Why Austria is the best spot for an alpine road trip
The Großglockner High Alpine Road is the perfect place to view the Austrian countryside in all its glory
If you love the outdoors, you’ll love Austria. The country is home to melodic landscapes that waltz their way into your heart, from the ruggedly beautiful mountains to the meandering roads that lead you to them.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road in SalzburgerLand is one such road. It winds its way round the country’s highest mountain – the mighty Grossglockner, which stands at an impressive 3,798 metres – and offers breathtaking cinematic natural views that stretch for miles, diverse and abundant wildlife, the opportunity for snowball fights in the summer and much more.
Rent a car, ride a motorcycle or hop on a bus – it couldn’t be easier to ride the road’s mountain-fringed ribbons. Here’s what to see and do en route.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road at a glance
- The Grossglockner is home to the largest glacier in the eastern Alps, the Pasterze, which is located in the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park
- You’ll find snowfields here even in summer
- The High Alpine Road has 36 hairpin bends and leads up to an altitude of 2,571 metres, the Edelweiss-Spitze is the highest point in Austria reachable by car.
- There are 15 free exhibitions along the road
- You can explore 7 themed trails
- Little ones will enjoy the 4 playgrounds
- Prices: 36,50€ private car, 26,50€ motorcycle, 5,70€ for adults and 2,80€ for children on bus tours
Click here to plan your route
The Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe is a must during your trip. The vantage point sits at 2,369 metres above sea level and looks out to snow-capped mountains and the Hohe Tauern National Park – so make sure to bring your camera to snap the beautiful views.
The on-site visitor centre has more than 1,000m² of exhibition space and you can embark on hikes run by the National Park every day from July to September.
Click here to learn more about this vantage point
Blaze a trail
There is no shortage of hiking trails along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. There’s a trail for every level, whether you’re a seasoned trekker or travelling with children.
There’s the Gamsgruben Trail, a unique panoramic trail with impressive views of the Pasterze glacier and Grossglockner, and can be covered in two hours of walking time. The Kaiserstein Panorama Trail takes you in 10 minutes to the Whilhelm Swarovski Observatory.
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Little ones will love the educational plant trail ‘World of Lichen in the High Mountains’, best enjoyed after a visit to the alpine ecology exhibition and the multimedia “Marmot Show” at the Alpine Nature Show Museum.
Click here to learn more about the trails along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road
The Krimml Waterfalls are a short drive away from the Grossglockner High Alpine Road charge point. Europe’s highest waterfalls are a sight to behold, crashing down from 385 metres and surrounded by a pearly mist.
The best place to take them in is from the panoramic terrace, but you’ll definitely hear them before you see them. Families will especially love this spot, as it’s home to the outdoor play area, WasserWelten (Worlds of Water), including the interactive Aquapark. This modern centre combines a Waterfall centre, the underwater adventure world Aquaszenarium, a terrace with a waterfall view, gastronomy at the WasserWunderBar and a shop with souvenirs and delicacies from Pinzgau.
The House of Water is an exhibition dedicated to showing how essential water is to human life and how it can benefit your health. It is also home to the WasserKino interactive cinema and the Swarovski telescope, perfect for viewing the Krimml Waterfalls. Families can explore the Aquapark outdoor area with interactive character Aquamax, play aqua foosball and water festoon, as well as learning about water at the experiment stations.
Click here to learn more about the Krimml Waterfalls.