Pick up your hire car at Innsbruck airport and dive into Tyrol's zesty capital, where alpine glaciers and chic ski resorts are just a short drive away
"We're the capital of the Alps! From medieval lanes to urban shopping, city life to the great outdoors, our city has something for everyone, all a stone's throw from the slopes."
It may be be a paradise for those dedicated to life on-piste, but its Christmas-card charms make it a desirable destination whatever your skiing aptitude.
If cuckoo clocks and wooden clogs get the sap rising, you're in luck. The cutesiness might be exaggerated to please the tourists, but walking through Innsbruck is like being taken back in time.
Okay, so they're not all pig-tailed lasses yodelling from the mountaintops, but there's many a rosy-cheeked maiden to welcome you in from the cold. And if you ask nicely, perhaps she'll sing you a tune.
Chocolate-covered gingerbread. But you'll find a host of sweet delights behind the city's numerous candy counters.
Well, it wouldn't be much of a ski resort without mounds of sumptuous snow. Don't forget the sunblock, though: all that white stuff can give off quite a glare.
Douglas Adams was apparently inspired to write The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy during a visit to the city, where he lay stoned in a field looking at the stars.
You'll be happy to hear that Innsbruck is home to the global HQ of one of the largest makers of cochlear implants.
"It's my first win in Innsbruck, which makes me really happy. I had two perfect runs." - Armin Zoeggeler, Italian double-Olympic champion luger
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"The Golden Roof" sits atop a balcony built in 1500 as a royal box for the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg. More than 2,000 copper tiles shimmer over a Gothic window overlooking the city's main square.
At Herzog Friedrich Strasse.
Built in celebration of the luxury lead-crystal glass, this fascinating multimedia museum, curated by the international artist André Heller, features artworks by Dali, Warhol and Brian Eno.
There is a visitors' car park.
The Bergisel is a hill to the south of the city where you'll find the Bergiselschanze, a daunting ski-jump built for the 1964 Winter Olympics. The tower has a welcoming restaurant with panoramic views.
There is an on-site visitors' car park.
This imposing church was built by Archduke Ferdinand I in the 1500s to commemorate his grandfather. As well as housing a cenotaph dedicated to a beloved granddad, it boasts an impressive collection of Renaissance sculptures.
There are parking spaces on nearby Burggraben.
Originally a crudely developed vegetable patch cultivated in the 15th century, the Hofgarten was later expanded and restyled as an English country garden and opened to the public in the 19th century.
You can park at the entrance.
The jewel in Tyrol's skiing crown, the breathtaking Stubai glacier has numerous resorts dotted around it where you can get your slope on.
It's a 20-minute drive. Head south on the Brenner Autobahn for four miles, then take the B183 for two miles.
This picturesque region provides everything you could want from an Austrian excursion: quaint mountain villages, limpid mountain lakes and the chance to buy leather shorts.
It's an hour-and-a-quarter away. Head west on the Inntal Autobahn for 40 miles, then take the B120 south for eight miles. At Prutz, take Kaunertalerstrasse for two-and-a-half miles, Kauns for two miles and Kaunertaler Gletcherstrasse for five miles.
The Sellrain Valley is a beautiful, peaceful part of Austria. Follow mountain trails to awesome glaciers and fields full of alpine roses.
Head west on the Inntal Autobahn for five miles and take exit 87 (Zirl-Ost) for Seefeld/Kematen/Garmisch. Take Sellrainer Strasse for one mile, Weichenofen for two miles and Sellrain for three miles. It's a 40-minute drive.
This majestic mountain range is one of the smaller sections of the Alps, but it's still a favourite with extreme-sports enthusiasts, having been twice home to the Winter Olympics.
The ski resort of Zillertal is a 45-minute drive east of Innsbruck. Take the E60 for 20 miles, then the B169 for six-and-a-half miles.
" Driving in Innsbruck is not a big problem. Like all Austrians, local drivers are fairly civilised. There are rush hours, but they never get really bad. You need to buy a ticket called a 'vignette'. You can get it for a whole year, two months or 10 days. Austrian police are strict in traffic matters - they notice everything! Be careful of some of the narrow roads, as they're curvy and sometimes slippery. If you stop at an intersection where you have the right of way, you lose it. Also, no honking within the city limits. "