Grossglockner High-Alpine Road
At 12,460 feet, the pyramid-shaped Grossglockner is not only the highest mountain in Austria, it also counts among the highest peaks in the Alps.
It is the epitome of an impressive natural experience!
Drive up to the base of the mountain, the Kaiser-Franz Josephs Höhe, and you literally feel the size and power of these majestic peaks, the massive glaciers and the elemental force of nature. Start your adventure in Heiligenblut, a picturesque little village with its picture-perfect Gothic pilgrimage church. As you wind your way up the 30-mile long road, you find that with each bend, the views become more enticing. Stop at one of the multiple lookout-points to take pictures of this unique world of blossoming alpine meadows, fragrant mountain forests, massive cliffs and glaciers. On your way to the top, you’ll pass through all vegetation zones, from cornfields in the valley to the eternal ice. At 8,200 feet, you will have reached the foot of the Grossglockner, the “Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe”, from where you can explore various hiking routes: Take a 30-minute walk directly to the massive Pasterze glacier on a safe, well-marked trail, or take part in one of the guided tours with a national park ranger.
If you choose to continue your drive over the mountain pass to Salzburg, you’ll find yourself following ancient trails. Finds like pre-Celtic bronze knives, Celtic gold jewelry, a Roman Hercules statue, and medieval pack-animal bridles are proof that this road was already well traveled 200 years B.C. Until the highpoint of trade in the 17th century, the Hochtor was the third most important trade route over the eastern Alps.