Austria

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

What do we do more than anything else when we travel? It’s not eating, although we do more than our fair share of that. We also do and see a lot when we travel, but there’s still something that monopolizes our time even more than these two things put together, and it’s walking. We walk a lot. I’m talking at least 5-10 miles every day we’re on vacation. We do this for a couple reasons, the first and most obvious being that it’s cheaper than taking public transportation, but we also spend so much time on foot because it is, without a doubt, the best way to see a city up close and personal.

Sometimes we walk just to explore, more often than not getting lost in the process. Then there are other times that we’re walking with a purpose, either to get from point A to B, or because we’ve decided to join an organized city walk like we did in Bath. While visiting Innsbruck, we had the opportunity to both wander aimlessly around town and take a planned walk visiting some of Innsbruck’s most famous historical monuments. This wasn’t a group walk, just something we did on our own, which in some ways was better because it meant we were able to linger at places as long as we liked and pop into bakeries along the way when the delicious aromas became too overwhelming!

While we personally didn’t take the most efficient route on our historical monuments walk in Innsbruck, I’ve organized them here a bit more logically. From the first monument to the last pictured here, it’s about a one mile walk. Easy peasy!

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Triumphpforte

Standing tall at the intersection of Salurner Straße and Maria-Theresien-Straße is Innsbruck’s Triumphal Arch. It was built in 1765 to mark the wedding of Emperor Leopold II to Maria Ludovica. Sadly, Leopold’s father, Emperor Francis I, died during the wedding celebrations, so the plans for the arch were altered a bit to memorialize his death. One side of the arch now symbolizes the joyful occasion of the wedding, and the other side represents the grief at the loss of the emperor.

It’s not nearly as grand as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but it’s still beautiful nonetheless, especially being that it’s surrounded by many colorful shops and businesses and, of course, the mountains that rise majestically at its back. (It would be much lovelier in pictures without the intersecting cable wires for the trolley getting in the way. They were unavoidable from this direction.)

Address: Maria-Theresien-Straße, 6020 Innsbruck

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Annasäule

Walking down Maria-Theresien-Straße, about midway between the Triumphal Arch and the Golden Roof is St Anne’s Column commemorating the withdrawal of the Bavarian armies during the Spanish Wars of Succession on St Anne’s Day in 1703. At the top of the red marble column, a statue of the Virgin Mary stands on a crescent moon. Representations of St Anne and the Tyroleon patron saints, George, Virgilius, and Cassianus, surround the base of the column. St Anne’s Column stands in a very popular part of Maria-Theresien-Straße. Many shops and cafes line the street, and it’s a great place to stop and people watch if you’ve got the time!

Address: Maria-Theresien-Straße 18, 6020 Innsbruck

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Stadtturm

Making our way into Old Town, the first monument we stopped to see was the Stadtturm, or City Tower, on Herzog-Friedrich-Straße. It rises high above the city, so it can be seen in the distance well before you actually reach it. Built in the 1440’s and once a prison, the tower is now open to visitors who are up for climbing the many steps to the top to enjoy beautiful, panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. Below the green cupola at the top of the tower is where the tower guards lived throughout the years up until the 1960’s. I think I’d take that job for the views alone!

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße, 6020 Innsbruck

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Helbling Haus

On the same portion of the street as the Stadtturm is the decorative Helbling Haus, named after the building’s owner in the early 1800’s, Sebastian Helbling. Originally a Gothic townhouse built in the 15th century, over the years the exterior has changed quite a bit, most notably in 1730 when the front was adorned with the many bows, ribbons, and other ornamental Rococo stuccos seen on it today by artists from the Wessobrunn School, giving it a bit of a doll house look. The building is now made up of residences and businesses, but the outside still remains a piece of art.

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 10, 6020 Innsbruck

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Goldenes Dachl

It wouldn’t be a proper historical monuments walk if I left out the most important monument Innsbruck has claim to – the Golden Roof, located at the end of Herzog-Friedrich-Straße. I wrote a whole article about Innsbruck’s Golden Roof, so if you’d like to see this landmark a bit more in depth, just click on the link. Long story short, this building was once the residence of the Tyrolean sovereigns, but it got its name and landmark status when Emperor Maximilian I added frescoes, reliefs, and a balcony with a roof made up of 2,657 copper tiles to the front of the building. Today, the Golden Roof is Innsbruck’s most visited monument containing a museum inside chronicling the life of Emperor Maximilian and showcasing some of his treasures.

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

Leopoldsbrunnen

And last but not least, the most unusual monument in Innsbruck – Leopold’s Fountain. Located across the street from the Hofburg Imperial Palace and right next to the Tyrolean State Theater, it’s a bit more tucked away than the others, but not too difficult to find. This is one of the strangest fountains I’ve ever seen. Drunk-looking elves with leaf mustaches are carved into the base, and goddesses and sea deities line the edges of the fountain’s bowl. It’s not the gods and goddesses themselves that are weird, it’s what they’re doing – one goddess is using a (quite possibly dead) ox’s head to prop herself up, and another appears to be strangling a duck, while yet another attacks a fish with some sort of weapon. The only normal feature on this fountain is the depiction at the top of Archduke Leopold V, ruler of Tyrol from 1618-1632, astride a rearing horse. What Leopold V has to do with violent sea deities, I don’t know. Still, it’s an interesting spot to go visit, and while you’re there you can pop across the street to the Imperial Palace – that’s definitely worth a stop!

Address: Rennweg, 6020 Innsbruck

There may be organized group walking tours you can join in Innsbruck – those are always great if you don’t know much of the history surrounding a place – but if not, it’s pretty easy to take a self-guided walk by yourself. Innsbruck is not a large town and it’s fairly simple to find your way around. Our hotel provided us with a map denoting some of the major sites in Innsbruck, but if yours doesn’t, you can pick one up for a couple euros at any tourist shop. That’ll make it much easier to pick and choose the places you’d like to see!

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Self-Guided Historical Monuments Walk In Innsbruck, Austria

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Van @ Snow in Tromso
    April 14, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    I love the idea of taking us on a visual walk and the pictures are really cool! I can’t remember anything of Innsbruck except from the golden roof although I’m pretty sure I must have been somewhere on this mile too. It’s been 10 years since my visit so I really need to go there again! ;)

  • Reply
    Isa // belle + compass
    April 14, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    Ahh, the Helblinghaus alone would make me want to visit! I need to do a tour of Austria sometime.

    P.S. love your blog! So glad I found it :)

  • Reply
    Katrin
    April 14, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    I love to just walk around when I go and visit a city. There is no better way to get to know it. Thanks for sharing your fantastic pictures, I really want to travel to Innsbruck!

  • Reply
    Pinay Flying High
    April 14, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Oh Innsbruck is really lovely. Walking is my favorite thing to do while traveling specially in Europe where every corner is a historical site or just pretty in the eyes. I don’t really do a lot walking in Asia. ?

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      April 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      When we lived in Singapore and traveled through a few other countries in the general area, we did a TON of walking but we would get miserable after awhile because of the heat. It was always so oppressive, especially in the summer. That’s isn’t something we’ve had to cope with yet in Europe and I’m thankful!

  • Reply
    rorybore
    April 14, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    This is my favourite thing about vacations someplace new: walking around and getting the feel of the place. Via the art, the architecture, monuments, landscape – everything. But I have special affinity for clock towers (or lighthouses if it’s on the water). I just spent 1/2 hour the other night taking pictures of the old clock tower in my home town.
    Lovely virtual walking tour – thanks!

  • Reply
    Diana Bockus
    April 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    The details on these buildings are amazing!

  • Reply
    Mandy Southgate
    April 14, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Wow, what a beautiful city! I am a huge fan of walking too and I’d consider my holiday a great success if I managed 5 to 10 miles a day. I think my favourite of all of these was definitely the Goldenes Dachl. I’m definitely going to go check it out!

  • Reply
    Robert Wareham
    April 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Innsbruck looks like a great city to walk around with plenty of interesting, quirky architecture, and I completely agree, walking is by far the best way to explore any city. That’s why I’m the same whenever I’m visiting somewhere new – I always end up walking about 10 miles or so everyday.

  • Reply
    Alyx
    April 15, 2014 at 3:56 AM

    I love all the different fountains in Germany/Austria. There’s one in Munich (I think) that is probably the strangest fountain I have ever seen in my life. Makes you wonder what artists/sculptors were thinking.

  • Reply
    Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    April 16, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    Bookmarked as I’m sufferijg a serious case of wanderlust envy right here…
    Ps. Hel-BLING-haus is quite a good name beautiful!

  • Reply
    Emmymom
    April 17, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    You are lucky you have a husband that loves this as much as you do. I would think it was awesome just wandering around, seeing things, taking pictures- I Think my husband (and definitely my kids) would get bored.

  • Reply
    Sara Louise
    May 4, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Whenever I visit a place, I always spend a day just walking about. It’s a good way to get my bearings, but it’s also the best way to really ‘feel’ a place. It’s amazing the things that you discover that normally would be missed :)

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      May 5, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      That’s true – it is a great way to get your bearings. I’m not the usual navigator since I’m crap at reading maps, but when we do a lot of walking right when we get to a place, I have a much better chance of finding my way around the rest of the time we’re there!

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