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.
A round trip with the Nordkette cable car is also included in the Innsbruck City Card. At €53,00 for 24 hours, this card is good value for money if you are planning to do more sightseeing, use other public transport or explore the Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
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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That looks a cool place to be at…nice scenes around.
That photo of the apfelstrudel and that view is amazing! Now that’s how breakfast should be every morning 🙂 I love that when you get to Hafelekarspitze, it looks like you are on top of the world and that you can actually see Italy in the south and Germany to the north. I’m a big fan of sunsets so thanks for the great tip of visiting Seegrube on a Friday evening.
Oh, I would love to do this. The scenery is absolutely magnificent. And that apple strudel looks pretty amazing, too!
Been on a few cable car rides. But this one looks awesome. Look at clouds below your feet. Stunning!
Wow, yes those views look utterly stunning, and a first impression that won’t easily be forgotten for sure. Good to know about the two stages of the cable car/ funicular and the best times to visit.
Innsbruck is so gorgeous, really annoyed I didn’t do the cable car though!
I’ve been on this cable car three times…each time I’ve visited Innsbruck. I love it! Summer with parasailing or winter with skiing, it is a must do in the city.
The Austrian Alps are just spectacular. Those views and the crisp, clean mountain air would make me never want to leave. I love to stargaze, too, so the tip about going to the Seegrube at night when it runs until 23:30 is so good to know. I can only imagine how clear and gorgeous the night sky looks from this vantage point.
What a thorough guide to the Innsbruck Cable Car. It really helps to know the costs and the time it takes all in one place. It looks like the trip is really worth it with those breathtaking views at each station specially knowing once can stop for a delicious Apfelstrudel up there!
The Nordkette mountain range looks incredible. Such a powerful panorama – the Innsbruck cable car trip would be a great way to spend a day. Good to know that you get direct access to the cable cars with the the Innsbruck Card and the Freizeitticket Tirol.
I would probably pause before leaving for Hafelekar, it looks like such a stunning spot to kick back for a little bit. Would definitely make the final climb towards Hafelekarspitze though – cable car has taken you all that way, happy for a walk at the end!
Thanks for the information, I can’t wait!
The views look amazing. I love the German & Austrian Alpine culture but I’ve never been to Innsbruck. Would love to go one day, especially after reading this!
Do you think it is possible for me to reach at 2pm in the afternoon and leave by 7 in the evening and still be able to enjoy the entire trip. ??
Thank you for the helpful information. I am traveling to austria and was going to do a night and 1.5 days there. I really want to do this. Do you know when the Nordkettebahn will be closed this year (2018), I will be there in November 2018 and I know they do scheduled maintenance each each. Is using this cable car the only way to see these attractions? do you recommend other options? Will i be out of luck?
Thank you for the very informative article. Will be in Innsbruck on 16 December 2018 with my family. Not sure whether to buy tickets to Nordkettte ahead of my arrival or at the station. Its a Sunday. Any advice?
My husband and I are planning to take the cable car on the 21st of April (or 22nd). Weather forecasts state that it will be cloudy then. But I really want to get up the Nordkedette. Would it be a very awful in case the weather was cloudy? I have a feeling that I would still enjoy it a lot especially that the restaurant will be having a brunch on the 21st (as an event).
We are planning our trip to Austria (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Graz). We are in Innsbruck from 24-27 December 2019. Do you know if the Nordkettenbahnen is open on 25 Dec 2019? Any budget restaurants for Christmas eve or Christmas day that you would recommend?
Greetings from a fellow South African.
Absolutely stunning! Thank you for a detailed impressive guide!