We both love mountains and having the chance to travel closer to them always brings us joy. Throughout our entire ride to Innsbruck we were sitting with our noses glued to the car’s windows, astonished by the views. That’s why we decided to stay in this city for three nights and let us tell you- Seeing Innsbruck was a highlight of our entire eurotrip.
Innsbruck is a small city (although it’s the fifth biggest in Austria) located in a river valley between the mountains. That means that whichever way you look, you can see beautiful mountain peaks fading into milky white fog; all surrounding Innsbruck- the capital of the Tyrol state. Even though the city is tiny enough for you to see everything in one day, it’s definitely worth to stay there longer and see what it has to offer.
The center of the city is very crowded and there are many tourists- mostly older people taking loads of pictures. All of them go to see the biggest attraction of Innsbruck – the Golden Roof. We’ve heard about the Golden Roof before from drivers and our previous hosts – everyone said that it’s an important landmark albeit not a very impressive one. But, as everyone in the city, we had to see it with our own eyes. The conclusion was: yes, it is not very breathtaking- in fact we thought that the buildings around it were more impressive (with the Helbling house on the top of the list)- but it’s definitely special. The Golden Roof was created in 1500 to commemorate the wedding of Emperor Maximilian I, and it’s decorated with more than 2,700 fire-glided copper tiles. On the balcony just under the roof, the Emperor and his wife used to sit and enjoy festivals and other events that took place on the square in front of the building. We crossed it off our list and decided to wander through some stunning narrow alleyways surrounding it.
Besides the Old Town, we also saw some churches (as usual, since Dominika really likes to see their interiors) and the one that we consider the most beautiful in the city is called Jesuitenkirche (or St. Michael’s Church) – the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. Also, something worth mentioning to every church-architecture lover, is the Cathedral of St. James or, simply, the Innsbruck Cathedral.
After hours of sightseeing, we were tired and decided to go to the Hofgarten where the Hofburg palace is placed. It’s not as beautiful as the one in Vienna but it’s definitely worth seeing- it’s even considered as ‘one of the three most significant cultural buildings in the country’ (according to Wikipedia). After resting there for some time, we slowly-all the while admiring the architecture around us-…wentured into Primark to buy some cheap socks 😉 Since it’s not the most interesting part of the trip we will skip it, but we mention it because right next to the building where Primark is located there is also a very cute, small park called Stadtpark Rapoldi, where we laid down after tiring hours of shopping.
In Innsbruck, we also met one of the most friendly couchsurfing hosts of our entire trip. It was Michel- a brazilian guy living in the city. He was living in a big apartment with a huge balcony where we could sit and enjoy the view of the mountains. On that balcony, he and his flatmates organise a dinner for themselves and their friends every day. Yes, every day they invite friends for dinner! That’s incredible! As their guests, we were also invited to join the meal. What they offered to us, was one of the most delicious dinners of our trip. It was very simple, yet charming- an electric grill in the middle of the table, various vegetables, meat for those who wanted, salad and…a beautiful view. It was an incredible experience to share a meal that way with strangers and getting to know them better. Michel’s flatmates were also very considerate and thoughtful and agreed to let us stay for all 3 nights although our host was out-of-town on the last two because of a job interview (he got the job!).
We wouldn’t forgive ourselves if we went to see Innsbruck but didn’t hike in the Alps. There are a few hiking trails but our host recommended the one that leads to the Hafelekarspitze. Hafelekarspitze is a mountain in the North Chain (Nordkette) and its highest point is 2,334m. There is a cable car going almost all the way to the top but- of course- we decided that we will hike instead of spending money on it. We started at 11 am and had a looong trip ahead of us.
The road that leads from the Northern Innsbruck to the peak goes near the Alpenzoo – one of the highest located zoos in Europe. After that, the road follows through the smaller city and is made out of bricks and asphalt. Seeing as we have a very bad physical condition and had some health problems at the time we knew that it would be difficult to get to the top; That particular day we were feeling very unwell so we unfortunately had to give up on our journey rather quickly. At first, we were very upset about it because we really wanted to reach the top, but instead we decided to spend an amazing afternoon in the city and then, later, at our host’s place.
Innsbruck is a very cute and quite small city but if you love hiking, you won’t ever get bored there. There are beautiful buildings but the most astonishing here is nature since the city has a very nice location in-between the mountains. Innsbruck is a must for every nature lover that wants to spend a weekend in a lovely city. It is also a great place for every person traveling on a small budget – you don’t need to use public transport here; there are not many paid tourist attractions and the most important thing here – mountains, and the views – are entirely for free.
- Couchsurfing: 9/10
- Hitchhiking in and out: 8/10 overall
- Freeganism: N/A
- Busking: N/A
- Blackriding: N/A
It was very easy to find a host in this city- probably because they don’t get that many requests here. Hitchhiking in and out was also very easy – although here was where our worst hitchhiking experience took place- a guy offered us a ride in exchange for sex (yes, that one small instance was the worst that happened to us during our trip, when it comes to driving for free.). Of course we said no and decided to wait some more- and got another ride 15 minutes later. We didn’t try freeganism here, nor busking. Blackriding is not necessary here since the city is so small that you can reach everywhere by foot.
Munich -> Innsbruck: Aral station on the Rosenheimer Straße (as seen on hitchwiki)
Innsbruck -> west: Innsbruck-West highway ramp on a Innrain street, after a petrol station. Somewhere around there: 47°15’20.8″N 11°22’35.5″E