Fantastic festivals, sporting spectacles and more besides: winter highlights in the Innsbruck Region

Last updated on 12.09.2023

Top sporting performances and rousing festivals, crowned by fairytale-like, sparkling highlights around Christmas and New Year – all this and more can be experienced in the Innsbruck region this winter. Cineastes will get their money’s worth at the Innsbruck Nature Film Festival, the Freeride Film Festival and the Freeride Filmbase; dance enthusiasts can savour the unforgettable performance of “Lagrimas Negras” at the Innsbruck Winter Dance Festival; sports fans can view a range of spectacular events, from fixed dates such as ski-jumping at the Bergisel to newer programme highlights such as the SnowFest. And, with the 50th anniversary of the Christmas market in Innsbruck’s old town and the fourth edition of LUMAGICA Innsbruck, the magical light park in Innsbruck’s Imperial Gardens, the Capital of the Alps has even more highlights – literally – for visitors.

In winter, the Innsbruck region offers top sporting performances, moving festivals and sparkling wow moments. © Innsbruck Tourismus/Tom Bause

The mecca for winter sports as a venue for sports and nature films
“Curtain up!” is the motto of this winter’s film festivals in the Capital of the Alps, with the popular Innsbruck Nature Film Festival (INFF) getting mattes off to a start. The INFF, now delighting audiences for the 22nd time with its focus on nature and the environment, is making a guest appearance at Innsbruck’s Metropol Cinema from 19 to 22 October 2023, with over 40 works and a wide range of workshops and stimulating discussions. Just a few weeks later, from 9 to 11 November 2023, the Freeride Film Festival (FFF) and the Freeride Filmbase also invite you to the Metropol to present, among other things, a multimedia presentation by the “Snowhow” association on avalanche awareness, not to mention breathtaking ski, freeride and snowboard films from near and far.

„Curtain up!“ is the motto this winter at the numerous film festivals in the Alpine capital. © Mario Kain

Long live sport: top performance is on offer in the Innsbruck region
Would you prefer to experience exciting bobsleigh, skeleton and luge competitions live along the track, or rather cheer on the pros at a freeski event? The multitude of sporting highlights in the Innsbruck region means that you don’t even have to ask yourself this question. The SnowFest, held from 24 to 26 November 2023 on the square at the Landestheater Landhausplatz (Rennweg), kicks off the winter sports season as the world’s best snowboarders and freeskiers show off their skills at the Rock a Rail Snowboard Contest and the Downtown StreetSki Session. Just a few weeks later – from 15 to 17 December 2023 – the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup will see competitors hurtling down the Olympia Ice Channel in Igls at speeds of up to 120 km/h. Concurrently, valuable World Cup points will be on offer for natural track lugers at the new competition venue in Kühtai. And that’s not all: in the New Year, on 13 and 14 January 2024, the Luge World Cup in Innsbruck will also see top racers taking on the curves.

At SnowFest from November 24 to 26, 2023 at the Landestheater forecourt, the best athletes in the world – here Anna Gasser – will show off their skills at the Rock a Rail Snowboard Contest and the Downtown StreetSki Session. ©

A peaceful mountain Christmas meets a magical journey through time
With its seven Christmas markets, Innsbruck’s Christmas in the Mountains invites you to stroll, marvel and enjoy it all from 15 November 2023 to 6 January 2024. The Christmas market in Innsbruck’s Old Town, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, will be a particularly festive occasion. Those seeking unique views will be delighted by the Christmas markets on the slopes of the Hungerburg and the historic Bergisel. Fun for all the family can be had at the Markplatz under the famous Swarovski crystal tree, while there is also a Christmas market to be found on Maria-Theresien-Strasse, Innsbruck’s central shopping street: and the little Christmas markets in the St. Nikolaus and Wilten districts have a special charm of their own. In addition to Innsbruck’s Christmas market, LUMAGICA Innsbruck will light up the city from 18 November 2023 to 28 January 2024, when, for the fourth time, colourful and interactive shows in the park of lights in the Imperial Gardens will take visitors of all ages on a “magical journey through time”.

The Christmas market in Innsbruck’s old town is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Advent. © Thomas Steinlechner

A wealth of highlights: spectacles around New Year’s Eve
A glittering start to the year, the likes of which can rarely seen elsewhere, awaits visitors to Innsbruck at the New Year’s Eve in the Mountains. There are several exciting programme items for the whole family to enjoy around New Year. From 29 December 2023 to 6 January 2024, 3D façade mapping will transform three well-known buildings in the Capital of Tyrol into a canvas for fascinating worlds of images and sound, with the Imperial Palace, St. James Cathedral and the famous rows of houses in the Mariahilf district bathed in impressive landscapes and evocative Tyrolean history, all accompanied by atmospheric music. Meanwhile, junior visitors can start getting into the mood to celebrate from 30 December 2023 onwards at the Children’s New Year’s Eve in the Old Town, where they can enjoy creative play and crafts, watch a Punch and Judy show and join in a circus with real acrobats. On 31 December itself, the end of the year is celebrated with the New Year’s Eve run through the city centre, plus live music in front of the Imperial Palace and a top-class fireworks display on the Seegrube mountain. Afterwards, revellers can see in the New Year in style until the early hours of the morning, with New Year’s Eve clubbing in the Dogana at Congress Innsbruck. The traditional Bergisel ski-jumping, held on 2 and 3 January 2024 in the course of the Four Hills Tournament, is also a must-see amongst all the festivities.

From December 29, 2023 to January 6, 2024, the 3D façade mapping will transform the Mariahilf row of houses into a canvas alongside two other buildings in the Tyrolean capital. © Innsbruck Tourismus/Markus Mair

A whole range of emotions at the first edition of the Innsbruck Winter Dance Festival
From 9 to 18 February 2024, Limonada, a company of exceptional dancers under choreographer Enrique Gasa Valga, will bring stunning performances paired with Cuban sounds to Congress Innsbruck this winter. The first edition of the Winter Dance Festival recounts the story, in the production “Lagrimas Negras”, of the musical Valdes family from Cuba who have influenced the island’s musical heritage over three generations. Their story once again illustrates the disruption experienced by Cuba from 1920 to the present day – for example, Bebo Valdes never returned to Cuba after fleeing in 1961. During his subsequent comeback, however, he managed to write music history together with Diego Cigala and his son Chucho Valdes. This winter his grandson Cucurucho Valdes will be presenting romance, melancholy and enchanting music in Innsbruck’s biggest dance production of 2024.

Limonada, the dance company of exceptional dancer and choreographer Enrique Gasa Valga, will bring captivating dance pieces paired with Cuban sounds to Congress Innsbruck this winter from February 9 to 18, 2024 at the first Innsbruck Winter Dance Festival. © Gü Orgler

About Innsbruck Tourismus
Innsbruck Tourismus is the official destination management organisation for the Innsbruck region, encompassing the capital of Tyrol and over 40 localities in the surrounding area, from the Inntal valley to the Mieming Plateau via Kühtai and as far as the Sellraintal valley. With almost 3.5 million overnight stays (as of 2019), the Innsbruck region is one of Austria’s largest tourism institutions – a unique symbiosis of pulsating urban space and fascinating Alpine world. The vibrant city atmosphere and sightseeing highlights are just a stone’s throw from your next biking or hiking tour, your next ski adventure or winter walk. The Welcome Card, free for visitors, is the key to the region’s boundless opportunities: public transport, usable at no cost, means that the area’s numerous highlights can be enjoyed both sustainably and comfortably. Visitor enjoyment is the focus of the thoughts and actions of each of the organisation’s 90 or so staff: they pass on their passion and enthusiasm for this alpine-urban space to guests, ensuring unforgettable holiday experiences for all in harmony with both people and nature. With a total of twelve tourist information offices, Innsbruck Tourismus can stay close to visitors, be right in the action and keep a finger on the pulse of events – a true hub for the authentic stories and personal impressions of local characters that can be found on the popular blog and social media channels at #myinnsbruck.

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