The Tyrolean town of Innsbruck, Austria is a beautiful community which is almost completely surrounded by mountains. The main language spoken there is German, but visitors can get by easily with Italian and English to a smaller extent. The town is filled with beautiful buildings and everywhere you turn, you're treated to dramatic mountain vistas.
I visited Innsbruck in October, so the autumn leaves were falling from the trees and the air had a bite of frost. The mountains were topped with fresh layers of snow, and even though I had to wear extra layers, I was happy to see the Austrian Alps with their white peaks. While it's a great place to visit all year round, Innsbruck truly comes alive at winter.
Innsbruck is known throughout Europe as one of the cheaper winter destinations, where the Alps can be enjoyed for a fraction of the cost in nearby countries such as France and Switzerland. The cost of living is cheaper in Austria, and I personally found it easier on my wallet when buying groceries and paying for local transport when compared to Italy where I was visiting only days before.
The Winter scene in Innsbruck is so compelling, that it's hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice. Affordable ski resorts can be found throughout the area, and once the snow is falling, there are dedicated buses which transport visitors to the mountains from the city centre several times a day.
For tourists who prefer the Summer months, there's also a buzz of activity going on during the warm season. Hiking and mountaineering are popular ventures, or even a simple picnic on the mountains whilst overlooking the city from above is a great way to pass the time. Basically, there is certainly no shortage of gorgeous landscapes regardless of the time of year.
I took the train into Innsbruck from Milan, Italy and both the journey and arrival at the Innsbruck train station were notably pleasant. The Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof is quite large, modern and lacks large crowds. This is probably due to the fact that Innsbruck isn't the main city of of Austria, but the quiet atmosphere suited me just fine.
The train station is the jump off point for several public tours which are offered. Bus tours for visitors cost 3 euros with the Sightseer Bus, and it's a great way to get an introduction to the city. Public trams and buses are easy to use and they're an affordable way to get around.
Innsbruck has a charming city centre with historical arches, towering buildings and even horse and carriages. I consider the town to be one of prettiest which I've encountered during my travels in Europe. The great views and the affordable price tag definitely puts Innsbruck high on my list of preferred small town destinations in the central region of the continent. Don't miss it if you're in the area!