Innsbruck, What's it really like?

Oct 7th, 2010, 05:58 AM
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Innsbruck, What's it really like?

I have been researching for a spot to spend a couple of nights in December as part of a longer trip to Germany and Austria. Wonderful scenery and a large enough town/city center to offer some diversions are the priorities.

We were going to stay in Salzburg as we love it there but my husband wanted to see somewhere new and we have never been to Innsbruck. Since the Dolomiti are close, we thought we would spend one day there, enjoying the area.

Garmisch is another option but also a place we have been before.

The guide books describe Innsbruck as being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe yet many on this forum are not so keen on it. I am trying to understand the discrepancies in opinions. Is it more of an industrial city, as some describe? Will it be lively in early December in the center?

For those who have been to both, any insight is appreciated. We live in Florida so mountain scenery is high on the list and Salzburg and the Salzkammergut offer a sure thing as well as GAP so really trying to get a grasp of what to expect in Innsbruck.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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I have been to Salzburg and Innsbruck both, one time each. If I were returning to Austria I would definitely want to return to Salzburg but would not care to revisit Innsbruck. I visited the Hofburg, Hofkirche & Dom Zu St. Jakob; saw the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof); climbed the Stadtturm for views of the Altstadt and even had lunch at the Sacher Cafe. I enjoyed seeing it once. However, I would have traded that experience for more time in Salzburg. To me, Salzburg had a much "warmer," more charming feel; Innsbruck did, again, to me, have a more industrial feel.
Delaine is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 08:40 AM
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I haven't been to either for many years, so my experiences may not reflect current reality. But for what it's worth, I really enjoyed Innsbruck. It's small, so easily seen in a day. The scenery was stunning and there are some lovely gardens. I also went to the top of Hafelekar and found it wonderful to ride over the trees and then rise above the treeline, hearing the tinkling of cowbells, and looking out over an awesome vista of the Alps and surrounding countryside. I found it different than Salzburg, but wouldn't call it "industrial" - just different.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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I've been to both too - spent a couple days in Innsbrook when I was in my 20s and then a couple in Salzburg a couple years ago (in my 30s). When I stayed in Innsbrook I actually stayed up in a little town called Natter (I think...near Mutters ) up above Innsbrook itself, but toured all of Innsbrook too (I rode a little tram up the mountain a bit to stay in a pension there). I remember spending a lot more time wandering around in the villages above town than in Innsbrook itself but it was summer when I was there and the scenery was lovely. I basically saw all the noted sites in town in one full day.

I think Salzburg has more to offer if you are spending a couple days there...particularly in Dec. More Xmas markets, etc. For only one night Innsbrook would not be bad, and I passed through there in early Dec on my Salzburg trip so i can say the town was nicely lit up with Xmas lights and I'm sure it had an Xmas market although I didn't have time for that. My recollection of Insbrook was pretty but small...much smaller than Salzburg based on the way i remember the two. I liked both and also would not call Innsbrook industrial but think you will see it all in one day.
kellymp is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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Thanks everyone.

We would base in Innsbruck and spend one afternoon in Igls and another full day in the Dolomites.

We have been to Salzburg a number of times and know that is a wonderful place. I actually went to the University there for a semester and have returned a number of times since then.

I do appreciate everyone's input so far.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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As someone who has visited quite a few places in Europe, I think Innsbruck is really charming. It is small and accessible as some of the other posters have said, and I think at this time of year it would be decked out for the holidays. I was there after Christmas a few years back, and the streets were still adorned with Christmas lights. Against the colored building facades and amidst the cold weather, the combination of these elements made it seem perfect for the time of year.

We stayed in Hall in Tirol, so Innsbruck was just a short 15-minute or so drive. We took the tram up the Nordkettbahn to the ski area, had a few beers up there, and relaxed. And we also sat a bar downtown in Innsbruck that overlooked the massive ski jump. I think they use it for Olympic trials or something. Anyway, IMO, Innsbruck is worth it.

Bon voyage!
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 05:24 PM
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Innsbruck is a small city with a very pretty old town center and several interesting sights. If you dine at one of the casuale restaurants definitely have the trout - we ate in one that backed on the river and had pulled the fish out of the river earlier that day. Delicious!

It's smaller than Salzburg and doesns't have as much to see - but definitely worth a day.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 8th, 2010, 03:19 AM
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Thanks - it sounds like Innsbruck will be our destination for 2 nights, with the added bonus of allowing us to easily visit the Dolomites, which are also stunning.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 8th, 2010, 03:27 AM
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Have a look to this website. Especially to the photos/Bildergalerie from the numerous Christmas markets-
Notice the mountains seen in the background.

The large Christmas tree in the area just by the Golden Roof in the Old town area.
Mara Theresia Strasse Market along the main shopping street especialy great in early evening.

December a good time for your visit.
molker is offline  
Oct 8th, 2010, 04:23 AM
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Great site, thanks!
kfusto is offline  
Dec 7th, 2010, 12:17 AM
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I just noticed your posting. I went to Innsbruck to stay for three nights and stayed three weeks including Christmas. I loved it and it remains one of my fondest memories. I walked all round the town, along the riverside, took the tram up to Mutters and Natters, both delightful and the bus to Igls. Go up to the ski base at Igls and walk down thru the pines to the village, the scent of the pines is divine. I also visited the palace and the castle. The best shopping is not in the main centre but a little way out where there are large outlets and some real bargains especially shoes. Thanks to local advice I was able to take full advantage of these. The villages further afield from Innsbruck are also beautiful, in fact I prefer the Tyrol to eastern Switzerland having just come back from Zurich and surrounding areas I have decided Austria is my preference. As you only have a day or so there you should find plenty to occupy your time.
golfernz1 is offline  
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