Getting Around Innsbruck
The best way to get around Innsbruck is on foot. It's a walkable city with many of the top attractions in the old town or within walking distance from one another. There is also plenty of hiking, should you have the energy to head up into the mountains for fabulous views. The city's dedicated cycling lanes and the small amount of traffic also make Innsbruck bike-friendly.
If you need a little more help getting in between attractions, the city has a simple bus system, which is free with an Innsbruck Card. Cable cars and funiculars will take you into the mountains for hiking and other outdoor activities, not to mention great panoramas, while trains may be best left for when you need to get to other nearby towns or major European cities.
While driving a car is an option in some areas, it can be difficult in winter when many mountain roads close. Taxis are available, and many visitors take a cab to get from the airport to town. Innsbruck Airport (INN), which serves the city with flights from around Europe, is situated less than 3 miles from the center of old town and is easily accessible by taxi or bus.
With little traffic and many attractions close to one another, it's easy to tour Innsbruck on foot. Following set walking itineraries for themes like architecture, history or Christmas markets on your own, or choose a guided walking tour, several of which are free with the Innsbruck Card, to take in the highlights of the city or even tour the Imperial Palace. The Innsbruck tourism website also offers a list of themed walking itineraries.
The Innsbruck Card grants holders access to public transportation on the city's IVB lines for the length of the pass. Without the pass, you can buy bus tickets at machines at bus stops, though there is no change, or you can buy from a tobacco shop or at the Innsbruck Information Center on Burggraben Road. What's more, you can get a free bus ride when you make a purchase at a shop in the city center. Ask for an "Innenstadtkarte" (city center ticket), which grants you one free ride on the city bus or tram.
Many past visitors used the hop-on, hop-off Sightseer bus to conveniently get around town. It's free to Innsbruck Card holders and makes stops at popular attractions like the Golden Roof, the Bergisel Ski Jump and the Alpenzoo, among others. If you want to head into the countryside or a nearby village, you'll need to get a ride on a VVT bus.
Innsbruck likes to call itself "Bike City," largely due to its mountain biking, bike parks and cycling events. However, the average cycler will be happy to learn the city itself is bike-friendly thanks to many dedicated cycling lanes and little traffic. There are even lanes known as cycling "highways" that go to the airport, to the university and to shopping centers. The Innsbruck Card includes a three-hour bike rental perfect for seeing sights a little farther from the city center. Otherwise, you can rent bikes from companies like Die Boerse and Bike Point to do a little exploring on your own. Be aware that you cannot bike on Maria-Theresien street between 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. and in other parts of the old town. Recent visitors also warned that stolen bikes can be an issue, so be sure to lock up any bike rental.
|Cable Cars and Funiculars|
There are numerous cable cars and funiculars in Innsbruck to get visitors into the mountains. The Innsbruck Card grants holders free access to seven of these, several of which only operate in the summer. For example, Axamer Lizum's Olympiabahn funicular, built for the 1976 Winter Olympics, takes visitors into the mountains to access hiking trails and rock climbing – all while enjoying 360-degree views. The cost is around 18 euros (about $20). Another option is the Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen funicular, which travels from the old town to the largest nature park in Austria, the Karwendel Nature Park, as well as to the Alpenzoo. A round-trip ticket costs 38 euros (around $42) for adults.
Cars are not recommended as the best way to get around the city. If you have a car, you should leave it at a Park & Ride facility. Otherwise, you're limited to finding parking lots or garages. Do not park where you see white lines, which are spots reserved for residents.
You are required to have an international driving permit, and you must also carry your U.S. driver's license with you. Additionally, the law requires winter tires on your vehicle from Nov. 1 to April 15. Various car rental agencies serve Innsbruck, including Avis, Hertz and Budget.
Taxis are another option if you need a quick and direct route to your destination. There will be an additional fee of 6 euros (about $6.60) if you call to be picked up. On holidays, the base rate is slightly more expensive. When it comes to tipping, it's acceptable to round to the nearest euro when traveling about town, but for a longer ride, 10% of the fare is expected.
Train travel is a convenient method for reaching nearby cities and towns in Austria, as well as other major European cities. Innsbruck's main train station is close to the city center with trains operated by ÖBB Sparschiene.
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