Christmas shopping in Austria

Innsbruck funicular

Christmas shoppers in Innsbruck, Austria can now go direct from the shops to the mountain tops thanks to the opening of a new funicular and cable car system.

The new Nordkettenbahnen funicular from the Congress in Innsbruck town centre to the top of the Hafelkar mountain opens on 2 December in time for Christmas. The four city centre stations for the funicular have been designed by award winning London architect, Zaha Hadid, who has also created the new bridge across the river Inn.

The journey from the city centre to the top of the mountain takes only 20 minutes, and the new funicular is capable of handling 1,200 people an hour. The new rail and gondola link means that Innsbruck's Nordkette mountain region will now be accessible in both winter and summer.

Innsbruck is a paradise for winter sports lovers, offering 285km of pistes for skiers, snowboarders and free riders with guaranteed snow. There is also cross country skiing, tobogganing and ice skating throughout the region.

The self-proclaimed capital of the Alps, Innsbruck is home to several Christmas markets, including the Altstadt in the picturesque medieval old town, and the new market at Maria-Theresien-Strasse. The beautifully decorated stalls sell Tirolean handicrafts, Christmas decorations, and traditional food, drinks and souvenirs.

New year celebrations in Innsbruck this year include the new years run, the Blue Danube Waltz at midnight and a spectacular fireworks display. Innsbruck also has an exciting programme of events lined up for 2008, including the Four Jumps ski jumping competition on 3-4 January, and the Billabong Air & Style snowboard tournament on 2 February.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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