Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

A while ago I wrote a post entitled “Five Places To Go Back To” . One of those places was Innsbruck in Austria, which lies on the south side of the Karwendel Alps (on the north side you’ll find last week’s travel destinations Mittenwald and Garmisch Partenkirchen, Bavaria). Apart from being an excellent touring base in all directions north/south and east/west, Innsbruck is a charming university city and the capital of the Austrian Tyrol. Despite being home to approximately 120,000 people it still retains its small town appeal. We loved it and will definitely go back there at some point!

We stayed in Innsbruck for 8 nights and one of the first things we did was purchase an Innsbruck card, which we found was great value for money. You can get an Innsbruck card that is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours and the costs are 33, 41 or 47 Euros respectively. Amongst the many benefits we found with the card were free rides on all forms of public transport, free entry to most museums and galleries as well as other many other attractions. If you are planning a trip, you can find out all the information on the Innsbruck card here.

One of the free entry passes was for the Alpenzoo, which sounded interesting so we headed up there via the Nordkettenbahn (more about this later). The zoo is situated up the Nordkette mountain and according to the information site (see here) is unique, as it is the only zoo in the world that devotes itself entirely to Alpine animals. The zoo terrain is quite steep and you’ll definitely need a good pair of sturdy walking shoes. Whereas Dorothy said, “Lions, tigers and bears! Oh My!” when she first arrived in the land of the Wizard Of Oz, here “oh bears” is more appropriate!

 

Unfortunately we did not have the best weather conditions for our visit so it was hard to take too many photos – we were darting in and out of the rain and sleet a lot of the time! The zoo is home to over 2000 animals (150 species) all of which are typical of alpine regions. In addition to the visitor entry fees, the zoo is supported by the City Of Innsbruck and the government of the federal Austrian state of the Tyrol. There is also a  “Freunde des Alpenzoo” group, which provides support for the zoo as well.

As we wandered round, we encountered some fine looking lynxes!

We weren’t so lucky with the marmots as they were still hibernating at the time of our visit in April.

The disappointment of the marmots aside, we still found plenty of other wildlife to see.

The Norkettenbahn, which we took to reach the Alpenzoo,  is a combination of various forms of transport that will take you from the very heart of central Innsbruck right up to the top of the mountains (Nordkette or North Chain is the name of the mountain range north of Innsbruck part of the Karwendel alpine mountain chain). We started our ride on the Hungerburgbahn, a funicular railway which links Congress Station with the upper suburb of Hungerburg. It only has 4 stops with Alpenzoo being one of them. The current funicular replaced one that had been operating from 1906 to 2005 and opened relatively recently on 1 December 2007. It was designed by the architect Zaha Hadid and is quite space-age in its appearance, which really stands out in the mountains!

Hungerburg Funicular Station Innsbruck

Hungerburg Funicular Station Innsbruck

From Hungerburg you switch to cable cars; the first one takes you further up the mountain to Seegrube and the final one up to the Hafelekar station at 2,269 metres above sea level (the nearby mountain summit, Hafelekarspitze, is 2,334 metres above sea level). We had a hearty Tyrolean lunch at the Hafelekar restaurant but it would be fair to say we hadn’t picked the best day for views!

However on a clear day there are wonderful panoramic views to be had of Innsbruck, the mountains and the Inn Valley and ample opportunities for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer months. The mists cleared sufficiently for a few photos on the way back down the mountain. It was actually a lovely trip – we more or less had the place to ourselves, the air was fresh and invigorating and the Austrian hospitality at the cafes and restaurants we went into was warm and welcoming (we were just about their only customers!).

As we approached Innsbruck again on the return descent, the painted houses lining the River Inn provided some welcome colour on a cold wintry April’s day! In spite of the poor weather, we really enjoyed our outing to the Alpenzoo and it’s well worth a visit if you happen to be in the Innsbruck area!

Painted houses along the River Inn, Innsbruck

Painted houses along the River Inn, Innsbruck

 

 

 

Packing my Suitcase

Copyright © 2015 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

23 thoughts on “Tales From Innsbruck Alpenzoo

  1. Lucy says:

    Love the pictures. Such a wonderful adventure, and your beautiful smile always makes my day 🙂 ! Bears are such impressive creatures. I love to see animals, but I always wonder if the zoo is the best habitat for them to be in. Some seem stressed and would like to break out… Looking forward to reading more posts. Hugs and have a lovely Friday! x

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Lucy! Yes I do wonder the same thing about zoos myself but the reputable ones do excellent education and conservation work which is so important. The Alpenzoo is in a very mountainous and rustic setting well out of the city so that is a positive. The place that I did feel distressed by was Bern where they have the bears in a kind of pit down by the river – I really didn’t like that at all. Apart from the bears, Bern was a very nice city to visit! At the Alpenzoo they appear, as far as I know, to have recreated as natural a habitat as possible but of course it will never be the same as being in the wild. Still you can get so close to the bears you almost feel you can stroke them (there is glass between you of course!). Thanks again and hope you have a lovely weekend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. KerryCan says:

    This looks like an amazing place to visit! I love that the zoo is so focused in its mission. I’ve always liked cable cars and going up mountains but, sadly, my husband doesn’t think it’s fun at all!

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    1. We loved the Alpenzoo Kerry and the trip up the mountain was great fun too. Monsieur Le Chic does not like cable cars at all though and in fact he gets worse every time we go on one (he gets like a form of vertigo and it makes him feel ill for the rest of the day). At least we could get the funicular up to the Alpenzoo which he could cope with – the cable cars started a bit further up the mountain. On this occasion he did come up to the top but didn’t really enjoy the ride like I did! I really want to visit the Zugspitze in Bavaria when we’re there in April so have worked out we can get so far up the mountain by train then I will leave Monsieur in a cafe (or pub!) and take the cable car up by myself – a win/win situation! Hopefully you can work out a similar compromise with your husband as it is such fun going up mountains! Have a lovely weekend too 🙂

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  3. Do you know why the marmots are hibernating so late? I thought all animals stop hivernating at the same time 😉

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    1. Hi Gin no I’m not sure why they were still hibernating or perhaps they didn’t want to see us – we were very disappointed I would have loved to have seen a marmot! It was still rather cold and wintry even though it was mid April so perhaps that was why they were hiding?! 🙂

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      1. We saw one on the side on the road when we were driving through Yellowstone NP. It was very brief, the animal left very quickly,but it looks like fascinating creatures to observe 🙂 Their burrow must have been too comfy 😉

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        1. Alas we have never yet seen a marmot 😦 We looked out for them when we were travelling around the alpine areas in trains but didn’t spot any. They like to come out and sun themselves on warmer days apparently – yes they must have very comfy burrows! How lovely you managed to see one in Yellowstone albeit briefly! 🙂

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          1. It was pure luck I think ! Because after we were searching for them and couldn’t spot any 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. One day I hope we’ll be lucky enough to see them in the wild may have to go in the warmer months though! 🙂

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  4. Sounds like a really interesting (and different) zoo Rosemary, love the idea of the adventure on the train to get there too and that you can go higher up the mountain. Shame about the views – although I think the pictures still look very good with the snow – nice to have it all to yourself too! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Joy yes it was unlike any other zoo we had come across which is why we found it so interesting! The location is superb – it’s a great day out for kids too with the funicular to get there. The cable cars start at the next stop up the mountain (Hungerburg) so you don’t have to go all the way to the top if you don’t want to. We rather liked the fact it was so quiet as I would imagine it would get crowded especially in the summer months! I’m glad you liked the photos as I really wondered whether to put them up as the views were hardly at their best – still it’s rather fun to see all the snow! Have a great weekend too 🙂

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  5. Hi Rosemary! Looks like a nice trip, despite that the weather was not the best. The zoo reminds me about the zoo in my home-town, Kristiansand. We have many of the same animals there. I love the bear though! In New York I saw a ice-bear in the zoo, and it was spectacular.
    Too bad that you did not have a good view on the top. However, you got a lot of snow 😉
    Great post 🙂

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    1. Thanks Hanne yes it was a lovely trip even with the wet and cold weather – we’d love to go back to Innsbruck one day! I will have to look up and read about the Kristiansand Zoo as I hadn’t realised there was one there before – it’s a small world as my good friend lives in Kragero not too far away (sorry I can’t do the accent on the “o” on this keyboard!). The bear was my favourite it was exciting to see one so close up! We loved the snow – we don’t get to see it now that we live in Perth (though occasionally snow falls on the hills further south from Perth in the winter not like the Alps though!). Glad you enjoyed the post and have a great weekend 🙂

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      1. Yes, if you visit your friend in Karagerø, you should try to visit the zoo in Kristiansand as well. It is very nice. I haven’t been there for some years now, but I know they even get more animals now. I hope this summer I will go again.
        Wish you a wonderful weekend, as well 🙂

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        1. Yes one day I hope to get to Norway Hanne – I think Kragero is in the Telemark region (excuse any incorrect spelling) which looks very beautiful! I will remember the tip about Kristiansand Zoo as well and hope you can get there this next summer! Wishing you a great week too 🙂

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  6. Sartenada says:

    How wonderful set of beautiful photos. I love especially Your bear photos. In Finland we love bears and we have even Bear Carving Contest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much am glad you like the photos as the weather wasn’t very good! A bear carving contest that sounds interesting presumably out of wood?!

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  7. ventisqueras says:

    ero ad Innisbruk per i mercatini di Natale, ma avendo la mia casa delle vacanze sulle Dolomiti, vicino al confine con l’Austria mi reco molto spesso in quella cittadina, e concordo con te che è molto speciale, le foto sono davvero bellissime
    un sorriso

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie mille! Excuse my reply in English – I can understand most of your comment – I know some French and German plus learnt Latin at school so can work it out but not speak or write it – scusate! Innsbruck must have been wonderful at Christmas! We loved the Dolomites it would be lovely to have a holiday home there 🙂 We visited the Dolomites from Innsbruck and went to Bolzano too. Am so glad you like the photos 🙂 Un sorriso anche! 🙂

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