Viewed Vienna? Seen Salzburg? Then get well-in in Innsbruck - Austria's lesser-known gem in the heart of the Alps - urges OutUK's rampant rover Adrian Gillan.

Dating back to Roman times but of greatest prominence during the Medieval and Baroque periods, Innsbruck nestles in the Alpine Tyrol on Austria's western fringe, squeezed in between Bavaria to the north and Italy to the south. Its indigenous 130,000-strong population is swollen manifold by 5 million tourists a year - drawn to its Old Town and pleasant foothill walks in the summer; and by its spectacular snow-and-ski potential throughout winter.

This beautiful and charming city on the River Inn has hosted the Winter Olympics twice - in 1964 and then again in 1976. Quite apart from its 20,000 students in term-time, Innsbruck also boasts hoards of natural home-grown beauties - many of them crammed into its compact yet perfectly-formed gay scene.
Just jump on board the official Sightseer Bus anywhere along its loopy route, sit back and watch the beauties of Innsbruck unfurl (backed by a mercifully minimalist English commentary) over the coming hour. Take in The Imperial Palace and Old Town; Maria-Theresien-Strasse, the city's bustling spine; The Triumphal Arch; the Wilten Basilica; Ambras Castle; the Olympic Ski Jump; and the Alpine zoo. Hop off the bus wherever to view things close up and inside.

The Old Town can really only be viewed at close quarters, by foot. Hour-long walking tours cost just a few euro and start from Innsbruck Tourism Office, taking in the Hofburg ("Imperial Palace", once royal seat of the mighty Habsburgs), the glistening Golden Roof and the massive Baroque Cathedral - plus so much more!

CAFE LIFE

To eat or chill, pop into gorgeous, popular central gay-friendly café-bar Dom Café, a mere spit-and-a-spunk from the Cathedral. Open 1pm-1am daily, it reeks of old world ambience and is fair packed with chic young cuties eying - nay touching - each other up, as candles flicker away. Alternatively, Café-Bar-Restaurant Moderne spills out onto the main strasse outside in summertime, offering good value nosh in pleasant surroundings. It's cosy and hip inside too when the snow lays thick without. And Cafe + Restaurant Kunstpause is one of the best restaurants in Innsbruck - in a museum! It's very stylish yet strangely unpretentious and relaxed: incredible value for money!!

CLUBBING

Time to drink and dance? M+M is an intimate cocktail bar just over the river, popular with queers and mainly attracting a slightly older yet still-stylish crowd. A mere minute's walk down from M+M, cute little men-only bar Le Boy is the usual all-male warm-up pre-club proper. Talking of which, Bacchus is the heart and soul of gay Innsbruck, just south of Maria-Theresien-Strasse, by The Triumphal Arch. This popular basement lair lures lads in from 9pm 'til very late, although things really hot up after 1am. Great music: classy, yet with the common touch. Superb, friendly barmen too!

STEAMED UP

If you're still on the loose after all that, pop next door into Dampfbad to strip off and steam your cares away with horny Herrs! Or stroll to take airs in the Hofgarten park just north of the Hofburg at Rennweg street; moderately busy after dark, especially summertime near the Kunstpavillon.

BED BOARD & GETTING THERE

The Penz Hotel is within walking distance from both gay scene and Old Town, featuring spacious modern rooms with fab views over roof-tops and Alps. The swish fifth floor restaurant has an American style bar and a roof terrace offering yet more stunning vistas as you munch or sip away. You can book The Penz Hotel and other hotels in Innsbruck at special online rates through our partners Bookings.

Austrian Airlines operate regular flights to Innsbruck via Vienna, or direct from London Gatwick. Book via austrianairlines.co.uk.

The Innsbruck Card offers great-value access to all major attractions plus public transport.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Bacchus (Salurner Strasse 18; T: +43 (0)512 940 210)
Le Boy (Mariahilfstraße 8; T: +43 (0)676 7106051)
Cafe + Restaurant Kunstpause (Ferdinandeum, Museumstrasse 15; T: + 43 512 57 20 20)
Café-Bar-Restaurant Moderne (Maria-Theresien-Strasse 16; T: +43 (0)512 584 848)
Dampfbad (Salurner Straße 6; T: +43 (0)512 5025695)
The Penz (Adolf Pichler Platz 3; T: +43 512 57 56 57-0; www.thepenz.com)


Revised March 2016

 

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OutUK features the latest gay news, advice, entertainment and information together with gay guides to cities and holiday destinations around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. There are hundreds of galleries of photos and videos of the sexiest gay guys plus intimate personal profiles of thousands of gay lads from all around the UK.