Top choice in Innsbruck

Innsbruck’s pride and joy is the Gothic Hofkirche, one of Europe’s finest royal court churches. It was commissioned in 1553 by Ferdinand I, who enlisted top artists of the age such as Albrecht Dürer, Alexander Colin and Peter Vischer the Elder. Top billing goes to the empty sarcophagus of Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519), a masterpiece of German Renaissance sculpture, elaborately carved from black marble.

The tomb is embellished with Alexander Colins’ white marble reliefs based on Dürer’s Ehrenpforte (Triumphal Arch) woodcuts, depicting victorious scenes from Maximilian’s life such as the Siege of Kufstein (1504). The twin rows of 28 giant bronze figures that guard the sarcophagus include Dürer’s legendary King Arthur, who was apparently Emperor Maximilian’s biggest idol. You’re now forbidden to touch the statues, but numerous inquisitive hands have already polished parts of the dull bronze, including Kaiser Rudolf’s codpiece!

Andreas Hofer (1767–1810), the Tyrolean patriot who led the rebellion against Napoleon’s forces, is entombed in the church. In the Silberkapelle, a dazzling silver Madonna keeps watch over the marble tomb of Archduke Ferdinand II and his first wife, Philippine Welser.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Innsbruck attractions

1. Volkskunst Museum

0.01 MILES

The Volkskunst Museum presents a fascinating romp through Tyrolean folk art from hand-carved sleighs and Christmas cribs to carnival masks and cowbells…

2. Hofburg

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Grabbing attention with its pearly white facade and cupolas, the Hofburg was built as a castle for Archduke Sigmund the Rich in the 15th century, expanded…

3. Stadtturm

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Guards once kept watch over the city from this onion-domed tower, which was completed in 1450. Puff up 148 steps for 360-degree views of Innsbruck's…

4. Dom St Jakob

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Innsbruck's 18th-century cathedral is a feast of over-the-top baroque. The Asam brothers from Munich completed much of the sumptuous art and stuccowork,…

5. Goldenes Dachl


Innsbruck's golden wonder and most distinctive landmark is this Gothic oriel, built for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519), lavishly festooned…

6. Hölblinghaus

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A late-Gothic-turned-rococo townhouse that is the architectural equivalent of a wedding cake, with its piped-icing-like stucco, candy pastel colours and…

7. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum

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This treasure trove of Tyrolean history and art moves from Bronze Age artefacts to the original reliefs used to design the Goldenes Dachl. Alongside…

8. Annasäule

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Topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary, this column was erected in 1703 to mark the repulsing of a Bavarian attack.