Interested in a trip from Innsbruck to Bolzano with same day return. Any suggestions.
It looks like about a 2 hour train ride. Perhaps you could catch an early train and then take one of the many day tours offered in Bolzano (google Bolzano day tours) and then return on the train.
If you travel on the weekend be sure to have reserved seats. It is very popular and gets crowded.
Or rent a car and take some side trips into the mountains. Northern Italy is immensely beautiful.
The roads in Italy are well paved, and it's a controlled access highway all the way to Bolzano.
Just curious, what interests you about Bolzano? We visited by car, so can’t help with public transportation. We visited primarily to see The Ice Man exhibit. Not sure if the city itself will be all too much of a different experience than Innsbruck. We stayed in the Dolomites (which are dramatically spectacular) a few times and did the day trip to Bolzano from this area.
You might want to check out Brixen instead as it’s a little closer to Innsbruck.
Brixen (smaller) and Bolzano both have lovely historic centers. It's true that they may not have as much impact architecturally for someone who has been traveling in Austria. The Iceman exhibit is brilliantly done; I think for most people it would be worth the extra distance from Innsbruck. I'm not very interested in that sort of museum and I liked it a lot. I didn't take a walking tour of Bolzano, but I usually enjoy those. I think you can enjoy the city under your own steam, though. If you haven't already had your fill of mountain lifts, the Renon lift right in Bolzano is an option.
One day I took a short trip by train to Chiusa/Klausen and walked around there for a while. It was very atmospheric; the architecture is totally different from that in Brixen and Bolzano--medieval stone rather than brightly-painted buildings. It's right on the train line between Bolzano and Brixen, on the way to or from Innsbruck.
I have to agree Chiusa/Klausen is very charming and different. Well worth a visit.
We stayed two nights in Bolzano (evening and a full day) - mainly went for the Otzi exhibit, but we really enjoyed just wandering the town - if you have the time, take the cable car up to Soprabolzano and take the little train that runs between a few spots (this was 2019, so my memory is slightly fuzzy). The views were gorgeous - I think you can hike down if you really had a lot of time, but prob not as a day trip.
I think Sterzing is worth a stop if possible. Warm weather sitting outside is nice. More tourists nowadays.