Riding railways and bikes in Innsbruck
Ticking off Innsbruck on the way home...
After producing a flyer in February to promote cycling holidays for the Innsbruck tourist board, I wanted to visit the city myself to see if the wonderful images shown in the promotional material were genuinely as nice in real life as they looked in print.
I couldn’t believe that a relatively small city could offer so much and as I was going to Salzburg to visit a cycling holiday supplier, it made sense to stop-off overnight in Innsbruck on the way back to Manchester.
Innsbruck is unique as you can go up to 2000 metres in altitude in under 30 minutes directly from the city centre. There is a long-distance cycle path that starts in St. Moritz and passes through the city to Germany. The region is also hosting the 2018 UCI World Cycling Championships that will put the international spotlight back onto Innsbruck.
The city has a rich sporting heritage and hosted the Winter Olympic Games in both 1964 and 1976.
As capital of the Tyrol region in western Austria and a popular choice for university students from around the country, there is a real vibrancy to the city centre.
Due to its location, Innsbruck is also a great overnight stop for onward travel to Italy, Switzerland and other parts of Austria. Unlike other cities in Europe situated in Alpine regions, Innsbruck’s spectacular mountain backdrop is almost unrivalled.
Up the Hungerburgbahn Mountain Railway...
I arrived in Innsbruck after spending an enjoyable couple of days in the Salzburg area. I stayed at the Austria Trend Congress hotel with superb facilities and a modern business-orientated offering. I went down for breakfast and enjoyed the great choice of hot and cold foods on offer. I do like the fact that in most German and Austrian hotels, there is generally a good breakfast spread with an assortment of pretzels, muesli and juices to choose from.
Situated next to the hotel was one of my main reasons to visit the city - the Hungerburgbahn mountain railway network.
Built-in 2007 and designed by the late Zaha Hadid; the mountain railway climbs up to 850 metres through the Nordkette (North Park) and connects with the cable car station for downhill skiing and walks along the higher peak trails.
Each station is a pearlescent, mollusc-like sculpture and despite being only a ten-minute journey from the Congress centre at river level to the upper stations, there is a futuristic feel to the railway system with spectacular views over the city.
I left early in the morning to go