Innsbruck is a city in Austria. It is situated north of the Brenner-pass, one of the main south-north crossing traffic axes in the Alps, squeezed in the Inn River valley which dictates the directions of the traffic ways. Due to the lack of space in the Inn River valley, Innsbruck offers 5 different motorway exits and a complicated system of traffic lanes.
Heading West or South
There's the service station Raststätte Innsbruck-Ampass on the motorway east of town, in the direction west. However it's before the turnoff going south to Italy, so you'll find most cars going south.
Also, if you want to go west, keep in mind that the first petrol station after Innsbruck (Pettnau, 25km west of Innsbruck) is on the other side of the motorway. People going west can fuel up there, but again you'll find almost only cars going south to Italy.
Simon spent a whole day around Innsbruck in September 2017, trying to get a ride going West towards Switzerland, hitching south of Innsbruck at Europa bridge services, then later at the stadium, before finally being dropped at Innsbruck West. Within 15 minutes from Innsbruck West a guy stopped, going to Bludenz.
Towards Switzerland (April 2019): from the central bus station you can take the bus 4166 or 4165 to Völs "Metzgerei Singer". (From Dez shopping centre to central station there's a bus 4134 or 4130 from the other side of the roundabout). When you reach Völs, walk north to the shopping centre with a JET tankstelle (gas station). Maybe you can find someone to take you further along the highway to another petrol station where there will be more traffic heading west (many people from that area are going back into the city or driving south). And on Sundays there is the Cyta Flea Market til 2pm, which is basically set up surrounding the gas station.
How to get there (Raststätte Innsbruck-Ampass, east of Innsbruck)
Take bus F or R to Baggersee. Once there, continue Grabenweg street for 400m north-east, until you reach the Inn river. Turn right and follow the street, not the trail. It'll lead to Freizeitzentrum Rossau, and just before the street ends there's a way off to the left, to the Freizeitzentrum's parking place. Continue the path to the golf course and find your way into the little forest behind and above it. There's a path in the forest, continue that to the right. At one point after about 200m the path splits, go downhill on the left. There you are on the service station's parking!
(There might be a shorter way from Baggersee bus stop going through the bushes between Kläranlage and Baggersee, however that isn't yet verified.)
Go to the shopping-centre DEZ, Ikea (by bus C (EUR 1.70) or walk from the centre in 20 min) - there are two petrol stations and a big parking space, McD, where you can ask and hitch out in all directions.
You can also use the on-ramp Innsbruck-West if you're in that part of town. There's a bus stop (might be 'Hafen', bus C and M?) a bit before it that only catches some of the traffic going onto the highway here, but with a sign you can easily find a ride into the right direction from here.
If you don't find lifts to the next city try to get lifts to the next biggest motorway service area (Raststätte) outside of Innsbruck:
- East: Vomp
- West: Pettnau
- South: Brenner
Starting point: Exit Innbruck Ost (East), at the fuel stations on the very end of Amraser-See-Straße, next to the DEZ shopping mall. There is 2 petrol stations (just next to each other) on the street to the high-way. At the second one there was also a sign "Last petrol station before the high-way" - Easy to ask drivers there... (tried 2 times, got a ride always within few minutes)
Getting there by bus
Line C (direction Luigenstraße) exit DEZ, or line T exit DEZ Ost, and walk the last few meters towards the biggest road close by. Check the schematic map of the local public transport or their webpage also in English for further information. The bus takes you 1.70€ (Summer 2008). A sign indicating your desired direction might help you getting along. Good luck!
There are several opportunities in Innsbruck but no real "first choice" option. So here is one:
Motorway exit Innsbruck Kranebitten
This a a lonely motorway exit in the very west of Innsbruck with a free Space just in the middle of the different lanes joining together in the direction of Bregenz and Germany. It is not a nice spot but it works!
Getting there by bus
Take line T of the IVB Buses running towards "EKZ CYTA" a suburban shopping centre. You are passing the motorway exit by bus just after crossing the Inn River bridge. Get of the Bus at EKZ Cyta, get all you need at the shopping centre and walk back to the motorway exit, which comes first after the roundabout.
- Check the schematic map of the local public transport or their webpage also in English for further information. The bus takes you EUR 1.70 (Summer 2008).
A sign indicating your desired direction might help you getting along. Good luck!
Just a kilometre after you enter the motorway, the road splits up - one minor road running north directly to Germany (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Munich) and the motorway continuing to run west - make sure you are in the desired direction!
A less awkward place to hitch north or west is by the bus stop at Resselstraße, next to the stadium. Drivers can see you easily here and there is lots of space to stop. Jophro got a ride here in 20 mins after failing to find one in 45 mins at the aforementioned DEZ centre, same for madde. It's clearly a popular spot (you'll notice a worn patch of grass ahead of the bus stop) - when he arrived another hitchhiker was there who got a ride in 7 mins. He found it more effective to take his approach and simply write 'D', instead of the city - if you're going to Germany. In case you are confused, although the road signs are hard to see, its the bus stop next to the stadium, not the one in the opposite side of the street.
Innsbruck is quite pricy, especially in the christmas holidays - as of 26.12.2015 the cheapest backpackers were around eur 30 per night if booked 1 day in advance. If you're willing to be adventurous (duh, you're on this site!), there is a great option for 14euro / night. The "Happy Fitness" rec-center is open 24-hours and has a large sauna space, complete with a bar and lounging area that has a few beds. So you don't get any privacy, but you get a place to sleep along with a great sauna experience! I asked at the reception, and they were quite ok with the idea - said people do this sometimes (but I haven't tried myself yet). You can walk to it from the city center http://www.happyfitness.at/de/innsbruck/ >>I tried this last night (May 1, 2019) and was told that only members are allowed in at night. snille<< The airport seems to close for night, but the main train station is open 24h. In the lower floor, as of December 2015 there is a room in Info, with chairs where people wait for trains, I suppose you can sleep there, if you look enough like you are having a train. In emergency you can try Wohnungslosenhilfe Herberge Innsbrucker Soziale Dienste GmbH or Caritas Tirol - Mentlvilla Notschlafstelle, which are basically help for homeless, but they tell me they help tourists sometimes. Though it is questionable if it is ethically correct to get hosted in the places that are meant for homeless, not hobo travellers.
April 2019: If you don't mind stomping down some stinging nettle, you can sleep beside a stream which is across the grass field from the Dez shopping centre. Cross the stream at the point beside the road and then drop down through the bushes. There's a clearing under the trees between the stream and the road. (47°15'41.3"N 11°26'13.3"E Unnamed Road, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria https://goo.gl/maps/L99iijf26Wtk16Sv9)
The INN airport:
Hours are from 5 am to 11 pm.
Big extended roof covers a second floor terrace above the departures entrances. Stairway is open and located about in the middle of the terminal.
It's clean and seems really safe. The roof will keep the rain off but not much protection from wind. Police station next door.
Wash rooms available all night in the parking garage across from the terminal. This area is video monitored but you could try sleeping in there if it's too cold for you outside. (snille)