Why let queues and paying for tickets slow you down on your travels? City cards are often a great way to remove the hassle from visiting a place. We invested in a 72 hour Innsbruck Card during our Christmas trip to Austria. What does the Innsbruck Card include? Is the price you pay for an Innsbruck Card worth it? Read on to find out more and learn about whether it makes sense for you to buy an Innsbruck Card for your next trip.
About the Innsbruck CardThe Innsbruck Card is available in 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour increments. Buy the Innsbruck Card online before your trip, at the Innsbruck Tourism Information office once you arrive or at various hotels and attractions. The Innsbruck Card costs 49 EUR for a 24 hour pass, 55 EUR for 48 hours, and 66 EUR for 72 hours. Validate the card at the first attraction where you use it and then the clock starts ticking. The Innsbruck Card includes free entrance to various museums and attractions in the Innbruck region, a single round trip journey on each of the various funiculars and cable cars, and public transportation.
Is the 72 Hour Innsbruck Card A Good Value?
We opted for the 72 hour Innsbruck Card. At 66 EUR per person, let's see if we got our money's worth! Note that in the winter, the hours at certain attractions are shorter due to shorter daylight hours. This means it can be more challenging to get your money's worth out of an Innsbruck Card in the winter vs. summer. We visited Innsbruck for Christmas in December so the values I report here are likely a lower bound of what you might achieve in the summer.
Attraction Visited with our Innsbruck Card (Price)
- Tiroler Volkskunst Museum (11 EUR)
- Stadtturm (4.50 EUR)
- Goldenes Dachl Museum | Famous Golden Dome Museum (5 EUR)
- Bergisel Ski Jump (9.50 EUR)
- Alpenzoo (11 EUR)
- Innsbruck Hofburg Self-Guided Tour (9.50 EUR)
- Maximilian I Exhibit at the Innsbruck Hofburg (7.50 EUR)
- Innsbruck Hofburg Lightshow (10 EUR)
- Schloss Ambras (8 EUR)
- Swarovski Kristellwelten | Swarovski Crystal Worlds Admission (19 EUR)
Transportation Accessed with Our Innsbruck Card
- Public buses operated by IVB (5.60 for 24 hours x 3 = 16.80 EUR)
- Transportation to Nordkette (36.50 EUR)
- Patscherkofelbahn Cable Car Round Trip (23.50 EUR)
- Swarovski Crystal Worlds Bus Round Trip (9.50 EUR)
TOTAL: 181.30 EUR per person
How We Made the Most of Our Innsbruck Card
As you can see in the summary above, we covered a lot of ground with our 72 hour Innsbruck Card when we visited Innsbruck for Christmas. What attractions did we see and what were they like?
Tiroler Volkskunst Museum
The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum (Tiroler Volkskunst Museum in German) was worth visiting simply for the chance to visit the Hofkirche. Inside the Hofkirche, you'll find the cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I. The Cenotaph is an ornate affair and is surrounded by 28 larger-than-life statues of Maximilian's real and mythical ancestors. The Hofkirche is definitely one of the best places for indoor photography in Innsbruck. The hofkirche is the highlight of the Tiroler Volkskunst Museum but take a quick walk through the other rooms which are decorated with Tyrolean artifacts from different periods of Tyrol history.
Innsbruck Stadtturm | Innsbruck City TowerI love climbing towers whenever there is an opportunity when we visit cities in Europe. The Innsbruck Stadtturm (Innsbruck City Tower) features a double helical staircase so you don't have to awkwardly squeeze by fellow climbers on their way up as you are making your way down. The Innsbruck Stadtturm is particularly worth climbing as sunset approaches. You'll be rewarded by golden hour views over the surrounding Austrian Alps. The platform at the top is pretty narrow so keep that in mind if you are claustrophobic or if you don't like crowds.
Goldenes Dachl Museum | Famous Golden Dome Museum
Innsbruck Old Town is famous for its golden roof. You can't miss the famous golden dome as you walk through the pedestrianized core of Innsbruck. Thousands of gilded copper tiles catch the sun on a nice day. Under the golden dome, you'll find the Goldenes Dachl Museum. Is the Golden Dome Museum worth visiting? Yes...if you have an Innsbruck Card. It's worth spending 15-20 minutes doing a circuit of the museum and learning about some of the local history of both the building and Emperor Maximilian I. If I was paying separately for the Golden Dome Museum rather than entering for free with my Innsbruck Card, I'm not sure it's worth the 5 EUR price tag for what you get.
Bergisel Ski Jump
Innsbruck's Olympic history dates back many years. There has been a ski jump at Bergisel since 1925. The Bergisel ski jump featured prominently in the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Take the inclined elevator up to the top for sweeping views over Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains. The Bergisel ski jump is so tall! I couldn't imagine strapping on skis and hurtling down the ramp and then lifting off. I'll keep my feet planted firmly on the ground, thank you very much.
Ascent to Nordkette
Access to Innsbruck's system of funiculars and cable cars is the most important reason to buy an Innsbruck Card. The round trip journey for a single person to Nordkette cost nearly 40 EUR at the time of our visit. That alone nearly pays for the cost of the 72 hour Innsbruck Card.
Nordkette is an extremely popular place to go in Innsbruck, especially on a sunny winter weekend.
Getting to Nordkette is part of the fun. Ride the Innsbruck Hungerburgbahn to its upper terminus. Climb aboard the Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen (Nordkette Cable Car) and embark on the steep journey over pine trees and ski trails to Seegrube. Many people ski down from Nordkette but it's also fun to just sit in the sun and have a drink with beautiful mountain views and a spot of people watching. There is another cable car that will take you from Seegrube to Hafelekar (Nordkette's highest point). From the end point of the cable car, you can walk to the very top of the mountain. We aborted our attempt about halfway up. Getting up isn't so bad. Staying sure-footed on the way down is the bigger problem.
Innsbruck Alpenzoo | Innsbruck Alpine Zoo
Innsbruck Alpenzoo is unique in the world. As the name implies, Alpenzoo is an alpine zoo; a zoological park featuring alpine animals from around the world. Alpenzoo clings to the side of the mountain between Innsbruck City and Nordkette and is accessible via the Hungerburgbahn. The entrance to the Alpenzoo is located at the lower end of the park so prepare yourself for a considerable amount of uphill walking. Alpenzoo features cute dexterous goats, majestic moose, hungry bears, and energetic young bison. I consider Alpenzoo a must-see on a trip to Innsbruck.
Innsbruck Hofburg and the Max 500 Lightshow
Take a self-guided tour of Innsbruck's Imperial Palace including the special Maximilian I exhibit with your Innsbruck Card. Steep in the atmosphere of the palace and imagine what it was like when royalty roamed these halls. Visit the Hofburg near closing time and then stick around for the Max 500 Lightshow. The special effects are dazzling which helps to overcome some of the limitations of the plot of the show. The lightshow that we saw starred a family of dancing marmots.
Definitely set aside a few hours to explore Ambras Castle both inside and out. Take the hop-on hop-off bus (included in the Innsbruck Card) or pay for Postbus 4134. We learned the hard way that only IVB operated buses are included with the Innsbruck Card. This is inconsistently enforced though. The bus driver took our Innsbruck Card on the way to Ambras Castle. A more surly driver made us pay the 3.10 EUR fare on way back. We could have taken the Innsbruck Sightseer bus but that takes a lot longer.
Ambras Castle has beautiful grounds to explore. Keep an eye out for peacocks as you stroll around near the castle. You may also want to seek out the Bacchus Grotto. It was here that Archduke Ferdinand II hosted parties with wild drinking games. Guests would be strapped into a chair and wouldn't be released until they drank the requisite amount. If you succeeded, you got to put your name and motto in the Trinkbuch.
Inside Schloss Ambras, make your way to the eye-popping Spanish Hall. Ambras Castle is considered the world's first museum in some circles because Archduke Ferdinand II was a voracious collector. I particularly liked his spectacular glass collection. The armory at Schloß Ambras is a most impressive collection of suits of armour and weaponry in resplendent display. Of course, Archduke Ferdinand II was also fond of curiosities and maintained an extensive collection including that staple of 16th century curiosity cabinets around Europe: a puffer fish.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: What other places in Europe have city cards and how does the value compare? Make a short stay in Salzburg easier by taking advantage of your time there with a 24 hour Salzburg Card. The Luxembourg Card is one of the best city cards we've tried and is excellent value for money. You can even use it on various day trips from Luxembourg City.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds
Innsbruck is home to Swarovski Crystal. About 30 minutes outside town, you'll find what can only be described as a Swarovski Crystal showcase and modern art exhibit: Swarovski Kristallwelten! Catch the Swarovski Crystal World bus at the Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof. Make sure to get to the bus stop early since the bus runs rather infrequently and Swarovski Crystal Worlds is extremely popular.
Swarovski Kristallwelten is located in front of a spectacular mountain backdrop and really is an idyllic setting. Enter through the grassy giant's head into the Chamber of Wonders. The modern art exhibits are fascinating. You could easily spend a couple hours here. We saw a mechanical theatre featuring dancing shirts and trousers, an immersive mirror, and so much bling, I almost saw stars!
Patscherkofel is another mountain near Innsbruck popular with skiers. Take public transportation to Patscherkofel. If you want an adrenaline rush, go on a day when bobsled rides are offered to the public. You'll get a 20% discount on the cost of the bobsled ride with your Innsbruck Card. The ride is relatively expensive on a per second basis: 35 EUR per person for approximately 45 seconds. It's totally worth it though for a once in a lifetime experience!
Take the Patscherkofelbahn up the mountain. Note that Patscherkofel is very much a skiers mountain. There is a small restaurant at the top but very few services. Use your Innsbruck Card to cover the cost of the cable car so you can appreciate the amazing views. Indulge in a glass of wine or a bowl of soup to warm up on a cold winter's day before taking the cable car back down again.
There you have it. We got 181 EUR worth of value per person in 72 hours. I hope you'll agree that the Innsbruck Card is great value for money and streamlines visiting all the attractions in the Innsbruck region.