Thursday, 1 May 2014

This is just how cute Innsbruck is

Before learning that I would be attending a 5-day conference in Innsbruck, I only knew this city was in western Austria, and not many kilometres far from the border with Italy, and in particular with a German-speaking region called South Tyrol. I had no idea of what the city looked liked, though.

Well, it is this cute.

Innsbruck cute
This is how cute Innsbruck is

The view of the mountains all around is incredible from almost everywhere in town.

Innsbruck. Cute cute cute
The centre of Innsbruck

Even though the main street of Innsbruck is pretty touristic, with souvenir shops and all the things that come with them, I found it pleasant to have a stroll there. Easter was approaching, so there was a lovely Easter market going on. Local products like speck (a kind of spiced Austrian bacon) and strudel were sold on the stalls, as well as decorated eggs. It was interesting to see these, as in Italy we eat chocolate eggs for Easter but we do not decorate real eggs.

If I had to find three words to describe Innsbruck it would be cosy, welcoming and yes, just plain cute. Just look at this pink church with the typical onion-shaped roof of the clock tower, for instance. Isnt't it lovely?

Pink church, Innsbruck
Pink church in Innsbruck

Innsbruck is also the kind of city where people greet you in the street. Everybody was extremely kind and welcoming, genuinely smiling at the tourist or foreigner who approached them. I like this attitude that is not so easy to find in other parts of the world. On the first evening that I was there, tired from my bus journey from Munich, I couldn't find my hotel and I thought I was going in the wrong direction. A local man came to help, and even offered me a lift to the street where I was staying, worried that I may not find the place.

Hats and felt clothes in Innsbruck
Hats and felt clothes in Innsbruck

During my time in Innsbruck I also visited the Hofburg (8€), which was one of imperial palaces of the Absburg family. This copper-domed structure was one of the residences of the Habsburg emperors. Of course I made sure to check Sissi's apartments, furnished and decorated to accommodate the famous empress. As it often happens in these cases, nevertheless, Sissi only stayed there for one night.
Hofburg, Innsbruck
Hofburg in Innsbruck

Tragedy has also struck here. As a matter of fact, it was here that famous 18th-century Emperor Maria Theresa had decided to celebrate the wedding of her son, the future emperor Leopold II. When her husband suddenly died during the celebrations, Maria Theresa was profoundly affected, and - very much like Queen Victoria - wore dark mourning clothes for the rest of her life.  
It was forbidden to take pictures inside the palace, but I managed to steal one from the marvellous Giants' Hall. Then, while lowering the lenses from the ceiling, I found myself face to face with a grumpy disapproving guardian, and had to put my camera back in its bag. Everything in the palace was elegantly decorated, and I point out this because I haven't found this good taste in every royal palace I have visited!

Hofburg, Innsbruck
The Giants' Hall inside the Hofburg in Innsbruck

By the way, I just loved this statue and this red tree in front of the imperial palace. I think spring is a great period of the year to visit Innsbruck, because there was still snow on the surrounding mountains, but the nature was blooming in town.

A statue and a red tree in Innsbruck
Statue and red tree in front of the imperial palace

The symbol of the town is the Golden Roof, "Goldenes Dachl" in German. It was built to celebrate the wedding of Emperor Maximilian I with Bianca Maria Sforza, and it served as a royal box, which means that festivals and tournaments must have taken place here.

Golden Roof in the centre of Innsbruck

Just in front of it there is this crazy rococo building. I wonder if people still live here, and if it so how do they feel? I would feel as if inside a wedding cake!

Rococo house in Innsbruck
Rococo building in Innsbruck

I also went to visit the Hofkirche, the court church annexed to the imperial palace. It was interesting to visit it because the entire church is dedicated to the memorial of emperor Maximilian I, with very big statues of different kings.  

Inside the Hofkirche, Innsbruck
Statues inside the Hofkirche
And what about food? I must confess that before stepping foot in Innsbruck I was a bit sceptical about Austrian cuisine. I have been to Vienna, but I don't remember trying any traditional food there apart from Wiener Schnitzel, which we have in Italy as well and it's called "cotoletta alla Milanese". Austrian cuisine is instead very interesting, and influenced by the history of the country. Goulash is a paprika-seasoned yummy soup of Hungarian origins, while desserts are to die for. I have already written about Austrian cuisine, so I'll leave it at that.

Staying for a few days in Innsbruck was a pleasant experience, even invigorating. As a matter of fact, there is no traffic whatsoever in Innsbruck, the air is very fresh, and the atmosphere is relaxed. Well done Austria!

A Statue in Innsbruck
Another picture of the cute statue in front of the Hofburg


  1. Beautiful pictures! I particularly like the horse-and-rider statue with the red tree as a background.

    1. Thank you. That statue was one of my favourite corners of the town! :-)

  2. Wooowww! Love this post and now I'm DYING to go to Innsbruck. Thanks so much for sharing, Stefania!

    Happy travels :)

  3. Innsbruck definitely looks like a cute place to visit. I absolutely hate when photos aren't allowed inside of certain places, but at least you were able to give us some insight into what the inside of the palace looks like. :-)

  4. Hello Italian Backpacker!

    First of all, it is really odd to see someone writing about Innsbruck as an inhabitant of it. I would never comment someone’s blog post but I had to because it was our English homework. The first thing I have to mention is, I am really proud of you. Literally I never saw someone who actually knew where Innsbruck is and that Tyrol is a region of Austria and not of Germany.
    The title “This is just how cute Innsbruck is” sounded really strange for me. Than I started thinking about it and I have to admit you are right. It is small, has an old culture and is full of little buildings with cute ornamentation. Everyone is saying how fascinating the mountains are but if you live here you barely realise them because you get used to them. They look nice, are perfect for wintertime and summertime, it doesn’t matter if you are skiing or go on a hike. For us it is normal like the sea for Italian.
    I have to say your choice of places is quite well chosen. I am sure you’ve had seen more if you stayed longer than just 5 days. For example Schloss Ambras and the Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum The Schloss Ambras was transformed from a fortress to a renaissance palace by the Arch Duke Ferdinand II. Admissions are €10 per adult and this includes the "Arts and Wonders" museum, the armour museum and the Habsburg Portrait gallery. The castle itself is a fine old pile and makes a lovely backdrop to a cool drink in the park on a hot summers day, which is rare.
    I also read your blog post about your culinary discoveries in Germany and Austria. You mentioned Knödels and Sachertorte and you had the best things of our cuisine. I hope you had a nice time in Innsbruck and liked it here.

    1. Thank you for the nice comments. Indeed I had a great time in Innsbruck and Austria. Some of my friends went to Schloss Ambra, and said it was really nice. I'd love to come back one day and explore more of this region!

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