12 Best Day Trips From Innsbruck, Austria

Looking for the best day trips from Innsbruck?

Although I could spend weeks walking by the river and drinking coffee in Innsbruck’s cafes, many places around are worth a day trip. I’ve compiled a list of the best day trips from Innsbruck, each within a maximum of 2 hours’ drive, so you won’t get exhausted.

And since Innsbruck is close to the border, you’ll be able to visit places in both Germany and Italy as well.


Salzburg is the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but it is also world-renowned for its impressive medieval and Baroque architecture. That’s why it’s no surprise that in 1997, it was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a city of “outstanding value to humanity.” 

The Salzach River, a tributary of the Danube, flows through the city. Along its banks, there are 13 bridges, as well as numerous cycling paths and parks. There’s a lot to see and do in Salzburg in winter, summer, or any other season, actually.

Getting to Salzburg from Innsbruck is pretty easy. By train, it’s one of the most scenic routes you can take. The train ride takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the service you choose. Trains run frequently between the two cities. You can enjoy the breathtaking Alpine views as you travel.

If you prefer driving, the journey by road takes about the same amount of time. The drive is quite scenic too, taking you through beautiful landscapes of the Austrian countryside.

Hall in Tirol

Hall in Tirol is a hidden gem located close to Innsbruck. This small town is known for its well-preserved medieval center. 

Hall in Tirol’s charm lies in its narrow streets, historic buildings, and the famous Hall Mint Museum, where you can learn about the town’s past as a significant minting location.

Traveling from Innsbruck to Hall in Tirol is easy and quick. The most convenient way is by train, which takes around 10 to 15 minutes. 

Neuschwanstein Castle 

The most photographed building in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It welcomes nearly 1.5 million tourists annually. 

Nestled in the breathtaking Bavarian Alps near Füssen, this castle was an inspiration for Disney’s fairytale castle in “Sleeping Beauty.” Built in the late 19th century, Neuschwanstein wasn’t conceived as a defensive fortress like many other castles.

Instead, it was imaginatively designed as a retreat for Ludwig II of Bavaria. Each room is adorned with sparkling chandeliers and beautiful paintings, while the third floor was dedicated to Ludwig’s passion for scenes with swans from Wagner’s operas, which the king deeply admired.

To get from Innsbruck to the castle, you have several options. By car, it will take you approximately 1.5 to 2 hours at most. Group tours range from 9 hours in winter to 12 hours in summer.

Alternatively, you can take a train from Innsbruck to Füssen, the closest German town to Neuschwanstein Castle. From Füssen, it’s a short bus or taxi ride to the castle. 

Swarovski Crystal Worlds

One of the youngest museums in North Tyrol, Austria, is dedicated to Swarovski crystals. It is located in the town of Wattens, which is well-connected to nearby Innsbruck through regular transportation lines. Interestingly, this Austrian town is primarily known as the heartland of the Swarovski company.

In celebration of the company’s centenary in 1995, the Swarovski Crystal Worlds (German: Swarovski Kristallwelten) were inaugurated. Initially conceived as a unique gift not only to the company’s customers and employees but also to collectors and art enthusiasts, it has since become one of the most renowned museums in this part of Austria, recording over 16 million visitors per year, as stated on the museum’s official website.

The Swarovski Crystal Museum is open to visitors every working day and during public holidays from 9 am to 7 pm, with the last entry at 6 pm local time. Admission for adult visitors is 23 euros, while children’s tickets are seven euros. Children under the age of five, accompanied by an adult, enter free of charge.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a well-known tourist destination, most famous for its ski slopes and ski jumping hill. We’ve all watched the ski jumping competitions held on January 1st each year, and they take place right here in this town.

What I love most about this city is the strong sense of tradition that is very much in keeping with Bavarian culture. Yet, on the other hand, it’s a city that has everything to offer, both socially and health-wise. It’s no wonder that people with health issues come to this city, calling it an ‘air spa,’ while other tourists, like me, come to enjoy the natural beauty and the authentic Bavarian culture.

In and around Garmisch, there are many people involved in dairy and meat processing, so every Friday, you can buy these local products at the market in the city center. Also, when I was there, there was a fair on Sunday where local products were available for purchase.

Traveling from Innsbruck, Austria, to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, is quite easy and offers a few options:

  • 1. By Train: It typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the specific train service you choose. 
  • 2. By Bus: Buses also operate between Innsbruck and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This can be an economical choice and the journey time is comparable to that of the train.
  • 3. By Car: If you prefer driving, the distance between Innsbruck and Garmisch-Partenkirchen can be covered in about an hour and a half, depending on traffic.

Munich, Germany

Munich is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, a cultural and bohemian center. It’s one of the most visited cities in the world that doesn’t need much introduction. 

This city is home to numerous historical monuments that tell the stories of centuries-old Bavarian rulers, as well as masterpieces of modern technology and architecture. It’s a global hub for trade fairs, famous for its beer halls and the renowned Oktoberfest. 

The lion is the official symbol of Munich, while beer is its unofficial emblem.

Lake Achensee

Often referred to as the ‘Fjord of the Alps’, is the largest lake in the Austrian state of Tyrol and a popular destination for both relaxation and adventure. Nestled between the Karwendel and Rofan mountain ranges, the lake has crystal-clear, turquoise waters. 

It’s a haven for activities like sailing, windsurfing, swimming in the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. The region around Lake Achensee also has dozens of hiking and biking trails. 

Bolzano, Italy

Although one of the largest cities in the Alps, Bolzano offers the charm of a real village. In the medieval quarter, you will find streets with pastel-colored facades. Interesting shops are located in passages with glass roofs.

With its urban environment and very good living standard, it’s no surprise that this charming town of South Tyrol is on the list of the best places to live in Italy. In Bolzano, you will experience not only a blend of Austrian and Italian culture, but also an incredible contrast of modern and traditional.

In the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum, you can see the oldest natural human mummy “Ötzi” aged 5,300 years. After meeting him, the Middle Ages might seem like the recent past. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Museion) has 4,500 exhibits.

The building itself is imposing, with front and rear glass facades. Also, the city has numerous churches in Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. The entire region is home to hundreds of castles, with the nearby Runkelstein Castle, adorned with 13th-century frescoes, being the most impressive.

The culinary offer in Bolzano is a mix of Austrian and Italian culinary traditions, but that does not mean that the menus only offer Italian pasta and Austrian dumplings. Excellent chefs leave their mark and invent modern dishes like a combination of potato ravioli with dried plums or sea bass with sauerkraut, pumpkin, and ginger.

Merano, Italy

Thanks to the Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth, also known by the nickname Sisi, the South Tyrolean town near the border with Austria, Merano, became an elegant and luxurious refuge in the 19th century.

Due to its mild climate and refreshing treatments, it remains a popular wellness destination to this day. Whether you’ve come for a spa treatment or just to enjoy the artistic and natural attractions of Merano, this beautiful place has a lot to offer. Medieval charm and late-century elegance, a Gothic cathedral, botanical gardens and parks, numerous streets with arcades, and castles are just some of the attractions.

The Sisi pedestrian trail, named after Empress Elisabeth’s nickname, takes you from the city center to the Trauttmansdorff Castle. It was the summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty and where the empress stayed. There is also the unique “Touriseum” museum in the world, dedicated exclusively to the history of tourism. Austrian Duke Sigismund built the Princely Castle in the center of Merano in the 15th century.

It offers a great insight into life at the end of the Middle Ages. Interestingly, here and in other parts of the region, the autumn tradition includes tasting new wines with roasted chestnuts. The Merano Wine Festival is held from November 8 to 12. There you can enjoy all the wines of South Tyrol and the whole of Italy.

Nordkette Mountain Range

The Nordkette Mountain Range is a part of the Alps right next to Innsbruck in Austria. It’s super easy to get to and offers some of the best views around. You start with a funicular ride from Innsbruck up to Hungerburg. 

From there, a cable car takes you higher up to Seegrube, where you get amazing views of the city and valley. If you want to go even higher, another cable car heads up to Hafelekar, over 2,300 meters high. Here, you can see the whole Alpine landscape spread out around you.

During the winter, Nordkette is a place for skiing and snowboarding – it even has Europe’s steepest ski run. 

In the summer, it’s all about hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding. There’s a lot of wildlife and plants to see too, so it’s great for nature lovers.


Kufstein is a charming town located in the Austrian state of Tyrol, near the border with Germany. One of the town’s most prominent landmarks is the Kufstein Fortress, perched on a hill above the town, offering fantastic views and a glimpse into the region’s past.

The town itself is a blend of historical and modern elements, with its well-preserved medieval old town and vibrant cultural scene. 

Visitors to Kufstein can enjoy a variety of activities such as hiking and skiing in the surrounding mountains, or exploring local museums and galleries. The town is also known for its lively festivals and events, including the annual Operetta Summer Kufstein.

The Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus), Germany

Although it’s almost two and a half hours drive from Innsbruck, this historic place is worth visiting. I visited this stone house in the summer of 2023, along with hundreds of tourists. 

On that cold and rainy summer day, at about ten degrees Celsius and an altitude of around 1,830 meters, everyone tried to “capture a piece of history”, each for their own reasons. 

Germans, Poles, Russians, Czechs, English, Americans, French, Italians, Japanese… Families, individuals, with friends, or in tour groups, all were easily recognizable by conversations in their native languages, as we rode special buses to the Eagle’s Nest, first through a tunnel, then in an elevator that holds up to about 20 people. 

You immediately exit onto a terrace and enter the restaurant, formerly a reception hall, where everyone photographs the famous Hitler’s fireplace made of dark-red marble, a gift from Mussolini…

This historical story about the Kehlsteinhaus is probably most famously known to the general public from the documentary film shot in the summer of 1939, particularly the scene where hosts Hitler and Eva Braun, with their guests, observe the green peaks of the Alps and Lake Königssee (King’s Lake) from the terrace of the stone villa perched on a cliff.

You can’t drive to the top of the mountain in your own car because the road is only four meters wide. That’s why buses are used, for which tickets are purchased through a website. This is to monitor the number of visitors and avoid gatherings of neo-Nazis, which have happened in the past. The bus ticket also serves as the entrance ticket to the facility.

The bus climbs 800 meters up the mountain, covering the 6.5 km in about half an hour; it passes through five tunnels and, of course, has many curves. Finally, you arrive at the Kehlstein mountain peak, but not yet at the Eagle’s Nest!

From the last bus stop, you enter a 124-meter long tunnel that goes into the mountain, then into a large elevator that ascends another 124 meters. In less than a minute, you enter the lobby of the Kehlsteinhaus, or the restaurant.

Wrap-Up: Best Day Trips From Innsbruck

Innsbruck is one of the best places to visit in Austria, but it’s not the only one. This list includes several places that are perfect for a day trip from Innsbruck, and yes, Hallstatt is not on it.

When comparing Innsbruck to Hallstatt, I will always choose Hallstatt, but it is 250 km from Innsbruck, requiring at least 3 hours by car in one direction and almost 5 hours by bus.