Innsbruck is a place where mountains meet valleys, and postmodern buildings designed by outstanding architects are joined with a rich history and a medieval town plan. It’s a wonderful combination of the past and future enriched with gorgeous Alpine nature.

It all began with a strategic location close to the Brenner mountain pass which divides the Zillertal massif from the Stubai Alps, which was considered by the Romans to be the most convenient route to Central Europe. The trade route led to the establishment of many villages and towns, but one of them situated in the vicinity of the Inn River grew to be a true gem and one of the two capitals of the Alps, along with Grenoble. The city’s name is a combination of the name of the above-mentioned Inn River flowing through the city and the word brücke - bridge. The bridge is the most significant here, since the town is a kind of bridge between the past and the future.

Even though Innsbruck is marked quite ideally with tourist information, and there is a huge amount of information about this city available on the internet and in guide books, nothing, however, can replace the experience of admiring it with one’s own eyes, and there are a few places which make this possible. A place that's ideal for this in the very centre of the city is the Stadtturm on Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse - the 15th-century town hall tower, the top of which, at a height of 31 metres, is reached by nearly 200 stairs. For those who prefer a wider perspective, an ideal viewpoint is the Bergisel tower. An amazing combination of a mountain landscape with wonderful architecture makes an impression on everyone, and our attention is truly riveted by the Hofburg imperial palace from the 14th century and the Saint Jacob's Cathedral, which was almost completely destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt in a wonderful style.

A small but impressive historic centre features what’s known as Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), one of the city’s architectural gems. It was erected in the 15th century at the desire of the German king, who later became the Roman Emperor - Emperor Maximilian I. It has a gorgeous loggia covered in a roof consisting of 2,657 copper-gilded tiles. The entirety is decorated with numerous frescoes and bas-reliefs, and since it is located in one of the historic residential buildings of the Old Town, inside it we can visit the Maximilian Museum and discover his life’s story.

Another architectural gem is the Hofkirche - a magnificent church and imperial necropolis containing marble statues of enormous dimensions that are famous all over Europe. The centre is full of interesting places and it is worthwhile devoting several hours to your visit in order to see such wonderful things as Triumphpforte (the Triumphal Arch) on Maria-Theresien-Strasse, the Anna Pillar, Ambras Castle, the largest in Tyrol, and the Wilten Basilica with its marvellous painting of the Virgin Mary.

What would the Alps and Tyrol be without its wonderful cuisine? One can't leave this place without trying some of the local delicacies. Innsbruck offers a very wide range of restaurants, clubs, pubs and cafes. We will find here wonderful and expensive restaurants for style connoisseurs and unforgettable flavour experiences, as well as extremely atmospheric small restaurants offering classic regional dishes of Tyrolean cuisine. It’s important to look for a restaurant with a sign bearing a black clover - the Tiroler Wirtshaus - if you want to eat something local, since this sign guarantees that the restaurant serves its meals in a traditional way.

From the entire range of wonderful food the most known are Knodel (Tyrolean dumplings) with an amazing flavour of bacon and homemade meat, or Schlutzkrapfen, which are stuffed dumplings made of wheat and rye flour with different fillings such as cheese, meat and herbs or spinach. One must admit that the cuisine is quite heavy and vegetarians don’t have it easy here, but meat connoisseurs won’t complain, since meat is everpresent together with dumplings of various kinds. A place particularly worth to visit is Cafe im Turm, situated in the Bergiselschanze ski ramp tower. It’s worth visiting this place if only for the wonderful coffee and views, but it also offers delicious meals which are definitely worth trying.

Tags: Austria