Updated: Jan 20, 2021
"They who sing through the summer must dance in the winter." ~Italian Proverb
Thistles and Coos offers relatable and relevant travel advice. We are committed to provide accessible and affordable travel information peppered with our funny stories and experiences.
We love love love Innsbruck with it's medieval streets and the mountains looming over the city in the near distance. #didimentionlove?
48 hours isn't quite long enough but we will give you the highlights of this beauty.
What to do? Where to stay? Museums? Tours? Wiener schnitzel? Strudel? #getinmybelly
A few points that made our stay ideal:
First off, we stayed in an AirBnB within 200 feet of Maria-Theresien-.Struasse. The location ideal. Feet from old town.
When we came back through, we stayed in a hotel one block from the train station in one direction and about a block to old town in the other direction. Location is key in this idyllic city.
We also traveled during the off-season so the prices were right and we were surrounded in a winter wonderland.
There was several feet of snow when we arrived and by the time we left, it was snowing again.
Austria in the winter? Yes!
You have 24 (or 48) hours.. what is on the top of your list? We'll help you out a bit on that. All on our list is near old town and within walking distance of each other. No need for a car here. Local transit is nearby.
1. Nordkette cable car / Nordkettenbahnen lift
This a must for your travels to Innsbruck. Expect about 4 hours on this. You will want to take your time on this because there are several levels to this excursion.
First, you will buy your tickets (combo tickets - roundtrip to the top run about 36.50 euros) at Congress Station for the Hungerberg Furnicular train that starts at the base and glides you to the first level: Seegruben.
*Make sure you exit at this stop. We didn't know and we sat in the cable car with the doors open, waiting for them to close to go up another level. #tourists
The doors shut and went back down to the first stop. Oops. We rode it back up to the next level and exited this time.
The sights here are spectacular. Stay here for the views. Get a bite or pint at the local pub/eatery.
When ready to go to the next level/stop: Seegruben Cable Car. It's about a 10 minute easy glide to the next level. There is a restaurant here. Our story (kind of) stops here on this level.
Confession: We went in to the restaurant to get a soup and beer. It started to snow harder so we went outside to take more videos and pictures.
When we were done, we went to the last place to take us up to the next level.
When we went in to the ticket window, the staff told us that we missed the last cable car by minutes. So, on our next trip, we will be going to the top!
But, if you are there to take the last cable car, the Halfecker. It runs every 15 minutes between the hours of 9:00am - 5:00pm. If you get to the top before we venture out there again, post your pictures!
*Scroll to the bottom to see our video about our experience of missing our cable car to go to the top #twominutestoolate
2. See the Golden Roof
The city's most famous symbol: The Goldenes Dachl (The Golden Roof). Construction completed in 1500 and the golden roof consists of 2657 "fire gilded" copper tiles. This landmark sits in the heart of old town.
If you are entering from Marie-Theresien Strasse, cross over Marktgraben/Burggraben Strasse. Go straight. Keep looking up.
Follow everyone else's gazes because they will probably be looking up to. When you come to the end, to take a left or right, look up... you are here.
Now, imagine in the 1500s, when this building engulfed scene, Emperor Maxililian loved sitting under this golden roof watching the people go about their daily lives, or watching jousting matches.
Some hidden gems about the structure: "The front of the structure is decorated with a man and two wives: Emperor Maximilian is portrayed next to his wife of the time Bianca Maria Sforza. He didn't like her much, however, and that is why his first wife – Maria von Burgund – also looks out from the relief."
3. Maria-Theresien Strausse
Shopping, coffee, restaurants! Parts of this street are pedestrian-only so take advantage of the shops, the pubs, and the aesthetics of this amazing "strasse". When we ventured here in January, the trees lining the pedestrian streets were decorated with a thousand lights and Swarovski crystals. The trees twinkled and lit up the path. Beautiful.
4. Hofkirche and Tyrolean Regional Heritage museum
Located in Aldstadt (old town), this Gothic church is sure to impress. The church built in 1553 is filled with 28 large bronze statues. The statues, depicting relatives, ancestors, and heros, were completed between the years 1502-1555. They line the center of the church and tower over the visitors that step through and look up in awe.
Take your time through the museum. See how life was lived hundreds of years ago.
Hidden gem: Walking up the stone marble steps in the back of the church, look at the top railing. There you will see carved graffiti in the stone that date back hundreds of years.
Tickets (as of 2019) for the church and museum were (purchased in the front lobby) 8 euros. The museum is on about 3 levels and takes a little over an hour to walk through.
5. Shopping in Old Town
Whether you are looking for souvenirs or high-end merchandise, old town has it all. When you finish shopping, pop in to one of the restaurants, wine shops, or dessert/coffee shop.
The roads are narrow and can be quite busy as you stroll through the 800 year old city center.
Picturesque, and at the same time, cozy. Some of our best souvenirs we took home: Christmas ornaments and decorations, Swarovski crystals, hand painted wooden fleur-de-lis, cowbells, and music boxes.
"Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” ~ Lawrence Block
Innsbruck is a beautiful and quaint city. With the local transportation and airport available, this city is perfect for a weekend. Though, I guarantee you will be back. There's so much to see here.