Being Austria’s second city, Innsbruck has a lot to offer and skiers should certainly find time to do some culture as well. Sightseeing is the main activity in this historic city, with the highlight the Goldene Dachl (‘Golden Roof’) in the middle of the Old Town. Emperor Maximilian commissioned the gilding of the 2,657 roof shingles at the start of the 16th century. Then there’s the state apartments of the Kaiserliche Hofburg (Imperial Court Fortress), various Gothic confections, and two interesting museums. The Volkskunst Museum features folk art, such as handcarved sleighs, Christmas cribs and carnival masks. Meanwhile, the Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum is one of the best regional art museums in Europe: and includes paintings by Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, as well as the Tirol’s own Albin Egger-Linz. There’s also a fine collection of Dutch still life from the 17th century.
The all-inclusive Innsbruck Card makes everything easy: allowing free access to many museums and attractions in town. From mid-November to the beginning of January each year the city holds a popular Christmas Market with 70 stalls selling everything from Christmas tree decorations and Gluhwein to arts and crafts.
Bergisel Stadium is the ski jumping tower designed by architect Zaha Hadid, on the site of the original 1925 ski jump. The Olympic flame burnt here during the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976. The restaurant and the visitor’s platform in the tower offer a 360 degree panorama of the city.
…and not forgetting the bars and clubs
The city also abounds with bars and clubs, many of them aimed at the large student population. Couch Club (+43 676 482 7087) is popular among the young locals. Inside the club, one area is for chilling out in comfortable sofas while another has a small dance floor. Theresienbrau is a brewery also serving cocktails and food. Plateau (+43 512 58 5334) is packed with students at weekends.
Moustache is a lively bar with a warren of little rooms – one of which featuring live music. At the Dom Bar (+43 512 23 85 51) old wooden beams and antiques mix with modern furniture. Hudelist is where to listen to jazz. Pfefferkorn is a modern bar/restaurant in an ancient building. Here you can sip cocktails while relaxing in velvet chairs under a vast crystal chandelier.
Treibhaus (+43 512 586 874) is a venue for dinner and dancing, with snacks available. Cafe Club Filou (+43 512 580 256) is a late-night dance club, with a large dance floor surrounded by balconies. Kavanagh’s Irish Pub (+43 512 56 0085) has a fun atmosphere and features live music on Thursday nights. Bistro-Vinothek Dr Fischer (+43 512 581 088) is a small and popular bar. The Innsbruck casino houses a hotel, restaurant and two bars.
Don’t leave the city without trying a Hugo (pronounced ‘ugo’), the essential Tirolean cocktail. It was invented in the area and is a bit like a Mojito in that it shares similar ingredients, such as lime and mint.
The ski resorts are quiet at night
“Not much in the way of apres-ski,” said a reader about Igls. The village has some bracing winter walks, and the Olympic bob-run which is open to the public. Here you ride over 100kph and feel what the force of gravity really means. Children have to be a minimum of 12 years old to take part. Axamer Lizum has almost no apres-ski, so go in a group and make your own, or go for the snow and get an early night.