A human settlement since the Stone Age, this area became an important stop on the Roman Road from Verona into Germanic areas circa 350 A.D. Around 1167, a bridge was built across the river Inn, which was a huge navigational barrier to that point, giving the city its current name (Inn, name of river, Bruck, Crossing). It became the center of the Tyrolian empire and the subject of many excursions from its more aggressive neighbors, a favorite spot of the Hapsburgs, and home to two winter Olympics. Innsbruck is a fairly idyllic city in the Alps with 200+ days of sunlight a year and 7 months of skiing available. I have run across many expats from England who made this technology and banking hub their home.

The Arrival

We drove in from Fussen, Germany through the lower Alps. If you're not driving, it's a very scenic trip. The water is a deep blue-green, which I suspect comes from copper deposits in the mountains. After a couple of hours, we arrived in Innsbruck. Having been here before, I knew the route to the Hilton was difficult to navigate. (What? A Hilton? Yep. They didn't have any Marriott properties there and I still had a lot of Hilton points left over. Besides I've stayed there before; it's a good hotel) We got settled in and walked down the street to Burger King. Don't knock it, I love BK, and it was convenient and reasonable.


The next morning everyone woke to a stunning view of the Alps.
Then we all walked to a bakery and everyone had pastries for breakfast. We walked east across town to the Sillpark mall as my oldest daughter, a huge fashionista, wanted to spend the day at Primark shopping for clothes. That only lasted the morning, and we returned to the old part of the city for parks and churches. One of the parks had a garden chess set, so we took a break for the kids to try their hand at the oversized game.
Chess in the Hofgarten
Maximillian was great
And more around the old city center. Near the Goldenes Dachl, the defacto tourist image of Innsbruck and royal residence in the 15th century, several old inns and other structures converted to shops. A restaurant where Mozart ate.
The bridge

The Next Day

Having walked our legs off the day before, it was decided we'd take a drive up to Igls in the mountains, and see old-school quaint Austria with a visit to where I had taken my oldest son in 2012 to ski on Patzerkopf.
And after that, a trip down to Schloss Ambras, home of Hapsburgs in the 1500-1600s. It's more of a show castle than a functional defense, as I doubt it could have withstood a significant assault with the light fortifications it has.
Wine cave?  I'm in! Aww... empty

The Way Out

We went back to the hotel and then left the next morning for Liechtenstein and Switzerland, but on the way, we passed by Imst, where they have the longest alpine coaster in the world, multiple miles long, and you can reach speeds of 70mph. The kids were definitely up for that challenge!


Innsbruck is a small but pristine city in the Alps. Well-off and well-kept, it has many expats who fell in love with the skiing and the job market. Costs are reasonable by European standards. Public transportation does exist in the form of street cars, but you really need a car to get around. Major train service is available from east, west and south. It's a very short drive south to Italy, and a more significant one east to Vienna or west to Switzerland.

The Alps are immediately outside the city, and the villages seem to go back to at least the 1600s. Picturesque is an understatement.

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