If you are visiting Innsbruck and want to do a quick hike with killer views, Goetheweg hike from the top of Innsbruck’s famous Nordkette cable car will accomplish just that. The route is also suitable for hiking with baby or for hiking with older kids. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 5 years of age unless they are secured to a parent as the route runs along an edge of a drop so parents need to make sure kids are in control enough not to fall down.
We wanted to do a hike with our newborn twins, so something easily accessible from the center of Innsbruck seemed like a right choice. With twins packed into their baby carriers, we took the bus J to Hungerburg, which connects Innsbruck’s 2 iconic mountains – Patscherkofel and the Hafelkar, a peak within the Nordrkette range. In 10 minutes we were at the bottom of the Nordkettenahnen lift. The same lift station is easily accessible from the center of Innsbruck via Hungerburgbahn lift, the first of the three lift sections to access the very top of the mountains. In theory, the whole journey takes just 20 minutes from the Congress lift station to the Seegrube at 2,000 meters. From the Seegrube, another cable car continues 300 meters higher to the Hafelekar.
In practice, if there are a lot of people who want to go up, there could be a wait when people are switching between the three sections of the lift. We didn’t experience any wait when we went on a Thursday. The ticket is somewhat expensive if you just buy it with no discounts – 32 Euros round trip from Innsbruck to the very top. However, the ride is included in Innsbruck card and there are various coupons available from the local tourist offices.
Before starting our Goetheweg hike, we hiked up to the summit of Hafelkar, 2,334 meters elevation, which is just a 15 minute walk from the cable car station. We have noticed that most people just take the lift up, take a couple pictures, and the more adventurous ones walk up to the summit, even if they have sandals or flip flops on. The path wide and well secured.
After taking a couple of pictures at the top, we started our Goetheweg walk. Although the cable car and the area around mountain station were packed with tourists, just a few hundred meters walk along the Goetheweg brought us to peaceful and quiet surroundings. Everywhere on the route, we were treated to the breathtaking views of Innsbruck, the Inn Valley, and the Karwendel mountain range on the other side. After about 2-2.5 hours , the Goetheweg route takes hikers to Pfeishuette (traditional mountain hut). The route is 5.2 kilometers (3 miles) long. We didn’t do the entire hike to Pfeishuette because our babies started fussing so we turned back after about 3 kilometers.
To summarize, it was a good easy hike and I highly recommend it as a relaxed day hike.