The Austrian Alps region is beautiful year-round, but it really comes into its own during the winter. Centered around the Tyrol region of Austria and the city of Innsbruck, host of two Winter Olympic Games, the Austrian Alps is an amazing place to visit for anyone interested in winter activities and seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Europe. Check it out along with us on our New Year’s Eve on Cloud 9 Tour coming at the end of this year! Here are some of the highlights of any trip to the Austrian Alps during the winter season.
Innsbruck Old Town
Innsbruck is the spiritual center of the Austrian Alps for many travelers as it played host to the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976. The old town of Innsbruck preserves much of the old architecture, some of which dates back all the way to the late medieval period. The cobblestone roads are seemingly untouched from their construction over 500 years ago. With cafes, restaurants, and shopping galore, it’s easy to spend an entire day wandering the Old Town in Innsbruck!
Hofburg Imperial Palace
One of the most important cultural monuments in all of Austria, the Hofburg Imperial Palace was built in the 1400s by Emperor Maximilian I and renovated extensively in the 1700s by Empress Maria Theresa, mother to Marie Antoinette. Today, the palace serves as a museum and a window into the regal splendor of life in the Habsburg royal court.
The famed crystal makers Swarovski have operated out of the small Tyrolian town of Wattens, about 20 minutes outside of Innsbruck, since 1895. The Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) is an amazing combination of art museum and theme park, featuring crystal art installations, a garden, and the world’s largest Swarovski store. From mid-January to mid-February, the Kristallwelten also hosts a Festival of Lights within the garden, making for an even more beautiful experience!
As host to two Winter Olympic Games, the Austrian Alps is a perfect place to indulge in some winter sports! Check out the Olympic Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skeleton track for an authentic bobsledding experience with professional bobsledders! Ski resorts are abundant throughout the region if you’re more into skiing, and there’s a resort to suit any skill level – whether you’re a casual or a pro.
The Austrian Alps is known as a great place to buy Christmas items year-round, but it certainly goes to another level during the Christmas season. Innsbruck hosts four large markets during the season that are generally regarded as some of the best in all of Europe. No matter which market you end up exploring, be sure to try the local specialty of kiachl – a hot pastry served with sauerkraut – and stay warm with some hot glüwein (mulled wine)!
Explore the World with AESU!
Are you ready to plan an adventure of a lifetime? AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.
2022 tour dates are now available! If you have any questions or want help booking your next adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.