The next spotlight in my series is with Irene and Stefano from Innsbruck, Austria. Located in the Inn Valley, Innsbruck is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol and is internationally known for its winter sports. If you are an adventurer who enjoys outdoor sports and recreation, Innsbruck has many opportunities for you to experience thrills of all sorts. Where do the locals go in Innsbruck?
TWT: Every destination has a local hot spot. What is the local hot spot in your area and would you please describe the atmosphere? Why do locals go there?
I & S: Innsbruck’s town centre is its hot spot! The old town and Maria-Theresien-Straße are closed for traffic and boast countless cafés and restaurants. The atmosphere is relaxed and it is a great place to enjoy the sun and a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.
TWT: Your friend is flying into town for the first time and wants to experience the local food scene, where would you take him/her? What are some of the dishes you would recommend? How is the ambiance?
I & S: Innsbruck has an incredible number of traditional Tyrolean restaurants where you can enjoy authentic cuisine. Our recommendations for a rustic ambiance are the Kranebitterhof (on the outskirts of Innsbruck), Theresienbräu (in Maria-Theresien-Straße), which even brews its own beer, and the Tiroler Bauernkeller (in Meinhardstraße).
Must-try dishes include Schnitzel (breaded veal or pork butterfly cut), Gröstl (roasted potatoes with ham or meat) and Käsespätzle (dough “noodles” with cheese and roasted onions).
TWT: Travelers enjoy learning about the local art scene when they arrive in new locations. Are there local artists (musicians, painters, poetry writers, etc.) in your area that perform or feature their work? Where can travelers go for these experiences?
I & S: We can recommend the (mostly alternative) concerts at the Treibhaus and the iconic Weekender club. High-quality theatre productions can be enjoyed at the Landestheater.
TWT: What are some of the more popular festivals in town? Are they held annually, several times a year, once a month? What time of the year do they take place? Where can travelers go to find out more information?
I & S: Innsbruck hosts a series of sports events, including an annual ski jumping World Cup (January 4) – the atmosphere in the ski jumping stadium is amazing! We can also recommend the Golden Roof Challenge (in June) an athletics competition right in front of the famous Golden Roof in the old town. The Tanzsommer (summer months) brings world-class dance productions to Innsbruck. If you are visiting in December don’t miss the famous Christmas markets. More information can be found on the Innsbruck Tourism website (innsbruck.info).
TWT: If travelers want to experience recreational activities during their stay, what can they do and where can they go?
I & S: Innsbruck is THE destination for adventure travellers. Head up the mountains to ski, snowboard, hike or paraglide or get your adrenaline kick while river rafting or canyoning. If thermal baths are your thing, head to the Aqua Dome in Längenfeld (1 hour drive from Innsbruck). The popular Area 47 (half an hour drive) offers countless outdoor adventures in one spot.
TWT: Many travelers pick destinations that offer voluntourism / eco-tourism / activism / volunteer opportunities. What types of opportunities exist in your area?
I & S: The Tyrol region is very eco-friendly and unspoilt nature can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere. If you would like to explore the magnificent Austrian countryside, check out the Nature Watch programme.
TWT: I know travelers like certain forms of transportation. Some like to walk and/or bike while others prefer to get around at a quicker pace. What is the best way for travelers to get around town?
I & S: The best way to get around Innsbruck is by (rental) bicycle or bus. The town centre is very walkable and therefore best explored by foot, especially as the old town is a pedestrian zone.
TWT: For those who want to get away for a day for some peace and quiet, yet still take in the scenery, where are some areas that travelers can go to “get away from it all” and still enjoy the outdoors?
I & S: The great outdoors start right in town! Just hop onto the cable railway, head up the Nordkette mountain range and enjoy breathtaking views. Other options include the Achensee lake region or a trip to the Stubai valley. The Hofgarten park in the town centre is also a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet.
TWT: Travelers can get a sense of culture by observing their surroundings and people watch. Where can travelers go in your area to engage in this popular activity?
I & S: Just choose an outdoor table at any of the cafés in Maria-Theresien-Straße or Innsbruck’s scenic old town and enjoy!
Surrounded by the Alps, Innsbruck is the economic and cultural center of western Austria. Due to the feasibility and popularity of its location, Innsbruck is a high tourist location bringing in many visitors from around the world. Whether you are going there for adventure or relaxing in the beauty of Mother Nature’s surroundings, Innsbruck will be sure to provide whatever suits your delight.
To learn more about Irene and Stefano, you can follow them on their blog: Freelancers On The Road
You can contact Tony Toto a.k.a. The Walking Traveler at firstname.lastname@example.org