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
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!
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!!
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!
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
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