After Christmas we packed up our warmest clothes and the dog and got on a train to Innsbruck, Austria. This ski town has a lot to offer for visitors year round and a special celebration for the New Year that’s a great time for visitors.
Innsbruck is a beautiful city, but in order to fully take it in, I recommend taking the cable car ride from the city up the mountain top. We purchased a 24 hour Innsbruck card (well worth it) from our hotel, but you can also buy it directly at the cable car from the ticket office. The card covers the cost of both cable cars as well as several other tourist attractions in the city. Even though we didn’t have the snow we were hoping for, the views were spectacular and the restaurants at the top offer a cozy place to grab a bite before heading back down.
Innsbruck Card prices:
24 hours: € 33
48 hours: € 41
72 hours: € 47
Children from 6 to 15 years: 50% discount
On the way to the top of the mountain, the cable car stops at the Alpenzoo. This mountainside zoo’s admission is included in the cost of the Innsbruck card. Be sure to pick up a map on your way into the zoo as the winding paths can get you a little turned around. Inside, bears, moose, goats, cats, birds and amphibians are on display year round.
The Audioversum is an interactive museum which displays how hearing works (in various languages). The museum is fun for both children and adults with exhibits that are hands (ears?) on. Admission for adults is € 7 and € 4.50 for kids or free with the Innsbruck card. Information on the museum and hours can be found on the website.
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If you’re lucky enough to have snow on your visit to Austria (which we were not), there are many ski resorts to help you make the most of the weather. There are eight resorts for various ski levels. Transport to the base of the mountain is easy thanks to daily free buses which pick up at different locations in the city. For information on bus schedules and locations, visit this website.
© Kelly Lauer
This historic and picturesque old city has cobbled streets and colorful alleyways perfect for exploring. The restaurants in the old city are fantastic and boutique shops offer unique wares to commemorate your visit. It’s easy to spend an afternoon here marveling at the medieval buildings and discovering different nooks and crannies of culture.
New Years in the Mountains
My favorite thing about ringing in the New Year in Innsbruck was that we didn’t need reservations or a tight timetable to have fun. After dinner the crowds start to gather near the Innsbruck bridge downtown. A dozen spotlights line the waterfront and serve as a beacon guiding you to where the action is. There is a large stage set up with various performers and DJs as well as a large bar in the pavilion. Guests can dance, drink, and socialize in the crisp mountain air until minutes before midnight. As the countdown draws near, visitors assemble toward the waterfront looking out at the mountains. Then, the spotlights go dark, and at midnight fireworks light up the mountains in a gorgeous display. It was my favorite New Year’s celebration in Europe!
How to Get There
Innsbruck, Austria is approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes southeast of Kaiserslautern, 5 hours and 40 minutes southeast of Wiesbaden and 3 hours and 40 minutes southeast of Stuttgart. Click on DB Bahn for train information.
Author’s Profile: Kelly is a DOD wife, devoted dog-mom, a mediocre cook, a whiskey aficionado and an avid traveler who’s exploring the Kaiserslautern area with dog and husband in tow.