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 Intriguing, Innsbruck, Austria - - in the Heart of the Alps

Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer

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 needs.

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.
6020 Innsbruck

Phone: +43 (0) 512 5931


Photographs by Austrian Tourist Board

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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