Crystal-clear waters and no sign of modern life for miles on end, Lanser See, located on a sunny plateau just a stone throw away from the city centre, is a haven of peace and tranquility. A favourite-weekend-getaway destination with the locals, there are two naturist areas (including one specifically for women) for those who are inclined as well as a great expanse of lush areas perfect for sun bathers in the summer months. The water is perfect for taking a dip, and it attracts throngs of water-sports enthusiasts.
Many might be baffled by the attraction of a ski jump—though the Bergisel Schanze is no ordinary ski jump—and the locals definitely wish this attraction could be kept under wraps. From the top of this striking piece of modern architecture, designed by Zaha Hadid, a sprawling and magnificent view stretching far across Innsbruck’s wild and varied landscape can be seen. The restaurant at the top provides a great place to drink in the panoramic views while settling down with a coffee and some traditional-Austrian fare.
This bizarre and intriguing site, located a short distance from the city centre, is an underground lair of all things that shine. The Innsbruck Swarovski Crystal World is a museum and shop that was created in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Austrian-based company. Unusual on the inside and out, the glittering eyes of the giant glare out from the greenery and the underground chambers are a treasure chest of splendor.
The Höttinger Alm is a stretch of Nordkette Mountains’ alpine meadows and is popular with hikers and mountain bikers in the summer months. Some who reach the peak choose to stay for a night or two in a chalet or dormitory for a quiet mini break from the city.
This historic market offers patrons tasty-local treats such as meat, produce, cheese, and Austrian wine grown and made in the surrounding area. Bustling on Saturday mornings, shoppers can settle down at one of the open-air restaurants that look out to the river for a glass of regional wine and a spot of lunch after perusing the aisles.
Although Vienna is very much the ‘capital’ of coffeehouse culture, famed for its traditional and beloved establishments, Innsbruck has some beautifully well-preserved joints to discover. Mundling, located in the heart of the Old Town, is a fine example—a perfectly quaint setting in which to enjoy some classic Austrian cuisine and one that the locals probably wish they could keep hush hush. The apple strudel is a must-try.
This unique-bell museum takes visitors on a journey through the art of craftsmanship and the fascinating history of the well-established institution founded by the Grassmayr family. As they continue to manufacture bells today, visitors are invited to witness the casting and molding—a practice that is age-old. The museum gives an insightful look at the significance of bells within our culture and their development in the Western world.
Dreiheiligenstraße houses the conspicuous Die Bäckerei, a nonprofit cooperative for creatives that offers studio space and access to a variety of lectures, workshops, clubs, and networking events. Self-described as ‘a lively platform for social and cultural exchange’, Die Bäckerei is right in the heart of Innsbruck’s creative scene and encourages new artists to showcase their work.
A lush oasis—perfect for a picnic in the summer time. Adjacent to the serene River Sill, the park contains fountains, manicured lawns, statues, and artfully-arranged flower beds—all set against a mountainous backdrop.
The Botanical Gardens of Innsbruck, located on the University’s grounds, hold an incredible 5,000 species from all over the globe. Beautifully peaceful and artfully arranged, locals will definitely want to keep this one on the down low.
Innsbruck is a champion of terrific views. For those who do not enjoy hiking and gliding is a little too dicey, the cable car offers a great option to experience the scenic delights surrounding the city. Swooping across the country’s largest nature park, Karwendel, visitors can enjoy an uncompromised, panoramic scene of the complex landscapes below. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, whose work includes the Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump, the car picks people up from the Old Town and transcends them 6,560 feet (around 2,000 meters) up into the clouds in around 20 minutes.