The capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck, is most famous for being one of Austria’s prime winter sport destinations. However, there is more to this picturesque town than just ski slopes, with modernist architecture and an unexpectedly lively nightlife. Here’s our alternative guide to Innsbruck, for travellers looking for something a little different.
Uncover cultural gems
Although Innsbruck doesn’t have quite the same artistic flair as the Austrian capital, Vienna, if you look closely, there are some unusual gems to be found. The ART Innsbruck International Fair takes place annually, seeing some of the hottest creative talent arrive in the city. There are an enormous array of prints, paintings, sculptures and installations on show, with over 90 exhibitors from 10+ nations.
If urban art is more your thing, don’t miss the work of HNRX, a local urban artist, who has splashed a little colour across the city’s streets. See his 37-metre high mural ‘Matches’ on the facade of a camp tower. The artist, who is originally from Austria, has produced work all over Europe.
Discover the co-op for creatives
On Dreiheiligenstraße, you will find Die Bäckerei, a non-profit cooperative for creatives, offering 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, encouraging new artists to showcase their work.
Although there is much magnificence in the Baroque architecture that dominates the city centre, if in search for something a little out of the ordinary look to the Adambräu. Originally built as a brewery in the mid-1920s in the Wilten district, this unusual building is now considered a monument, and is used to archive pieces of architectural work from the University of Innsbruck.
Austrian food is worth checking out in Innsbruck, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous schnitzel and strudel for an evening, try Himal Nepali Kitchen Restaurant, on Universitätsstraße. It’s a charming family-run restaurant serving delicious, low-cost Nepali cuisine. Or, if looking for something a little more fitting with the Alpine surroundings, Stiftskeller offers a ‘Tyrolean Snack Platter’ comprising smoked bacon, horseradish, gherkin, tomato and spread.
Stiftskeller, Stiftsgasse 1-7, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 0512 570706
Top places for a tipple
Although it seems unlikely given its cozy size and quaint atmosphere, Innsbruck has a surprisingly thriving nightlife, which is quite student-focused. Cafe Bar Moustache is a trendy, conspicuous joint that serves a brunch buffet by day and tasty cocktails by night (the pisco sour is a must-try). For a quieter tipple, S’Culinarium has an excellent variety of Austrian schnapps, wines and snacks, and Bar Kir Royal has a warm and calm ambience.
S’Culinarium, Pfarrgasse 1, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 0512 574903
Bar Kil Royal, Sillgasse 11, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 0650 9495338
Hike in the natural beauty
It is impossible to ignore the spectacular landscapes that surround Innsbruck — the city has been named ‘the capital of the Alps.’ Some of the most dramatic views can be experienced in the Alberg mountain range. Beginning on a chairlift in the quaint St. Anton village, hike across the beautiful rocky terrain of Kapall. Although it is a challenging ascent, the walk is well worth it for the dreamy views of the jagged peaks and sprawling countryside below.