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Europe > Central Europe > Austria > Tyrol > Igls

Igls

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Igls is an alpine town in the Inn Valley just south of Innsbruck in North Tyrol, Austria.

Understand[edit]

The Patscherkofel mountain with Igls at its foot. Innsbruck can be seen in the foreground

As a town between Innsbruck and the Patscherkofel mountain, Igls is most appreciated as a haven of quietness just south of the regional capital city. It is popular with tourists in summer because of its archaeological heritage and hiking opportunities, and in winter for the ski facilities on the 1 Patscherkofel.

History[edit]

The history of Igls is largely a mystery, although row graves were uncovered within its administrative boundaries, and the nearby Goldbichl hill to the south is an important archaeological site for Tyrol. There is discussion over the name of Igls, which is either said to originate from an 11th century monastery at the Tegernsee, which had possessions in Igls.

Igls developed from a rural village into a summer resort for the Innsbruck upper class in the 19th century, and with it came the construction of the first hotels in the town.

Igls rose to international fame through the Olympic Winter Games of 1964 and 1976 being organized on the slopes of the Patscherkofel. An ice bobsleigh track and Olympic ski run were constructed, and these facilities are still in use for international sports competitions such as the Youth Olympics of 2012.

In recent years, Igls has become a victim of global warming, with snowfall diminishing year after year. Lack of snow has resulted in the closure and decommissioning of the Patscherkofelbahn base station which used to offer skiers a direct ascent onto the Patscherkofel from the heart of Igls. The new base station straddles the mountain a few km to the south-east, and with skiers passing through the town by bus instead of visiting, the future of the tourism sector in Igls is uncertain. Restaurants and night life have already reduced their opening hours to compensate for the lack of patrons, but travellers with a keen eye can profit from the reduced demand for accommodation as hotel prices have also dropped significantly.

Orientation[edit]

Igls is a town of ca. 2450 inhabitants, on the heights south of the Inn Valley, and south of regional capital city Innsbruck to which it administratively belonged until 1961. It lies in the shadow of the Patscherkofel mountain, popular in summer for hiking and in winter for skiing.

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

By tram[edit]

Tram  6  leaving Igls in winter

Tram  6  connects 1 Igls Bahnhof to 2 Bergisel in Innsbruck. The route is very scenic, as the tram meanders through the pine forests and offers travelers a great view over Innsbruck. Bergisel is a 2-min walk away from 3 Innsbruck Stubaital Bahnhof.

By bus[edit]

Bus  J  passes through Igls on the way to the Patcherkofel Talstation. Get off at 4 Igls Ortsmitte. Alternatively, take bus 4141 and get off at 5 Altes Rathaus.

Get around[edit]

Igls is small enough to get around by foot. To get to the 1 Patcherkofel Talstation, take bus  J  direction Igls Patscherkofel and get off at the terminus station where the entrance of the Patscherkofelbahn is to your left.

See[edit]

The Heiligwasser church
  • 1 Heiligwasser Pilgrimage Church (Heiligwasserkirche) (Patscherkofelbahn). The Heiligwasser (literally "Holy Water" in German) pilgrimage is on the slope of the Patscherkofel mountain at an altitude of 1234 m, following a path of 10 chapels of which 5 remain. According to the legend, an angel appeared to 2 peasants searching for lost cattle in 1606, and showed them the way to a spring where they found their cattle. In return, the angel commanded a chapel to be built next to the spring, an undertaking completed by the bishop of Brixen. The site soon became a destination for pilgrims, and in 1661 a church was built to replace the chapel, in which a first religious service was held a year later. Halfway the 18th century, the church was expanded with a side chapel, and buildings around the church were constructed to accommodate the needs of pilgrims, who attribute healing effects to the spring's water. Of particular interest is the churches 3-sided choir with hexagonal choir tower and typical onion shaped roof. The portal is decorated with a fresco from 1743. The ceiling frescoes were added in 1945 by Hans Andre. The Baroque high altar dates from the first half of the 15th century but was stolen in 1971 and replaced with its current copy. Free. (Q23689705) on Wikidata de:Heiligwasser on Wikipedia
Goldbichl hill, one of the most important archaeological sites in Tyrol
  • 2 Goldbichl. 24/7. One of the most important archaeological sites in Tyrol, Goldbichl is a 1064 m tall hill which was used as a place of worship in the Bronze Age. The oldest finds at the site are flint arrowheads from the Neolithic period, originating from Verona, and proving that long distance trade was possible in that era. The hill gained importance in the Bronze age, 4 millennia ago, when sacrificial fires were lighted on altars made of clay and stone, which were visible from afar in the Stubai Valley looking out over the deforested hill. Remains of residences and gardens were found on the northern side of the hill, built on terraces separated from the religious sites by ramparts. The terraces are still recognizable today, although the hill has been reforested since Roman times. Interestingly, the grave of a young woman, buried here after her cremation, has been uncovered. The grave made news headlines because of the numerous ceramic artifacts and other funerary objects found along the scorched skeleton. The location of her grave suggests she might have been a priestess. The Bronze Age site existed until the 16th century BC. In the Iron Age, around 600 BC, the site found renewed interest and underwent expansion with fortifications such as walls and palisades. Evidence suggests that the site became the center of a settlement, and sporting competitions were organized around the sacrificial fires. Goldbichl remained important until the Alps were conquered by the Romans between 100 and 15 BC, and all the heathen facilities were destroyed. The site can be visited, and in 2006 an archaeological trail was constructed which leads up to the summit from the northeastern side, ca. 15-min walk. Free. Goldbichl (Q1392269) on Wikidata de:Goldbichl on Wikipedia
The Pfarrekirche, a mix of Baroque and late Gothic architecture
  • 3 Pfarrekirche (Parish Church Igls), Widumweg 4, +43 512 377394, fax: +43 512 377394, . W F 17:30-18:30, Tu Th 19:00-20:00. Former Romanesque parish church consecrated in 1286, and rebuilt in a late Gothic style in the 15th century. In 1705 it was once again rebuilt in a Baroque style. Free. (Q56856346) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

Igls is best known for its Olympic facilities for alpine skiing and bobsleigh competitions. With 18 km of slopes, it also has a lot to offer to casual skiers who can explore the Patscherkofel mountain ski area with the brand new Patscherkofelbahn ski lift.

  • 1 Alpengarten Patscherkofel, Zirbenweg 11 (walking distance from the Patscherkofelbahn). Jun-Sep 09:00-17:00. An exceptional collection of rare plants and flowers in Austria's highest alpine garden at an altitude of 2,000 m, the 15 000 m² garden is taken care of by the University of Innsbruck. In addition to native alpine flowers such as Edelweiss and Gentian, there are several species from the Himalayas to admire as well. Founded in the 1930s, the garden aims to preserve species that have disappeared in the wild. Visitors can follow a circular path along the gardens many trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers. Free.
  • 2 The Rung Thai Massage, Bilgerstrasse 9 (walking distance from the Igls historic centre), +43 676 3329507, . M-Sa 11:00-22:00. The best way to relieve tensed muscles after a day of skiing, massages are available from 30 min to 90 min. €25/30 min.

Winter sports[edit]

Igls is most popular to travelers as a ski resort in winter, thanks to the Patscherkofel mountain in close proximity. With 18 km easy and intermediate slopes, the Patscherkofel ski area is ideal for beginnners. Igls had its own gondola cable car up to the Patscherkofel summit until 2017 when it was replaced by a new aerial tramway with a higher capacity. It unfortunately no longer has a station in Igls itself, skiers must take a bus to the new base station about 20 min away from the Igls centre. Usage of the bus is free with a Patscherkofel skipass.

Name Tel. Altitude Sym CableCar.png / Sym SkiLift.png / Sym DragLift.png Sym Skil-L.png / Sym Ski-M.png / Sym Ski-S.png
Patscherkofel +43 512 377234 900 - 1.960m 8 Lifts: 1 / 2 / 5 18 km Pistes: 10 / 8 / -
  • 3 Übungslift (practice lift), Bilgeristraße 22. As only slope on the outskirts of Igls, the Übungslift is still in service for beginners, whenever there is snow in downtown Igls.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Intersport, Römerstraße 81, +43 512 319361, . 8:30-17:00 daily. Store specialized in mountaineering equipment for winter and summer. Although they're likely on the expensive side if you seek to buy your ski gear here, their location next to the Patscherkofel Talstation makes them a convenient solution if you happen to break equipment, lose ski goggles or gloves, or need your skis waxed. They also have PPE in stock all year round.
  • 2 Spar, Hilberstraße 2 (in the centre of Igls), +43 512 378649. M-F 07:00-19:00, Sa 07:00-17:00. Convenience store with a wide selection of fresh produce and dry/canned foods. Also sells toiletry items and tape/glue to fix equipment.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Restaurant Hausberg, Römerstraße 81 (next to the Patscherkofel Talstation), +43 57 021 0500, . Small restaurant geared towards skiers. With a newly renovated warm wooden interior, it is the best restaurant in the area for those who don't feel like undertaking the 20 min walk back to the Igls town centre. The food is on the pricey side for what it is, and the service to the level expected at a tourist hotspot. Menus are available in English. Free wifi.
  • 2 Alpengasthof Heiligwasser, Heiligwasserweg 47, +43 512 377171, . Not the cheapest restaurant around, but the fantastic view makes up for the price. Local Tyrolean cuisine of good quality, served in fairly sized portions.
  • 3 Patscherkofel Gipfelstube, Zirbenweg 2 (at the summit of the Patscherkofel mountain), +43 664 9259351, . Restaurant and bar with a great view over the Stubaital and Inntal. The menu is rather pricey, but there aren't any other options available at 2,248 m altitude.
  • 4 Das Kofel, Zirbenweg 9 (in the Patscherkofelbahn Bergstation), +43 5 702 10 500, . 8:30-16:00 daily. Restaurant tailored to skiers: fast food with minimal service. Free wifi, suitable for kids.
  • 5 Patscherkofel Schutzhaus, Zirbenweg 10, +43 512 37 71 96, . The newly built Patscherkofelbahn somewhat ruined the view from its terrace, but the Schutzhaus still provides hikers and skiers alike with decent food although at a fairly steep price. Patscherkofelhaus (Q28605784) on Wikidata de:Patscherkofelhaus on Wikipedia
  • 6 Patscher Alm, Patscherkofel 9, +43 664 405 30 26, . Traditional Tyrolean mountain restaurant aimed at skiers in winter and hikers in summer, close to the slopes when they're opened. Pricey, but decent quality food in generous portions.
  • 7 Bäckerei Höcks, Widumweg 10, +43 512 377317, . M-F 05:30-12:30, Sa 05:30-12:00. Traditional Tyrolean bakery with great bread and pastries.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Tee Hütt'n, Am Bichl 30, +43 664 - 43 68 391, . Closed in sommer, open from 8 Dec. until spring.. Cozy bar for hikers and skiers seeking refuge from the alpine weather, or simply relaxing after a day exploring the Patscherkofel.
  • 2 Hanibal, Bilgeristraße 24, +43 676 3692988, . W-F 12:30-23:00, Sa 12:00-23:00, So 12:00-22:00. Hookah lounge and good food, with a variety of oriental specialties on the menu.

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Hotel Bon Alpina, Hilberstraße 8, +43 512 377600, fax: +43 512 377 600-10, . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. Large hotel in the Igls historic centre, with plenty of accommodations for hikers and skiers: indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and storage room for ski gear. Among the cheaper options to spend the night in Igls, and good value. Dinner separately is €17.50 for a 3 course meal. Wifi is BonAlpinaFree with password BonAlpina%.
Sporthotel Igls, in traditional Tyrolean architectural style

Connect[edit]

  • 3 Post Office (Postambt), Hilberstrasse 20, +43 810 010100. M-Sa 8:30-12:30. Send snailmail and parcels, sells stamps and packaging materials.

Stay safe[edit]

Igls is generally a very safe town. During the winter ski season, drunk tourists are known to cause trouble in bars and nightlife venues, where some warm up with excessive alcohol consumption after enjoying the Patscherkofel slopes on skis or snowboard.

Igls' locals are reserved but helpful, so should anything happen to you, do not hesitate to ask for assistance. There is adequate mobile reception in the entire town and most arts of the Patscherkofel.

Go next[edit]

  • 1 Innsbruck — federal state capital of Tyrol and one of the largest cities in the Alps
  • 2 Hall in Tirol — known for its 13th century salt mine
  • 3 Schwaz — home of Swarovski crystals
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