Take each day as it comes and go with the flow. There is plenty you can do, but no pressure to do anything at all. Simply relax and enjoy as the energy of the mountains surrounding Innsbruck passes into you, restoring your inner balance. Rumour even has it that the Alps have a superpower that perfectly prepares you for your return to everyday life. What's more, you don't have to break a sweat to make the most of it! All you need is yourself, good company and a few days – everything else is waiting for you right here.
For many people, going on holiday is the ultimate legitimate excuse to do absolutely nothing. And on a winter holiday in the mountains, this is exactly how things work. You may have to plan your time every now and again because the days are noticeably shorter, but who needs long days anyway when you can enjoy cosy evenings with plenty of time to snuggle up and relax?! When we talk about "doing nothing" on holiday, we of course don't mean that there is nothing to do – we simply want to underline the fact that there is nothing you have to do.
Just you, me and a whisper
"So, what should we do while we're here?", you ask and I immediately know where our journey will begin. We head into the city centre and when we reach Hofgasse 12, just down the road from the Golden Roof, I tell you to stop for a minute. When I then ask you to put your ear up to the wall, you look at me like I'm crazy. But this isn't just any wall; it's a late Gothic portal, and if you whisper into one end of the arch, the person on the other side will hear you as if you are standing right next to them. In fact, this so-called "whisper arch", the Flüsterbogen, has been helping people pass on their innermost secrets for many years. When we give it a try and you hear me whisper through the channel cut into the arch, a smile lights up your face. Good, I guess that's a yes!
Walks between the mountains
If the last year has taught us anything, it's that every step counts. Some steps, however, are more special than others. I once read a list of essential things to do in Innsbruck, one of which was "a romantic walk through the Imperial Gardens". And now here I am, standing in the Imperial Gardens in front of an old tree with interlaced branches that reach right down to the ground. A sense of warmth fills my heart. The park's ancient trees really do have special romantic flair. Maybe we'll come back later, when the sun has disappeared behind the mountains, and discover the sparkling sculptures of the LUMAGICA Innsbruck light park.
SKATING ON THE LAKE
The next day, we decide to venture further afield and enjoy the afternoon sun away from the city centre. Starting in Igls, we walk across the fields to the Lansersee lake. This lake, which is a popular destination for family fun in summer, becomes a place of glorious tranquillity in winter. The lake freezes over as temperatures drop and as soon as the ice is thick enough, you can put on your skates and go for a twirl. Was that a clumsy slip or did I mean to fall right into your arms? Who knows?! As we glide around on the ice, it feels like we have returned to our youth. The Aperol Spritz that follows on the banks of the lake, however, is a tasty reminder that we are indeed adults. There's nothing like some fresh air and rays of winter sun to make a good drink even more delicious!
OUT AND ABOUT
Innsbruck's central location in the mountains makes it the ideal starting point for a variety of excursions. Today, we want to get out of the city so we drive up to the Moosalmalpine restaurant in Mieming. This traditional mountain hut serving delicious food is located at the heart of the characteristic larch meadows on the sunny Mieming Plateau. Directly next to the restaurant, a 150-metre-long jetty allows us to observe the activity in and around the waters of the Mooswiesen biotope. We use binoculars to admire the birds up close and then head to the restaurant to warm up with coffee and cake. We could have gone on a longer hike around the Mooswiesen Meadows Circuit, but that's something we'll save for our next visit.
Planespotting on the beach
"Is it always such a stunning bright blue?", you ask. "No, that's just for you", I joke, "although maybe winter has something to do with it too", I add with a wink. And indeed, as soon as the snow melts or the rain comes, the River Inn turns brown. On winter days like today, however, it sparkles like a precious jewel. We've hired some bicycles and head out on a ride to the western end of the airport. The pebble beach by the "red house" is a popular destination among planespotters. We lock up our bikes and join them in admiring the aeroplanes as they come in to land just a few metres above our heads. Flying high above the city towards the mountains and seeing everything below from a bird's eye view is definitely one for the bucket list, so I add it to our special mental list of things that we must do in Innsbruck at least once during our lifetimes. Maybe we can even fulfil this dream soon by enjoying a hot-air balloon trip over the Alps. Floating above the city, the natural surroundings and the snow-covered mountains at a leisurely pace, going wherever the wind takes us, certainly sounds like a great day out!
A PICNIC IN THE NORDKETTE MOUNTAINS
I could get used to having such wonderful views with my breakfast. And because you can see how much I love it, you surprise me with a picnic the very next day. We pick up our rucksack full of tasty treats from the Seegrube, the mountain lift station of the Nordkettenbahn cable car. This south-facing location was the ideal choice because as soon as the sun comes out it gets nice and warm. We sit back in sun loungers and enjoy the view while tucking into the contents of the rucksack: Tyrolean dry-cured ham, smoked sausages, mountain cheese, pickled vegetables, fresh horseradish, mustard, butter and bread rolls. The jackdaws circle enviously above our heads, gliding down to pinch any crumbs we drop. It's hard to believe that right behind us, skiers are racing down the steep slopes of the Hafelekar mountain, speeding past us into the valley below. You definitely have to see it to believe it!
An excellent meal out
At home, we tend to take it in turns to cook but on holiday, we're both rather lazy in the kitchen. It's a good job Innsbruck offers plenty of dining variety. Although you'd be perfectly happy feasting on dumplings or the traditional Kaiserschmarrn pancake dish every day, I manage to convince you to veer away from classic Tyrolean cuisine for a couple of meals. One unforgettable evening meal was at the "Sinne" restaurant, where theatre and dining come together in an invisible – pitch black – space. This unique experience whisks visitors away on a mysterious journey to a fantasy world. Be it meat, fish, vegetarian or vegan, everything here is sure to be beyond your expectations but hey, what would life be without a few surprises every now and then? This evening in the dark requires you to switch off your phone, of course, and focus on the fun that awaits.
Pampering in the mountains
The refreshing mountain air not only makes you hungry but also leaves you desiring warmth. The kind of warmth you find when sweating in a sauna, swimming in a whirlpool or enjoying a nap on an infrared lounger. There's no better feeling than snuggling up in a fluffy bathrobe, freshly showered and warm to the core, and reading a magazine while admiring the stunning views of the mountains outdoors. Here you can find a list of spa facilities that are open to the general public in and around Innsbruck.