“ Tyrol, Austria. „
I am reviewing Innsbruck airport, not the resort. Easyjet, British Airways and Monarch all fly into Innsbruck from the UK and it is growing in popularity for people going ski-ing within a radius of about 70 miles of the airport.
The descent into the airport is tricky for pilots (so we have been told) as it is right in the middle of a mountainous valley. However on a clear and calm day the views are stupendous. However, on one occasion the landing was very very rough because there was poor weather in the valley, and many people on board the plane left feeling rather ill!
The airport itself is quite small but very clean and modern. However, it is lacking in facilities such as restaurants once you go through security - there is only one small cafe which gets extremely busy. So beware and make sure that if you want to eat before you fly, go to the restaurant upstairs at the airport before you go through security.
The security checks are quite stringent - one of our bags was scanned five times and emptied before we were allowed through. They are also enforcing the no liquids rule very toughly.
There is a duty free shop but it is pretty small and not a great attraction if you have a long time to kill before your flight. There is no other shops at all once you're through security, and the departure lounge gets very busy.
The toilets are clean and modern and there is both baby changing facilities and disabled toilets.
The airport is also very well set up for wheelchairs and buggys, and during the winter season there is often a line of injured skiiers waiting in wheelchairs to be transferred to the plane.
Also beware that if you are coming in the winter, when you land you will have to wait outside the airport to get into the security checks. The first year we went we waited for about 30 minutes in minus temperatures, and one person in our party had packed their jacket in the hold!
All in all this airport does what it is supposed to, but it could be greatly improved with more facilites.
Well that?s a bit of a lie as I visited Innsbruck during its heady highs of summer and thus the elusive ski bunny slipped through my grasp again, but that?s not to say I didn?t enjoy my stay in this delightful little town. But before I give you my impression of this twice winter Olympic host I must hasten to say that during my stay there I was on a backpacking tour with a friend and on a limited budget so whilst my overview will be limited to the more obvious areas of cultural interest you should appreciate that with only a step up in budget whole new areas become available to you. Now to business, the first area I?ll approach will be the facilities of Innsbruck. With it having hosted two winter Olympics one can imagine that its sports and transport facilities are extremely good and one would be right. The train stations are central and the airport has good connections through public transport to the city centre. Once there access to the rest of the city, at least the areas with the hotels and the old town, is normally only a 10 minute walk. I would discuss hotels etc but for that you?re better of checking through the tourist board (located in the main train station) or hotel searches on the net. I will say that the official HI hostel was extremely comfortable, clean, spacious and friendly and the 10.30 curfew was easy to get round as if you asked nicely they gave you a key. Now to the sights of Innsbruck, first we have the Old Town, the area that used to be surrounded by the city walls, walls long gone, and now contains several interesting little sights with which to fill an afternoon. The best would be the golden roof which one has to say is impressive, but after about five minutes begins to lose its charm and just looks gaudy. To be honest that can be said about all the sites in the Old town, after a few minutes and a photo you?re ready to move on to the next, hence it?s worth only an afternoon for sightseeing. That said
the old town has a delightful feel to it and if you?re happy to shell out a bit then you can sit in one of the many cafés and wine bars and just soak up the culture. But if you fancy some history then your best bets are the Hofburg, old imperial apartments that are quite charming in their own way, or one can head up to the fantastic Schloss Ambras. A huge castle built for an emperor?s wife and quite frankly he must have really loved that woman. Within the castle there is an impressive collection of armour, lots of oddities from the imperial life at the time (those boys could party, if you go check out the drinking chair), and a fantastic set of grounds to boot. However if one heads out from the city then there?s plenty of activities to keep you occupied, all the sports facilities can be used and even in summer there are a few ice orientated sports available. Then there?s the hiking in the area, if that?s your kind of thing then Innsbruck is fantastic, there are many hiking trails and the area caters toward the activity in summer. So to round up a trip to Innsbruck on, say a tour of Austria or backpacking Europe will really only take you two maybe three days depending on if you?re willing to spend the cash for activities. But for a higher budget then Innsbruck can be a wonderful place for a sports or activity holiday, but regardless of the reason you?ll find Innsbruck to be an incredibly friendly, beautiful place.
I got married in Austria in June of this year, and whilst there we visited Innsbruck. What a wonderful city (and country)! The streets are clean, no graffitti to be seen, no kids hanging round on the streets. Everyone was friendly (unlike our own cities here!), and very helpful. I went to the information office first (I love those places!!), got a map of the city and was amazed at how much there is to see and do! Unfortunately, we only had one day, so we made the most of it. First stop was St Jacobs's cathedral, a beautiful building, built around 1720. On the way there we passed St Anna's Column, a monument set in the middle of the huge main street, erected in 1706 in thanks to support during the War of the Spanish Succession. There is also a Triumphal Arch, erected in memory of the death of Emporor Franz I, and the marriage of his son. On the other side of town, you can take the monorail up to the cable car station, where you can take the cable car to two levels, the first is a viewpoint where you can see the whole city lying in the valley (I wish you could see the photos!!), the second cable car station takes you to the Alpenzoo, home to 2000 animals of 150 species. There are also museums, palaces and churches. You can take horse and carriage through the city, although it is expensive (£60 an hour). Not so bad if there are 6 of you! It isn't really a tourist orientated place, so this is a good place to see Austrians as they are. The thing that strikes you is when you cross the road, and glance up the side street to see a huge snow-covered mountain - it takes your breath away. When you come out of the train station, look up to your right - you'll be amazed at the view! There are loads of small narrow cobbled streets with little souvenir shops and hand made craft shops. Although a few people have told me Innsbruck is expensive I think it is no more expensive than a trip to London.
There are a lot of flash cars around, men in suits and expensive boutiques though. (The estimated budget below is if you want to see everything there is to see and do in the city, so don't be alarmed!) It really is a beautiful place to visit, and I would seriously urge anyone to go.