Grossglockner: the most picturesque alpine road in Austria

Grossglockner is an alpine road in Austria that has become a popular tourist route due to the picturesque views overlooking the Alpine nature. The length of the route is almost 48 km. The width of the road in some parts reaches 7.5 m. On the way, you can often find sharp changes in elevation. The starting point of the road is the village of Fusch an der Grossglockknerstraße, located at an altitude of 805 m. The final point is in the town of Heiligenblut, which is more than 1300 m from the sea.

Grossglockner Alpine Road

Grossglockner is nothing but a winding mountain serpentine, numbering 36 sharp turns. The highest point on the route was the Hochtor Pass, which is located at an altitude of at least 2500 m above sea level. Serpentine passes through the Hohe Tauern nature reserve park and connects the territories of Salzburg and Carinthia. Throughout the path, you can meet up to 30 mountain peaks with a height of about 3000 m.

Heiligenblut Village
Heiligenblut

The Grossglockner alpine road got its name from the highest mountain in Austria, the parameters of which reach almost 3800 m. Following the highway, a traveler can personally witness the greatness of this mountain giant. It is interesting that Grossglockner in translation from German means “big bell”, and such a name perfectly reflects the domed shape of the mountain. At the foot of Grossglockner is the miniature village of Heiligenblut, famous for its unusual Gothic church, where valuable relics have been preserved. Among the treasures of the temple is the holy blood of Christ, which came to the monastery in the 10th century.

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At the very beginning of the road there is a turn leading to another important alpine attraction – the Pasterze Glacier. Near the natural site, there is a large tourism center named after Emperor Franz Joseph: several restaurants and museums operate on its territory.

Grossglockner Mountain Top
Pasteur

Throughout the route, travelers enjoy breathtaking views of the emerald slopes, harsh peaks, raging mountain rivers and streams grazing in animal valleys. The route has a developed tourist infrastructure, including convenient parking lots, transshipment points and panoramic platforms from where you can take unique photographs. There is a cable car at one of the points on the way. Here you can also explore several highland villages.

Many motorcyclists

Grossglockner in Austria is incredibly popular with both locals and tourists. In high season, you can meet motorcyclists, cyclists, climbers, families in auto trailers and foreign travelers in cars. Undoubtedly, in the first place they are attracted by the unique nature of the Alpine mountains and the opportunity to organize their tour along the high-mountain route with maximum comfort.

Short story

The idea to pave the high mountain road in the Alps appeared back in 1924, but at that time the Austrian economy was experiencing a severe post-war crisis, which negated all construction initiatives. However, after 5 years, a new wave of unemployment in the country forced the Austrian authorities to return to the project, which was able to provide jobs for more than 3 thousand people. So, in 1930, construction began on a high-mountain route, which was destined to become a center of motorized tourism in Austria.

Road construction
Road opening in 1935

The official opening of the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse took place in 1935. Prior to this event, important officials have repeatedly tested the road, including the head of the Salzburg government. It is noteworthy that just a day after the route was put into operation, international racing competitions took place on it. Alpine road quickly gained popularity. Initially, the experts planned that the annual attendance of the new route will be 120 thousand people, but as a result, more than 375 thousand travelers took advantage of it. In the next few years, this number only increased.

If the original purpose of the construction of the road in the Alps was of a practical nature (the connection of two Austrian lands), then with the advent in 1967-1975. new motorways Grossglockner acquired the status of a purely tourist route. Due to the high demand for the route among travelers who brought good profit to the treasury, the authorities over the years managed to modernize the route, increasing its width from the original 6 m to 7.5 m. In addition, the number of parking lots from 800 to 4,000 units increased. The route’s throughput capacity increased, amounting to 350 thousand cars.

Mountain View

Today, the road in Austria, named after Mount Grossglockner, is a contender for entering the UNESCO list. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world visit it annually. And every year Grossglockner only confirms its status as one of the most modern, equipped and picturesque roads in Austria.

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Practical information

Fee Station
  • Official website: www.grossglockner.at
  • Hours: Grossglockner high mountain road is open from May to the first of November. From June 1 to August 31, you can use the route from 05:00 to 21:30. From September 1 to October 26 – from 06:00 to 19:30. In May and November – from 06:00 to 20:00. It should be borne in mind that the last entrance to the road is possible 45 minutes before closing.

Cost of visiting

Type ofCarsMotorcycles
1 day ticket36,5 €26,5 €
Pass for electric vehicles26,5 €20 €
Surcharge for the 2nd day12 €12 €
30 days pass57 €46 €

Interesting Facts

  1. In total, the construction of the Grossglockner road cost Austria 910 million ATS, which in terms of euros is 66 million. It is noteworthy that initially the authorities allocated half a million euros more to lay the path.
  2. Snowblowers clear 800,000 m³ of snow annually in Austria from Grossglockner. In the first years of the road’s operation, snow was cleared by shovels: 350 people were involved in the work, and it took more than 2 months to clean it.
  3. The first three decades after the opening of the road was available to travelers only 132 days a year. Today, this number has increased to 276 days.
Grossglockner motorcyclists

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Useful Tips

Picturesque panorama
  1. The minimum amount of time that should be allocated for visiting the Grossglockner high mountain road in Austria is full daylight hours. So you can take your time to visit all the iconic places and enjoy the most beautiful views. It is most convenient to stay on the eve of a hotel near the route and hit the road early in the morning.
  2. Since the road primarily attracts tourists with its picturesque panoramas, it is important to check the weather forecast in time. It is best to organize your trip on a clear sunny day. Even a little cloud can spoil the impression of a natural object.
  3. Fill your car with enough fuel in advance. There are no gas stations on the route, and gasoline consumption on steep climbs increases sharply.
  4. Cafe in the mountains
  5. Bring water, drinks and food with you. There are several cafes on the highway, but, as a rule, the prices are rather high.
  6. On the way to the glacier, you will see an alpine waterfall where you can get the purest spring water in plastic bottles.
  7. Even in the summer months, the Grossglockner is pretty cool on the way, so be sure to bring some warm clothes with you.
  8. Before driving, be sure to check the condition of the car’s brakes. Do not forget that you expect sharp turns, sharp climbs and descents.



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