Last Updated: 7th Jun 2012
Innsbruck is the capital city of the Tyrol region of western Austria. Built in on the floor of the Inn Valley on the banks of the Inn River, it became a important centre for trade with merchants traveling through the nearby Brenner Pass. The city burst on the European cultural scene in the 16th century when it became the home of Maximilian I, Emperor of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor. Legend has it that the emperor had 2657 gold tiles places on the roof of his balcony on the edge of the main square. Today the Golden Roof is the symbol and icon of the city.
The Old Town is the most impressive part of the city and although only being small itself, is home to the largest Swarovski Crystal store in the world, a number of beautiful churches, the ‘Stadtturn’ tower, (providing some great views of both the town and the mountains) and some great souvenir shops. The Christmas markets during the winter are simply gorgeous and only enhance the charm and appeal of the city.
The narrow, almost fairytale like cobble-stoned streets, along with the ornate building style of the old town add to the peace and serenity of the surrounding Alps. The relaxed and casual feel can however be deceiving as the people of the Tyrol certainly know how to party, usually beginning with a schnaps or two, or three or six or ten. The locals take both their schnaps and their drinking technique very seriously.
Innsbruck has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and is home to one of the most famous ski jumps in the world.
Today Innsbruck is also home to a University and as such during term is also home to some good nightlife. Nachtschicht (‘Nightshift’ in English – official site) is reputed to be Austria’s largest night club and often schedule theme nights and drink specials while Blue Chips is open every night of the week for a more of an underground feel. Being a popular ski destination in winter, many hotel bars also have excellent bars with a variety of local schnaps.