Walking along the Zirbenweg trail in the mountains overlooking Innsbruck I felt as if I had stepped into a fairytale.

Lustrous greenery, towering pine trees, carpets of wildflowers and a thick quiet only broken by the soft whirring of cable cars and the ringing of an Alpine cow’s bell - it was the perfect way to end my trip.

Many will head to the Tyrolean capital to enjoy its skiing and famous Christmas market but the city is much more than its winter season and offers a wealth of history, arts and delicious food as well as wonderful walking opportunities and exhilarating outdoor activities.

The Argus: Escape to the mountains for stunning viewsEscape to the mountains for stunning views (Image: The Argus)

I was completely enamoured by the Austrian city.

To kick off the trip I wandered through the brightly coloured medieval streets of its centre, marvelled at The Goldenes Dachl (the golden roof) in the Altstadt (old town) and visited the Hofburg (Habsburg Palace) where I learned more about one of the royal dynasty’s most famous members, Maria Theresa.

A full day can be had just admiring the city’s picture-perfect architecture, a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, and perusing the abundance of interesting shops.

The Argus: The Goldenes DachlThe Goldenes Dachl (Image: The Argus)

I then reached new heights by taking the Nordketten Cable Cars to the very top of Innsbruck.

The funiculars, which climb up to 2,256m, are something to marvel at with futuristic stations.

The Argus: The view of Innsbruck from a funicularThe view of Innsbruck from a funicular (Image: The Argus)

A quick pitstop to have a picnic and enjoy the stunning views preceded another ride even higher to a windy Hafelekar station – the very top of Innsbruck.

The experience was good practice for our trip to the Olympic Bergisel ski jump the next day.

The Argus: Hafelekar station Hafelekar station (Image: The Argus)

I felt like Eddie The Eagle Edwards as I stared down the track from the Zitterbalken (tremble bank) and watched fearless athletes take to the skies like flying squirrels.

The Argus: A fearless ski jumperA fearless ski jumper (Image: The Argus)

Beforehand we enjoyed a beautiful breakfast at the towering structure’s restaurant which affords incredible views over Innsbruck.

I would highly recommend a visit to the jump.

The Argus: I took a seat on the ZitterbalkenI took a seat on the Zitterbalken (Image: The Argus)

Another exciting adventure awaited in the afternoon with a cable car ride to Muttereralm (Mother mountain) where I launched myself down on a mountain cart for a quick descent- a must for any thrill seeker.

The winding track and the speed of the cart was amazing and I felt like I was racing in a Mario Kart game.

The Argus: The city is hugged by the AlpsThe city is hugged by the Alps (Image: The Argus)

Another must in Innsbruck is Swarovski Crystal World where visitors can come face to face with a giant and experience the Chambers of Wonders where unusual rooms full of snow, installations and optical illusions await.

The Argus: The Swarovski giantThe Swarovski giant (Image: The Argus)

Also on display are the glittering costumes of pop royalty and Hollywood stars from throughout the decades.

It was amazing to see the painstakingly crafted costumes studded with Swarovski crystals and see a different side to the business which has been going since 1895.

The Argus: An Elton John costume at Swarovski Crystal WorldAn Elton John costume at Swarovski Crystal World (Image: The Argus)

But the highlight of the trip for me was the Zirbenweg trail (eagle walk) which has whetted my appetite for a return to Innsbruck to further explore its hiking trails.

One of the many Alpine cows helpfully stood beside the trail’s first signpost to show us the way.

The Argus: A helpful cow showed us the way along the ZirbenwegA helpful cow showed us the way along the Zirbenweg (Image: The Argus)

Charming wooden chalet restaurants broke up the walk offering welcome refreshment and added to the feeling that I had walked into a fairy story.

My base for the week was Stage 12 Hotel, an immaculate four-star hotel slap bang in the middle of the city centre.

Its excellently stocked breakfast buffet gave me the perfect start to the day with a huge selection of pastries, breads, cured meats and fish, fruit, yoghurt, cooked breakfast and more.

I was very well fed throughout the trip with Innsbruck providing a wide variety of cuisine.

The Argus: Alpine cows for as far as the eye can seeAlpine cows for as far as the eye can see (Image: The Argus)

A favourite of mine was Weisses Rossl which offers traditional Tyrolean fare and friendly hospitality.

The Argus: I fell in love with the brightly coloured housesI fell in love with the brightly coloured houses (Image: The Argus)

And another highlight was the more modern Weitsicht - a restaurant with a view - where I watched the sun set behind the mountains while tucking into my delicious meal.

The Argus: Along the Zirbenweg trailAlong the Zirbenweg trail (Image: The Argus)

Innsbruck is incredibly easy to navigate and is made even easier with the Innsbruck Card which gives visitors free entry to 22 museums and attractions, one upward and one downward journey on selected lifts and cable cars, free use of public transport and free use of the Sightseer hop-on hop-off bus. The card can be purchased for 24, 48 or 72 hours.

Innsbruck exceeded my expectations and I look forward to returning to the elegant city and its beautiful mountains one day.

Grab a parent, partner, sibling or a friend for a perfect city getaway with a difference just a two-hour flight away from Gatwick.

Doubles at Stage 12 Hotel start from 194 euros per night (as of June 3).

You can fly direct from London Gatwick. Prices vary.