The ten hectare Hofgarten is located in the centre of Innsbruck right next to the royal palace - after all where else would one expect a royal garden to be located? It was originally laid out on the site of a river meadow under the direction of Archduke Ferdinand II in the sixteenth century. At the time, it was one of the most elaborate gardens laid out north of the Alps.
Over the years, the garden has been a Renaissance garden, a French formal garden and, since 1858, an English landscape garden. It contains plants that were planted personally by the Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa. The Tiroler Kunstpavillon (Tyrolean Art Pavilion) in the middle of the park dates back to 1733. Today, the pavilion supports numerous events—mainly concerts. Chess tournaments are held on the outsize chess boards next to the pavilion.
There is a lawn for sunbathing in the Hofgarten with a children's playpark. Otherwise walking on the ornate lawns is not permitted because they are susceptible to excessive use.
The palm house contains a comprehensive collection of about 1,700 species of plant, which may be viewed mostly on working days. During the temporary art and sculpture exhibitions in the summer season the palm house may also be visited at weekends.