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The Unforgettable Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour

It was the cusp of Autumn. A couple of leaves of some trees here and there had starting changing colour.  This was undeniably the best time to visit the Tyorlean capital. Only a few weeks back Innsbruck found its way into our schedule in deference to suggestions by both personal and social media friends. As usual we began with a self guided walking tour of Innsbruck and we strongly recommend starting with it as part of things to do in Innsbruck.

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This article has been republished with updated content

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Innsbruck Walking Tour

We began the tour from Innsbruck Tourism office. Why? There were a lot of tourism books, information booklets, maps and also staff available to help plan our day and is located in the city centre. One could also buy souvenirs at reasonable rates here.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour. things to do in innsbruck old city
Route map for the walking tour of Innsbruck.

History of Innsbruck in short

The name Innsbruck means Bridge on the river Inn and is derived from the original Latin name (Yes, Romans were here before and so were Stone Age people), Oeni Pontum, meaning Oenus (Roman name for Inn) Bridge. Innsbruck was always in the hub of things because of the bridge, a major connection for trade and communication between the North and the South.

Our  guide informed us that the city’s coat of arms is the aerial view of this famous bridge and has been so for almost 800 years.

Statue of Maximilian I at his cenotaph, inside the Court Church Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided walking tour of innsbruck old city of innsbruck
Statue of Maximilian I at his cenotaph, inside the Court Church, in old city of Innsbruck. He seems to ask for forgiveness on his knees with folded hands. Innsbruck

Major boost to its economic and social activities began with the arrival of Maximilian I, in the second half of 15th century, the ruler who made Austro Hungarian Empire and the house of Habsburg possible. He also built the beautiful building with an incredible roof made of golden shingles, which exist to this dazzling the tourists further.

Innsbruck became the capital of Tyrol first and then became the heart of European culture, economics and politics under Maximilian I.

One more thing, many buildings are more than 500 years old in the old city.

Rest as they say is history!

Goldenes Dachl or the Golden Roof Innsbruck

Let’s start with the landmark of Innsbruck, built by Kaiser Maximilian I. This was a unique structure with a roof made of gold-plated shingles was built so that it would be visible from afar and also as a mark of affluence of the Kingdom but primarily to mark his wedding to his second wife Bianca Maria Sforza.

Golden Dachl, Innsbruck. things to see in innsbruck walking tour
how do i spend a day in innsbruck
Golden Dachl at daytime, Innsbruck
Golden Dachl at night, Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided walking tour of innsbruck
Golden Dachl at night, Innsbruck

The façade is very well decorated with murals and paintings of various members of the royalty, courtiers including the court jester, and 8 coats-of-arms of all the areas ruled by Maximilian I.

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Imperial palace and garden

A quick detour and in & out of a tunnel full of souvenir shops will get us to the Imperial Hofburg Palace. It is almost as important as the Hofburg Palace in Vienna and was built around 1460 CE or so. This impressive structure now houses several museums. As this was just a walking tour we had to wait for another day to enter the museums.

Souvenir shop in Innsbruck, Austria. What to see in innsbruck
how do i spend a day in innsbruck
Souvenir shop proudly displaying the fact that all items are Austrian.
Kongress and Imperial Palace Hofburg Innsbruck, Austria
in and around innsbruck
Location perspective, Innsbruck. On the right red wall is of Kongress. Next to that is the Imperial Palace Hofburg. The spire straight ahead is of Hofkirche or Court Church. The Imperial Garden is on the left side.

Next to Hofburg palace is the Court Church or Hofkirche which also serves as an elaborate cenotaph for Maximilian I with a hall full of larger than life statues of 28 popular kings and queens of till that time including King Arthur! This was planned by Maximilian himself when he was alive but constructed by his grandson. After the walking tour of Innsbruck, we went in and spent more than an hour inside. It is also home to Tyrolean Folk Arts Museum.

Just opposite the Hofburg is the Imperial garden or the Hofgarten spread over 10 hectares. There are fountains, stunning landscape, a sunbathing section and children’s section too. The credit for this garden goes to none other than Empress Maria Theresa. It is said that the garden was originally built as a playground for her children! Yes sir, you are in her kingdom now. And we will hear more of her.

Book here your Walking tour of Innsbruck, Innsbruck Tours, Tickets, Activities & Innsbruck Things To Do

St. James Cathedral or The Innsbruck Cathedral

A lane by the side of Goldenes Dachl got us to the new St James Cathedral. Comparatively this is quite new but still more than 300 years old and it was built on the site of an 800-year-old church also dedicated to St James. The works of art inside the Cathedral is very beautiful and you need to drop a one Euro coin if you plan to click pictures but it is more than worth it. Wait for noon time for the bells, weighing a total of over 4 tonnes, to peal.

WSt James Cathedral at Domplatz, Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided walking tour of innsbruck. innsbruck tour of old city
St James Cathedral at Domplatz, Innsbruck tour of old city
Innsbruck at night. Self guided walking tour of innsbruck
A view of St James Church from the top of City Tower.

Stadtturm or the City Tower

This was a manned watchtower to alert people and the King of any impending danger from enemies, fire or weather. It is older than Goldenes Dachl by a few decades. The lookout gallery offers a 360-degree sweeping view of the Old city of Innsbruck, with most of the building maintaining their antiquity, and the new.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Town hall and city tower, Innsbruck
Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
A view of 133 steps at City Tower or Stadturm, Innsbruck.

As per our guide there was a tower warden staying under the cupola which was her home, till as recent as 1960s!

Helbling House

Right opposite to the City tower lies the extravagantly decorated Helbling house. No marks for guess the year of construction. It is 15th century. However, the current levels of decorations were carried out in early 18th century. It looks like one of those elaborate cakes!

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Ornately decorated Helbling house, Innsbruck

We could not gather any more information from the guide than that it used to belong a wealthy merchant but was named after a Café owner, Sebastian Helbling.

Goldener Adler (Golden eagle) Inn

This is perhaps one of the oldest hotels in Innsbruck, probably also in Europe. Operating since late 14th century. The claim to fame is that any one who was someone has stayed here during their visit to Innsbruck.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Gasthof Goldener Adler , the Golden Eagle guesthouse, one of the oldest hotels in Innsbruck.

Click here to book the historic Hotel Gasthof Goldener Adler in Innsbruck

There is a board which highlights visits by Mozart, Maria Von Trapp (Sound of Music fame), Jean Paul Sartre and many members of European Royalty.

Girls’ School by Maria Theresa

We were following the guide like an automaton, when she suddenly opened a door on the side of the street and entered, beckoning us to do so. From the outside it was looking very clean and beautiful but inside it was a wooden structure of multiple floors which was dingy but appeared solid.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Originally a Girls’ school started by Maria Theresa. Now unused waiting for renovation and re-purposing. Innsbruck.

As part of Maria Theresa’s education reforms all over Austria, she also built a girls’ school right here. At this point of time nothing was here and it was conjectured that it will be redeveloped into something modern.  Maybe shops?

More Gorgeous Buildings

There are several other interesting buildings close by which are almost as old and historically relevant too like the Claudiana Palace, Ottoburg, Kolbernturm, Hospital Church on Maria Theresa Street and many more. We are sharing the pictures here for you to appreciate.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Ottoburg Palace, Innsbruck
Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Ottoburg, Innsbruck
Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Originally a church built in 1700s. Later the Innsbruck hospital was shifted here hence it is called Spitalkirche or Hospital Church. To protect the citizens from infection this was built outside the old town.
Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Location Perspective. On the right is the old court building with Golden Dachl (hidden). In the centre Helbling Palace. At the far end of the lane is Ottoburg Palace and somewhere in between is the Golden Eagle (Goldener Adler) hotel. Innsbruck

Inn Riverfront and Marktplatz (Market square)

After crossing the Ottoburg palace, we were at the Inn River front and got the spectacular view of the Alps, up close. We spent a lot of time enjoying this part of Alps called the Nordekette range that rose to an impressive 2600 metres.  Soon we were on the very bridge that gave this city its name, Innsbruck. We wondered how many times this bridge would have been destroyed and rebuilt!

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Colorful Houses of Mariahilf Quarters on the North Bank of Inn river. A view from Marktplatz, Innsbruck
Self guided walking tour of Innbsruck, Austria.
Night view of Colored houses of Mariahilf Quarters on the North Bank of Inn river. A view from Marktplatz, Innsbruck
Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Mariahilf Colored houses and the Inn Bridge (Inn Brucke), Innsbruck

A short walk on the south bank brought us to the Marktplatz. From here there is a beautiful view of colourful townhouses of the North bank.   What was once an open-air farmer’s market is now full of restaurants having river view tables. The original market is now shifted indoors into Markthalle which now sells fruits, vegetables, meats etc.

If you like your fish then this is the place to eat in Innsbruck!

Maria Theresa Street and St. Anne’s Column (Annasäule)

At the border of the old town is the new town which has one long street named after Maria Theresa. This is a pedestrian only street with lots of old statues, buildings and restaurants. At about 100M from the beginning of the street is the St. Anne’s Column, the statue on top looking in the direction of the old town and the mountains behind. It was erected as a victory monument when Tyrol was freed from Bavarian troops.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
St Annes column at Maria Theresa Street.
Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Market view at Maria Theresa Street. St Mary on top St Anne Column or Annasäule looking protectively at old town, Innsbruck (Altestadt)

However, the statue on the top is of St. Mary. It got its name because it was commemorated on St. Anne’s day.

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Triumphpforte or the Triumphal Arch

A nice walk of about 10-15 minutes on Maria Theresa Street brought us to very end of the street and to the Triumphal Arch (the name reminded us of Paris, somehow 😊 😊).

It has a happy and a sad occasion attached to it all in a span of few days. Maria Theresa built this on the occasion of the marriage of her son, who would later be the Emperor Leopold II. The Arch has bas relief of all the family members including the bride, the Spanish princess. However, during multi-day celebrations Maria’s husband, Francis Stephen died which completely shattered Maria Theresa and it is said she was never the same again.

Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria. Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Triumphal Arch or Triumphpforte

A motif was later engraved on the other side of the Arch in memory of Francis Stephen.

This brings us to the end of the amazing walking tour of Innsbruck.


1. Walking tour of Innsbruck is free with 24H, 48H or 72H Innsbruck card. There are two tours to choose from. Not everything written here is covered in their walking tour of Innsbruck. We had explored on our own too and those have been added above. That’s the advantage of self guided tours.

2. You could buy Innsbruck cards which, apart from the free local transportation, gives you free entries to museums and attractions.
We did!

3. If you plan to climb the 133 steps to the top of city tower, then do it just before sunset. It gives super views and you can stay till lights come on which illuminates Goldenes Dachl (Golden roof) and other buildings in the vicinity.

Where to Stay

Although it is not be a big city, Innsbruck offers a wide range of accommodation to its visitors, suitable for all pockets.

We stayed at the excellent Hotel Sailer right opposite Innsbruck railway station

For other hotel options to suit every pocket in Innsbruck, Click here

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Goldenes Dachl and St James Cathedral Self guided Innbsruck Walking tour
Amazing Innsbruck things to do this holiday

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Where to Stay?

Although it is not a big city, Innsbruck offers wide range of accommodation to its visitors, suitable to all pockets. Click here for the hotel options in Innsbruck.

How to get around in Innsbruck?

Buy Innsbruck Card valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. All public transport is included during the period of validity and also gives free access to several premium attractions. More about Innsbruck cards here.

What to buy in Innsbruck?

* The internationally acclaimed Swarowski Crystal products are available at their show room near Golden Roof and one can also buy them at the Museum Shop at Swarowski Crystal World, Wattens.
* Innsbruck souvenirs may be bought at the market near Golden Roof. The prices are reasonable.
* Tyrolean Honey may be bought at the riverside Markthalle.
* Don’t forget to pickup a bottle of Schnapps, a fruity alcohol.

How to get to Innsbruck?

By Air. Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport is well connected within Europe and is just 5KM from the city centre. Click here to book flight tickets.
By Train. Innsbruck Railway station is right in the middle of the city and is located just 1KM from the old city. There are direct trains to and from most major cities of Austria and Germany too. Munich to Innsbruck is easier than Vienna to Innsbruck or even Salzburg to Innsbruck, by train. OBB Austria or other European Railways serve Innsbruck.
By Bus. One can also use the network of several European bus services. They are comfortable if the distance is not too large. Our own preference is Flix bus. Click here to explore the options on Flix bus.
By Road. European road network is one of the best and is a pleasurable driving experience.
Distance between Vienna to Innsbruck is 477 KM
Distance between Munich to Innsbruck is just 160 KM

What is the weather like in Innsbruck?

The annual temperature ranges between -4 degrees Celsius (lowest in January) to a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius in Summer.

Innsbruck gets about 110 cm of Snowfall every year.

All the photographs used in this article belong to the owners of this website Copying or using them without explicit permission is prohibited and will amount to copyright infringement.


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Almabtrieb, the Alpine cow festival at Westerndorf, is just few hours journey from Innsbruck. It is held in the beginning of Autumn every year

If self guided walking tours do not interest you then checkout these awesome options

Innsbruck Tours, Tickets and Activities

Innsbruck Sightseeing and Experiences

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Coming Soon! Complete Things to do and places to visit in and around Innsbruck

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P.S.- This article “Innsbruck self guided Walking Tour” belongs to Le Monde, the Poetic Travels, an Indian Travel Blog, by the traveling couple, Nisha & Vasudevan R. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on another website rather than the RSS feed reader or, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and let us know. Thank you.


55 thoughts on “The Unforgettable Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria”

  1. I wanted to read more on Innsbruck. Happy to see you started with a walking tour.

    We love taking walking tours, they tell us about the city. I specially love food walking tours.

  2. We do like Austria and have visited a number of towns and cities although we haven’t yet visited Innsbruck. The walking tour sounds a great way to see it for the first time and it is great that the tour is included with the Innsbruck card. The Helbling house is very ornate, I may try that styling on our house instead of the plain white, better get the plaster and paint out!

  3. A 2-3 hours walking tour of Innsbruck sounds amazing and definitely covered a lot of amazing places! Good to know that the city is easy to navigate as you have done so yourself. That view of the 133 steps at the City Tower looks cool (and pretty scary for someone who’s afraid of heights (ME!!)). LOL. Cool recommendations, btw..:) The city’s buildings are pretty impressive.

    1. Thank you. We did not know what to expect when we put Innsbruck on our schedule. We definitely were not bored 🙂 🙂 High vantage points are also places we like to visit after walking tours to get an outlook of any town.

  4. The amount of times I been in this area and never visited Innsbruck! I been visiting the nearby mountains and doing a lot of hiking. I am heading back to Central Austria soon and looks like I need get into the centre and see these marvelous buildings. 🙂

  5. I love the architecture in Innsbruck! I was there for Christmas in 2017 and it was freezing, there was a lot of snow all around but I still loved walking around the town because it was gorgeous. Most of these places are close to each other and that’s the best part. There was a Christmas Market right in front of the golden roof, so I was a little disappointed at not being able to capture the best pictures from a distance. Yet, it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the place. The Helbling house, city tower and St James cathedral are some iconic buildings!

  6. We adored Innsbruck! And like you, it was an addition to our already planned trip. Your in-depth walking tour of the area will be invaluable for visitors – and we’ll be sure to pass it on when others ask “What’s there to do in Innsbruck?” Thank you for sharing!

  7. Innsbruck is such a stunning place. I haven’t been there since I was tiny – and far too little to remember the town at all – so it was good to see your photos and live vicariously. I’m always keen on a good walking tour too – good do know that you can see much of the town in 2-3 hours

  8. I had a one day stop here and absolutely fell in love with Innsbruck. I could not cover all of this trail. However, whatever I did was enough to make me love the place. I started with the Golden roof and was quite fascinated with the history around it as well as the oldest hotel in the world. You pictures evoke so much nostalgia for me.

  9. I just got back from a walking tour of Quebec and remembered how beautiful city tours can be. Innsbruck has such a long history that I would absolutely love wandering the streets while my imagination wanders back in time. The Innsbruck card seems like a great addition to your travels.

  10. Amazing walking trip! I really love how lovely, how vibrant and how lively the aura of the streets in Innsbruck. I love the picture of the market with the majestic mountains behind it. Also, I enjoyed looking at the beautiful architecture and the perfect views from St. Church from the top of City Tower and the night view of colored houses on the North Bank of Inn river, very gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this post!

  11. I love that the gift shop made sure to tell everyone that the goods were not Chinese. 100% No China! Helbling House does look like a cake, and it has hella bling. Sorry, had to help myself to a pun. It’s amazing that there is so much history all within walking distance from each other in one city. What a destination! Thanks for sharing!

  12. I love Innsbruck so much. Unfortunately, when I went it was raining cats and dogs. Although I did manage to see almost all the attractions you covered during your walking tour, I didn’t enjoy as much as I would have on a day like you had. Girls’ School by Maria Theresa looks so cute. I didn’t see this. Time to go back soon. Thanks for bringing back my memories.

  13. What a fantastic walking tour, Innsbruck is more historic than I envisioned. I also like the fact that souvenirs are made locally and not imported cheaply.

  14. Interesting historical bit of Innsbruck there. A walking tour is always the best way to explore a place, especially when led by a local guide. Innsbruck’ got some stunning architecture as can be seen from its ornately designed buildings. The colourful houses near the riverbank reminded me of Nyhavn (in Copenhagen).

  15. It is always a great idea to do a walking tour of a new city to get an orientation. Also, nothing better than a walk to get a feel and an immersive experience of the place. We too try to do this whenever possible. Innsbruck has been on our proposed itinerary that has been sitting on the backburner for some time now. Hope to get there and this post is going to be a reference point for us when we do that.

  16. great place to visit with family, ever i am going there in next week so planning for everything and your article is very helpful for me to get better details about austria. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. Hope you enjoyed your trip most.

  17. We adored Innsbruck! And like you, it was an addition to our already planned trip. Your in-depth walking tour of the area will be invaluable for visitors – and we’ll be sure to pass it on when others ask “What’s there to do in Innsbruck?” Thank you for sharing!

  18. I’m a big fan of travelling in spring and autumn, especially in autumn where it means you also avoid the high tourist season, high accommodation prices and high temperatures! Innsbruck looks beautiful, and one of the cities I’ve not yet visited, so now on my list. Really enjoyed following along your walking tour via your photos and descriptions, gave a great feel for how the city is.

  19. This is one of a few posts I have read about Innsbruck which seems to be highly underrated probably due to the other touristic cities, Vasu. Glad I stumbled upon your enlightening post. Is a day trip to Innsbruck enough to see all the highlights?

  20. This is one of the most beautiful countries and all the places are wonderful, every traveler must want to visit all those places. You spend a great time there and you capture some amazing pictures, all the information and tips will help us with the best travel experience. It’s amazing to see the Goldenes Dachl. It is considered the city’s most famous symbol and the Helbling House, wow I never saw this types of beautiful building, I planning my next trip will be here, I want to enjoy the Inn river and the view of Colored houses. Thanks for sharing this beautiful blog and makes me excited.

  21. It is such a detailed blog post with wonderful pictures.Its too beautiful place
    Would love to visit this place when in vienna, I loved those colourful houses its so iviting.

  22. I love walking tours i think best way to explore and admire the beauty of the place. I loved innsbruck ..looks so beautiful and ancient. Thanks for sharing informative post.

  23. Austria is so beautiful. Have only explored Vienna though, but this place looks even gorgeous. Love those colorful houses and breathtaking decor items on them. Great post 🙂

  24. I am used to seeing photos of Innsbruck in the winter, covered in white snow and looking like taken off a postcard from Santa Claus but in the summer, when you can admire the many beautiful roofs and the building faces it is far more beautiful. Look at all those flowers and pretty details, stunning

  25. To go on a walking tour is my way of exploring the city. I have done this in many places and found it the best way. Likewise, I would love to take a walking tour of Innsbruck as well and your post is a certain starting point for me. A great tip to start the tour from tourism offices. Innsbruck looks like a true heart of European heritage and culture. Would love to visit golden roof and St. James Cathedral. I love the sight of colorful houses along river.

  26. Oh man, Innsbruck is so pretty. I live in Berlin, so I really have no excuse not to have made my way down there yet! Thanks for the inspo, I’ll add it to my list for the Summer 🙂

  27. I visited Innsbruck in winter, in the middle of a snow storm so I saw very little of the city. Everything disappeared under a grey cloud. I do however remember ducking into the Cafe Sacher to escape the cold which happened to be a great choice. Looking at these gorgeous pics I should consider going back, this time in summer 🙂

    1. So sorry. It was early autumn when we went there. But I am sure Sacher Cafe with its wide array of stuff including Sacher Torte would have comforted you . 🙂 🙂

  28. Fab post! I love a good walking tour- it’s the best way to get to know a city and find your feet when you first arrive. Innsbruck just looks like heaven being surrounded by all those mountains. I would looove yo explore more.

  29. Awesome post! I’m thinking about trying to visit some Christmas markets in 2021 so this was a great read to help me narrow down an itinerary. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Wow, I didn’t know much about Innsbruck but it looks stunning! The architecture is absolutely beautiful! The coloured houses look adorable and Helbling House looks so pretty! The view of 133 steps at City Tower looks incredible too! Thanks for the wonderful guide!

  31. Reading this makes me miss Europe so much! It’s been 2+ years since we were last there and I’m really hoping it’s not that long before COVID is over and Americans are allowed back in.

  32. What a gorgeous looking place, I just love all the ornately decorated buildings and houses. So pretty. I’ve wanted to go to Austria for a while and this is increasing that desire

  33. Innsbruck looks beautiful – love the architecture and the colours of the buildings. Self-guided walking tours are also a way I like to explore!

  34. Lovely! I was in Innsbruck last year but only for one day. So, while I got to see most of these sites, I didn’t really know the details. This article helps me learn more about the places I visited.

  35. Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota

    Wow, stunning and enthralling! Thank you for this article; I’m going to save it for future reference. I’m dying to go to all of these places after reading this! Thank you for sharing this article!

  36. Love the architecture and the colors of the buildings, Innsbruck is stunning. I also enjoy going on my own self-guided walking tours!

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