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Places to go and things to do in Innsbruck – a time capsule of culture

Places to go and things to do in Innsbruck, AustriaIt’s a winter sports playground. But there are many things to do in Innsbruck year-round that reveal the culture, style, and elegance of this Austrian city.

Its old town is a time capsule of culture and history. Baroque, neo-classical and medieval architecture reveal Innsbruck as a city of grandeur and splendour.

For all of this Innsbruck is not a stuffy place. It complements its rich history with modern lines and the vibrant pulse of a city looking to the future while treasuring its past.

And fear not if you love the countryside, Innsbruck is a city where nature steals the show, with the Tirolean Alps dominating its skyline. Plus within minutes of the old town you can be up there, thousands of metres above the city.

Innsbruck is a tale of two cities (as rightly, is this feature) – its imperial history melding with the modern. While the Hofburg is the symbol of imperial Innsbruck, the city has a few new wonders too. Not least its two mountain access points designed by famed architect Zaha Hadid.

Here’s some of our favourite historical, arty and cultural places to go and things to do in Innsbruck.

But first, see our favourite places to go in Innsbruck…



An imperial city – cultural things to do in Innsbruck

Royal Court Church

The Gothic Hofkirche or the Royal Court Church was built in the 16th century and has a number of unusual attractions. There’s a 450 year-old Ebert organ and an extravagant altar with a silver-embossed wooden Madonna in the Silver Chapel.

Altar at the The Royal Court Church

Well worth a visit is the Museum of Tyrolean Regional Heritage, next door, but accessed through the same entrance. It has a large compilation of cultural artefacts highlighting the history of the Tirol.

The tomb of Emperor Maximilian I in the Royal Court Church

However the main attraction is the empty tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, an elaborately carved black marble cenotaph encircled by 28 huge bronze statues. The giants are historical characters – from Maximilian’s two wives, to medieval Brit, King Arthur. They’re not just life-like but the bronze work is so good, it reveals much about life at the time – from hairstyles to fashions.

Giant bronze statues stand guard over the empty tomb of Emperor Maximilian I

Giant bronze statues of the wifes of Emperor Maximilian IThings to do in Innsbruck, visit the Royal Court ChurchGiant bronze statues stand guard over the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I

For those with a juvenile sense of humour there is a well-worn codpiece that has been so well rubbed over the years it shines like a beacon among the other darkened statues.

Imperial Palace

Innsbruck’s Imperial Palace, built in 1460 is testament to the grandeur, wealth and influence the city had. It is considered one of the most culturally significant buildings in Austria. The building’s Gothic structure was extensively updated in the 1700’s by Empress Maria Theresa, who added Baroque and Rococo stylings.

Things to do in Innsbruck - see the giants room at Hofburg

The palace’s opulent rooms are an insight into the wealth of the Habsburg rulers. The huge banquet room, also known as the Giant’s Hall, with portraits of Maria Theresa’s children and grandchildren is one example. But the name of the hall refers to the original frescoes of Hercules that decorate the room’s ceiling. It’s a perfect place to lose yourself among imperial artworks.

Dressing room in the Imperial Palace Innsbruck