Innsbruck, a town, nay, valley, nestled between the lofty Alps is awfully popular for winter sports what with all the snow it gets from December onwards. Historically too, Innsbruck has had its share of politics since the 4th century. It became an important seat of culture in the 15th century when Innsbruck was made the capital of Tyrol. The attention it received for being the capital of Tyrol saw a whole lot of administrative offices coming up during that time. Air raids during the world war II destroyed quite a bit of this town though….
Tour of Innsbruck
We took the regional train from Salzburg to Innsbruck – a 2-hour ride through the beautiful countryside of Austria. You will almost not want to blink even once though the journey, lest you should miss even one pinch of that beauty!
A very small town, you are at the old town centre within 10 minutes of walking from the train station. They say that the Tyrol region is one of the most beautiful in Austria, a gateway to the Alps. With the snow-covered mountains on all sides, it is the perfect town for relaxation, long walks, bike rides or adventure sports. Skiing is very popular in the winters…
We walked from the main Maria-Theressen-Strasse near St. Ann’s Column, took the Graben Burg road to Hofburg and Rathaus to the Cathedral of St. James. Between clicking photos, reading about the history, admiring the architecture and licking an ice-cream, you tend to fall in love with this part of Innsbruck…
For Lunch, we went to the Weisses Rössl, a 400+ yr old restaurant in the old town of Innsbruck. It’s classic Tyrolean food here and not to be missed if you like local Austrian food. We absolutely loved the warmth of the place, the hospitality of the staff and the out of the world food!
Post lunch, we walked down to the most famous landmark of Innsbruck, the Golden Roof, a small quaint house built around 1500 by King Maxmilian 1. This overlooks Innsbruck’s Gothic Old Town which is nothing less than a living story book. And then, we went up to the bridge on the Danube. We had to. After all, Innsbruck means, Inn bridge!
Two highlights we skipped were the Alpenzoo and Nordkette (via the modern cable car) for amazing panoramic views. It’s the base station for all adventure lovers as well and has multiple hiking tracks. We skipped it since it was a severely overcast day, and knew that we wouldn’t be able to see anything from the view points up in the hills…
Instead, we went to Swarovski.
Tour of Swarovski
We took a bus for the Swarovski Crystal World, one hour away from Innsbruck. A dedicated shuttle leaves Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof at regular frequencies. We checked the timings as soon as we reached the station from Salzburg, and planned our tour of Innsbruck accordingly. We took the 2:40 pm one so that we could return on the 5:35pm shuttle, so as to catch our train back. Return ticket is Eur 9.50 per adult.
At Swarovski, it’s the Crystal world and lots of shopping. Our daughter went gleefully from one room to another, happy admiring all the crystal installations and specifically loved the castle towards the end of the tour.
The shopping zone, usually, is very crowded. If you are a master shopper though, you can still pick up the stuff of your choice. I did just that and headed to the payment counter, so that we could go and get ourselves some hot coffee and chocolate before the bus ride back to Innsbruck, and then the train back to Salzburg!
P.S: For a complete Austria itinerary and tour details, read — A Perfect Summer Holiday in Austria