Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road was constructed between 1930 and 1935 as a means of connecting the Austria’s Salzburgerland and Carinthia provinces. The total distance of this drive is just 48 kilometers but it’s a trip you’ll never forget! The route starts in Bruck, Salzachtal, takes you over Hochtor Pass and finishes in Heiligenblut.
What makes the Grossglocner High Alpine route so special?
There are a number of reasons why this route is such a favourite among locals and foreign visitors. The main attraction is, of course, the Grossglockner. At 3,798m it is the highest mountain in Austria.
Another reason why this route is so regularly traveled is because of the gentle slopes. The road winds and twist with 36 hairpin turns. That said, it’s an easy drive for you and your vehicle. Many travelers choose to take their motorhome, campervan or RV on this route so that they have access to cooking facilities and their own restrooms if they decide to stop for a prolonged period of time at one of the many lookout points.
Speaking of lookouts, the sights are absolutely amazing! If you’re trying to escape the heat of summer, this is the place to do it. Even in August, the temperatures drop to the single digits (Celcius) during the day.
What to see along the way
The drive is located in the Hohe Tauern National Park which means that there’s plenty to see along the way and in your immediate surroundings. Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hohe was named after the 1856 visit of Kaiser Franz-Josef and you will find a monument in his honour as well as an informative visitor’s centre with even more details about the route.
There is a cable car that can take you up to the glacier, a Heiligenblut-Schareck Cable Car and a Grossglockner Panorama Gondola. Many visitors to these parts choose to hike one way and take the cable car or gondola back down while others prefer a return trip. Return trips obviously mean less effort and they are great for those who are particularly strapped for time.
This trip is great for families and you will find fantastic playgrounds, areas for families to relax and all sorts of activities. Not to mention that fresh forest and mountain air! Don’t forget to read the signs and information along the way for an even more in depth experience to go with the amazing panoramic mountain views.
If you take the time to explore a little bit more, you will also be able to frequent the impressive Gasteiner Wasserfall (waterfall), in Bad Gasteiner and the Krimmler Wasserfalle in Krimml.
Things to remember
During the peak season, shops and restaurants will remain open later than they do in the off season.
Even though you are visiting during the warm months of the year, you should also take some warm clothing with just in case. It gets colder as your altitude increases so be prepared!
The route is only open from May to October each year and, even then you will see snow up on the peaks. The local officials do everything in their power to keep the roads clear.
Plan to spend a few days here and get yourself a special pass that will allow you to travel on this toll road as many times as you like. Many visitors experience cloudy conditions on their first or second day but, by sticking around, they manage to make the most of at least one beautifully clear day.