Discover Austria: How to make the most of 24 hours in Innsbruck

Looking for a short break in Austria that combines city life with the great outdoors? Then make your way to Innsbruck, where you can explore the mountains by day and the city by night.

Discover Austria: How to make the most of 24 hours in Innsbruck
In Innsbruck you can explore the great outdoors and get a taste of city life. (Photo by Alin Andersen on Unsplash)

Innsbruck is a small city nestled in the heart of the Austrian Alps in Tyrol.

It’s surrounded by mountains and has a strong connection with nature. But at the same time it has a strong arts and culture scene and a vibrant nightlife.

Here’s how to make the most of both worlds with The Local’s guide to 24 hours in Innsbruck.

FOR MEMBERS: UPDATED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Outdoor adventures

When it comes to outdoor adventures in Innsbruck, exploring the Nordkette mountain range is a must-do.

The Nordkette (or North Chain) is located just north of the city and is part of the stunning Karwendel Nature Park – Austria’s largest nature park covering 727 sqm.

This mountain range is easily accessible from the city centre with the Nordkettenbahn (Nordkette cable car). In just eight minutes, visitors can go from Congress Station on Rennweg (near the Golden Roof – see more below) to the Hungerburg Station via the Hungerburgbahn. 

From there, you can visit Hermann Buhl Square to find out more about the famous Austrian mountaineer. Or simply take in the panoramic views across the city.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can then head to the Seegrube Panorama Trail or to the Seegrube Restaurant to try Tyrolean cuisine like homemade soups and Gröstl (a bacon, onion and potato fry up).

The cable car runs every 15 minutes from 7.15am to 7.15pm, Monday to Friday. On Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, the operating hours are 8am to 7.15pm.

Tickets for the Hungerburgbahn start at €10.90.

READ MORE: Discover Austria: 19 ways to make the most of autumn this year

History and culture

The Goldenes Dachl (or Golden Roof) is a landmark structure. It’s located in the Old Town (Altstadt) and is considered Innsbruck’s most important and historic symbol.

The building was completed in 1500 and finished with 2,657 fire-gilt copper tiles on the roof, which give the effect of a roof made from gold (hence the name). It was built for Emperor Maximilian I.

Visitors can take in the structure from outside for free – or from the comfort of one the nearby cafes if you can get a seat on the terrace. Alternatively, you can pay a fee to go inside and explore the museum, depending on how much time you have.

From October to April, the Goldenes Dachl is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

While you’re at the Goldenes Dachl, it’s also worth taking some time to wander around the Old Town and then down to the river. There is a pretty view across the water of different coloured houses, all of which have stunning mountains as the backdrop.

READ ALSO: How to keep safe and avoid problems when hiking in the Austrian Alps

(Photo by Harold Wainwright on Unsplash)

Food and drink

If you’re on a budget, or just want to sample some local and seasonal produce while you’re in Innsbruck, then add the Markthalle (market hall) to your itinerary.

The Markthalle has more than 40 vendors and sells everything from Speck (cured ham) to Austrian cheeses and fruit and vegetables. 

On the weekend, the Markthalle is only open from 7am to 1pm on Saturday and is closed on Sunday. But it’s open from 7am to 6.30pm from Monday to Friday.

For craft beer fans, add Tribaun bar to your list of things to do in Innsbruck.

Tribaun is centrally located on Museumstrasse (about a five-minute walk from the Goldenes Dachl). It has around 16 different craft beers on tap, as well as a food menu with pizzas and burgers. 

Tribaun is open Monday to Saturday from 6pm and customers can book a 90 minute beer tasting for the full experience.

Another recommendation for food is burrito hotspot, Machete, on Anichstrasse, where you can sample Mexican cuisine while sipping on cocktails.

Unfortunately, Machete does not take bookings, so it’s worth arriving early if you really want to get a table. Machete is open from 11.30am to 1am from Tuesday to Saturday, and from 11.30am to 12am on Sunday. 

READ NEXT: Schwammerl season: What is it and when does it start in Austria?


Maria-Theresian-Strasse is the main shopping street in Innsbruck. It is home to Kaufhaus Tyrol and the RathausGalerien, both indoor centres with shops and cafes.

All the usual high street shops can be found on Maria-Theresian-Strasse. As well as some Austrian favourites, like Swarovski, and stores selling traditional dirndls and lederhosen.

If you want an alternative to high street stores then stroll through the Old Town where there are many small, independent shops selling jewellery, souvenirs and local food. This is the place to go to pick up some Tyrolean gifts.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

And just outside of the city centre there is the DEZ shopping centre, where you can find stores like H&M, Zara, Humanic and even IKEA.

Got a recommendation for our 24 hours in Innsbruck guide? Let us know in the comments section below or email [email protected].

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas Markets in Austria

The festive season is coming and one of the main attractions in Austria is its beautiful Christmas markets. Typical decoration, food and drinks ensure tourists and locals alike look forward to them. Here's a guide to the main ones.

IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas Markets in Austria

Christmas markets are undoubtedly one of the best attractions during the festive period. In Austria, they are centuries-old traditions that draw locals, immigrants and tourists yearly.

There are many markets throughout the country – some state-funded, but many privately organised. Adding to that, all the smaller (but super nice and worth the visit) punsch and glühwein stands that you can stumble upon, and it’s clear that Austrians are great at celebrating the season.

Here is a guide with three of the main markets in each state. Remember: many are closed or have special hours on December 24th and 25th and January 1st.

Christmas market in Vienna / Karlsplatz (Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Harald Eisenberger)

Christmas Markets in Vienna

The Austrian capital is home to some of its most famous and beautiful Christmas markets. Here are some you need to know:

  • Viennese Dream Christmas Market 

Where: On the square in front of the City Hall

When: 19 November – 26 December 2022

  • Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace

Where: Parade Court, in front of Schönbrunn Palace

When: 19 November 2022 – 4 January 2023 

  • Christmas Village Belvedere Palace

Where: Belvedere Palace, Prinz Eugen-Straße

When: 18 November – 23 December 2022

You can check the complete list of Christmas Markets in Vienna HERE.

Christmas time in Villach (Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Michael Stabentheiner)

Christmas Markets in Lower Austria

Lower Austria has some spectacular places to visit (with impressive views) and many weekend or day events for Christmas enthusiasts. Here are three you need to know:

  • Kittenberger’s Advent magic in the garden

Where: Laabergstr. 15

When: 02 November 2022 – 08 January 2023

  • Badener Advent

Where: Hauptplatz Baden

When: November 18th – December 24th

  • Christmas-decorated Grimmenstein Castle

Where: Burg Grimmenstein

When: 12 November – 18 December

You can check the complete list of Christmas Markets in Lower Austria HERE.

Christmas illuminated town hall and Christmas tree on the Hauptplatz in Graz (Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Harald Eisenberger)

Christmas Markets in Styria

In the capital Graz, the markets are all within walking distance and look stunning.

  • Advent Market in Front of City Hall

Where: In front of the City Hall, Hauptplatz

When: 18 November – 24 December 2022

  • Christmas Market on Glockenspielplatz

Where: Glockenspielplatz Square

When: 18 November – 24 December 2022

  • WonderLEND on Mariahilferplatz

Where: Mariahilferplatz

When: 18 November – 23 December 2022

You can check the complete list of Christmas Markets in Graz HERE.

Christmas market in Salzburg (Tourismus Salzburg GmbH, Photographer: Günter Breitegger)

Christmas markets in Salzburg

Salzburg may be the land of Christmas for many, with its beautiful sceneries and famous spots – not to mention it is the home of what may be the most famous Chrismas carol (“Silent Night” or, as it is known in Austria: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht”). Here are some of the best places to be:

  • Salzburg’s Christmas Market in the City Centre

Where: On Cathedral and Residenz Square, in Salzburg’s historic city centre.

When: 17 November 2022 – 1 January 2023

  • Advent Market in the Hohensalzburg Fortress Courtyard

Where: Fortress Hohensalzburg

When: 25 November – 18 December 2022 

  • Advent Magic in Hellbrunn

Where: In Hellbrunn Courtyard

When: 17 November – 24 December 2022

You can check more about Christmas Markets in Salzburg HERE.

Christmas market in Innsbruck’s old town (Innsbruck Tourismus, Photographer: Christof Lackner)

Christmas markets in Tirol

Tirol is also a magical location for a snowy Christmas and Innsbruck, in particular, sets a beautiful backdrop for all the nativity decorations. Here are some places to visit:

  • Old Town Christmas Market

Where: In front of the Golden Roof, in Innsbruck’s historic city centre

When: 15 November – 23 December 2022 

  • The Family Christmas Market at Marktplatz

Where: Marktplatz

When: 15 November – 23 December 2022 

  • Christmas Market Maria-Theresien Straße

Where: Maria Theresien Straße

When: 25 November 2022 – 6 January 2023 

You can check more about Christmas Markets in Salzburg HERE.

Pyramidenkogel observation tower (Wörthersee Tourismus GmbH, Photographer: Gert Steinthaler)

Christmas markets in Carinthia

Carinthia has spectacular Christmas markets by the mountains and cosy places by town squares too. Here are some you shouldn’t miss.

  • A Christmas Market Above the Clouds

Where: Pyramidenkogel tower

When: 25 November – 18 December

  • Christmas Market on Neuer Platz

Where: Neuer Platz in Klagenfurt

When: 19 November – 24 December 2022

  • Christmas Market in Villach – the City of Lights

Where: Rathausplatz in Villach

When: 18 November – 24 December 2022

You can check more about Christmas Markets in Carinthia HERE

Christmas market Linz (Linz Tourismus, Photographer: Alex Sigalov)

Christmas markets in Upper Austria

Austria’s Upper Austria gets fully illuminated during Christmas time, and visitors can enjoy all the local food and beverages in many locations. Here are three of the best.

  • Christmas Market on the Main Square

Where: Main Square of Linz

When: 19 November – 24 December 2022

  • Christmas in Steyr

Where: Steyr Old Town

When: 18 November – 23 December 2022

  • Christmas Market in the Volksgarten

Where: Volksgarten (near the main station)

When: 19 November – 24 December 2022

You can check more about Christmas Markets in Burgenland HERE.

Christmas market in Bregenz (visitbregenz, Photographer: Christiane Setz)

Christmas Markets in Vorarlberg

Austria’s most western state has beautiful traditional markets with typical food and beverages. You can also find local handcraft and produce.

  • Bregenz Christmas

Where: Kornmarktplatz
When: 15 November – 23 December

  • Felkirche Christmas Market

Where: Old Town

When: 25 November – 24 December

  • Bludenz Christmas Market

Where: Mühlgasse 

When: 24 November – 24 December

You can check more about Christmas Markets in Vorarlberg HERE.

Did we miss your favourite Christmas Market? Let us know which one you recommend in the comments below or by emailing us at [email protected].