Mention Innsbruck -- and the association for many is
the city’s hosting of the Winter Olympics of 1964 and 1976.
That was our association as we drove down from the
Adler Spa and Hotel in the Dolomites for a brief stay over and a
next morning early train trip to Vienna.
Arriving, we marveled immediately at the look of
Innsbruck, provincial capital of Tyrol whose 110,000 residents make
it the fifth largest city in Austria. It was late October but the
historic city was ringed by snow-capped mountains and enjoying a
busy tourist trade. Lots of the trade came through the convergence
of the A12/A13 corridor, providing freeway access to Verona, Italy
and Munich, Germany.
We had chosen to stay at the Grand Hotel Europa.
Constructed in 1869, it was from the start the place to stay. Ludwig
II, King of Bavaria, declared: "This is the most beautiful place in
Innsbruck to celebrate a special occasion."
We were not there for that purpose but for an
expedient use of time in one of the 110 rooms. And the Grand Hotel
Europa, the only luxury 5 star hotel in Innsbruck, one located just
minutes away from the train station, was a perfect fit for our
Neat and clean with big rooms, replete with a
friendly and informed staff providing excellent service, the Grand
Hotel Europa has bragging rights to being within easy walking
distance of the lovely, charming and mostly Gothic “Old Town” that
still has its medieval core, of twisting, narrow streets and Late
Gothic style tall houses. It has a very large pedestrian area, many
outdoor restaurants and coffee shops and historic buildings.
Perhaps most impressive of the “Old Town” features
was the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof),a golden canopy atop a
spectators' gallery circa 1500, built by Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I who ruled from 1493 to 1519. Decorated with 2,657
fire-gilded copper tiles, it is truly a sight for the eyes.
Around the corner from the Golden Roof is the
Hofburg (Imperial Palace) that was used as a residence by the
Hapsburg emperors when they visited Innsbruck. A museum on the life
of Maximilianeum is there.
A terrific place to pause and enjoy excellent food and appealing
surroundings is the local branch of Café Sacher inside the Hofburg.
Upscale, quiet and delicious – all these adjectives apply.
The Innsbruck Nordkettenbahnen is impressive. It
is a cable car rising upward in just a few minutes from the city
center via the Alpine zoo to the Hungerberg (860 meters) to the
Seegrube (1905 meters) and the Hafelekar( 2256 meters). Panoramic
vistas and unique views of the city parade before your eyes as you
glide along in the cable car.
Intriguing, Innsbruck has much to offer - -
beautiful parks, snow-capped alps, historic places. Tourism is the
city’s lifeblood and most important element of the economy. We
could easily see why even though we were there for just a short
stay. The lovely city is a place for all seasons.
Hotel Grand Europa
Südtiroler Platz 2.
Phone: +43 (0) 512 5931
Austrian Tourist Board