Truly Deserved

“Matthias Oehlboeck rides the ridgeline from the summit of Nockspitze after spending the night on the mountain. Enjoying a solitary, sunrise view over your hometown only makes you love it more, but with half of Innsbruck’s population being addicted to the outdoors, you’re rarely there by yourself. This particular night we shared the summit with three paragliders, who launched back to the valley the next morning.” Photo: Andreas Vigl

Truly Deserved Reluctant Evolution in Bike City Innsbruck

Pilots call the Innsbruck Airport one of the most challenging—and exciting—approaches in Europe, and for incoming passengers it’s obvious why.

The small Austrian city is cradled by massive peaks, requiring approaching planes to first navigate a deep, narrow valley. Meanwhile, they must battle constantly changing weather, and the air space is so limited that pilots making their final descent are required to land, no matter the wind direction. They don’t have much room on the ground either, as the short runway is pinched between steep mountainsides. It’s so challenging, in fact, that a special license is required to even fly there at all.

It all makes for an impressive vista, but one part is especially majestic: the “Nordkette,” a mountain range north of the city. This huge rock formation best illustrates what makes Innsbruck unique. If you’re in town, you’re at an altitude of 1,883 feet, and those peaks are mostly a stunning backdrop. Yet in just 20 minutes, after riding a cable car and two gondolas, you can be at a lofty elevation of 7,545 feet and among the Nordkette—hopefully in warmer clothes, and hopefully enjoying a beverage at the aerie-esque Hafelekar top station.

This article is for our Subscribers and Plus Members.

Gain access by purchasing an online or print subscription.

Basic Free Subscription
$0 / Year

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Sign Up

Plus Online Subscription
$19.95 | Year

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

 Get Plus 
Free Trial

Premium Print Subscription
$34.95 | Year*

  • 4 Issues/year of our print magazine mailed directly to your front door

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Go Premium

Already a Member?

Login