If you’re someone who, like me, loves exploring scenic destinations, Innsbruck is an incredible travel spot for you. Nestled in the heart of the Austrian Alps, this city is embraced by awe-inspiring mountains. You’ll like spending days here!
Especially since Innsbruck is a destination with a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and eye-pleasing architecture, you can expect to bring home a unique, memorable experience after visiting it. And with plenty of scenic, historic, and charming places to see, Innsbruck would be one of the most worthwhile trips you’ll have in Europe.
If you’re planning a trip to Innsbruck, it’s essential to include the must-see places and must-do activities in your itinerary to ensure you make the most of your visit. In my opinion, there are seven unmissable things to do in Innsbruck, which you can discover in this informative post.
While Innsbruck has plenty of activities and tourist attractions, I think everyone can say they have seen the best of the city when they have visited its highlights and unique places of interest. Worry not where you can find them because they’re here in my list of unmissable things to do in Innsbruck.
What’s great about these places and activities is that you don’t have to venture far outside the city to experience them.
In fact, most of them are located within Old Town Innsbruck, just a short walk away from each other. Amazingly, the colorful houses, some adorned with elaborate facades, make strolling through Innsbruck’s historic center a delightful experience in itself!
If you’re interested, I have an article that provides a detailed overview of Old Town Innsbruck, where I also highlight the city’s hidden gems.
There are also other must-see places in Innsbruck situated on the outskirts of the city. Fortunately, getting there is a breeze as Innsbruck boasts an excellent public transportation system with buses and trams.
Believe it or not, you can even reach Nordkette, the nearest mountain range, directly from the city center!
“Alright, that’s very nice! Now, I want to try all the best experiences Innsbruck can offer; how long must I stay in the city?”
Although it’s possible to explore almost every tourist attraction in Innsbruck over the course of three days, you can comfortably experience the must-do activities and visit the top places of interest in just two days.
Spend one day immersing yourself in the charm of Old Town and exploring the breathtaking Nordkette mountain range. Then, dedicate another day to visit the castles and museums located on the outskirts of the city.
If you’re still looking for a hotel in Innsbruck for a night or two, here’s where you can find the best accommodation deals in Innsbruck. You can easily find the hotel with the most convenient location by utilizing the hotel browser’s map feature.
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So, without any further ado!
1. The Golden Roof and The Streets of Old Town Innsbruck
Among all the captivating places of interest in Innsbruck, the Golden Roof steals the spotlight and captures the attention of most travelers in the city.
This remarkable 16th-century oriel with a balcony is renowned for its 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles, making it a true gem and an iconic symbol of Innsbruck.
Beyond its symbolic significance, the Golden Roof is a must-see attraction because it serves as both a masterpiece of architectural artistry and a direct connection to Innsbruck’s rich history.
The vibrant reliefs and murals adorning the Golden Roof intricately depict various aspects of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as scenes from the lives of Maximilian I and his wife, Bianca Maria Sforza.
These stunning artworks were meticulously crafted to commemorate their wedding, and they beautifully portray the royal couple on the face of the Golden Roof.
During special events in the city, you can even imagine the presence of Maximilian I and Bianca as they would sit atop the Golden Roof, overseeing the festivities below.
If you’re interested, you can step inside the Golden Roof and ascend to the balcony, where you can enjoy a similar view that Maximilian I and Bianca once cherished.
Within the Golden Roof, you’ll also discover a small museum that offers fascinating insights into the life and legacy of Maximilian I, providing a deeper understanding of this historical figure.
Are you eager to discover more about the Golden Roof and unravel the intricate meanings behind the captivating reliefs and murals that embellish this iconic landmark? Yes? I invite you to check out my post, “Innsbruck’s Golden Roof – Visiting The Symbol of The City.”
The post also includes visitor information for the Golden Roof Museum. While there is a small entry fee to visit the museum, here’s some good news: if you have the Innsbruck City Card, you can enjoy free admission.
You can find the Golden Roof at the northern corner of Herzog-Friedrich-Straße, which is one of the liveliest streets in Innsbruck, along with Maria-Theresien-Straße.
If you’re heading to the Golden Roof from the train station, the best route to take is along these charming streets. Not only are they lined with colorful and stunning buildings on both sides, but they also lead you to two other famous landmarks in Innsbruck: Annasäule and Triumphpforte.
In case you’re not familiar with these landmarks yet, I’ve written a post about Old Town Innsbruck that shows you exactly what they look like and where to find them. Check it out!
2. Stadtturm and The Overlooking View of Old Town Innsbruck
If you’ve made it to Herzog-Friedrich-Straße to see the Golden Roof, you’re in luck because you’re already on the same street where you can find the entrance to Stadtturm, also known as Innsbruck’s City Tower.
This medieval building truly stands out, towering above the street and shaping the skyline of Old Town Innsbruck. Standing at an impressive height of 51 meters, the Stadtturm is a sight to behold.
Its Renaissance onion-shaped roof adds a touch of timeless elegance, lending an irresistible charm to the city.
To me, what truly makes Stadtturm a must-visit landmark in Innsbruck is the breathtaking view it offers from its viewing deck. After climbing the 133-step staircase, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent 360-degree panorama of Innsbruck.
From up there, you’ll gain a perspective similar to that of the medieval guards who once kept watch over the city. It’s truly a special experience to take in the picturesque cityscape.
Since Stadtturm is conveniently located on the same street as the Golden Roof, it also serves as a fantastic vantage point to admire Innsbruck’s iconic landmark.
So, not only can you enjoy the stunning view from Stadtturm, but you can also capture the beauty of the Golden Roof from a different angle.
From the view deck of Stadtturm, you’ll be treated to more than just a breathtaking view of the Golden Roof. You’ll also have the opportunity to spot three other must-see tourist attractions in Innsbruck: Hofkirche, Innsbruck Cathedral, and, of course, Nordkette. We’ll discuss them next!
However, if you’ve just finished exploring the Golden Roof Museum and Stadtturm, I highly recommend making your next stop at Hofkirche. Visiting this remarkable place will provide you with a seamless discovery of the fascinating figure that is Maximilian I.
If you think Stadtturm is also a must-see, you can check my article, Stadtturm Innsbruck City Tower (The Best Views of Old Town), to see what you can expect in climbing the tower. The visitors’ information, the tower’s history, and architecture are included in the post.
Just like the Golden Roof Museum, there is a small fee to access Stadtturm and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views from the tower’s view deck. But don’t worry about paying the admission fee if you already have an Innsbruck City Card.
3. Hofkirche and The Cenotaph of Maximilian I
While exploring Innsbruck, I discovered that the city is home to more than seven churches. Simply by climbing Stadtturm and taking in the breathtaking panorama from the tower’s view deck, you can easily spot four or five of these religiously significant structures.
Among Innsbruck’s churches, the nearest you’ll see from Stadtturm are the two must-see religious landmarks in the city: Hofkirche and the Cathedral of Saint James.
As you look westward, you’ll notice Hofkirche, distinguished by its solitary spire. This 16th-century church holds two of Innsbruck’s most precious historical treasures, making it an unmissable destination in the city.
Emperor Ferdinand I built it as a memorial to his grandfather, Maximilian I.
That is why inside Hofkirche, you’ll find the ornate Cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I, which is the first historical treasure. Surrounding the cenotaph are the remarkable Bronze statues known as the Black Men, which are Hofkirche’s second treasure.
Among the many beautiful sights in Innsbruck, the Cenotaph of Maximilian I and the Black Men statues stand out as the epitome of beauty for me.
These awe-inspiring pieces of historical art are incredibly intricate, as you will see on the armor, clothes, and hair of the statues, not to mention the mesmerizing wrought iron railings that surround the cenotaph!
Although the lavish cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I holds immense historical value, it is the 28 statues of the Black Men surrounding it that truly fascinated me. Perhaps, they’ll have a beautiful effect on you, too!
Depicting kings and queens from all across Europe, such as Philip I (king of Castile), Arthur (king of Britain), and Elizabeth of Luxembourg (Queen of Germany), these statues bring Maximilian’s relatives and notable historical figures to life.
The attention to detail of the Black Men’s artists is remarkable. Gazing upon Black Men can make you feel as though you are meeting them in person.
However, these statues, 200 to 250 centimeters tall, would give an even more realistic experience if the statues were slightly smaller in size and colorized.
Are you ready for an incredible experience? Hofkirche is just a few minutes away on foot from the Golden Roof or Stadtturm. To get there, simply stroll down Hofgasse, the charming street located to the right of the Golden Roof.
Once you reach the end of Hofgasse, continue straight onto Universitätsstraße. It’s where the entrance of the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum is, which is the passage to Hofkirche.
There’s a small fee to enter Hofkirche. However, admission is free to the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum and Hofkirche if you have an Innsbruck City Card.
If you want to learn more about Hofkirche or Innsbruck Court Church, like what else to expect during a visit, check out my post: Court Church Innsbruck – 3 Reasons Why You Must See It. More details about the visitor’s information are included.
4. Cathedral of Saint James and Asam Brothers’ Masterpieces
When it comes to historical significance, you absolutely can’t miss Hofkirche in Innsbruck. However, if you’re looking for remarkable architecture and captivating artworks, the Cathedral of Saint James, also known as Innsbruck Cathedral, is the place to be.
Although the exteriors of this 18th-century Baroque Cathedral may seem modest compared to other European churches, the true wonder awaits you inside.
Prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking interior adorned with mesmerizing frescoes and intricate stucco works created by the renowned Asam Brothers from Bavaria—the reason why Innsbruck Cathedral is a must-see place in Innsbruck.
The frescoes crafted by Cosmas Damian Asam, the elder of the talented Asam Brothers, are truly commendable. These remarkable frescoes have the remarkable ability to create an optical illusion, ingeniously adding a sense of depth to the domes they adorn.
Innsbruck Cathedral, much like Hofkirche, also houses significant elements of the region’s heritage. There are two particular treasures worth mentioning: Maria Hilf and the canopied tomb of Maximilian III.
For devout Catholics, the sight of Maria Hilf is truly delightful. This religious painting holds immense reverence as one of the most venerated images of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus throughout Christendom.
Many are captivated by its accurate portrayal of the charm, gentleness, and above all, the regal dignity of the Queen of Heaven. You can find this exquisite portrait of the Madonna at the high altar of Innsbruck Cathedral.
On the other hand, the tomb of Maximilian III is located on the left arm of Innsbruck Cathedral’s transept. It serves as a counterpart to Hofkirche’s Black Men, as most of Maximilian III’s tomb is made of striking black marble.
The tomb boasts intricate details, particularly the column that supports the canopy, where you’ll find a statue of Maximilian III and Saint George atop it. It’s a remarkable piece of craftsmanship that adds to the cathedral’s grandeur.
Do you want to go to Innsbruck Cathedral? From Herzog-Friedrich-Straße (parallel to the Golden Roof), turn left to Pfarrgasse. You’ll arrive at Innsbruck Cathedral after a few minutes of walking.
There are a few more intriguing aspects of Innsbruck Cathedral that you might find fascinating. Most importantly, there are unique experiences awaiting you at this remarkable place.
To delve deeper into these special features and discover five beautiful reasons to visit Innsbruck Cathedral, I invite you to read my post titled ” 5 Beautiful Reasons to Visit Innsbruck Cathedral.” It will provide you with a wealth of additional information and inspire you to explore this stunning destination further.
Admission to Innsbruck Cathedral is free. You can find more visiting information for Innsbruck Cathedral in that post.
If you’re captivated by visually stunning interiors like those found in Innsbruck Cathedral, you’ll definitely want to visit Hofburg, also known as the Imperial Palace, located just behind the cathedral.
Hofburg served as the residence of Emperors and Dukes during the time when Innsbruck held the prestigious position as the heart of the Holy Roman Empire.
To delve deeper into the fascinating history and grandeur of Hofburg, I recommend starting your exploration by Visiting Hofburg, Innsbruck: What’s In The Imperial Palace.
5. Nordkette’s Cable Car and Innsbruck’s Panoramic Views
With its captivating landmarks like the Golden Roof and cultural treasures found in Hofkirche, Innsbruck guarantees a truly unique travel experience. However, what truly sets Innsbruck apart from other European cities is its beautiful location in the Alps.
The mountains offer visitors a whole new world of experiences, leading to improved well-being and unforgettable outdoor experiences.
Among the various mountain ranges surrounding Innsbruck, the most easily accessible is Nordkette, situated to the north of the city.
Believe it or not, within minutes, you can reach Nordkette’s mountain attractions in minutes using the efficient train and scenic cable car connections that link these destinations to the heart of the city.
Nordkette offers an array of incredible experiences, such as the Alpine Zoo, which is the most elevated zoo in Europe, and restaurants that will delight both your eyes and taste buds. During the summer, breathtaking hiking trails await, while in winter, you can indulge in lengthy ski slopes and much more.
For those who adore landscape photography, the dramatic craggy peaks of the Karwendel Mountains will be a compelling reason to visit.
Within Nordkette, you’ll find the highest viewing point in Innsbruck. If the weather cooperates, the panoramic vista of the Alps with Innsbruck below will be an unforgettable sight to behold.
Sometimes, a mesmerizing sea of clouds appears over the Inn Valley, creating one of the most magical and awe-inspiring scenes you may ever witness in your entire life.
If you’re eager to embark on this unmissable adventure in Innsbruck, I highly recommend checking out the article titled “How To Visit Nordkette: See Hafelekar The Top Of Innsbruck.”
This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights, including different stunning views to expect from Nordkette, essential tips for visiting the mountain, and other helpful information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
The round-trip fare to Nordkette back to the Old Town Innsbruck is covered by Innsbruck City Card.
6. Tirol Panorama and The Tyrolean Myth Exhibits
In Innsbruck, there are numerous places where you can simply sit back, admire the scenic mountain views, and feel refreshed.
One delightful option is to find a spot beside the serene Inn River, which runs alongside the charming Old Town of Innsbruck. From there, you can enjoy a relaxing moment with an unobstructed view of the majestic Nordkette mountain range.
While the tranquil beauty of Nordkette is visible even from the streets of Old Town, you may want to venture to the hilly outskirts of Innsbruck, south of the city, for even more impressive vistas.
It’s well worth exploring this area, as two other must-see attractions in Innsbruck are located here: the Tirol Panorama Museum and Ambras Castle.
Among the two, the Tirol Panorama Museum offers a truly immersive experience in Tyrolean history, making it a destination not to be missed.
You can have the immersive experience from the centerpiece of the museum called Innsbruck Giant Panorama Painting — an extraordinary work of art depicting a crucial event in the history of Tyrol: the battle between Napoleonic troops and the Tyrolean rebels led by Andreas Hofer in 1809.
Fascinatingly, the museum is situated in Bergisel, the very same location where the historic battle took place. Seeing Innsbruck Giant Panorama Painting would feel like stepping back in time to the moment where the actual battle is taking place.
The panorama painting itself spans an impressive 1,000 square meters and is filled with details, including the landscape of Bergisel and the war-torn terrain with bullet-riddled trees, cannons, and bloodshed.
That big of an artwork, you’ll be fully immersed in the scene, evoking a range of emotions. It’s a great experience that, again, you wouldn’t want to miss.
While the panorama is the centerpiece of the exhibits at the Tirol Panorama Museum, there is much more to discover inside.
The museum also houses a permanent exhibition that delves into the history and life of Tyrol, covering various topics such as religion, nature, and politics.
I encourage you to read my post titled “Tirol Panorama Museum: A Must-See Historical Masterpiece” to discover what awaits you in the permanent exhibition, as well as to find useful visitor information about the museum.
After your visit to the Tirol Panorama Museum, you might be interested in exploring other tourist attractions in Bergisel. To find more information about these attractions and plan your visit, I recommend checking out the official website of Bergisel, which you can find in the resources section of this post.
The admission fee for Tirol Panorama Museum is covered by Innsbruck City Card.
7. Ambras Castle and the First Museum In The World
Innsbruck’s captivating tourist attractions beautifully connect various historical events and remarkable personalities spanning several centuries.
However, there is a particular facet of Innsbruck’s history that has not only intrigued historians but also inspired artists, writers, and even romantics from around the world. It revolves around the extraordinary love story of Archduke Ferdinand II and Philippine Welser—a tale of forbidden love between royalty and a commoner.
This forbidden love ultimately led to the creation of Ambras Castle, which stands today as a must-visit destination in Innsbruck, and for several compelling reasons.
Among the various sections of the castle, two, in particular, left me absolutely awe-struck: the Spanish Hall and the upper castle’s courtyard. These two areas stand out as the epitome of artistic beauty within Ambras Castle.
If you visit the upper castle’s courtyard, prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing monochrome murals that beautifully unveil Ferdinand II’s personality.
However, let me emphasize just how extraordinary the Spanish Hall is! Dating back to the 16th century, this hall stands as the grandest room in all of Ambras Castle, truly deserving of its special place.
Every corner of the Spanish Hall treats your eyes to a visual feast. From the allegorical figures and mythological scenes from Antiquity adorning the socle to the magnificent full-body portraits of various Tyrolean Counts that grace the walls of this rectangular hall, there is an abundance of captivating art to admire.
Apart from the Spanish Hall, I’m sure you’ll also like Ambras Castle’s armory, which houses the oldest collection of armor worn by renowned knights. It’s often regarded as the oldest museum in the world.
What makes it fascinating is the discovery that even the children of Archduke Ferdinand II and Philippine Welser had their own adorable suits of armor. It’s cool to see how even the little ones were involved in the knightly traditions of the time.
During your visit to Ambras Castle, I highly recommend downloading and using the castle’s smartphone app, which serves as an excellent audio guide. (See links in the resources section)
With this app, you can virtually have Philippine Welser and Archduke Ferdinand II as your personal tour guides as they narrate their captivating story while guiding you through the castle.
I have more to share about Ambras Castle, so I would like to invite you to read my post titled “Visiting Schloss Ambras: What to See in Innsbruck’s Castle.”
In this post, I delve into the fascinating history of the castle and provide valuable insights for anyone planning a trip to Ambras Castle. If you’re interested in exploring this beautiful castle, my post will be a great resource to help you plan your visit.
Ambras Castle’s admission fee is also covered by Innsbruck City Card.
Is Innsbruck City Card Worth It?
You might have noticed that the Innsbruck City Card is mentioned several times in the post. So, what exactly is it? Well, the Innsbruck City Card is your special pass to the extraordinary experiences in the city!
As a cardholder, you get to enjoy numerous attractions in Innsbruck and nearby destinations for free or at a discounted rate. With this card, you’ll have complimentary access to Innsbruck’s museums and even get to embark on a thrilling journey up and down the lifts and cable cars in and around the city.
In short, An Innsbruck City Card can save you money along your trip. But, is Innsbruck City Card really worth it?
Before you make a purchase decision, it is important to plan ahead and assess whether the cumulative expenses, including admission fees and transportation fares, for the various attractions you intend to visit outweigh the cost of acquiring the Innsbruck City Card.
Only when the combined expenses of visiting these attractions in Innsbruck exceed the price of an Innsbruck City Card should you proceed with buying it.
Typically, the greater the number of tourist attractions you explore in Innsbruck while your Innsbruck City Card is valid, the more potential savings you can enjoy.
You can buy an Innsbruck City Card that’s valid for either 24, 48, or 72 hours, depending on how long you’d stay in the city.
To make the most of Innsbruck City Card, I recommend including a round trip on the cable car to Nordkette and visit as many museums and landmarks in the city as possible. Or, simply, you can visit all the 7 tourist attractions in this list of unmissable things to do in Innsbruck.
Apparently, one day isn’t enough to visit all the unmissable tourist attractions in Innsbruck. So, you’ll need to stay for 2 days in the city and an Innsbruck City Card that’s valid for 2 days.
The last time I checked, an Innsbruck City Card that’s valid for 2 days (48 hours) costs 63 EUR. Let me show you how you can save 70 EUR using Innsbruck City Card for visiting Innsbruck’s must-visit attractions. The screenshots of the cost calculator are taken from the official website of Innsbruck Tourism.
Huge savings, right!? So, get your Innsbruck City Card now! 😀
Get an idea of how you can spend day(s) in Innsbruck:
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Resources: Unmissable Things To Do In Innsbruck
And that concludes our list of the essential activities to do in Innsbruck. I hope you find this post informative and beneficial for your upcoming trip to Innsbruck. As promised, I have included the links below to assist you in maximizing your experience during your visit:
- Ambras Castle (iPhone app)
- Ambras Castle (Android app)
- Bergisel official website
- Innsbruck-shop.com (Innsbruck City Card cost calculator)
Once again, if you don’t have accommodation for your Innsbruck trip yet, here’s where you can find the best hotel accommodation deals in Innsbruck.
I would be incredibly grateful if you could use this affiliate link to book your hotel in Innsbruck. By doing so, you’ll be supporting me and this blog, enabling us to create more valuable content like this. Thank you so much for your support!
I genuinely hope that you have an absolutely wonderful time during your trip to Innsbruck.
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