Visit this remarkable winter spot

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

It’s not easy to pin down just one location for a must-visit in winter. After all, between the traditional Christmas markets in Germany, Santa’s legendary home in Finland, Victorian Christmas celebration in the U.K. and beautiful landscapes in Italy, how do you pick just one? I chose a city which encompasses history, exudes charm and also offers thrilling outdoor adventures for all ages and abilities: Innsbruck, Austria.


History shows a continued inhabitance of Innsbruck since before the Holy Roman Empire. When the Romans marched through, they used the city as an army outpost. Later, Innsbruck became an important trade city, as it provided one of the easier transportation routes through the imposing Alps. Austrian nobility acquired the city, which resulted in a cultural renaissance of sorts.

Visitors to the city can saunter through Schloss Ambras, a palace constructed for Archduke Ferdinand II in the 16th century. Marvel at the opulent ceilings and discover the Chamber of Art and Curiosities, which includes the only existing portrait of Vlad III (also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula).

What to do

If the weather is cooperating, take a jaunt outdoors. Colorful, ornately detailed buildings that line the Inn River create postcard-worthy pictures. For an even more breathtaking view, take a ride in either the Nordkette Cable Car or the Hungerburg Funicular. Each will take you high above the city for an amazing panorama. Go near sunset to see the twinkling lights of the city below.

Home to not one, but two Winter Olympics (1964 and 1976), Innsbruck is a winter sports lover’s paradise! Skiers and snowboarders can fly down the mountain at one of the several ski resorts nearby. Seeking a little more thrill? Check out the Bergisel Ski Jump just above the city. This redesigned jump offers spectacular views of Innsbruck, and also hosts the prestigious Four Hills Tournament each January.

Rather look at something frosty rather than play in it? Head to the headquarters of the illustrious Swarovski crystals. Located on the eastern side of the city is Swarovski Kristallwelten. Learn about the sparkling gems, while walking through impressive and interactive art displays. You won’t leave disappointed (or empty-handed).

Innsbruck is a city full of life, rich history and amazing beauty. It is definitely worth a spot on your winter bucket list.

What’s your favorite location to visit in the winter? Give us a shout at


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