Grossglockner High Alpine Road: A Masterpiece Of Mountain Road Design.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is one of the highest alpine roads in Europe. Built in only 5 years by 12.000 workers in the 1930’s, without lots of machinery, it has not only been an important transit road (connecting Carinthia and Salzburg), but has evolved into a real tourist attraction. More than 1 million people drive across the Hohe Tauern national park each year – only Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna has more visitors, which makes the Grossglockner High Alpine Road Austria’s second most famous tourist attraction. No wonder: 48 kilometres of high alpine road with 36 bends and an altitude ascent to 2.504 metres at the highest point make this experience a real road-trippers’s delight.
This August: Celebrating Its 80-Year-Anniversary.
Long stretches of this road were made of cobblestone, an everlasting material that withstands extreme cold and heat. Today, asphalt replaces cobblestones but you’ll still see & feel the history along the road. There are two side trips one can take while driving along the road. One is the drive up to Kaiser Franz Joseph Höhe (In 1856 His Majesty Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) came hiking to the spot and that’s where the name originated) from where you have a beautiful panoramic view. Once you get there, you stand right opposite the Grossglockner with a view down to the longest glacier in the Eastern Alps, the Pasterze. The second side road leads to the Edelweisspitze. Both of these are heavily frequented on sunny weekends, so it’s best to get up there early in the day.
If you intend to spend some time hiking in the area, you’ll come across several accommodation options. Most of these are mountain refugees with limited basic rooms, but what do you need beside a bed and a shower when this area is in front of the doorsteps? Be sure to make a reservation by contacting the owners beforehand, otherwise you might have to spend the night outdoors…
Grossglockner High Alpine Road Facts.
- Beginning of May until 15 June: 6.00 am – 8.00 pm
- 16 June until 15 September: 5.00 am – 9.30 pm
- 16 September until end of October/beginning of November: 6.00 am – 7.30 pm
- Last admission: 45 minutes before night closure
Rates (day ticket):
- Car 34.50 €
- Motorbike 24.50 €