Innsbruck might conjure up images of ski jumping and winter sports, but it is also a vibrant cultural city with some very challenging mountain biking right on its doorstep.
We made a road trip of it, driving through Europe and taking in the great road and tunnel network, as well as the mountain scenery. However, with its own airport, fantastic public transport system, plus a network of gondolas, funiculars and cable cars up the mountain sides, it would make an easy city break getaway. Throw yourself down the mountainside during the day, and take in the city’s bars, restaurants and music scene in the evenings. Worn out? Wander the ancient back streets, wonder at the modern architectural additions, and learn about the history of this borderland city that’s seen centuries of cultural exchange.
Accommodation In Innsbruck
There are a number of hotels that have specifically set up the kinds of facilities that cyclists and mountain bikers will be looking for. Bike stores, bike wash, even an overnight kit wash and shoe drying service, will all help make even the muddies of riders feel welcome.
While it’s not the cheapest of places to live, there’s a range of accommodation to suit most budgets, including camping just outside the city. Its large student population means that it’s quite easy to come by cheaper places to eat and drink. It’s well worth following your nose down some of the side streets and up some of the back stairs to see what hidden local gems are there.
You can buy a ‘Visit Innsbruck’ card, of various durations to suit your break, with adult prices starting at €43 for 24 hours. This will give you free access to the public transport tram system, the cable cars and lifts, and a whole host of museums and attractions. It also give you discounts on a range of entertainment offerings in the city.
A number of accommodation providers will give you a free ‘Welcome To Innsbruck’ card, which has benefits tailored to winter or summer breaks, and similar but slightly more restricted benefits to the full Visit Innsbruck card.
People that live and work in the city commonly head up the mountain for a lunchtime ski or mountain bike break, so you can be sure that the infrastructure is there for swift and simple access up the mountain. Your only challenge may be getting back down again – many of the trails here are very technical!
Off The Bike
If you need a rest day, or just have non-riding people in your party, there is plenty to do. Innsbruck has plenty of historical sites of interest to tour, incredible architecture old and new, and a maze of old streets to wander around. It has a rich music scene too, with concerts, festivals and events to suit every ear. If it’s kids you’re trying to entertain, as well as the usual array of museums, you might like to venture to one of the outdoor swimming options – or just ride up the side of the mountain on a gondola or funicular and explore the mountains on foot – or from one of the mountainside cafes.
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Our Innsbruck FAQs
The key here is that they are steep! Whether it’s a new flow trail or the classic death-gnar Nordkette, land access rules mean that most of the trails are built within the footprint of the lines of gondolas cable cars. With a relatively narrow strip of land to build on, the builders add in hairpin turns, huge berms, or just straight line steep sections.
There aren’t a huge number of trails – although they are expanding in number. Three or four days would allow you to cover the main descents, a week would allow some down time in the city, hiking in the mountains, or swimming in the lakes.
Local riders fall into two categories: cross country riders pedalling up and down the gravel access roads, or full face and knee pad wearing riders on full suspension bikes. This is a location where an enduro style removable chin bar helmet would be perfect. Even in summer, the weather can be quite moist, and it’s cool up in the mountains. Be sure to take a jacket and spare gloves.