Top Attractions in Innsbruck
Top Attractions in Innsbruck
Famed as the capital of the Alps, Innsbruck is a flamboyant and vigorous city that takes you on a small ride into the high mountains dominating the skyline. Although renowned as just a ski resort, there is much more to explore in this city. Browse through the tons of museums that give you an insight into the culture, stomach it up at the numerous restaurants serving delicious Tyrolean cuisine or embark on a hiking trip while spotting some marvellous wildlife and taking a dip on the mountains. The city acting as a meeting point of past and future right in the Alps serves as one of the top winter-sports destinations in the world in winters. The distinctive attractions of the city ranging from the Imperial Palace, Ottoburg, Wilten Basilica to the most-visited Dance Summer and Innsbruck Festival Week, all of this conjoined with jaw-dropping natural beauty makes Innsbruck a destination that offers something for everyone.
Tagged as one of the 3 most important cultural buildings in Austria, the Hofburg (Imperial Residence) was built between the 15th and 16th centuries. Having been remodeled in the 18th century by Empress Maria Theresa, the striking feature of the castle is the Riesensaal, a 31-meter long hall also referred to as the Giant Hall. Other attractions are the luxurious apartments with their painted ceilings and frescoes, and paintings of Maria Theresa and her 16 children.
The Golden Roof (Golden Dachl) situated on Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse is one of the most well-known landmarks of Innsbruck. It was built in 1496 to commemorate Maximilian I’s marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza. This Oriel window roofed with 2,657 gold-plated copper tiles served as a box for Maximilian I where he could watch various festivities in the street below.
Alpenzoo is well known as the abode of several mountain animals from the Alpine regions including mammals, birds, and reptiles. Housing over 2,000 animals from 150 different species, it is also home to the world’s largest cold water aquarium containing several marine life species. A striking feature is the walkable ibex compound and if you are lucky enough, you will get to hear the wolves howl on the ringing of the Innsbruck Church bells.
Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) located in Wattens, around 15 kilometers from Innsbruck is Austria’s most visited tourist attraction. It was inaugurated in 1995 to honor the 100 year anniversary of Austria’s famous crystal company, Swarovski. There are some unique objects to view in the museum like the giant head designed by Andre Heller that greets you by spurting water out of its mouth as you enter. Several modern artists have contributed to the crystal attractions here.
One of the top attractions of the city is the Hofkirche or the Court Church, which was completed in 1563 in late Gothic style. The most striking features of the church are its high altar, a choir screen, a monument dedicated to Andres Hofer and its black marble sarcophagus with a bronze figure of Maximilian surrounded by 24 marble reliefs depicting important events in Maximilian I's life. Also of note are the spectacular tombs, the museum of Emperor Maximilian I and 28 bronze figures of the emperor's ancestors and contemporaries.
Ambras Castle, an old fortress used by the counts of Andechs, is now perched on the spot of a 10th-century castle above the city overlooking it. The main attraction of the castle is its armory which contains pieces of art from the time of Emperor Maximilian I to Emperor Leopold I. Another noteworthy aspect is its Spanish Hall above the armory which includes an intricately designed ceiling and walls ornamented with 27 tall portraits.
Old Town Innsbruck offers a peek into the history of Innsbruck with its medieval houses and buildings made in Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo style. As you walk through the main street of Old Town, you will feel as if you have stepped a few centuries back in time. Some of Innsbruck’s most famous attractions are in the Old Town like the Imperial Palace, Folk Art Museum, the Golden Eagle (Goldener Adler) and the Golden Roof.
The hill made famous by the Battle of Bergisel is now a world class winter-sport destination. The highlight of Bergisel is its ski jump (Bergiselschanze) and the new tower. The tower features a 50-meter high viewing platform from where you can see breathtaking views of the Nordkette range, Inntal, and Innsbruck. Below the ski jump is a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives while fighting for freedom including the Andreas Hofer monument.
The Cathedral of St. James:
Formerly known as the Parish Church of St. James, the structure was raised to the status of a cathedral in 1964. Famed for its impressive twin-towered west front and high dome over the choir, the church was built in Baroque style in 1724. Most of the art and stucco work was done by the Asam brothers with certain exceptions like the Madonna above the high altar painted by German artist, Luka Cranach the Elder.