The beautiful city of Innsbruck, the capital of Austria’s Tirol region, is often overlooked as a ski holiday destination. But for those in the know, there’s no better choice for a rich and varied ski holiday, with a big bonus of the slopes being some of the quickest to reach from the UK, and some of the most affordable in Western Europe. It’s no surprise that Innsbruck is the only destination to have hosted a Winter Olympics three times.
The key facts to keep in mind are: First, Innsbruck has its own airport, with ever more flights from the UK, so you can be checking in to your accommodation only a few minutes after flying in. Second, Innsbruck is surrounded by ski areas, ranging from mid-sized centres you can reach by jumping on a funicular from the city centre to the snow-sure Stubai glacier which is open for snow sports 10 months of the year. Third, Innsbruck is one of those few year-round destinations that, unusually for a ski destination, actually gets more visitors in summer than winter. The result is that the city’s businesses compete harder for your business during the ski season than they have to in the summer months, which drives down prices. A rare treat in the ski holiday world!
There are many more reasons to love Innsbruck however you enjoy winter. It’s a historic, beautiful city with a compact, largely pedestrianised centre, surrounded by a vista of stunning, snow-capped mountains. There are hundreds of enticing shops, cafes, restaurants and many other attractions so there’s plenty to do other than skiing. Perhaps a leisurely stroll through the fresh snow to a favourite café for coffee and cakes first thing, then jump on the shuttle up to the slopes for an afternoon’s skiing, hitting the city-centre pubs and clubs later on, or get up early for a full day on the slopes.
In short, Innsbruck combines luxury urban amenities with the world-renowned winter sports of the Olympia SkiWorld. From skiing and snowboarding to tobogganing, snowshoeing and bobsleigh, visitors here are spoilt for choice.
The great thing is that one very reasonably priced regional ski pass covers all of the local ski areas – more than a dozen of them, along with public transport to them. So you can decide each day where you want to ski knowing your transport there and back and day on the slopes are covered. Stay for a fortnight and you could still ski a different area every single day.
In fact, for 2019/20 the options have got even better with the launch of the new SKI plus CITY Pass. This one pass provides access to more than 308km of pistes, served by 111 lifts across 13 ski areas.
But what’s more, off the slopes, it includes access to three swimming pools and 22 more lifestyle, cultural and sightseeing opportunities ranging from entry to Swarovski Crystal Worlds through to an alpine zoo and the oldest museum in the world.
The 13 ski areas include a very varied choice, most between 15 and 45 minutes from the centre. The Nordkette area is the quickest to reach for most, a funicular railway ride up, and has everything from beginner terrain to exciting freeriding beloved by the local hotshots. By contrast, the Muttereralm is a long-time family favourite with great ski schools and a fabulous Kids’ Ski Zone complete with conveyor lifts, ski-merry-go-round and tepee. Igls, above the city with great views out across it, is home to the Men’s Olympic downhill and the bobsleigh run which visitors can take a ride down if they dare. Axamer Lizum, a little further out, is home to the women’s Olympic Downhill Course and Kühtai and Glungezer have a reputation for their great intermediate skiing with some wonderful long runs.
In terms of apres-ski, there are few, if any, destinations that can offer more choice than Innsbruck. You can, of course, enjoy traditional slopeside apres at your ‘ski area of the day’ before heading back to the city centre; and the city, which is also a university town, has a huge range of bars and nightspots.
But there’s so much more besides – endless shopping of course, as well as museums, galleries, concerts, sports centres, bowling, spas, the list goes on and you’re essentially spoilt for choice.
Innsbruck with Crystal Ski Holidays
Whether you’re going with family, friends or setting off solo, Crystal Ski Holidays will get you mountain ready in no time.
Stay in the historic four-star Hotel Schwarzer Adler, located just outside Innsbruck’s old town and a short walk away from the Nordkette furnicular lift. Once a haven to emperors, kings and aristocrats, the hotel retains many of its traditional features and is known for its gourmet cuisine and charming bar. Ski bus services to all the ski areas stop close by each morning to take you to the slopes, or you can use public bus services later in the day to reach the slopes if you wish.
All of Crystal’s holidays include flights, transfers and accommodation. Plus, you can add lift passes, equipment hire and ski school too, so everything’s ready for when you arrive.
You’ll get expert service every step of the way and Crystal’s free Ski Explorer app has snow reports, resort info and more. And of course, Crystal have you covered with ABTA and ATOL protection.
First-timer or a seasoned pro, there’s no one way to winter. But however you do it, do it with Crystal.