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Things to Do in Innsbruck

Perhaps most famous for playing host to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, the town of Innsbruck is the perfect base from which to explore the pistes and valleys of the Austrian Alps—St. Anton, St. Christoph, and Solden are all within easy reach. Inside the city, though, there’s no shortage of ways to amuse yourself year round, with a diverse range of tours suited to travelers of all ages, and guides on hand to bring the city’s colorful history to life. In Innsbruck itself, top attractions include the Hofkirche (a Gothic church); the Hofburg (a former Habsburg palace); 16th-century Goldenes Dachl (the famous Golden roof); and Ambras Castle, widely considered a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. And while diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, you can't miss the famous Swarovski Crystal World, which showcases the dazzling beauty of these sought-after sparklers. For some of Innsbruck’s most scenic views, stroll along the banks of the Inn River or take one of the cable cars to Hafelekar, Hungerburg, or Seegrube—where you can gaze out over the rooftops of Innsbruck to the mighty peaks of the Swiss Alps beyond. From up there, bold travelers can experience the best of the Nordkette mountains, which form part of Austria's largest natural park.
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Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)
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Amid the brightly painted buildings and historic monuments of Innsbruck’s Old Town, one landmark shines brighter than all the others. Standing proud over Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) is the dramatic focal point of the 15th-century New Court (Neuhof) building and glitters with 2,657 gilded copper tiles.

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Hungerburg Railway (Hungerburgbahn)
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The state-of-the-art Hungerburg Railway (Hungerburgbahn) is a hybrid funicular connecting Innsbruck to the mountain suburb of Hungerburg. More than just a transport link, it’s also an architectural landmark—the Zaha Hadid–designed stations are space-age masterpieces that draw as many visitors as the railway itself.

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Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten)
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Themed around one of Austria’s best-known exports, Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) is a dazzling attraction devoted to sparkling crystals. Twinkling exhibitions created by contemporary artists and designers, together with a playground, play tower, and hand-shaped hedge maze, make for a family-friendly day out.

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Hafelekar Mountain (Hafelekarspitze)
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Framing the northern horizon of Innsbruck, the jagged peaks of the North Chain (Nordkette) range are a natural playground for hikers, climbers, and adventurers. The central Hafelekar Mountain (Hafelekarspitze), accessible by cable car, is the gateway to the mountains, with views that expand over the Innsbruck valley and the surrounding Austrian Alps.

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Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
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Dating back to the 15th century, the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) was among the lavish imperial residences of the Hapsburg dynasty. Redesigned by Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century, it’s a feast of baroque and rococo style, adorned with gleaming marble, glittering gold, and elaborate frescoes.

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Court Church (Hofkirche)
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Built by Ferdinand I in 1553 and part of the grand Hofburg Imperial Palace, the magnificent Court Church (Hofkirche) is among the highlights of Innsbruck Old Town. The star attraction of the church, an impressive example of Gothic architecture, is the elaborate cenotaph of Maximilian I, which dominates the main aisle.

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Bergisel Ski Jump
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An architectural landmark, legendary sporting venue, and tourist attraction all rolled into one, the Bergisel Ski Jump is one of Innsbruck’s most visited sites. As well as hosting international winter sports events, the ski-jump tower affords a spectacular panoramic view of Innsbruck and the surrounding Tyrolean mountains.

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Maria Theresien Street (Maria-Theresien-Strasse)
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Named for the much-revered Empress Maria Theresa, Maria Theresien Street (Maria-Theresien-Strasse) is Innsbruck’s pedestrianized main street, running through the heart of the Old Town. Lined with architectural treasures, a stroll down the street reveals pastel-painted facades, elaborately carved balconies, and beautiful baroque palaces.

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Tratzberg Castle (Schloss Tratzberg)
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Perched above Austria’s forested Inntal Valley, 16th-century Tratzberg Castle is one of the Tirol’s most impressive Renaissance and Gothic castles. Guided tours of this one-time defensive outpost take you on a journey through its history, and the lives of the Habsburg emperors and medieval merchants who once lived here.

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Innsbruck City Tower (Stadtturm)
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Towering 167 feet (51 meters) over the northern mouth of Maria Theresien Strasse, Innsbruck City Tower (Stadtturm) is one of the city’s most recognizable monuments. Built in 1450 and topped with a striking green dome, the historic clock tower is best known for its open-air observation deck, affording views over the Old Town.

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More Things to Do in Innsbruck

Alpine Zoo Innsbruck (Alpenzoo Innsbruck)

Alpine Zoo Innsbruck (Alpenzoo Innsbruck)

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On the sunny slopes of the Hungerburg plateau, surrounded by snow-capped Alpine peaks, the Alpine Zoo Innsbruck (Alpenzoo Innsbruck) is a unique wildlife reserve with a spectacular setting. Devoted to protecting native Tyrolean wildlife, the zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals, with over 150 different Alpine species represented.

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Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras Innsbruck)

Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras Innsbruck)

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Perched in the foothills of the Alps just south of Innsbruck, the 16th-century Ambras Palace (Schloss Ambras) was the onetime residence of Archduke Ferdinand II. Today, the striking Renaissance palace and impeccably manicured gardens play host to one of Innsbruck’s most impressive museums and portrait galleries.

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Audioversum Science Center

Audioversum Science Center

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Devoted to the world of hearing, Audioversum—Science Center is a high-tech, interactive, family-friendly museum. Walk through core exhibits like a giant 3D ear and a virtual reality sound labyrinth, try games to test your hearing, and experience the soundproof Scream Box to measure the volume of a shout.

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Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum (Tiroler Landesmuseum)

Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum (Tiroler Landesmuseum)

Founded in 1823 and brimming with treasures relating to Tyrolean history, cultural heritage, and art, the Tyrolean State Museum (Tiroler Landesmuseum) is Innsbruck’s most notable museum. Named after Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the sprawling Ferdinandeum is just one of five properties managed by the Tyrolean State Museum.

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