Places of power in Innsbruck

The terms relaxation, regeneration and recreation all refer to recharging your batteries and restoring your power and energy levels. Nowadays, we live such hectic lives that these concepts are often forgotten. Life is constantly getting faster and more action-packed. With so many different adventures and activities plus the stresses and strains of day-to-day life, we have less and less time to take a break and replenish our energy levels. Innsbruck also offers a wide range of active pastimes, for example art, history, culture, sport and entertainment. However, sometimes we are looking for something a little different: Peace. Quiet. Tranquillity. Power. Somewhere to relax, recuperate and get away from all of the action. For example a natural place of power, a retreat where you can sit down, close your eyes and take a deep breath. The area in and around Innsbruck is home to a multitude of these special locations, each of which holds its own special secrets. Some of the secrets are revealed below while others are still waiting to be discovered. After all, there are many wonderful locations that can't be found with the help of signposts or hiking maps. All you need is what the locals call a good “G’Spür” (feeling) and some childlike curiosity when it comes to searching for and finding your own special havens of power. And once you’ve reached your destination, just let the place work its magic. Simply close your eyes, take a deep breath and welcome the feeling of renewed energy.

Kapelle 1

Calming waters

You don’t have to travel far to find a place of well-earned rest for your mind and soul because the area in and around Innsbruck is full of beautiful natural landscapes and stunning locations. If you need a quick breath of fresh air, the Inn Promenade is never far away, while the Sill Gorge at Bergisel is an even more peaceful and natural place of retreat. You will also find a path leading along the Sill river from Rapoldi Park to the “Innzwickel”, where the Sill flows into the River Inn, and then continuing along the Inn to Baggersee lake. The cool air surrounding the water and the shade provided by the old trees make this an extremely pleasant route, especially in summer.

You can also sit back, relax and let your mind run free on the numerous benches along the way or visit one of the many adventure playgrounds lining the path. Another highlight that can be found along this route is the Blindenwanderweg, a hiking trail that was designed especially for the blind but provides all visitors with an experience for all the senses. On cloudy days at Baggersee, the swimmers tend to stay away, making it a wonderful place for a peaceful and secluded stroll around the water’s edge. Afterwards, you can even relax and sip on a calming cup of tea at the Deck47 beach café, which is open all year round.

A city oasis in the evening: Baggersee lake
A city oasis in the evening: Baggersee lake
The Salfeinsee lake near the Kalkkögel mountains
The Salfeinsee lake near the Kalkkögel mountains

Innsbruck’s gardens: discover a green paradise

The best place to take a breather is in a lovely green setting. If you don’t want to leave the city in order to do so, you’re sure to love the Imperial Gardens. At the entrance, you will be welcomed by a magic monolith that makes the urban park a true oriental place of power. This huge rock is a strong and very special source of peace, as has even been confirmed by the Chinese feng shui master Jes Lim in person. When the Imperial Gardens are full of visitors in summer, you can simply head to another garden, for example the Botanical Garden in the district of Hötting, which is easy to reach by taking bus A to the “Botanikerstraße” stop. The garden is home to a wide variety of green highlights from all over the world that are sure to make all of your worries fade away. To really experience the feeling of having your head in the clouds, you can even visit the historic observatory located in the north-east of the garden. Our insider tip: Every couple of years, the Butterfly House in the Botanical Garden also opens its doors between June and October. You can find out more about the butterfly programme and other special events held in the Botanical Garden by calling +43 512 507 5910.

Discover old secrets

On the other side of the valley, you can enjoy magical walks in the park at Ambras Castle. The castle gardens have undergone several changes since the reign of the emperors and have been redesigned time and time again over the centuries. Nevertheless, the original area of peaceful relaxation surrounding the medieval Renaissance castle still remains and features a large pond, wildlife park, rocks, gorges, small clusters of trees and even an artificial waterfall. Many historical secrets such as the rock cavern, Bacchus Grotto and Keuchengarten garden can also still be seen in the park today. The original views over the valley have also been restored, allowing visitors to admire both the ancient fairy tale forest and picturesque alpine panoramas.  

On the Patscherkofel

If you want to fill your lungs with alpine air, be sure to visit Austria’s highest botanical garden, the 1.5-hectare “Patscherkofel Alpine Garden” at an altitude of 2000 metres above sea level. There you have the chance to breathe freely directly on the edge of the forest and discover the regional plant communities up high in the mountains thanks to a circular hiking trail full of interesting information boards. The garden first opened its gates back in 1930 and is now open to visitors for free from 9 am to 5 pm daily from June to September. It can be accessed by taking bus line J from Innsbruck to the end of the line followed by the Patscherkofelbahn gondola up the mountain. The Alpine Garden is located just below the mountain lift station. The garden is not only home to local natural treasures such as edelweiss, gentian and auricula but also rare plants from other mountainous regions. If you start to get peckish while strolling through the garden, you can head further down the mountain to the Alpengasthof Heiligwasser, an alpine guesthouse where you can refuel with a delicious meal and admire the views of the Alps and the historic pilgrimage church next door.

Heavenly peace

The area in and around Innsbruck offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy moments of awestruck silence in the multitude of churches, chapels and other places of worship, which are cool in summer, dry when it rains and full of places to sit down and take a break. If you visit them outside of church services, you might even have the building all to yourself. And while we’re on the topic, we can reveal a secret that has almost faded from memory: the Domplatz square in front of St. James’ Cathedral in Innsbruck has been the intersection of a number of ancient pilgrimage routes since as early as 1920. The “Maria Hilf” painting depicting Madonna and Child by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a historic highlight along The Way of St. James, can still be admired on the cathedral’s high altar today. 

In historical times, numerous pilgrimage stations led Saint James through Tyrol from the north-east to the south-west. They took him over the Kalvarienberg (or calvary hill) near Arzl to Innsbruck and then on to Völs, where the pretty Saint Blaise’s Chapel has stood proudly above the Inn Valley for hundreds of years. From there, Saint James continued west along the River Inn until he reached the town of Inzing, where you can admire a mysterious stone temple by the Hundstalsee lake at an altitude of 2287 metres above sea level. Although it has nothing to do with The Way of Saint James, you can reward yourself for the rather challenging ascent by feasting on a delicious meal at the Inzinger Alm mountain hut before enjoying this truly breathtaking place of power and the neighbouring mountain lake.

The Pilgrimage Church of Maria Locherboden
The Pilgrimage Church of Maria Locherboden
The interior of the Church of St. Sigmund-Praxma in the Sellrain Valley
The interior of the Church of St. Sigmund-Praxma in the Sellrain Valley

Forest peace and wild waters

The Path of Reflection in Ranggen is a family-friendly circular hiking trail full of places where you can stop off, take a breather and reflect on life and the world. It features seven stations on the way up and seven stations on the way down that tell visitors all about physical and spiritual works of compassion. Yellow signs lead you along the path starting in the town of Ranggen and make losing your way virtually impossible. Completing the entire route takes about two hours, depending on how long you decide to stop and reflect at each station. At an altitude of 1,100 metres above sea level, you will find a small open chapel that marks the summit of self-discovery, as well as a picnic area, small waterfall and wonderfully aromatic forest air.

Another powerful tip for a cool and fresh way to take some time out is the “Mühlauer Wasserweg”, a trail focusing on water that starts directly in Innsbruck and follows the veins flowing through the Alps right back to their source in the mountains. As you would expect, the route is full of natural springs! Simply walk along the River Inn and across the Mühlauer Brücke bridge before continuing across the Fuchsloch natural biotope and into the beautiful Mühlau Gorge. Then follow the mountain stream up through the “Teufelskanzel”, across the wooden bridge and past the mysterious “Hexenkuchl” (Witches’ Kitchen). Continue up the mountain and past the waterfall until the gorge leads you into the area around the "Mühlauer Quelle" springs, which is located near the Rumer Alm mountain hut at an altitude of 1,243 metres above sea level. The route back to Innsbruck takes you along a panoramic trail stretching right down to the Arzler Alm mountain hut at an altitude of 1,067 metres. From there, you can follow the signposted route down the mountain to the bottom lift station of the Hungerburgbahn funicular.

The idyllic forest on the Mieming Plateau
The idyllic forest on the Mieming Plateau
Streams rushing through alpine nature
Streams rushing through alpine nature
Accessible locations for relaxation and reflection
The following natural spots and viewing platforms are easily accessible for visitors with limited mobility.

Enjoy nature

A fully accessible forest hiking trail leads visitors through the Waldmoorkomplex Tantegert, an area of wooded marshland covering 1.5 hectares on the Paschberg near the district of Amras. After comprehensive revitalisation of the bog, a wide walkway was created at ground level and designed as a viewing platform. The Waldmoorkomplex is a wheelchair and pushchair-friendly destination featuring a forest playground and a circle of Celtic trees containing 21 different tree species. The area is wheelchair accessible via tram line 6 from Innsbruck, which also treats passengers to a picturesque journey through the forest. Tram line 6 also leads to the “Tummelplatz” stop, which is located slightly above Ambras Castle.

From there, you can explore a star-shaped historic forest cemetery that is home to over one thousand stories. Some of its secrets will always remain hidden, locked away in the multitude of soldier’s graves and memorial sites. This small forest clearing above Innsbruck has been a popular sanctuary for true peace and quiet ever since the 18th century. The old souls that rest there are happy to share their mystical home with anyone who respects its eternal tranquillity, making it the perfect place to while away the time until the sun goes down and you can stroll back into the city with a light breeze on your back and a feeling of renewed energy.

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