The Bergisel Ski Jump is a prominent landmark on Innsbruck’s southern skyline. It has seen the world’s best flying through the air, most notably during the Olympic Winter Games of 1964 and 1976. But long before sporting heroes were welcomed on the Bergisel the hill was a battleground for Tyrolean heroes of another kind. In 1809, the Four Battles of Bergisel took place here between local rebels and Napoleon’s army aided by Bavarian forces. This history, together with the modern ski jump and panoramic views from the hill, makes for a worthwhile excursion.
1. Bergisel Ski Jump
A lot has changed since the first ski jumpers came racing down the Bergisel in 1927, with a winning distance of 47.5 metres. The modern ski jump of today is an architectural masterpiece which won the Austrian State Prize for architecture in 2002. The hill record, set up by Michael Hayböck in 2015, has almost tripled in distance to 138 metres.
Two lifts take visitors to a viewing terrace and 50 m high tower. If you have the time and the energy, you can also walk the 455 stairs to the top. Standing at the top, seeing what the ski jumpers see before they take off, is stomach churning stuff. Honestly, I don’t know where they get the guts. The ramp is 98 metres long and the landing slope 37° steep in places.
Adults – €9,50
Children (6-14) – €4,50
Daily from 09:00 to 18:00 from June to October
Daily (except Tuesdays) from 10:00 to 17:00 from November to May
- Some of the world’s best ski jumpers train here in summer. You can see them jump on the wet green mat (instead of snow) if you are lucky. According to the official information, this happens from 10:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 15:00 between May and October. Our timing was perfect early in May when we saw someone jump just as we got there around 14:00. It happened so quickly, there wasn’t even time to take a picture! However, Coenraad managed to capture it on video. So don’t forget to read or scroll to the end of the article to watch it.
- The ski jump is included in the Innsbruck Card.
- Check the official website for dates when the ski jump is closed or only open for official events which require different tickets.
- Savour the view from the top of the ski jump while drinking or eating something at the Bergisel Sky restaurant.
Read more: Get a different perspective on the ski jump from the Nordkette mountains on the opposite side of Innsbruck.
The Tirol Panorama and Museum of the Tyrolean Imperial Infantry
On 13 August 1809, the hill overlooking Innsbruck was transformed into a bloody battleground during the Third Battle of Bergisel. Andreas Hofer led 18,000 rebels against a Bavarian army division. The German casualties amounted to 200 dead and 250 wounded, while 100 were killed and 220 wounded on Hofer’s side.
This battle became the inspiration for Tyrol’s largest oil painting – the Tirol Panorama by Zeno Diemer, dating to 1896. The panoramic 360° painting on a canvas covering more than 1,000 m² allows you to step right into the battle on the very hill where it was once fought. It really felt that way, especially after we first hiked the panorama route around the Bergisel before visiting the museum.
From the Tirol Panorama visitors pass an exhibition dedicated to the myths of Tyrol before entering the Museum of the Tyrolean Imperial Infantry. M found the selection of weapons belonging to regiments of the Imperial and Royal Light Infantry most interesting, while I liked the Tyrol Exhibition best.
Although we can read and understand German, it bothered me that there wasn’t a single written explanation in English throughout the museum. However, free audio guides are available in German, English, Italian, French and Spanish.
Adults – €8
Bergisel Combo Ticket (Ski Jump and Museum) – €14
Museum entry is free for children under 19. Children under 15 in the company of an adult with the combo ticket also get free entry to the ski jump.
Wednesdays to Mondays from 09:00 to 17:00, and to 19:00 on Thursdays in July and August.
The Circular Bergisel Hiking Route
History and nature combine to make this a highly recommended route for an easy, short hike on Innsbruck’s doorstep. You can either start from the back of the parking area or at the ski jump. If you’re a first-time visitor and prone to get lost, I will suggest starting at the parking lot. We followed the yellow “Panoramarunde” signs from the ski jump, but they soon disappeared and we came to several intersections where we had to guess where to go.
Once we knew we were on the right track after finding another sign, the route also became more scenic and interesting. Get your camera out for pictures of the ski jump from a different angle through the trees. You will also notice some big rocks next to the trail. They are from different areas in Tyrol and include marble, limestone and dolomite.
The highlight of the trail is the viewing platform overlooking the Sill gorge. It is very sturdy and well secured, but even so ,I could not get myself to stand on the glass panels right at the front. Peeking over the railing to the bottom of the gorge 50 metres below was out of the question.
From the Sonnendeck, as the viewing platform is called, it’s not far before you reach the end of the trail at the parking lot. It took as about an hour to complete the route. If you have little time before or after visiting the ski jump and the Tirol Panorama, you can only walk to the platform and back from the parking area.
By Car: Take the Innsbruck Süd-offramp on the A13 highway. Travel on the B182 direction Innsbruck for 2,3 km before turning right at the Bergisel sign. Alternatively, travel on the B182 from Innsbruck (past the Grasmayr bell factory and Wilten monastery) and turn left into Bergisel Road.
By Public Transport: The Sightseer Bus which is included in the Innsbruck Card stops in front of the Tirol Panorama. The Stubai Valley bus and tram, departing from the main station, also stops close enough to walk to the Bergisel.