Romantic Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol in western Austria; its pastel-hued houses lie along the green waters of River Inn and huddle in a tangle of medieval alleys in the Old Town. Ornate Baroque and Rococo architecture contrasts with madcap modern creations, all cradled by the protective backdrop of the jagged Alps.
Day 1: Innsbruck Sightseeing
Explore Innsbruck’s Altstadt (Old Town). Start your day at the iconic Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) before climbing the steps of the 15th-century Stadtturm (City Tower) for views of rooftops and Baroque spires. Lunch in the alleyways of the Altstadt, and then visit the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I in the Gothic Hofkirche (City Church), with its lines of stunning bronze statuary. Afterwards pop into the Hofburg Imperial Palace to learn about Tyrol’s Habsburg Imperial Family and then walk down to elegant, pedestrianized Maria-Theresien-Strasse for shopping and dining opportunities aplenty.
Day 2: Crystals and Castles
Take a half-day tour of the glittering art installations at Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens and enjoy lunch at the park’s CAFÉ-terra – if it’s sunny grab a picnic – before retracing your steps to the mining town of Hall in Tyrol for a trip down the salt mines. If time allows, explore the Armories and Old Master paintings in the Renaissance gem Schloss Ambras, perched in the hills south of Innsbruck.
Day 3: Ride the Hungerburgbahn
In the morning visit Zaha Hadid’s Bergisel Ski Jump Stadium and then tram it to Congress to take the Hungerburgbahn funicular up into the Alps. Stop off at Alpenzoo Innsbruck to see the ibex and marmots in Europe’s highest zoo before journeying up to Hungerburg itself. From here take a cable car to lunch at the Alpenlounge Seegrube before ascending to Hafelekar for glorious mountain views and skiing in winter.