White, glittering snow topped mountains surround the capital of Tirol – Innsbruck. Oh, how long I had to wait to finally visit this city. We came quite unprepared, but my colleague Karin had some great tips about lovely Innsbruck. Let me share with you a few ideas for visiting Innsbruck in December:
1. The golden roof (das Goldene Dachl) and the Christmas market
This is probably the biggest tourist attraction in the old town. The roof is really golden and when around thousands Christmas lights glitter it looks like a fairytale. It was completed in 1500 to mark the wedding of Emperor Maximilian.
I probably don’t have to explain, this is the most crowded Christmas market in town?! In the middle of the square is a viewing platform, where you can take photos of the giant Christmas tree and the famous roof next to it. You can buy Christmas ornaments, souvenirs, gloves, hats etc. and of course mulled wine (Glühwein) and the traditional “kiachl”, a must try when visiting.
2. Streets with different themes
When walking round old town we noticed different themed streets, like the street of giants, with actual giant statues standing, or the streets of fairytales, where characters from different fairytales bring joy to children (and adults).
3. Swarovski Christmas tree
In the middle of the “Marktplatz” a modern, glittering Christmas tree made of Swarovski stones is taking visitors into another world. Surrounded with Christmas stalls, a marry go round and even a postbox for Santa are lined around the majestic tree.
4. Christmas stalls on Hungerburg
Hungerburg is a mountain station (860 m) in the Innsbruck area, which you can reach from the city center by taking the Northkettenbahn (a funicular) for only 9,50€ return. The modern yet beautiful stations were designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the iconic Bergisel Ski jump in Innsbruck as well.
Anyhow, the small but charming Christmas market on the plateau offers amazing views over the city and neighboring mountains. From here you can take another cable car to Seegrube (1,905 m) or even higher to Hafelekar (2,256 m).
5. Ski jump Bergisel
As mentioned before, the ski jump was designed by Zaha Hadid and completed in 2002. Now it doesn’t only serve the athletes and ski jumping fans, but also tourist are always welcome to enjoy the panoramic view from the top. When having a break at the restaurant, we found on the menu a cake “Bergisel”. Of course we had to try it. 😊 The entrance fee is 9,50€, for parking we paid 2,60€ for 90 minutes.
A very special Christmas market is very near the parking lot. The views of the city are nice and the pavilion is very romantic.
On this street in the pedestrian zone is again quite a big Christmas market and two big shopping centers if you need to warm up. Keep your eyes open for the St. Anne’s column, as it dates back to 1703. If you follow this street, you’ll come directly to the Golden roof.
7. The Triumphal Arch
I found the arch impressive and it reminded me of the Arch de Triomphe in Paris a lot, but the story behind this one is partly sad. The Empress of that time Maria Theresa wanted to build it to commemorate her son’s wedding, but during the celebration her husband suddenly died. Now the north side shows sad motives, while the southern side is devoted to the happy wedding.
8. Walk along the river and enjoy the views
The iconic pucture of Innsbruck: white mountains, colorful houses and a river. Enjoy your walk 😉
Although our visit to the city was short, we managed to see, try and feel the city. We can’t wait to be back either for some skiing or hiking. Hopefully see you soon, Innsbruck 😉