The city of Innsbruck, located in the heart of the Austrian Alps, is a thriving centre that offers visitors all you’d expect from a city experience – culture, eating out and traditional architecture.
The difference with Innsbruck compared to most cities is that you also have world class winter sports resorts on the doorstep.
Here’s a pick of six different things you could do on a week’s winter holiday whilst staying close to Innsbruck with the brand new British holiday company Schloss Schneeberg.
1. Snow Shoeing
The gentle hills surrounding Innsbruck are ideal for a spot of snow showing – make sure you have sturdy, waterproof boots or shoes on and strap the snowshoes to your feet. Modern snowshoes are a far cry from the old ‘tennis racket’ style models of the past, today they allow easy and fast travel across snow and ice so you can explore the Alpine environment, enjoying the tranquillity and perhaps spotting some of the local wildlife.
The Olympic bobsled track, located just outside Innsbruck near the village of Igls, was built for the 1976 Winter Games and is now open all year round for visitors to ‘enjoy’ the experience for themselves. The sweeping bends stretch over an 800 metre course that will guarantee your adrenaline levels rise as fast as you travel down at over 115 kilometres an hour in the four person sled – five guests, one driver and lots of screaming (Euro 30pp).
3. Cross Country Skiing
It’s possible to start and finish your cross country skiing experience from the door of Schloss Schneeberg’s 13th century building. Travelling at your own pace, you can enjoy the winter wilderness by gliding over the snow on special cross country ski equipment. It can take a little time to learn the technique for cross country skiing, but it’s easier than mastering the downhill variety and the physical demands are different – a good level of cardiovascular fitness is important should you wish to travel at high speeds, but it’s also possible to ski at walking pace too.
4. Day or night out in Innsbruck
Innsbruck is a buzzing small city that offers a large variety of restaurants and shopping, with a weekend party scene that includes lively bars and night clubs. There’s even enough to do for an alternative hen or stag party – highlights include a ‘hunter gatherer’ style restaurant (Die Wilderin), a panoramic bar and restaurant up at the Olympic ski jump with views across the city, ice climbing, an Alpine zoo, the ‘Golden Roof’, walk along the river Inn beside the distinctive colourful houses and the chance to visit an ice hockey match, one of Austria’s biggest sports and a real spectacle, even as a neutral observer.
Flying off a mountain and soaring on thermals high above the ground isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but paragliding is a fairly safe sport and it’s possible all year round. High above the Innsbruck valley, the take off point at Kreuzjoch (2,130 metres) in the ski area of Schlick 2000 takes you all the way down to the village of Fulpmes – after a day’s skiing, what better way is there of getting home with your skis still strapped on. Of course, beginners can book a tandem flight and simply enjoy the spectacular view.
There’s several excellent ski areas within a short distance of Schloss Schneeberg and Innsbruck, but the thirty or forty minute drive to Kuhtai can be worth the effort. This is the resort that hosts Channel 4’s The Jump, where celebrities hurl themselves down a series of difficult ski challenges. But it offers a lot more for the keen skier or snowboarder – one of the highest ski areas in Austria, it has an excellent snow record, varied terrain both on and off-piste and a reputation for some of the best ski touring in the Alps. The ski school has an excellent reputation and although the nursery slopes are very good, more advanced skiers will get the most out of the slopes that are mostly graded red.
About Schloss Schneeberg
Schloss Schneeberg offer bespoke mountain holidays for private groups of up to 10 people, providing a complete service with accommodation, meals, transport and extensive experience in the area enabling families and friends to experience the best that the area has to offer whilst staying in a traditional family home.
The building was originally a castle built in 1297, which after burning down in in the 18th century was rebuilt with the tower still remaining.
It’s now available as an all-year-round holiday destination, with winter sports during the winter and summer activities in the mountains during the summer.
The house sits in a small valley with dramatic mountain scenery which makes for amazing walks and cross country skiing right from the front door along the crystal clear river, to waterfalls and cliff edge chapels. Whilst only being 25mins from Innsbruck making it easy to enjoy the ‘capital of the Alps’ from a secret hideaway.
Set in the picturesque Tyrolean town of Trins, Schloss Schneeberg is only 30mins from Innsbruck International Airport. Within the village, 200m from the house is an ideal beginners slope for small children, the more advanced ski resort of Bergeralm is only 3km away and numerous other resorts in the surrounding area are an easy drive away such as Schlick 2000, Axamer Lizum, Stubai Glacier, Ratschings (Italy) and Seefeld, to name a few.
Photo credit: © Innsbruck Tourismus