Riese im Sommer © Swarovski Kristallwelten
Twenty minutes outside Innsbruck, amid the mystical mountains of Tirol, a fairy tale world of shimmering crystal awaits. Swarovski Crystal Worlds is an attraction unlike any other – and better than ever after its recent renovations.
Daniel Swarovski, who founded the crystal-cutting company Swarovski in the small Tyrolean town of Wattens in 1895, had an unusual vision from the outset: He was the first to regard crystal not merely as a material, but an inspiration. Today, Swarovski Crystal Worlds is one of Austria’s most popular attractions -- part museum, part theme park and part art installation -- and proof that crystal fascinates both young and old, from cultures all over the world.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds opened in 1995 to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. The result was a grand, multi-sensory experience of crystal in all its facets. Multimedia artist André Heller developed an experiential concept, calling on luminaries from the world of art and design to interpret crystal however they saw fit. What emerged was the singular Chambers of Wonder in Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
In its 20 years of existence, this unique destination has attracted more than 12 million visitors. And as Daniel Swarovski would have wanted, Swarovski Crystal Worlds is constantly reinventing itself. In 2015, to mark Swarovski's 120th anniversary, this universe of crystalline art was supplemented with a vast, poetic garden. The third and largest expansion to date, this update brought Swarovski Crystal Worlds to more than 7.5 hectares, and added several new elements to its appearance.
Within this new garden, landscape artists Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot created the Crystal Cloud, a monumental installation comprising some 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals that drift above a black Mirror Pool, and invite visitors to pause and reflect. With a surface of around 1,400 square meters, this otherworldly creation is the largest of its kind in the world. In December 2015, the project earned Cao and Perrot a “Best of Year 2015” award from US Interior Design Magazine.
Don’t miss the adjacent Swarovski Store. In its new form, the shopping landscape is among the largest Swarovski flagship stores worldwide. The design itself -- with fascinating light and sound installations by the Norwegian architectural office Snøhetta -- is a visually stunning piece of art in its own right.
Last but not least, the food at Daniels. Café and Restaurant warrants a trip on its own. Also designed by Snøhetta, it is housed in an organically shaped pavilion in the sweeping garden area. Enjoy excellent views of the art in the park while feasting on the delectable creations of the restaurant’s very own patisserie.