“What do you mean, the eggs aren’t made of chocolate?!” Easter in Innsbruck is a little different to what you are used to, and I don’t just mean the eggs. From Easter markets to bank holidays that aren’t bank holidays, many things might surprise you about Easter in Innsbruck. Here are five of them.

The eggs aren’t (traditionally) made of chocolate

Think of an Easter egg and you’ll probably think of a yummy chocolate egg, filled with chocolate goodies of your choice. But not in Innsbruck. Easter eggs here are traditionally hard-boiled eggs that are dyed in bright colours. You can buy them in supermarkets and bakeries, or you can have a try at making them yourself at home, which is a fun activity for kids!

But if you still need your Easter chocolate fix, don’t despair. Nowadays, there are as many chocolate eggs on the supermarket shelves as there are hard-boiled ones. Check out Patisserie Valier on Maximilianstrasse for some delicious Easter chocolate creations.

Which do you prefer, the orange egg or the purple egg? © Innsbruck Tourismus / Daniel Zangerl

Easter markets are a thing

Everyone has heard of the famous Christmas markets, but did you know that Innsbruck is home to an Easter market too? This spring market is located in the city’s old town, where you’ll find a wide range of beautiful handmade gifts and traditional Easter decorations. There are also plenty of tasty Tirolean snacks on offer, for sustenance while you shop.

Unfortunately, the 2021 market has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, you can still visit the old town and check out the iconic giant Easter eggs, each individually decorated by a local artist or school group. Find them all and you could win an awesome prize (in German).

The Easter market is the ideal place to pick up your Easter treats. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Daniel Zangerl

Good Friday isn’t a bank holiday

Austria loves bank holidays, or ‘Feiertage’. There are 13 national bank holidays in total, which is more than the UK and the US put together. Pretty much every special day in the Christian calendar results in a day off work in Innsbruck, except one—Good Friday.

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter and it marks the day when Christians believe Jesus was crucified on the cross. But weirdly, it isn’t a bank holiday in Austria. You have to go to work like you do on most other days. However, this does mean that the shops are open, making it the perfect day to get in some last-minute Easter shopping.

Could this be the biggest Easter egg in Innsbruck? © Innsbruck Tourismus / Daniel Zangerl

It’s a time of high culture

Easter in Innsbruck isn’t only about eggs and shopping. It’s also a time of high culture. For 33 years and counting, Innsbruck has been home to the wonderful Osterfestival, a multi-day festival celebrating new music, old music, dance, film and many other art forms. It attracts artists from all over the world and is one of the highlights in Tirol’s cultural calendar.

Normally, the Osterfestival takes places in the weeks leading up to Easter, hence the name (“Osterfestival” means “Easter Festival” in English). This year, again due to the pandemic, it has been postponed until June. But you can check out some performances from previous years over on the Osterfestival’s YouTube channel.

Early and baroque music plays a big role in the Osterfestival. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Emanuel Kaser

People decorate their houses with Easter trees

Move over Christmas trees, the Easter tree is here. Innsbruckers love to decorate their homes to match the season, and Easter is no different. One of the most popular decorations is the Easter tree. This is usually a large branch that is brought inside and decorated with hanging eggs, chicks and bunnies. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you can also hang decorations on a blossoming tree for a more natural look.

Another popular Easter decoration is pussy willow. These branches have little fluffy white buds, making them a beautiful symbol of new life. Place a few stylishly around your living room for a true Innsbruck Easter look.