Thinking about visiting Innsbruck, Austria? It’s a beautiful place to explore… And even better, it’s easy to do as a day trip from Munich!
Innsbruck, the Capital of the Alps, delights with its unique wealth of wonderful attractions between 574 and 2,350 metres above sea level… An exceptional setting where city, culture and nature come together to delight anyone who wants to explore, enjoy and be inspired. Nowhere else are alpine experiences and urban joie de vivre so closely connected | Innsbruck.info
Less than three hours after leaving Munich, I was literally on top of a mountain enjoying amazing views that made me feel as though I was on top of the world. In one day I managed to stand on a snow topped mountain, visit a zoo, wander through a beautiful Old Town, enjoy two museums and munch delicious strudel and Sachertorte.
Getting There from Munich
It can take as little as 1 hour 34 minutes to get from Munich to Innsbruck by train – That’s not a lot, particularly when you get to gaze out of a train window, watching the mountains come in to view!
- Plan Ahead, Book Early, Go Early – We visited in peak skiing season, so we had to plan ahead and book a couple of weeks in advance of our visit in order to get a train ticket at a reasonable price. Choose the earliest train you can manage in order to make the most of your day in Innsbruck: we took the direct 7:44 train which got us to Innsbruck just after 9am. Perfect!
- Consider Reserving Seats – We didn’t reserve any seats and hadn’t realised just how busy the train would be. Don’t be afraid to ask people to move their bags and coats if you spot a space – or you might end up stood for your entire journey whilst a bag who we’ll assume hasn’t purchased a ticket gets to travel in comfort. Reserved seats incur an additional cost.
- Trains Go from Munich Ost and Munich Hbf – When using the English DB website (see below), if you search for a “Munich” station, it will default to the Hauptbahnhof. Search for both the Ost and Hbf stations to check out all the train journeys that might be suitable. I’d also recommend downloading and installing their mobile phone app – By setting up an account, you can buy tickets online and get a nifty little digital ticket. No paper, no messing. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of battery life and a form of ID with you!
- Deutsche Bahn Website – I always book any of my long distance train journeys through this. It’s in English, so Google Translate doesn’t break any of the functions, it provides multiple options for trains, includes their applicable ticket types and important information like platform and transfers. If you’re not taking a direct train, make sure you give yourself a good transfer window. Like in England, trains frequently run a little late | DB Website
Advice on reaching Innsbruck from other areas or by other methods can be found here.
What To Do
I’m a museum girl at heart, who loves wandering around old cities, peering up at historic buildings and seeking out interesting foods to try. This is how I spent a day in Innsbruck in February 2017, as well as additional bits and pieces you might find interesting. Keen to get at much done as possible, I wore a good pair of comfy boots to walk in and we didn’t stop for a restaurant meal.
As always, make sure to plan your day as you feel you’ll enjoy it best, leaving enough time for the things most important to you. Don’t forget to double check the things you want to see are open when you’re planning on going!
Get an Innsbruck Card
From the train station, take a walk to the Innsbruck Information shop at Burggraben 3. It’s open practically every day from 9am to 6pm, offering souvenirs, advice and the Innsbruck Card. At €39 for a day, it looks expensive. Trust me, this will save you money. It’s €33 alone to do a return trip to the top of the Hefelekar mountain, which is just one of the many activities this card includes. | Innsbruck Card
Go to the Hafelekarspitze
This is the top of the mountain. The earlier you go, the less crowded it will be! Ride from Congress Station on the funicular to Hungerburg. Don’t stop yet to admire the view! Keep on going with the Seegrubenbahn cable car to Seegrube, then the Hafelekarbahn cable car to the Hafelekarspitze. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing views. As an added bonus, because you’ve come here early, there’ll be less people around to get in your stunning landscape photographs! Happy days.
Descending from Hafelekar
Now’s the time to slow down a little and enjoy some of the additional things this route offers. There’s a restaurant at Seegrube, a Cable Railway Museum and a lovely view from outside the Hungerburg Funicular station (pictured below). Learn more about the unique station design here.
Stop Off at the Alpen Zoo
Entry is completely free with the Innsbruck Card. Congratulations! It’s already starting to save you money! It’s a small zoo with animals suited to the region, so if you’re nicely focused on being a power tourist and itching to get back down to the city centre, give yourself an hour to visit. You’ll be given a plan of the zoo with a path to follow marked out.
Get Something to Eat
By now you’ll be hungry. You’ve scaled a mountain and walked around a zoo, all before lunch! We don’t often stop in restaurants on days out, usually preferring to find something faster and if possible, uniquely local. Of course, this isn’t for everyone and Innsbruck does offer a range of different eateries – including a branch of Ludwig, a burger company we really enjoyed when we were in Salzburg last year. We stopped in the Altstadt at Strudel-Café Kröll on Hofgasse. Not once, not twice, but an almost embarrassing three times throughout the course of the day. You might say we liked it.
- Visit 1: I picked up the Austrian version of Meat & Potato Pie, Tiroler Gröstel Strudel. I also like these sorts of things cold… Don’t judge! But they can be warmed on request. Salty in the way German and Austrian cooking can be, big portions and plenty of filling. Pictured bottom left below. Mr. E3 went with a Breze and a Krapfen, coated in a tasty cinnamon sugar though the filling wasn’t particularly plentiful. | Strudel: €4.80, Krapfen €1.90, Brezen €1.80.
- Visit 2 (for me): Kirsch Strudel. Stuffed full of cherries with a thin, thin pastry. | €3.70.
- Visit 3 (for Mr. E3): Sachertorte. This bakery is just across the street from Café Sacher Innsbruck but their prices are far more pocket friendly. Sachertorte can be a bit dry but this was filled with lots of thick, flavourful apricot jam. Really, very good. | €3.70
Walk Off that Strudel
Enjoy a relaxing wander around Innsbruck’s Old Town, peer up at some beautiful buildings as you wander to the far end and take in the view of a mountainous backdrop to a shopping district. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. If you’d like to enjoy a spot of shopping here, make sure to keep an eye out for the entrances to a couple of shopping malls. Old and new blends so seamlessly in Innsbruck, it’s a fabulous mixture.
Use your Innsbruck Card
A good few museums included with the Innsbruck Card are within a stones throw of the Old Town. We visited the Golden Roof Museum and the Hofburg on our day out, but could have squeezed the Stadtturm in if we’d really tried. By that point though, our feet were exhausted!
- Museum Goldenes Dachl – The Golden Roof Museum; provides an English Audio Guide as well as many signs being in both German and English. It’s small and can be done in around half an hour. | Website
- Kaiserliche Hofburg – The Imperial Palace | Website
- Stadtturm – The City tower; offering a view of the city and mountains from the tower platform. It used to house a prison! | Website
There’s so much to do in Innsbruck, you’ll not get it all into a single day.
It would have been lovely to visit Schloss Ambras, the world’s oldest museum: A Renaissance castle and English park with Armories, Chamber of Arts and Curiosities, Spanish Hall, Habsburg Portrait Gallery and the Strasser Collection of Glass. If this is where you’re aiming to be, you’d want to head straight there after visiting Hafelekar. The Schloss is a little out of town and you’ll need to catch a bus or tram to get there. Certain buses and trams, along with this Schloss, are included in the Innsbruck Card!
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit as a day trip from Munich – we packed a lot in, catching a 16:40 train back, with happy hearts and tired feet!