1. Have the ultimate mountain hut experience
Innsbruck sits in the middle of the Alps, so mountains are everywhere. Hike up into the tamed wilderness to have a classic Tirolean hut experience with all the fixings. Order a beer, smoked bacon, local cheese, and fresh bread on a sunny terrace and enjoy the view over Innsbruck! One of the best places to do this is the Nordkette mountain range, which stretches out north of the city. Take the cable car from Old Town to the Hungerburg station, then prepare for a second leg up to Seegrube station at 6,250 feet (1,905 m). You can either stay near the cable car and grab a bite at the panoramic restaurant, or take the hiking paths to Bodenstein Alm or Höttinger Alm. Both huts cook hearty Tirolean fare for hungry hikers.
2. Eat in a historic stronghold at Ottoburg
Another must-see in Innsbruck is the sprawling Old Town. Innsbruck’s roots reach deep into the Middle Ages and there is architectural evidence everywhere. One of the oldest surviving townhouses is the Ottoburg (Otto Castle), which today houses a traditional Tirolean restaurant! Step into the former bastion and you’ll be instantly transported to a time when Habsburg rulers used Innsbruck as a political hub. Order hearty classics like a buttery veal Schnitzel and homemade apple strudel after wandering Old Town. Don’t miss the City Tower, Golden Roof, and Imperial Palace!
Restaurant Ottoburg in Innsbruck
3. Markthalle is Innsbruck’s Alpine Smorgasburg
If you want to experience Innsbruck’s food scene in the raw, head to Markthalle, a farmers’ market by the river. It’s housed inside a modern bungalow with outside seating and sells fresh local produce, quality meats, fish, and ready-to-eat delicacies. Come for breakfast on Monday through Saturday and sip a freshly squeezed fruit juice with a sandwich from Schmankerl & Co. A full belly is the perfect companion for your stroll along Inn river. Look across the water from Markthalle and feast your eyes on the colorful facades of the Mariahilf district. This is one of Innsbruck’s most iconic photo ops and a great place to linger in the sun.
4. Shop like a local at Wilten farmers' market
Wilten is a hamlet in the south of Innsbruck, which delivers a cozy village ambiance just 20 minutes outside Old Town. It also has one of the most charming open-air farmers’ markets in Innsbruck, which is impressive in a town that lives on Alpine cheer. Browse the stalls, chat with the farmers, then make your way to Wilten Basilica, one of Austria’s most breath-taking Rococo churches. The interior is covered in gold, with opulent accents all over the high altar and nave. Famous Bergisel Ski Jump tower is also just a short walk away, and affords a beautiful panorama over Wilten and beyond.
Innsbruck Mariahilf in winter
5. Dinner above Innsbruck at Lichtblick
Speaking of great views, a visit to restaurant Lichtblick is essential to discovering Innsbruck’s cosmopolitain side. The eatery on top of Rathausgalerien mall is a trendy spot with award-winning food and a 360 degree lookout over the city. Begin your meal with an aperitif on the circular terrace, then move inside for a decadent menu with international influences. Let yourself be pampered by the attentive staff while you watch the sun set over the mountains! Downstairs, a shopping paradise waits inside the Rathausgalerien: find international high street names side-by-side with local brands and treat yourself to a quick pre-dinner shopping spree.
Hungry yet? Book an Innsbruck Food Tour, which is hosted by local guides who take you to the city's highlights and lesser-known spots. You have the choice between a classic tour with savoury options, and a sweet dessert tour.