If Innsbruck is the capital of the Alps, the Nordkette mountains are the jewel of the Alps. With the Innsbruck cable car, called the Nordkettenbahnen, you can stand on an Alpine mountain peak within an hour from leaving the city centre. Find out what it costs to ride the Nordkette cable car and what to expect on the mountain.
The Innsbruck cable car trip that takes you from the city centre to the Hafelekar on the Nordkette is broken up into three stages. This guide tells you how to plan your trip, where to buy tickets, and what to see and do on the mountain.
Nordkette Cable Car Price
|Innsbruck – Hafelekar Return||€44,00||€26,40|
|Innsbruck – Seegrube Return||€39,60||€23,80|
|Innsbruck – Hungerburg Return||€11,40||€6,90|
Where to Buy Tickets
There are manned ticket offices at the Congress and Hungerburg stations of the Nordkette cable car. The other stations have ticket machines where you can pay by credit or debit card. You can also conveniently buy tickets online before your trip.
Innsbruck Cable Car Stages
Congress to Hungerburg
Innsbruck Congress (560 m) to Hungerburg (860 m) via Löwenhaus and Alpenzoo
The Hungerburg funicular departs from the Congress station just down the road from the Innsbruck Old Town in Rennweg (see map below) for the first stage of the Nordkette cable car trip. You can’t miss the modern design by architect Zaha Hadid. Inspired by Alpine glaciers, she designed all four the bottom stations of the Nordkettenbahnen.
The Löwenhaus station on the banks of the Inn River is reached within a few minutes after leaving the Congress. From here, the next stop is the Alpenzoo (750m), with the Hungerburg after that. It’s possible to disembark at the Alpenzoo for a visit to Europe’s highest-lying zoo and continue your journey up or down the Nordkette later. There is even a combi ticket that includes the cable car trip and the zoo.
|Operating Times||7:15 to 19:15 from Monday to Friday and 8:00 to 19:15 on weekends and public holidays.|
The Hungerburg funicular leaves every 15 minutes. For the best views, try to get room in the front compartment (the furthest away from the tunnel when you leave the Congress station).
Hungerburg to Seegrube
The cable car leaving for Seegrube (1905 m) is in a different building from where you disembark when arriving in Hungerburg from Innsbruck. Looking towards the mountain, it is in the big white building next to the restaurant on your left.
You have time for a few quick photos of the views before waiting in line for the next stage of your Innsbruck cable car trip. This part of the journey is spent in one big car with mostly standing room. It can get quite full on busy days when it may happen that you must wait for the next car.
|Operating Times||Daily from 08:30 to 17:30 (or 18:30 from May to September)|
If you have time to explore the Hungerburg, the small Cable Railway Museum (free entry) and the Theresien Church are worth a visit. The Hungerburg is also the venue for one of the Innsbruck Christmas markets.
Seegrube to Hafelekar
Stepping out of the Nordkette cable car at the Seegrube station, you can either go left towards the restaurant and enjoy the views from the terrace or go right to continue your journey to Hafelekar at 2256 m.
|Operating Times||Daily from 09:00 to 17:00 (or 08:30 to 18:00 from May to September)|
Refresh and Relax
If you do decide to pause before leaving for Hafelekar, you can either sit and relax with a hot cuppa or cold something (depending on the weather and your taste!) at the Seegrube Restaurant. Or you can work up an appetite by doing the short circular hike around the Seegrube or the short and easy walk to the huge rock which the locals call a “relax zone”.
Final Destination – Hafelekarspitze
You made it all the way to 2256 m above sea level by cable car. Now you might as well let your legs take you a further 78m to the Hafelekarspitze at 2334 m. It only takes 15 minutes and it may be the only summit you will ever climb!
The 360° view will let you see all the way to Italy in the south and Germany to the north. The barren landscape behind the Hafelekar station is in stark contrast to the fertile Inn Valley and green mountain slopes to the front.
The Hafelekar is the start of several summer hikes. These include the Goethe trail to the Gleirschspitze, the Mandlspitze, the Gleirschtaler Brandjoch saddle or the Rumer Spitze.
Best Hotels near the Innsbruck Cable Car
Nordkette Cable Car Trip Tips
- The claim that the Innsbruck cable car whisks you up the mountain in 20 minutes, is a bit misleading. This might get you to Seegrube if you don’t have to wait long for the funicular to arrive at the Congress station. Generally, you should allow at least 45 minutes to get from Innsbruck to Hafelekar.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. It’s no use travelling all the way up the mountain for the views if you are going to be trapped in clouds. And don’t forget to take something warm. Temperatures can drop quite dramatically in a short space of time. If there is a breeze on the mountain, you will be happy if you have something to cover your ears.
- For spectacular sunsets and starry night skies, visit the Seegrube on the first Friday evening of the month during the summer months when the Innsbruck cable car runs from 18:00 to 23:30. Take note these times only apply to the section between Hungerburg and Seegrube. After 19:15, you must walk, take a bus, or call a taxi to get back to Innsbruck if you don’t have a car parked at the Hungerburg.
- Save some money by walking to and from the Alpenzoo and Hungerburg from Innsbruck. Find your way to the bridge over the Inn at Löwenhaus, from where the trail is clearly marked. Or park your car at the Hungerburg (the parking is a bit cheaper than in Innsbruck) and take the Nordkette cable car from there.
- You can try your hand to a variety of winter and summer sports on the Nordkette, including skiing, mountain biking, paragliding and rock climbing.
- Find out what it’s like to have a drink in a real igloo at the Seegrube in winter. The Cloud 9 Igloo Bar is open daily from 09:00 to 16:00 as well as Friday evenings from the end of December to April.
Frequently Asked Questions
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