views of Nordkette and Innsbruck city center.
How to Go to Nordkette?
Travelers are quick to notice the gigantic appearance of Nordkette as they gaze upon it from the Old Town Innsbruck. Its towering presence makes it clear that this mountain range is situated in close proximity to the city.
As a result, visitors naturally develop the expectation that accessing Nordkette would be swift and effortless. And indeed, their impression holds more than true, as access to the tourist attractions in Nordkette is placed in the heart of the city.
Once you find yourself in Old Town Innsbruck, reaching Nordkette becomes really convenient.
In Old Town Innsbruck, you’ll find the Hungerburgbahn Congress Station, a modern funicular railway service that swiftly transports you to the nearest attractions in Nordkette in less than 10 minutes. Situated along Rennweg, this station is a mere five-minute walk from the Golden Roof or just a few steps away from Hofburg.
Although Hungerburgbahn gives you quick access to the Nordkette, it can only bring you to Hungerburg — a district of Innsbruck situated on the foothills of Nordkette and 300 meters above Old Town Innsbruck.
Aside from the Hungerburgbahn’s valley and top stations, the funicular railway also has a stop at Alpenzoo. Situated 750 meters above sea level, it is the most elevated zoo that you can find in Europe.
After arriving at Hungerburg, your adventure can continue with a cable car ride (Nordkettenbahnen = Seegrubenbahn + Hafelekarbahn) to Seegrube (1905 meters) and to Hafelekar (2256 meters), the two highest points of interest in Innsbruck.
These remarkable locations not only offer breathtaking views of the Alps and Innsbruck but also boast restaurants where you can indulge in a delightful meal while taking in the picturesque surroundings.
Hafelekar is the last station of Nordkettenbahnen and Innsbruck’s highest viewpoint. Thus, this is also sometimes called the “Top of Innsbruck.”
It takes just a few minutes to reach Hafelekar from Hungerburgbahn. Nordkettenbahnen is conveniently located just a few steps away from Hungerburgbahn, and the cable car ride from Nordkettenbahnen (Hungerburg station) to Hafelekar takes only about 15 minutes.
Here’s where you can check the price of a Hungerburg funicular round trip ticket.
Also, you can check the price of a Nordkette round-trip cable car ticket here.
Make your Nordkette visit more worthwhile with the Alpenzoo + Top of Innsbruck combo ticket. (Check the price using the link)
If you’re planning to explore other tourist attractions in Innsbruck, the Innsbruck City Card is a valuable resource that you can take full advantage of. This convenient pass provides you with access to multiple museums, attractions, and transportation services in Innsbruck, including those in Nordkette.
See the price of the Innsbruck City Card here.
If you’re uncertain about whether Nordkette is worth a visit, allow me to share my perspective in the following section.
Discover all the beautiful things and places in Innsbruck! Here’s where you can start:
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Is Nordkette Worth Visiting?
Having been profoundly moved by the beauty of the mountains, I am constantly filled with excitement at the prospect of others experiencing the same.
If you plan on visiting Innsbruck, Nordkette offers a unique opportunity to be awe-inspired, which is undoubtedly the most incredible feeling one can have in the mountains.
At the same time, Nordkette offers the most impressive viewpoint easily accessible from Innsbruck. From there, particularly in Hafelekar, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Innsbruck and a rewarding 360-degree panorama of Karwendel Nature Park. This is why Nordkette is highly recommended, but only during clear and sunny days.
In addition to the breathtaking views of the Alps, visiting Nordkette offers more than just a visual treat.
Nordkette’s viewpoints also feature restaurants that provide both scenic vistas and delicious culinary delights, ensuring that both your eyes and taste buds are satisfied. The restaurants in Nordkette have special offers for a memorable stay in the mountains, such as “Panoramic Breakfast” and “Fondue Night.”
Moreover, Nordkette is also home to Alpine Zoo, the highest elevated zoo in Europe, and Cable Railway Museum, making it an excellent destination for families traveling with kids.
You can check the links in the resources section of this post to learn more about these culinary offers in Nordkette.
If you are staying in Innsbruck for two days or more, you might also want to try the outdoor leisure activities in Nordkette. They are another reason which makes Nordkette worthwhile, whether it is summer or winter. There are hiking trails, snowboard & ski pistes, and even hang-gliding & paragliding!
View from Nordkette
If you are not convinced to explore Nordkette, here are more stunning scenes that you might also witness when you visit the mountains.
While the view from Nordkette may not rival the breathtaking splendor of the Swiss Alps in places like Bernese Oberland or Lucerne, it can still be truly remarkable. For instance, if you arrive early in the morning, you might be treated to a mesmerizing sea of clouds that is absolutely awe-inspiring.
Get an idea of how you can spend day(s) in Innsbruck:
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Nordkette Visiting Information
When it comes to exploring Innsbruck, Nordkette is a beautiful destination that can be accessed and has incredible experiences all year round.
Whether you’re visiting during the vibrant spring season, the warm summer months, the colorful autumn foliage, or the serene winter wonderland, Nordkette never fails to captivate visitors with its natural beauty.
However, it’s essential to keep an eye out for the closed inspection dates of Nordkettenbahnen and Hungerburgbahn.
These dates are set for maintenance purposes and typically occur during the last week of each visiting season. To ensure a seamless visit, it’s recommended to plan your trip accordingly, avoiding the maintenance periods that usually fall in the last week of April and the second week of November.
Please see the official website of Nordkette, linked in the resources section of this post, for updated schedules.
For those looking for the regular operation of the funicular trains and cable cars, the Hungerburgbahn funicular trains are available every 15 minutes.
On weekdays, they run from 07:15 am to 07:15 pm, while on weekends and holidays, the schedule extends from 08:00 am to 07:15 pm. This frequent service allows for convenient transportation to and from Nordkette.
Additionally, the Seegrubenbahn and Hafelekarbahn cable cars also operate at 15-minute intervals.
The Seegrubenbahn runs from 08:30 am to 05:30 pm, offering a breathtaking journey to the Seegrube station. From there, you can further ascend to the Hafelekar station via the Hafelekarbahn, which operates from 09:00 am to 05:00 pm.
By familiarizing yourself with the operation hours and frequencies of these transportation options, you can optimize your visit to Nordkette and make the most of your time exploring this magnificent alpine destination.
How Long to Spend in Nordkette
Nordkette is undeniably one of the most breathtaking destinations you can explore while in Innsbruck.
If you are someone who shares a passion for mountain adventures like me, I’m confident that you’ll find yourself dedicating a day to Nordkette during your visit to Innsbruck.
After all, it’s impossible to resist the stunning scenery while hiking along the trails! Actually, Hafelekar and Nordkette can be the start of more mountain adventures in Karwendel Nature Park.
However, for all visitors, it is recommended to allocate approximately 3 hours or even half a day to fully experience Nordkette. This includes sightseeing at each station and an hour-long round trip comprising the Hungerburgbahn funicular ride, Seegrubenbahn, and Hafelekarbahn cable car rides, accounting for queuing time.
More Tips for Visiting Nordkette
To make the most of your visit to Nordkette in Innsbruck, here are some helpful tips and reminders.
First, check the weather forecast: Before heading up, it’s important to check the weather forecast.
Clear days provide the best visibility, enhancing your overall experience. Plan your visit accordingly to avoid cloudy or unfavorable weather conditions.
Second, (and again) save with the Innsbruck City Card: Consider getting the Innsbruck City Card, which covers the fees for the funicular and gondola rides.
This card offers a cost-effective way to enjoy Nordkette and other attractions in Innsbruck. Take advantage of the savings and make your trip even more enjoyable.
Third, dress appropriately: As you ascend to higher altitudes, the temperature can drop significantly.
It’s essential to dress in layers and bring a jacket or coat to stay warm. Comfortable shoes are also recommended, as you may want to explore the area around the summit.
Fourth, avoid peak times for better views: The cable cars can get crowded, particularly during peak hours.
To maximize your chances of enjoying unobstructed views, plan your visit during less busy times. Waiting for a less crowded car can make your journey more comfortable
Lastly, explore the amenities and activities: Take your time to explore the various amenities and activities available at Nordkette.
Stop by the snow bar, Cloud 9, to savor a hot chocolate or other refreshments while marveling at the scenery. During winter, don’t miss the chance to visit the ice cave and the outdoor snow bar for a unique experience.
So, that’s everything that I can share about the basic things you must know before visiting Nordkette. If you want to learn more details about Nordkette, here’s (see below) where you can start.
- Nordkette.com — live camera, schedules, and weather forecast
- Fondue Night in Nordkette
- Nordkette Panoramic Breakfast
- Cable Railway Museum
- Nordkette Alpine Zoo
Here’s where you can check Alpine Zoo admission tickets.
If you are planning to visit Innsbruck and you don’t have accommodation yet, here’s where you can find the best hotel accommodation in Innsbruck.
In case you missed it, here’s where you can find the prices for various passes and combination tickets to visit Nordkette.
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