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Innsbruck Holidays

The capital of the Austrian Alps

Surrounded by the jagged peaks, forested slopes and meadows of the Austrian Alps, few European cities boast quite such a dramatic setting as Innsbruck. As such, if you’re lucky enough to have a window seat on your flight, you can expect to be treated to some truly spectacular views on the approach.

It’s a remarkably versatile city break destination throughout the year, with its unique blend of colourful riverside neighbourhoods, charming Old Town, rich cultural heritage, thriving gastronomic scene and swathes of Alpine nature right on its doorstep – far more than just a gateway to some of Austria’s finest ski resorts.

Architectural splendour

As you stroll through the streets of Innsbruck, you’ll notice a diverse range of architectural styles – it’s a city where tradition and modernity seamlessly blend into one another. The small but picturesque Altstadt (Old Town) is largely characterised by Gothic and Baroque buildings, some of which date back to the 15th century when Innsbruck became the official capital of the Tyrol region and a major political and cultural hub of the Habsburg Empire.

Key landmarks to look out for include the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof, built for Emperor Maximilian I), the Imperial Palace, the Cathedral of St. James the 51 metre-high City Tower, whose observation deck offers magnificent panoramic views of the city and the mountains beyond. On the opposite side of the Inn River you’ll see a row of brightly painted houses of all different colours, beautifully framed by snow-capped mountain peaks – the ultimate Innsbruck postcard vantage point, best photographed from the Innbrücke bridge.

A haven for outdoor adventures

As a two-time host of the Winter Olympics (1964 and 1976), Innsbruck is a bona fide winter sports paradise. Sölden, Ischgl, Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau and Kitzbühel are just a handful of the top class ski resorts within a 60-90 minute drive of Innsbruck, while Patscherkofel (to the south) and Nordkette (to the north) offer some fantastic slopes on the city’s outskirts. The ski season can last from late November until early May, with January, February and March usually providing the best snow conditions.

In summer and autumn, Innsbruck and the surrounding areas become ripe for hiking, cycling and wild swimming, particularly in and around Naturpark Karwendel, Patscherkofel and Nordkette – the latter being connected to the city centre via cable car.

Need to know

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Time zone
GMT +1
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Flight time
1hr 35mins

* Average time from London Luton to Innsbruck

Your Innsbruck questions, answered

It usually takes just under two hours to fly from London or Bristol to Innsbruck, and just over two hours from Manchester.
Innsbruck has an excellent public transport network. The easiest and most cost-effective way to get from the airport into the city centre is to hop on one of the local buses, or take the train. 
Innsbruck is a fabulous year-round city break destination – it just depends what sort of vibe you’re after. For snowy scenery and winter sports, the best time is between December and April, with late November and December offering a unique charm as the Christmas markets come to life. Most of the snow tends to melt by May, and the summer and autumn months are the prime time for hiking and cycling in the surrounding mountains. Between June and August, it’s often warm enough to eat and drink outside in the sunshine. 
German is the official language of Austria, although regional dialects do vary slightly. English is widely spoken so you’ll have no trouble getting by – but learning a local phrase of two is always handy.
The Euro is the official currency in Austria.
A long weekend would be sufficient to cover the highlights of Innsbruck and perhaps explore a little of the surrounding region. If you’re keen to fit in a few more hikes or bike trips in the mountains, then giving yourself an extra couple of days is a great idea.
Absolutely – Innsbruck is extremely safe, very walkable, and has lots of attractions to suit different tastes. The Alpine Zoo (one of the highest elevation zoos in Europe) is an ideal option for a day out if you’re visiting with children. It’s home to bears, wolves, otters, eagles and other species native to the Alpine region.