To find the Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Kristallwelten) at our front door was one of the biggest surprises when we arrived in Tyrol seven years ago. I never knew Swarovski crystals came from Austria, never mind the Tyrolean village of Wattens. My guess was always Eastern Europe. Given the fact that Daniel Swarovski, the glass cutter who founded the company in 1895, was born in what is now the Czech Republic, I suppose I wasn’t entirely wrong.
There is still a crystal manufacturing plant in Wattens, but the village is now better known for the Swarovski Crystal Worlds, which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Innsbruck area.
Chambers of Wonder
To me, the Swarovski Crystal Worlds is about marvelling at what a bunch of highly creative people did with millions of dashing crystals.
The main attraction is the 16 Chambers of Wonder, each one created by renowned artists, designers and architects to show off the brilliance of Swarovski crystals. Some Chambers of Wonder are more impressive than others. My favourites are Jim Whiting’s Mechanical Theatre and the Studio Job Wunderkammer. The latter is one of five chambers that were redesigned to coincide with a revamp of the Swarovski Crystal Worlds in 2015.
Entry into the Chambers of Wonder is gained through the mouth of André Heller’s impressive Giant. The Giant supposedly watches over his treasures – which are hidden beneath the earth – after collecting them on a world journey.
After leaving the belly of the giant, there is still a vast park area to explore. My highlight is the Crystal Cloud floating above a black mirror pool. The “clouds” are covered in 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski Crystals. Mattheus’ highlight is the four-storey play tower for kids. He also likes running around in the labyrinth. The latter, in the shape of a hand, is another design by André Heller.
Recently, the excavations of Roman walls which were discovered while doing improvements in 2014 have also been opened to the public. Although I haven’t seen these, they are said to offer an important window on the history of the area. Apart from the walls, a cache of 702 Roman silver coins were found in what is thought to have been a small village along a main Roman thoroughfare.
I guess the highlight for shopaholics would be the Swarovski Crystal Worlds shop, which is home to the world’s largest collection of Swarovski products. It is an unique opportunity to buy items that are exclusively available in Wattens and Austria.
Entry into the Swarovski Crystal Worlds isn’t exactly cheap. I suggest you give enough time to fully explore the Chambers of Wonders and the garden to make it worth your while. Fortunately, families with children pay reduced fees.
Adults – €19
Children from 6 – 14 years in the company of an adult – €7,50
1 parent and up to 2 children – €24,50
2 parents and up to 2 children – €41,00
- Also, read my advice for cheaper admission under practical tips further below.
The Swarovski Crystal Worlds are open daily from 8:30 to 19:30, with last entry at 18:30. The only exceptions are December 24 and 31, when the gates close at 13:00 and 15:00 respectively.
Daniels Kristallwelten. Café and Restaurant is open Sunday to Thursday from 08:30 to 19:30, and Friday and Saturday from 8:30 to 23:00 (hot meals until 21:30).
Own transport – The address to enter in your GPS/navigation app is Kristallweltenstraße 1, 6112 Wattens, Austria. There is plenty of free parking for cars and buses outside Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
Public transport – A shuttle bus travels between Innsbruck and Swarovski Crystal Worlds five times daily. It departs at the Innsbruck main station (Hauptbahnhof) and makes one more stop at the Innsbruck Congress/Hofburg before travelling straight to Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Return tickets cost €9,50 and a one-way ticket is €5. Children up to 15 years of age travel free. Find the up-to-date timetable here.
- You can visit the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store and Daniels Kristallwelten. Café and Restaurant without having to buy a ticket for the Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
- Check out the events programme at Swarovski Crystal Worlds before you visit. In February, for example, there was an evening light festival in the garden while children were treated to a “disco” in the play tower. Admission fees were even reduced.
- Swarovski Crystal Worlds is part of the Innsbruck Card, which means the entry as well as the trip on the shuttle bus is included if you buy the card.
- If you don’t have enough time to visit the Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens (or maybe your partner doesn’t understand the fuss about crystals 😊) you can also pop into the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store Innsbruck. It’s near the Golden Roof in Herzog-Friedrich-Straße in Innsbruck’s old town (very close to the McDonald’s).
- Locals or tourists who plan to visit Swarovski Crystal Worlds regularly, can buy an annual card @ €49 for adults and €19 for children and adults.
- The Freizeitticket Tirol, which is available to residents of Tyrol, includes 3 free entrances to Swarovski Crystal Worlds per year.
- Pack a picnic basket and relax on the lawns of Swarovski Crystal Worlds while the kids run wild in the play tower and the labyrinth.
Swarovski products are sold in approximately 2,800 stores in around 170 countries. The company has production locations in Austria, the Czech Republic, the US, China, Liechtenstein, India, Vietnam and Thailand.
What About You?
Do you own any Swarovski items? I do – an evening top with a crystal collar and a pair of earrings. What does your Swarovski collection consist of? Let me know in the comment box below.