Innsbruck is the charming capital of the Alps. It has been a winter Olympic site a couple of times in the past and is a popular winter holiday destination. We visited autumn of 2013, supposedly off-peak season for holiday-makers but the city is still bustling with tourists. One can easily see why. The city is very picturesque and it has more to offer besides skiing in the alps.
The alps takes center stage in Innsbruck and the futuristic funicular railway, the Hungerburgbahn, designed by the late Zaha Hadid is in itself an architectural marvel worth seeing. The Hungerburgbahn stops at four stations – Congress, Löwenhaus, Alpenzoo and Hungerburg. The views from the top are breath taking. We were lucky to have clear skies that day (uncommon during autumn).
One of the stations in the mountain range is the Alpenzoo. It is one of Europe’s high-altitude zoos. It features mostly alpine animals in their natural habitat. Among the alpine animals that can be found at the zoo is the Alpine ibex. Due to poaching, the ibex became extinct in Switzerland and Germany by the 18th century and in Austria and northeastern Italy by the 19th century. It remained in some parts of the Alps (Italy and France) and was later on protected from poaching.
Another fun place to visit for families is the Swarovski Crystal World, built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Swarovski. The crystal exhibits were interpretations from different artists and designers. It is part of the whole theme of a giant (facade of the museum) guarding his treasures. Outside the museum, there was a garden with art installations, playground, labyrinth and open space with mountain views. There is something for everyone in the family – even for the littlest one!