08 May 2024
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

It is well known that Innsbruck is a beautiful city with many sights. But there is also a lot to discover in the area surrounding Innsbruck. The villages to the south and Innsbruck's local mountain, the Patscherkofel, are definitely worth a visit. But how? I have the perfect tip for nature lovers, families, history buffs and streetcar fans: how about a ride on streetcar line 6 - or as it is also popularly known, the Waldstraßenbahn? Take a journey through history and experience nature and the view of our state capital from a completely new perspective.

A piece of history

The 8.362-kilometre-long meter-gauge interurban tramway was originally designed as a local or light railroad. It provides access to the Paschberg, located south-east of Innsbruck on the edge of the low mountain range. Since its opening in 1900, the Forest tramway has connected the historic Innsbruck district of Wilten with the charming villages of Aldrans, Lans, Sistrans and Igls.

Once an important means of local transportation, it now serves as a popular excursion train to the city's extensive recreational area. A former conductor and railroad fan aptly described the Waldstraßenbahn as a unique treasure of Innsbruck, which is rarely found in this form anywhere else in Europe.

Our start: Bergisel

From mid-June, the Waldstraßenbahn will run to Mühlauer Brücke, but our excursion today starts at the Bergisel stop. The Bergisel is one of the most famous landmarks of our provincial capital. And a place that history buffs and sports fans alike should not miss: as the scene of the legendary Battle of Bergisel led by Andreas Hofer in 1809, Bergisel is a symbol of the fight for freedom. The imposing Andreas Hofer monument and the giant circular painting still commemorate this historic event today.

Innsbruck has been part of the Four Hills Tournament since 1952. The old concrete Bergisel ski jump was built for the 1964 Winter Olympics and was later also used for the 1976 Games. A new ski jump was built in 2002 according to the plans of star architect Zaha Hadid. In the "Bergisel Sky" restaurant, visitors can admire the Tyrolean mountains from a 360° panoramic view.

Of giants and the ancient Romans

Directly opposite the Bergisel bus stop is the Wilten Abbey. It's worth paying a visit to the old monastery complex. Especially if, like us, you arrive far too early and have to wait what feels like an eternity for the streetcar with impatient children. According to legend, Wilten Abbey was founded in the 9th century by the giant Haymon. His statue still stands in the entrance area today and welcomes visitors. The abbey building stands on the ruins of the Roman settlement 'Veldidena', which gave the district of Wilten its current name.

Treasure hunt

Wilten Abbey is the first "treasure", so to speak, to be discovered on the route to Igls station. Even if the treasures are neither gold nor silver, it's worth grabbing your map and going on a treasure hunt. The forest streetcar runs every hour, so we decided not to get off at every stop, but to travel as far as Lans. And from there to go on a "treasure hunt".

Fun, games and delicious food

The Lans Forest Park is a paradise for young and old. In addition to a beautifully designed children's playground with a tree house, water sandpit, flying fox and swings, there is a bike facility with a running bike, pump track, family pump track and uphill downhill trail. From the forest park, we walked on towards Lansersee, past the Lanser Moor. We have made a firm resolution to return in June, when the water lilies are due to bloom - and we don't want to miss out on that. At the Lanser See we actually wanted to enjoy a coffee on the sun terrace of the Koi Bar, but the wind put a spanner in the works. In the end, however, it wasn't a big problem and we sat inside. We consoled ourselves with delicious food. If you like Asian food and value quality and regionality, you should do the same. I find the "farm-to-table" concept of the Koi Bar particularly exciting. If you like, you can read Lea 's article about it - highly recommended!

Swimming fun at Lake Lans

Lake Lanser See is an alpine moorland lake. It has an area of 70,000 m², 35,000 m² of which is water. In terms of its formation, Lake Lanser See is a dead ice lake, i.e. it was created by the melting of a late-glacial ice body covered by sediments. From May onwards, it invites you to swim, sunbathe and splash around. For me personally, it is one of the most beautiful Bathing lakes around Innsbruck. So in summer, I would definitely recommend packing your swimming gear. Unless, like us, you are traveling with a dog. They are (understandably) only allowed on a lead on the terraces of the restaurants. They are not allowed in the lake area, on the shore or in the water. If you are interested in the best places to go on vacation with your dog, take a look here.

From Lans to Igls and back to the city

Finally, well fortified and full, we walked from Lake Lans to Igls and from there took the forest streetcar back to the Bergisel stop. I personally regret a little that we didn't stop at the "Tantegert" stop. Unfortunately, I couldn't motivate my tired men to do so. But we'll make up for it. The station house alone would make it worth getting off here. My fellow blogger Werner thinks so too. For him, it is one of the most beautiful and romantic train stations in Tyrol. I was also only able to admire the Celtic tree circle in passing. It consists of 21 trees. This number results from the Celtic idea that every tree has a triple structure (root, trunk, crown) and consists of 7 parts (root, trunk, bark, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruit) - multiplied together, this results in the number 21, the 21 trees of life of the tree circle. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? But we'll come back and catch up on all the stations we didn't see this time.

I can really recommend anyone who wants to go to Igls to take the forest streetcar. It's a really nice trip, especially with children, and you can tailor it to the needs of your little ones. The ride alone is an experience. Of course, you can also get off at any station and either continue on foot or simply hop on the next streetcar. Whether it's spring, summer or fall, I'm sure every season has its own charm.

Note: Extension

From June 15, 2024, the Waldstraßenbahn will no longer only run to Bergisel, but also directly into the city - to Saggen and the Mühlau Bridge. This will also change some points along our tour. Up-to-date information can be found at the following link:
Panoramastraßenbahn in Innsbruck

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