Total cooling guaranteed: four top ideas for summer days in the Innsbruck region

Last updated on 06.06.2023

The southern ambiance and high summer temperatures in the Innsbruck region mean that people are quick to seek places to cool off: and the area, nestling in a valley basin and surrounded by majestic mountains, has plenty of shaded, relaxing spots. Whether it is that old favourite, by the lakeside, or at a summer retreat up in the mountains, or sheltered by the vaults and alleyways of the old town, or perhaps even surfing on the River Inn – in and around Innsbruck, you are sure to find somewhere to cool off!

The Innsbruck region is a must-see. Cooling off with the best view is guaranteed at the region’s bathing lakes. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Andre Schönherr

1. Refreshingly cool walls, fascinating histories

Palace, castle and church: these walls not only let history and architecture buffs keep their cool – the Imperial Palace lets fans of European royalty walk in the footsteps of the Empress Maria Theresa or of the Empress Elisabeth, known as “Sissi”. Another monument to the Habsburgs is located directly opposite the Palace: the Court Church, rather plain-looking from the outside, not only offers a refreshing welcome but also, with its imposing 28 black figures in bronze and the empty tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, a wealth of historical impressions. Just outside the city centre stands Ambras Castle with its extraordinary gardens where imposing peacocks freely roam and further places of shade are to be found: visitors can learn all about the delightful love story of Archduke Ferdinand II and Philippine Welser in Europe’s oldest museum, or enjoy a stroll through the large park. The Imperial Gardens and the arcades in the historic old town also offer soothing shade on the royal discovery tour through Innsbruck, while an ice cream from one of the many cafés inside the historic walls is a tasty way to cool off.

Tip: The Innsbruck Card, valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, includes free admission to the Imperial Palace, the Court Church and Ambras Castle.

The whole family can cool off in historic walls at Ambras Castle in the south of Innsbruck. During your visit you will learn interesting facts about history and at the same time you will be in a “really cool” environment – also in terms of temperature. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Tom Bause

2. The mountains of the Innsbruck region can truly claim “it’s nice and cool up here”.

The mountain landscape of the Innsbruck region is hugely popular throughout the summer, especially on hot days. its variety offers sports enthusiasts, families and those of a more leisurely disposition the welcome chance to cool down at higher altitudes. The hut-to-hut hiking tour in the Sellrain Valley is not only a substantial trek with fantastic panoramic views, but also the chance to feel the fresh breeze at a height of over 2,000 metres. The region’s impressive mountain scenery can also be conquered in a more relaxed fashion, by taking the gondola from Innsbruck’s old town directly up to the Nordkette range and the Restaurant Seegrube, where gourmets can toast the finest days of the year against a breathtaking backdrop of mountains and valleys. On the other hand, the guided hikes – a feature of the free summer activity programme included in the Welcome Card for guests – have an invigorating effect: groups can discover the meadows, forests and mountains in the company of a certified guide.

Tip: If you want a direct route to the cooling breezes to be found on high, take one of the selected cable cars and lifts included in the free Welcome Card for guests, available for stays of three nights or more.

The mountain world of the Innsbruck region offers countless cool places high above the city. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Christian Vorhofer

3. Floating on the cooling waters: surfing and rafting in the Innsbruck region

Rafting boats and surfers on the River Inn? What might sound far-fetched to some is actually part of the leisure activities available on summer days in Innsbruck, the capital of the Alps. With the mountains as a backdrop and the river as a stage, these two popular water sports are a unique source of fun for both the young and the young at heart. Innsbruck’s top locations for these wet and wild adventures are Up Stream Surfing and City Rafting Innsbruck at the Source To Sea kayak school. To find out more about water sports in the Alps, read the post in the myInnsbruck blog: Upstream Surfing – Action am Inn.

The Inn river is a great venue for water sports activities such as upstream surfing and rafting. © Simon Rainer

4. Cooling guaranteed: panoramic (sun)bathing in the Innsbruck region

A dip in the cooling waters never goes out of fashion, and the variety of bathing spots in the Innsbruck region – whether (mountain) lakes or swimming pools – never fails to impress. The Rossau bathing lake, known to locals as the “Baggersee [quarry lake]”, not to mention the Tivoli and Olympic Village outdoor pools, are ideal for cooling off in Innsbruck. Outside the city, you can swim and splash around at the Völser Badl or at the Axams leisure centre. The region’s bathing lakes offer outstanding scenery, delicious cuisine and exceptional accommodation: for example at the Natterer See lake, a paradise for families, where the large campsite, glamping accommodation and Aqua Park are all sure to mean unforgettable holidays. Not far away, the idyllic atmosphere of the Koi Bar at the Lanser See lake is perfect for those who love summer to enjoy Asian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. And, for keep-fit fans and anyone looking for yet more fun, the lakes and pools also boast a variety of (water) sports such as water volleyball, water trampolines, beach volleyball, table tennis and much more besides.

Tip: Irrespective of where you fancy a dip, the Welcome Card for guests offers half-price admission to selected lakes and open-air pools, plus free travel on public transport throughout the area of validity.

Framed by the unique mountain scenery, a multitude of bathing lakes invite you to relax. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Tom Bause

Relaxing travel by train, bus or tram in and across the region 

If you want to explore Innsbruck without your car, the train is the best way to travel. In addition to the reliable services provided by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and the WESTbahn, you can also get here in your sleep, as it were: the ÖBB’s “Nightjet to the mountains” offer includes transfers between the station and your accommodation, allowing you to reach the Innsbruck region in a climate-friendly, comfortable fashion – overnight. Once you have arrived, train, bus and tram all make it easy to get around, especially with the Welcome Card for guests: available free of charge at partner establishments for stays of two nights or more, it includes the use of all public transport in the area of validity.

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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