Großglockner High Alpine Road Driving TourScenic Adventure on the most beautiful Alpine Road
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Großglockner Hochalpenstrasse) leads up Austria’s highest mountain, the Groβglockner and its glacier, the Pasterze.
Its 48 km of 36 hairpin turns and serpentine bends ascending to 2504 m is one of the greatest alpine drives. The Grossglockner mountain was first ascended in the late 1700s and in August 1935 the alpine pass was opened- even to this day it is considered to be a marvel of engineering.
Every year 600,000 to 800,000 m3 of snow is cleared away by brave snow-clearing crews. The crews start in parallel from Heiligenblut am Großglockner on the Carinthian side and Fusch on the Salzburg side and meet at the famous “break-through” at 2,400 m.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is opened from late April/early May to late October/early November.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road, can be travelled by car, bus, motorbike or bicycle. And in fact more than 900.000 guests visit the Grossglockner High Alpine Road every year.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road leads from Fusch-Ferleiten (~14 km from Kaprun) in Salzburger Land to Heiligenblut in Carinthia via the Fuscher Törl and the Hochtor Pass at 2504m.
As the road wound its way higher into the mountains, the landscape changed from green grass and tall trees to jagged rocky outcrops covered with snow. Towering above the road are the peaks of the Groβes Wiesbachhorn (3564m) and the Groβglockner (3798m). At every turn, there are vistas of snow-capped peaks, forested slopes and wildflower bedecked pastures.
The valley seems to fall away on the passenger’s side of the car and luckily we did not need to see if the small blocks of stone located at the edge of the road would stop us from plummeting down the crevasse. But, there was no reason to be alarmed as this is a road for slow driving with the windows down to allow you to breathe in the fresh mountain air and appreciate the spectacular panoramas.
Keep a look out for the mountain residents – the Marmots (Murmeltiere). The cute, furry marmots are members of the squirrel group and have adapted to live on the Grossglockner. The marmots will poke their heads out of their underground lair after their nap to enjoy the sunny vistas. You can sometimes hear the shrill whistle as the marmots communicate with each other.
The Fuscher Törl (2428m), is a great place to stop for the breathtaking views of the Grossglockner.
It is worth it to take a slight detour on the road leading to the Edelweißspitze viewpoint, the highest point of the road (2572m).
From here, you have the best vantage point of the majestic Höhe Tauern National Park. The Edelweißspitze (open from 7:30 am for early-birds!), is a restaurant with a beautiful sunny terrace where you can leisurely view thirty-seven 3000m peaks and 19 glaciers.
Stop for the view at the Hoctor Pass Summit (2504m) before you follow the road to the Franz Josefs Höhe (2369m). The site was after the Emperor, who visited the galcier in 1856. Now there is a parking garage, visitors’ centre, observation tower and 3 restaurants. It is also the starting point for hiking trails leading to the Pasterze glacier.
Backtracking slightly to Schöneck (beautiful corner) you will start your descent into the Austrian State of Kärnten (Carinthia).
At the base of the Grossglockner Alpine Road is the stunning village of Heiligenblut am Großglockner . The village is set against the backdrop of the Grossglockner. The beautiful yellow Catholic Church glows against the mountain scenery. The village is a lovely place to stop for lunch and to check out local crafts and souvenirs in the shops.
You can return back to Kaprun via the Grossglockner High Alpine Road or via Lienz and Mittersill.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is open from early May to early November (weather permitting) from 6am to 8 pm. A roundtrip costs: €37(car); €27(motorcycle).
It is advisable to get an early start and to check the weather conditions before setting out.
By online tickets here https://www.grossglockner.at/gg/en/onlineticketing/ticketing
How to get there from Kaprun:
By Car: head east on Schloβstraβe; turn right onto Salzachuferstaβe, Turn left onto Gewerbestraße At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Pinzgauer Str./B311 then onto Glocknerstraβe and continue to follow the B107 to Ferleiten.