With the surrounding mountains cutting it off from other regions, isolated Tyrol (Tirol)—which spreads across western Austria and northern Italy—developed its own distinct identity and culture. From Tyrolean culinary specialties to local customs, here are a few ways you can experience Tyrolean culture in Innsbruck.
- Feast on Tyrolean dishes such as creamy soup, speckknödel (bacon dumplings), and apple strudel during a multicourse Austrian dinner.
- Attend a folk music and dance show and watch traditionally clad dancers yodel and perform the Schuhplattler, a fast-paced, shoe-slapping jig.
- Shop for Tyrolean wood carvings and traditional clothing such as dirndls, lederhosen, and clothes made from loden, a thick wool material that has been worn in Tyrol since the Middle Ages.
- Gain insight into Tyrolean history by wandering Innsbruck’s Old Town. Stop by the Hofburg, the palace built for Tyrol-born noble Archduke Sigmund the Rich; the Hofkirche, where Andreas Hofer, the leader of the 19th-century Tyrolean Rebellion against Napoleon, is buried; and the Ferdinandeum, part of the Tyrolean State Museums (Tiroler Landesmuseen), where local artworks are showcased.
- Ride a cable car in the Nordkette mountains, where you can try out typical Tyrolean winter sports, from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and sledding.
- Visit Swarovski Crystal World to see displays and art installations made using crystals produced by one of Tyrol’s most successful homegrown brands.
- Attend Perchtenlauf, a custom during which locals parade down the streets wearing scary masks and carrying canes and sticks. Perchtenlauf, which has taken place here since pagan times, happens in late November or early December.
- Come to Tyrol in autumn to witness the ceremonial return of the grazing cattle following the summer season. As the local farmers herd their livestock from Alpine pastures to the valley, the community celebrates. The animals are adorned with colorful garlands, ribbons, and flowers.