FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

How to Spend 3 Days in Innsbruck, Austria

by Debra Bokur

Jun 9, 2023

© Jorisvo | Dreamstime.com

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Expand your Austrian travel knowledge with a few days in lovely Innsbruck, a mountain town in Tirol in the western part of the country. Always a popular winter destination, Innsbruck shines in the summer — partly due to the glint reflected off the town’s famed Golden Roof. This landmark roof, or Dachl, boasts 2,657 fire-gilded copper shingles and juts from the facade of the Neuhof government building.

On day one, take a tour of Ambras Castle, built for Philippine Welser, wife of Archduke Ferdinand II. Renaissance-era collections housed within the castle’s Chamber of Arts and Wonders range from a slightly bizarre carved wooden skeleton known as Tödlein, to a variety of weapons and exotic items gathered from greater Europe. Outside, the expansive gardens are home to a pride of white peacocks strolling about the grounds. Finish your afternoon with coffee and cake at Cafe Konditorei Munding in Old Town and a tour of the Court Church. The unadorned exterior belies a trove of treasures inside, including the massive and rare Renaissance Ebert organ, ornamental funerary pieces such as the 28 bronze figures guarding the empty tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, and numerous pieces of historic artwork.

On day two, hop on the dedicated shuttle bus to Swarovski Crystal Worlds in the nearby village of Wattens. You’ll be greeted by the face of the garden’s enormous Giant waterfall figure. Wander through Crystal Cloud & Mirror Pool installation, where an installation by artists Andy Choo and Xavier Perrot was created from 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals suspended from tree-like structures. The “trees” surround a black Mirror Pool, where the crystals are reflected throughout the day as though glimmering in a night sky. Inside, 18 separate Chambers of Wonder — created by a selection of international artists — allow for a magical journey between spaces that include the Crystal Dome, Blue Hall, Ice Passage, Timeless, Chandelier of Grief and 55 Million Crystals.

On your last day in town, take in the majestic mountain scenery from the Nordkettenbahnen railways. Options at altitude include Alpine Zoo. Pay attention to the station buildings themselves. They’re worth seeing, designed in 2007 by noted architect Zaha Hadid. It was Hadid who also designed the Bergisel ski jump, beloved by elite ski jumpers and affectionately referred to by skiers as the Cobra or Snake’s Head. Wednesday–Monday from May to October, catch a glimpse of ski jumpers in training from the transparent viewing platform located on the Bergisel circular hiking trail.

If time allows, add Tirol Panorama Museum and Rococo Basilica in neighboring Wilten. The area is also a wonderful place to relax at a local coffeehouse or to peruse vintage furnishings in an array of fascinating shops. Choose your meal at Markthalle (Market Hall), a blend of farmers market and culinary specialty shops. The best way to see the sights and move around the city and nearby area is with the Innsbruck Card, which allows access to transportation and many area attractions.

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