Wait! Don’t start yet! Put some –appropriate- music on first!
The first time I thought of visiting Innsbruck was when I was looking for an easier way to get to South Tyrol in Italy in order to stay at San Luis Retreat Hotel & Lodges, in a tree house in the woods. However, the cost of the tickets prevented me with brief procedures. Since then, other times it has crossed my mind, more so that I might be able to combine it with another Austrian city and go by train. I really wanted to see the colorful houses by the river. But again, that didn’t happen. Until my first Road Trip (by car) was organized in Europe, which started from Munich. Innsbruck would be our place to stay for the first three days.
What impressed me from the first moment in Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, was exactly what made me dream of this destination. The colorful houses on the river Inn with the snow-capped mountains of the Alps in the background. So much beauty, it looked like fake, just as it was lost in the fog of February. So it has deservedly been given the nickname “capital of the Alps”.
Below are the best things I did in Innsbruck and I suggest you if you are there for 2-3 days:
1. Walk in the Old Town (Aldstadt von Innsbruck)
The best way to see the Old Town is to get lost in its alleys and galleries. A picturesque colorful city with half a millennium of architectural history, with many shops, restaurants and picturesque cafes, it will not be difficult to seduce you. Admire the exceptional beauty of the architecture of buildings such as Helbling Haus, which I stayed to photograph for quite some time. Originally built in the Gothic style and with a baroque facade, the Rococo additions in the 18th century, created a building of incredible beauty that cannot be surpassed! Walking a little further down you will fall on Maria Theresien Street where you will meet the Column of St. Anna, while a little later you will meet the church of St. Josef, with the special mural inside.
2. Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)
Arriving in the main square of the city you will meet one of the most famous and well-photographed landmarks of the city of Innsbruck, the Golden Roof. It houses a balcony on the third floor and is made of 2,657 refractory gilded tiles. It was built in the early 15th century by Emperor Maximilian I as a gallery from which he could watch the events in the square and address to the people. Today, the building houses the offices of the International Alpine Convention, the Alliance of Eight Alpine States aimed at protecting and promoting the Alps.
3. One slice (or two) of Sacher Torte
You may have tried it in Vienna or Salzburg, but the thruth is, no matter how many times you taste it, are not enough. I didn’t know there was a Café Sacher, the Chocolate Mecca in Innsbruck. But once I saw it in the city center, it was the best stop to warm up. This rich, dense chocolate cake with whipped cream goes well with an espresso after a day of wandering around the city, sightseeing or skiing.
4. Walk to Maria-Theresien Strasse
You can’t help but walk one of the busiest (and historic) streets in Innsbruck, with a wide variety of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Part of the road is fully pedestrianized, making the stroll even more enjoyable. Besides, several attractions, such as the Triumphal Arc, the Column of St. Anna and the chapel of St. George are located either on this street or near it, so it is one of the must see of the visit to innsbruck.
5. Visit the castle (Schloss) Ambras
As we passed the outer door of the castle we were greeted by impressive peacocks (and this was the first time I saw one of them flying!). Schloss Ambras was a medieval fortress that was turned into a Renaissance castle, as a gift to the wife of Archbishop Ferdinand II, who was one of the most important representatives of the Hapsburg dynasty. Built on the hills above Innsbruck, the entire castle is a 16th-century work of art. Ferdinand was one of the most prominent art collectors, who housed the Ambras Castle, making it the world’s oldest museum.
Among the castle’s collections is the “Art Collection and Strange Objects”, such as rhino horn cups and portraits of strange people. The room with the armor has rare pieces dating back to the 15th century, while the “Spanish Hall” with the wood-carved ceiling decorated with 27 full-length portraits of Tyrol’s nobles is of particular interest. The hall is often used for classical music concerts. The Upper Castle houses an extensive collection of 300 portraits of Hapsburg and other important European dynasties, dating from the 15th to the 19th century.
6. Walk on the Inn River
The whole city got its name from this river, since the term “Innsbruck” is translated as the bridge over the river Inn. The walks on its banks make you feel awe, as on one side you can see the colorful houses with the triangular roofs against the backdrop of the snow-capped Alps. It’s like the illustrated pages of a fairy tale, only we are lucky enough to experience it in reality.
7. Dinner at Weisses Rössl
Away from the hustle and bustle, but right in the middle of the historic city center of Innsbruck and just a few steps away from the famous Golden House is the restaurant (and hotel) Weisses Rössl. In the same place that travelers could find a place to stay in the year 1600, since we are talking about a very old inn. Today, the 4th generation is at the helm and has managed to turn a typical inn into an ideal (traditional) place for travelers from all over the world who can enjoy grandmother’s traditional recipes with an international touch.
All photos by me
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