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Innsbruck, Tyrolean capital, makes for both a perfect city break and a perfect ski break. Or you could just explore grand Habsburg palaces one day and ski the next, in this relaxed and exceptionally beautiful city surrounded by spectacular mountains.
The best places to stay in Innsbruck depend on why you're here, but there's plenty of choice, from grand dame hotels to city chic modern pads to ski lodges.
Innsbruck's medieval old town is fairytale perfection, with a grand Baroque cathedral, charming squares and the fancy palace. And the surrounding mountains, peaking at 2000m, help with the magical backdrop. In winter these are coated with a healthy layer of snow, but in summer they're fodder for cows with cowbells, whose milk probably goes into making delicious chocolate or something equally as charming.
The palace is called Schloss Ambras, beautiful on the outside, but also worth going inside - for the amour and the portrait collection. Around the palace you'll find several impressive churches; there's the St. Jacob Cathedral, the Hofkirche, with its tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, and other emperors in bronze and the Wiltener Basilika.
Then there's the museums. The Hofburg, a 15th Century castle made over by Empress Maria Theresia in the 18th Century, and now a museum, is definitely worth visiting - it's another castle with an impressive portrait collection. There's an Alpinist Association Museum, an Anatomical Museum, and several museums about Innsbruck itself. Innsbruck also has Europe's highest zoo, specialising in alpine animals.
All the main highlights of the old town are within an easy walking distance, but if you're staying for longer it's worth getting a grip of the local tram system.
Because of its proximity to the slopes, Innsbruck is actually classed as the largest ski resort in the Austrian alps. It's also twice been host to the Winter Olympics, so it's got pretty good facilities - including a spectacular, and famous ski jump - which also has its own cafe on top. The annual Ski Jump Context is a really popular event here.
This is a pretty big university town, which keeps the nightlife lively. You'll find there's more younger visitors in winter and older visitors in summer.
- The Grand hotel Europa provides five star luxury, including a Michelin starred restaurant, in elegant, traditional surrounds. Its even got its own casino. And you don't need to pay over the odds for a room, they start from £95 per night.
- The Penz offers more modern, sophisticated decor, two roof terraces with incredible views and gourmet food, including fantastic breakfasts.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Innsburck for you?
Best Hotels in Innsbruck
Hotel Nala 57 rooms from $85Innsbruck
Funky, contemporary and modern hotel in Austria's skiing capital Innsbruck. Rooms comfortable, spacious, individually decorated and some have balconies and kitchen facilities. With a gym, ski storage, restaurant, bar. Eco-friendly with great views to the Tyrolean mountains. Good value.Views - To Tyrolean mountainsLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Schwarzer Adler 40 rooms from $134Innsbruck
In picturesque "Old Town" this 16th century property is close to the attractions of Innsbruck. A rooftop restaurant serves seasonal cuisine and features a cable car dining experience. Light filled rooms are furnished with pine furniture, fireplaces and huge modern bathrooms. There is also a spa.Local exploring - Innsbruck's Old Town's attractions are on the doorstep as is the train station should you wish to explore further afield.Skiing - In the winter months Innsbruck has access to some of the best slopes in Austria.Local markets - As well as Easter and Christmas markets there are year round covered markets selling gifts and trinkets.Great walks - Great walking and hiking in the surrounding countrysideRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Hotel Weisses Kreuz 40 rooms from $136Innsbruck (Tyrol)
A historic townhouse in the heart of Innsbruck. Exuding character throughout; think beamed ceilings, exposed stonework and antique furniture. Rooms are well proportioned and boast wonderfully comfortable beds. Dine on indulgent breakfasts before heading out to explore the city. Totally charming.Local exploring - Centrally located in the pedestrianised area of Innsbruck with many of its major attractions within walking distance.Sights nearby - Numerous historical sights to be visited including St Anna's Column and the Cathedral St. Jacob.Great walks - The Imperial Palace Innsbruck is just a short walk from the hotel.Full of character
Grand hotel Europa 105 rooms from $137Innsbruck
Five Star luxury and Michelin award-winning cuisine. Rooms and suites blend contemporary comforts and elegant tradition. Beautiful restaurant setting and a casino. Italian design throughout. A sumptuous spot for the luxury traveller.Foodies - Michelin starred restaurant.City Style5* Luxury - Very high service standards.BoutiqueRecommended by - CN Traveller
The Penz 92 rooms from $169Innsbruck
Chic, gourmet, and highly sophisticated. A contemporary style hotel with large sleek rooms and suites, two lively roof terraces, and fantastic breakfasts to top it all off. A trendy spot for couples.Roof terrace - Two fabulous roof terraces.Views - Great views from hotelGourmetCity StyleRecommended by - CN Traveller
Lizum 1600 44 rooms from $225Innsbruck
A contemporary hotel on the slopes of Axamer Lizum, for those with a taste for outdoor pursuits. Spacious and simply furnished rooms, and a restaurant serving excellent Tyrollean dishes. Ski-to-door access and a host of trekking and climbing opportunities nearby, makes it ideal for active holidays.Total relaxation - After a long days activities retreat to the hotel spa for a massage and sauna session, followed by a stiff drink at the bar.Active Holiday - Ideal for an active getaway with ski to door access, hiking, biking, a bouldering wall, and a gym.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Tyrolean city of Innsbruck.Spa