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Innsbruck Highlights: What to do on an Innsbruck Layover

I had always wanted to go to Innsbruck. I had missed out on previous opportunities to visit on Austria trips so when I was heading to a conference in Kitzbuhel I decided this was the time to make sure I saw Innsbruck Highlights.

However, I was keen to not be away for too many evenings so I figured out that I could get from Kitzbuhel to Innsbruck and have 3 hours there before catching the EasyJet flight back to London without having to get up too early in Kitzbuhel.

city street with buildings and mountains in the background innsbruck
Streets with jaw dropping backgrounds

I had 2 objectives in Innsbruck and both were around photos. I wanted to capture the image I had seen around of cute houses with mountains behind them and a river in the front.

The second was to see the Hadid-designed stations and to take the cable car combination of Nordkette.

colourful steeple with old fashioned clock and mountains behind innsbruck
Typical architecture

Innsbruck Highlights – The old town

I walked into town from the station which allowed me to stop for a coffee and to snap some pics – it was a stunning day. It took about 15 minutes to hit the river.

I think I went a bit too far south as there was no cute old town where I went. However, I walked up the river and was able to get my shot with the houses, river and mountains so my first objective was achieved.

colourful houses on the water with a mountain behind innsbruck highlights
The Money Shot!

I was then in the old town which was super cute – albeit filled with walking tours! I managed a few photos of classically Austrian buildings and cute outdoor cafes but I had very limited time!

⇒ Interested in visiting some other off-the-beaten-track places in Europe? Check out my posts on Riga, Ayrshire in Scotland, Verbier in Switzerland in the summer, the Tarn et Garonne region in France, Hamburg in Germany and Puglia in Italy.

⇒ Planning a bigger trip in Europe? Check out this really helpful post on a Central Europe Itinerary.

curved old fashioned building in innsbruck old town
The Old Town

Innsbruck Highlights – Nordkette

I then walked to the Hadid designed station – very cool. I was able to buy a ticket that would take me all the way to the top return. To get to the top it is essentially three stops: Hungerburg, Seegrube and Hafelekar (as far as it goes)

modern subway station hadid design innsbruck
Coolest stations ever!

At the base the trains come about every 15 minutes. It is then about 15 minutes through a tunnel to get to the first stop Hungerburg.

Once you exit the station there is a deck area for some fabulous views. You can then either wander this area or head to the right and walk up the stairs to get to the next level (this is very clearly signed).

view from nordkette cable car innsbruck
Heading up on the Cable Car

The cable car then gives you some terrific views and you can then head up to Seegrube. Up and out again you come out and take a right and are almost immediately at the final stage cable car.

snow and rocks at the top of the nordkette cable car innsbruck
Looking up to the very top

At Hafelekar it was quite snowy. I was there in October. There is a restaurant with a limited but tasty looking menu.

You are able to walk further up to the very top of the mountain if you like – this would not take more than 10 minutes.

view over snowy mountain of innsbruck
View over Innsbruck from the top

And then you follow the same path back down.

Innsbruck Highlights – Food and Drink

There was very little of this on my quick trip. I had an excellent flat white in a groovy little café called Max Standard.

I then grabbed a sandwich at the nice looking chain bakery at the train station and ate it in the cab – no time to stop and eat on a three-hour tour.

chairs and tables with wooly and colourful rugs and cusshions innsbruck
How cosy does this look?

Innsbruck Highlights – Getting there and around:

I took a train from Kitzbuehl to Innsbruck. There are some direct trains but I had to change in Worgl. which was very easy.

The website for the trains is brilliant and even tells you which platform you arrive on and then will go from so it was very easy to make the change. I had researched ahead and there were storage lockers at Innsbruck railway station.

These are conveniently located very near the platforms. I popped in my suitcase and for less than 3 euros it and my laptop were safely stored.

storage lockers at innsbruck railway station
Lockers at Innsbruck Station

I headed into the station and took a photograph of the large map outside the bookstore and used this as my guide.

map of innsbruck city centre
Innsburck City Centre Map

There is a bus that goes from the station to the airport. My original plan was to get back to the station and grab my bag and get on this bus.

However I ran short on time as I went all the way up the cable car so instead, I grabbed a cab. The airport was less than 15 minutes from the station (this was at about 3 pm) so it was about 12 euros in a cab.

The airport is a small one as well so no need to be too worried about security queues. I flew with Easyjet back into London Gatwick.

Innsbruck Highlights – What I would have done differently:

I would have spent 24 hours in Innsbruck rather than 3. I would have liked to spend another couple of hours in the old town and some time sitting and eating strudel. I would also have liked to visit the famous ski jump. This is on the opposite side of town from Nordkette.

I would also have liked more time at each of the stops on the Nordkette. There was also a nice-looking restaurant at the first stop which would have been lovely for a coffee and a view.

⇒ Another great option if you would like to do something different is to head to Swarovski Crystal World – read all about it in this great post.

I think 24 hours would have been perfect. Or you could have a nice relaxing weekend in Innsbruck if you flew in Friday night and left on the Sunday – the issue here would be getting the flight times.

Boutique Hotels in Innsbruck:

The family-run Hotel Maximillian has a great location in the middle of the Innsbruck Old Town

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

For an elegant city experience with a spa and gym check out Stage 12

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Go classic Austrian 2 km from Innsbruck with hardwood floors and flatscreen TVs at Gasthof Walzl

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Getting To Innsbruck:

Flights to Innsbruck

Related Posts:

Things to do in Vorarlberg Austria

Who Paid for What in this Post

I covered all of the costs associated with producing this post. However, this post does contain some affiliate links.

This means if you click through on some of the links and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. I just wanted to make sure that you knew this.


Like this Post? Please give it a pin!

The oh so lovely Innsbruck! I only had 4 hours there and I wish it could have been more time. Here are my #innsbruckhighlights #innsbruck #innsbruckhighlights

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Amsterdam Airport

Thursday 26th of December 2019

Innsbruck isn’t too far from the Italian border so they have some really good Italian eateries. My personal favorite place to eat there was this pizza place called Magic Pizza. It certainly rivals famous pizza places in the U.S.

The Boutique Adventurer

Friday 27th of December 2019

Magic Pizza!! that sounds fantastic!! thanks for adding this one in!

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