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Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian state of Tirol, is a wonderful blend of rural splendor and historic urban landmarks. Here’s how to explore the city in a day.
Start the day slowly at Café Munding, Innsbruck’s 200-year-old coffee house which is allegedly the oldest Konditorei-Café in Innsbruck. The wonderfully crisp and buttery pastries are among the highlights of the breakfast menu and come served with jam made from locally grown fruits – and the coffee is home roasted.
As the cafe is centrally located and not so far from the Golden Roof – one of the city’s most famous and historic landmarks – after you’ve polished off the pastries, you can wander over to check it out. Constructed in 1500, the balcony of the glittering tiled building was used by the Emperor and his wife to watch events happening in the square below.
Innsbruck is perhaps most well known for being a prime ski hub, with some incredible slopes and beautiful Alpine resorts. While 24 hours probably won’t leave you enough time for a proper ski, it is still worth exploring the mountainous areas, where you can catch some stunning views of the city. Nordpark is one of the best places to do this and is easily accessible by cable car from Hungerberg – which climbs for 20 minutes across the Old Town up to the dramatic rural landscapes, with fantastic panoramic views.
Not just famed for winter sports, Innsbruck also has an imperial past that’s worth exploring. The Hofburg Imperial Palace, one of the most prominent homes of the notorious Habsburg dynasty, was built in 1406 and is lavishly decorated with Renaissance art, antique furniture and various family trinkets. Just around the corner, you’ll find the HofKirche, where numerous giant bronze statues stand before the empty tomb of Maximilian I.
If by this time you’ve tired of wandering and are in need of a pick-me-up, head to Café Sacher, a quiet and old-style cafe that is reminiscent of the traditional Viennese coffee houses. Here you can sample a range of Austrian cuisine: Gulaschsuppe, Wienerschnitzel and of course the star event, the rich chocolate Sachertorte.
Sitzwohl, located inside a former primary school on Gilmstrasse, is often recommended as being one of the best restaurants in town, therefore what better way to spend your last hours. An excellent cocktail bar and deli can be found in the cellar, and upstairs is an incredibly elegant and stylish dining room. Main courses include many Italian and Austrian inspired dishes; prosciutto-wrapped pheasant breast with red cabbage and potato dumplings, and fried wild salmon fillet with lemon couscous.
Unexpectedly, Innsbruck has a reasonably vibrant nightlife – partly due to its thriving student crowd. Although few and far between, there are some clubs that stay open until the wee hours. Weekender, a club playing primarily live music and techno DJs, is where the younger crowds tend to hang out. Aftershave, on Herzog-Otto-Strasse, put on hip-hop nights for some late-night dancing.
For a more sophisticated evening, try 360° Cafe, where you can sample local wines and admire beautiful views as the sun sets over the city.