A Christmas Adventure
For twinkling lights, traditional shopping and a warm, festive atmosphere, then head to Innsbruck, enthuses HANNAH MCLOUGHLIN
The capital of the Austrian state of Tyrol, Innsbruck, has something to offer for everyone, from its enticing restaurants and cafes serving traditional Tyrolean delights to its museums, churches and historical buildings. The city is wonderfully compact, making it easy to explore on foot.
While the city is perfect to visit all year round, late November and December are when it really comes into its own, with its profusion of picturesque scenery, Christmas markets and life-size fairy-tale figures decorating the streets.
Stop by the Old Town Christmas market for a mug of glühwein next to the giant Christmas tree and the famous Golden Roof, where you can browse a huge selection of stalls and listen to a brass band playing Christmas songs from 5pm over the festive period. Other highlights include the nearby Maria Theresa Street, Market Square and St Nikolaus Christmas markets.
Pick up an Innsbruck Card for discounts including travel on the sightseeing bus, entry to all museums, use of much public transport, and a cable car trip. Prices from €43 (£39) for 24 hours. innsbruck.info
Where to eat
STRUDEL CAFÉ KRÖLL is the perfect place to stop off for lunch or a snack and sample the country’s famous pastry dish. strudel-cafe.at
CAFÉ MUNDING’s amazing Advent calendar window display should secure this cake shop a place on your must-see list. munding.at
In the Old Town, the PIANO BAR has many fine wines and hosts concerts. cafepiano.at
It would be easy to spend an entire weekend visiting the copious markets in the city, but take time to visit these beauties, too…
1 HOFKIRCHE COURT CHURCH AND TYROLEAN FOLK ART MUSEUM Catch a glimpse of Tyrolean life. tiroler-landes museen.at
2 HOFBURG IMPERIAL PALACE This palace is full of fine furnishings and hosts the Lightshow Max 500 light show. hofburg-innsbruck.at
3 NORDKETTE CABLE CAR The ride from the Old Town to the Nordkette range offers stunning views. We recommend stopping at the Seegrube Restaurant and Hungerburg Christmas market. nordkette.com
Where to stay
STAGE 12 HOTEL in the heart of the Old Town, is just a few steps away from the
Old Town Christmas market and the Golden Roof. Despite being in close vicinity to many of the city’s main attractions, it has a quiet, peaceful feel and many of the rooms have lovely views of the mountains. The hotel also offers guests use of the spa, restaurant and cosy cocktail bar. Rooms from £97 per night. stage12.at
TIME DIFFERENCE: GMT +1
CLIMATE: Humid continental, with very cold and snowy winter months.VISA: Not needed.
GETTING THERE: Easyjet fly direct to Innsbruck Airport from London Gatwick. Flight time is around two hours.
GETTING AROUND: Innsbruck is easily explored by foot. However, there is also a highly efficient public transport system, with buses, trams and trains connecting it with the nearby villages and regions.
FIND OUT MORE: Visit innsbruck.info/en/