Innsbruck is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in Austria, situated as it is against the sheer cliffs of the Alps that rise from its northern edge. The town is a famous center for winter sports (it hosted the Winter Olympics twice), and is home to a number of charming museums dedicated to Tyrolean history and culture, as well as some brilliant examples of decorative baroque architecture. Older still is the peculiar but beautiful Golden Roof, built in 1500 for Maximilian I so that Archduke Friedrich IV and other Tyrolean sovereigns could have an appropriately regal spot from which to observe tournaments and festivals in the square it faces.
Few places offer such a quick and direct transition from the civilized to the wild as is provided by the Nordkettenbahnen, a cable car that climbs from the center of Innsbruck to a mountain station nearly 1,000 feet above the town. The journey takes just 20 minutes and offers panoramic Alpine views that, thanks to local weather patterns, are cloud-free practically all year round.
Opportunities for all manner of winter sports abound in the area. The slopes offer skill-level appropriate runs for everyone from beginning skiers and snowboarders to experts. The slopes on nearby Stubai Glacier are open 365 days a year.
Families looking for diversion of a warmer variety can visit Alpenzoo, which is the highest zoo in Europe and specializes in alpine animals that thrive at that altitude.