Press "Enter" to skip to content


Europe > Austria > Innsbruck

See: Why rent a car in Innsbruck ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Innsbruck?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Innsbruck?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Innsbruck car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Innsbruck with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Innsbruck? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Innsbruck, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Innsbruck is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Innsbruck? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Innsbruck between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:8/10

Balance: 1

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


The network of rail routes around Innsbruck doesn’t initially look especially comprehensive, but Innsbruck is still an important junction on the Austrian rail network.

Why? Visiting Innsbruck using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Innsbruck ?

In & around the city

Why should you rent a car in Innsbruck?

  • If your plan is to tour around the Alps in the summer months and perhaps do some hiking, then a hire car in Innsbruck certainly might be useful, but it’s by no means essential, as there are still plenty of rail and bus routes for getting to and from popular hiking trails.

Beyond Innsbruck

  • For a sheer driving experience, motorists may want to hire a car in Innsbruck and head towards the legendary Stelvio Pass, and enjoy the many other less celebrated Alpine roads which are nearby.
  • Innsbruck is the closest major airport to Stelvio, but if driving is your aim, we’d also suggest looking at getting there through the Dolomites from Venice, or via Lake Como from Milan.
  • Austria also has a number of famous privately operated mountain roads, the most famous of which is the Grossglockner High Alpine road. This is slightly closer to Salzburg, although still within an easy day’s driving loop from Innsbruck. Allow around 3 hours to get to the start of the route.
  • The highest paved Alpine road in Europe is the Ă–tztal Glacier Road, which runs south from Soelden and across into Italy, heading towards Bolzano.

Driving in into Germany?

  • You can also pick up a hire car from Innsbruck and drive directly to the famous fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle, which is actually a shorter drive from Innsbruck than it is from Munich Airport (Memmingen Airport, served by a handful of low cost services is closer still).
  • Note that the suggestions above might entail driving from Austria into neighbouring Germany, Italy or Switzerland, so it is important to check the terms of your rental contract to include that international driving is included. It usually is, although some agents will charge a daily fee for doing this.

In & around Innsbruck

Innsbruck also offers some amazing alpine experiences which are very easy to access right from the city itself, using nothing other than local cable cars or funiculars:

  • Swarovski Crystal world – situated a short bus or train ride (with ample parking too) from Innsbruck is the impressive Swarovski crystal garden.
  • The Nordkette Cable Car and funicular stands out as a particularly stunning attraction, not just because of the stunning views it offers right over Innsbruck, but also because of the design of the system itself, one of the last works of the late architect Zaha Hadid.
  • Bike friendly – Innsbruck is a very cycle friendly city, with a range of trails both within the urban area and nearby. In the summer, Innsbruck is an ideal destination for both road and mountain bikers.
  • Restaurant Sky – another design-led experience is the restaurant at the top of the ski jump in the south of the city, also designed by Zaha Hadid.

Why not? Visiting Innsbruck without a car

Why don't you need a car in Innsbruck ?

Beyond Innsbruck without a car

  • The swish resort area of Soelden is surpassed only by Vienna and Salzburg in terms of tourist numbers. Although it isn’t served by rail, it is an easy coach or train + bus connection from either the city of Innsbruck or from the airport. The Ice Q restaurant, and many of the areas around Soelden were featured in the James Bond movie Spectre.
  • Grossglockner by bus – you can arrange a bus tour of the Grossglockner road by taking the train to Zell Am See, although some tours are easier to arrange from Salzburg. These Alpine roads also make for a great cycling experience, but you may still need a support vehicle to get to and from the start of the journey.

Ratings: How does Innsbruck compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Innsbruck? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Innsbruck, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Innsbruck? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Innsbruck (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Innsbruck? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Innsbruck airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Innsbruck car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 2

2019 - 3

2021 - 1

Average score - 2



Should you rent a car in Innsbruck? Given that there are a number of great driving roads which can be explored from Innsbruck, it might seem surprising that we are still rating it as a “non car” destination. This is partly because Innsbruck is also still a good place to start an Alpine experience without needing to use a hire car, as local trains and buses still provide plenty of connections to the slopes.

Innsbruck really does offer an amazing range of options whether you hire a car or not – but on balance, it’s well worth looking at non-car options first.


Do you or don't you need a car in Innsbruck ?

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twenty − 12 =