The Goldenes Dachl in Innsbruck: See It or Skip It?

The Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) became one of the most recognized symbols in Innsbruck, Austria when it was completed in 1500 as a monument to Emperor Maximilan I’s marriage to his second wife. It sits at one end of Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse in Innsbruck’s Old Town, with glorious mountain peaks at its back. Unless you’re walking through Old Town with your eyes closed, you can’t miss it!

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

When we walked through Innsbruck on the morning of our first day, it was cloudy and a bit foggy, so not only were the mountains completely hidden, but the roof just didn’t really shine for us. I was a bit disappointed, of course, because without the sun, the Goldenes Dachl is just another colorful building among the many others lining the streets of Old Town. But the next morning when the cloud cover had moved on and the sun came out to say hi, I was like…okay, now I get it. It’s a beautiful sight to see the sun glinting off all 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles lining the Goldenes Dachl, not to mention a tad blinding if you’re standing in the wrong place at the wrong time!

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

Underneath the roof is a small balcony where Emperor Maximilian and the other royals could sit and watch the goings-on in the city square. (Can’t you just see them sitting up there, placing their bets on the tournaments taking place in the street below?) The frescoes inside the balcony are replicas of those painted in 1500, but the sculpted reliefs are original to the structure. The relief third from the left shows Emperor Maximilian with both of his wives. (The first died in a tragic horseback riding accident. Yikes.)

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

The frescoes painted beneath the balcony depict two knights, one bearing a flag for the Holy Roman Empire and the other for Tyrol. Beneath the knights, the coats of arms represent Emperor Maximilian’s territories, many earned through his clever choices in marriage partners.

If you’re looking to get decent photos of the Goldenes Dachl, the best time of day to visit would be before noon. When the sun is shining directly overhead, the roof is almost too bright, and in the afternoon, the buildings around the Goldenes Dachl cast dark shadows across its colorful facade. (Most of the photos above were taken on our cloudy day in Innsbruck, hence the lack of gold on the Golden Roof!)

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

The building behind the Goldenes Dachl’s decorative facade was once the residence of the Tyrolean sovereigns, but is now a museum dedicated to Emperor Maximilian I and Innsbruck’s history during the reign of the Habsburgs. It was fairly cheap to get in (€4 for adults, €2 for kids), but honestly, unless you’re really, really interested in Innsbruck’s history, I’d probably skip it. This was the first thing we’ve done while traveling in Europe that we didn’t like. Besides the part where we got to look out onto the street from the royal balcony, we were completely bored. I’d suggest saving your money for a cup of tea at one of the outdoor cafes in the square and admiring the outside of the Goldenes Dachl from the comfort of your fuzzy chair instead!

Goldenes Dachl: Website
Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15, 6020 Innsbruck

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The Goldenes Dachl In Innsbruck, Austria

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  • Sara Louise
    April 24, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    It’s fascinating and beautiful! I’d love to have my own little balcony like that to watch all of the comings and goings :)

  • Emmymom
    April 8, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Yes the light definitely would make a huge difference as to how that roof looked. It would be so amazing and fun to just be in the midst of so much history all of the time.

  • Diana Hoyos
    April 6, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Wow, Austria! such a nice pictures :)

  • Katrin
    April 6, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    I would not mind having a golden roof. And such a balcony! Thanks so much for always sharing the best pictures, Sarah!

  • rorybore
    April 5, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Oh, I got all excited there for a minute when I saw “golden” roof, thinking Really? Made of gold? And then I read “copper” – ha. Not sure why I thought it would be actual gold. duh. Still, it’s beautiful even if the light wasn’t perfect. I love how detailed history used to be. we’re so cookie cutter blah now.
    Imagine having real gold though! you have too much money….. :)

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    April 4, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    I love your honesty! If it weren’t for the balcony, I’m thinking I would have thought it was an ordinary building. I just can’t stop looking at the mountain behind it!! ;)

  • Margo @ The Overseas Escape
    April 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    I recall the Golden Roof well! I was similarly disappointed that it was exactly shining down on me but the history behind it is SO interesting.

  • Van @ Snow in Tromso
    April 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    I have been to Innsbruck when I was 10 and now that I see the Dachl again, it seems sooo small! Nevertheless it’s really beautiful and I didn’t know yet that you can go in!

    • Margo @ The Overseas Escape
      April 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      I didn’t realize you could go in either! Noted!

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 6, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      I had expected it to be a bit bigger, too! I had read before I went that it was Innsbruck’s most important landmark, so I guess I was expecting something even grander! Still beautiful, though!