Situated in the beautiful Inn Valley and surrounded by mountains on all sides the location alone makes Innsbruck a year round holiday destination.
On its north end is the Karwendel range with Nordkette raising its jagged head. Its south is ringed in by the Saile and Serles group of mountains. The Patscherkofel stands with its rounded summit on the south eastern end. The city sits on the bank of the river Inn and ‘Bruck’ means bridge. So the city is, in effect, the bridge over river Inn. Innsbruck’s largest income comes from tourism and so the city authorities take special care to ensure a special experience for all its tourists. The capital of the province of Tirol Innsbruck is an important city of the federal district. As a year round holiday destination Innsbruck has something to offer every tourist irrespective of the time of year.
Winter tourism in Innsbruck
Innsbruck is one of the few ski resort cities in the world that offers a snow guarantee wherein if it doesn’t snow there during your winter trip they will take you to a place with plenty of snow. And why is it so easy to make that guarantee? That is because Innsbruck almost never spends a winter day starving for snow. Is it then any surprise that twice it has played host to the winter Olympics! The Innsbruck area offers almost 200 trails. Axamer Lizium and Glungerez together form the ‘white roof’ where the majority of the events during both the 1964 and 1976 Olympics were held. This natural ski area boasts of a permanent training run and several rails and jumps, enough to satisfy the most snow hungry tourist.Patscherkofel, Muttereralm and Nordpark are other very popular ski resorts around Innsbruck. Easy transportation facilities and all in one ski passes make all the ski resorts in the vicinity easily accessible. For those whose enthusiasm for snow sports is more in the capacity of a viewer than a participant there is the Air and Style competition that is held in early December at the Olympic Ski Jump Stadium. In March the top snow boarders in the world participate in the Innsbruck Extreme, a contest that draws huge crowds every year.
Summer Tourism in Innsbruck
Missing winter at Innsbruck does not mean you have to miss skiing. The Stubai Glacier, about forty kilometers from Innsbruck offers an year-round skiing opportunity. As the snow melts off the mountains the lush greenness of the oak and maples envelop the slopes and transform ski slopes into wonderful hiking tracks. The region offers ample opportunities for paragliding and rafting too.Then there are the countless summer festivals. The International Folk Festival held in the second half of July has performers putting up authentic dance and music acts. From June to August the Spanish Hall of the Ambras Castle holds a concert every Tuesday. In late April there is the week long International Dance Theater Festival. Also known as the ‘Organ Town’ Innsbruck holds concerts from May to September every year to showcase the two most interesting organs that the town possesses. One is the Ebert organ that dates back to 1558 and the other, located in the Silver Chapel, is the Italian Renaissance organ. The International Organ Competition brings the organ festival to a grand close. The seasonal flowers are in full bloom during the summer at the University Botanical Gardens.
Year round attractions
There is the special summer and probably the even more special winter. Then there are attractions that make the city worth a visit irrespective of the weather. You can catch a breathtaking view of the city and its surrounding mountains from the top of the fourteenth century Stadtturm, also known as the Town Tower. Above the ski jump stadium is the Bergisel Tower which offers an unrestrictive panorama of the Alps. The Golden Roof or the Goldenes Dachl is a stunning sight. Built to celebrate the marriage of Maximillian I, it is so named because of the more than two thousand five hundred gilded copper tiles that shimmer on top of a Gothic Oriel window. Situated in the old part of the town the Golden Roof is surrounded by quaint old building with the Nordkette Mountains making for a striking backdrop.The Schloss Ambras is a tenth century castle built by Archduke Ferdinand II. A must visit is The Chamber of Art and Curiosities located in the castle. Everything from precious objects to toys and scientific items is on display here. The Upper Castle houses the ‘Hasburg Portrait Gallery’ with about three hundred portraits to view. The Cathedral of St James with its sumptuous Baroque interiors and its Madonna, painted high above the altar by Lukas Cranach the elder is definitely worth a visit. Hungerburg is a small town on the outskirts of Innsbruck from where you can take a cable car trip up the Alps. The Swarovski Crystal World is a multimedia facility that is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. The Grassmayr Bell Museum, that showcases the world famous Grassmayr bells, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, with everything from classic painting to Tyrolean weapons as exhibits, and Tyrolean Provincial Museum, dedicated to history round up the list of famous museums in the area.Add to all these famous restaurants, and the Casino Innsbruck and you will know why the city has earned the reputation of being Innsbruck-the year round holiday destination.Photo of Innsbruck houses originally posted by James Cridland