On the outskirts of Innsbruck, the slopes at Bergisel have been the home of Tyrolean ski jumping competitions since 1927. To celebrate this, British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid designed a towering ski jump stadium, which was completed in 2002 and can seat 28,000 people. In 2008 Pope John Paul II gave Mass here and it has quickly became a year-round Innsbruck attraction as it soars 820 feet (250 meters) above the city and offers superb views over the Inn Valley and surrounding Alps.
The Tyrol Panorama, featuring a massive, century-old painting of the heroic Tyrolean revolt against Napoleon, is found at the foot of the sculptural stadium. From here, the top of the tower rises to 165 feet (50 meters) and is reached by funicular – or 455 steep steps – plus elevator. Here you’ll be rewarded with 360° views over the city and coffee and cakes in the Panorama Restaurant. Breakfast is served here daily until 11am; enjoy a glass of prosecco and scrambled egg while watching the sun light up the Alps.
January and February see ski jumping and freestyle competitions take place at Bergisel, while the stadium becomes a practice center for the Austrian ski team during the summer. In 2012 the Youth Olympic Winter Games were staged here; the third time Innsbruck has hosted Winter Olympics. The ski jump itself is 395 feet (120 meters) long and skiers can reach up to 60 mph (92 kmh) on take off.
Bergisel is open all year, but closed on Tuesday from November to May. It’s a 20-minute walk from the center of Innsbruck or can be reached by Tram No 1. Tickets encompass entry to the Tyrol Panorama (now part of the Tiroler Landesmuseum) and the stadium as well as the viewing platform.