E-Bike tour alongside Drauradweg.

    Region Villach Tourismus GmbH / Martin Jordan


    The best routes and excursions for your Austrian road trip, through magnificent mountain passes, past spectacular lakes, and through beautiful old towns.

    The best routes and excursions for your Austrian road trip, through magnificent mountain passes, past spectacular lakes, and through beautiful old towns.

    Excursions at a Glance

    Grossglockner High Alpine Road - 48 km (30 mi)

    Famed for a fabulously scenic route that meanders through the Hohe Tauern National Park, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is probably the most well known stretch of road in Austria. Winding from Bruck in Salzburg to Heiligenblut in Carinthia, the highest point on the pass is the Hochtor at 2.5 km (8,219 ft). The road is a dream for motorcyclists as well as cyclists who love a serious sporting challenge.

    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 small village with a picture-perfect Gothic pilgrimage church. As you wind your way up the 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 2.5 km (8,219 ft), you will have reached the foot of 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.

    The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is open from May to October, and is closed at night.

    Carinthian Lake Tour - 270 km (168 mi)

    If you were to describe Carinthia it would be as a region exemplified by superb lakes and awe-inspiring mountains. The Carinthian Lake Tour starts in Klagenfurt, following the northern bank of the legendary Wörthersee to Pörtschach, a famous tourist resort. From here you travel north to Moosburg and the Moosburg ponts, past Feldkirchen, and on to the magnificent Lake Ossiach. Continue northwards, taking in the crystal-clear waters of the Afritzersee and the Brennsee, before reaching the Millstätter See. Onwards, you will see Villach, followed by the shimmering waters of the Lake Faak, before returning to the Wörthersee and the celebrated towns of Velden and Maria Wörth. Finally it's back to Klagenfurt, passing through Viktring on the way.

    Along the Danube - 445 km (277 mi)

    The journey along the Danube starts in Passau, a charming town on the border between Austria and Germany. The first attraction along the way is the "Donauschlinge" near Schlögen. From here, you pass Wilhering Monastery on the way to Linz. Here, the road leaves the Danube for a short diversion to St. Florian, through the ancient Roman town of Enns, and on towards Steyr, a small town with a historic city centre. The route takes you to the start of the Wachau, a particularly beautiful section replete with vineyards, apricot trees, and quaint little villages, and resplendent with monasteries and ruins towering high above the Danube. From the Wachau you travel to Vienna, before following the Danube eastwards towards Hainburg, a small town on the edge of the Donau-Auen National Park. It's here that the river leaves Austrian territory once again and your Danube tour ends.

    The Styrian Volcanic Region - 100 km (62 mi)

    A trip through this extremely appealing landscape in south-eastern Styria is recommended to anyone interested in wine and local specialties. The region is noted for its idyllic rural eating establishments with excellent cuisine, along with taverns and wine growers selling excellent produce. No visit to this region is complete without a break in a "Buschenschank", an inn serving wine from its own vineyard and traditional, home-made cold dishes.

    A highlight of any trip to the region is a visit to Riegersburg Castle. In the surrounding area of Riegersburg there are also many manufactories of culinary delights that can be explored on tastings or guided tours. These include the famous Zotter Chocolate Factory, the Vulcano Ham World or Gölles Schnapps Distillery & Vinegar Production. To further attend to your well-being in the Styrian Volcanic Region, you can visit two thermal spas - the life medicine resort in Bad Gleichenberg and the Parktherme Bad Radkersburg. Together with handcraft manufacturers and museums, the area has formed a collective to protect and promote the uniqueness of this section of Styria.

    Around and About the Wilder Kaiser - 90 km (56 mi)

    Your journey around the majestic Wilder Kaiser begins in Kufstein, renowned for its enchanting historic centre. From here you set out for Ebbs, towards the idyllic Walchsee. The route continues to St. Johann in Tirol, passing through Kirchdorf on the way. From here it is not far to Kitzbühel, the holiday destination known for its vibrant town centre. Nestled at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser are the delightful villages of Going, Ellmau, and Scheffau, from which you can reach the Hintersteiner See, a charming lake at an altitude of 882 m (2,894 ft). Passing through the villages of Söll and Kirchbichl you reach Mariastein with its church, famous as a place of pilgrimage, before returning once again to Kufstein.

    Hohe Tauern Tour - 270 km (168 mi)

    Your excursion starts in St. Johann im Pongau, and from here the route takes you through the breathtaking scenery of the Hohe Tauern National Park. Not far away from here is the Liechtensteinklamm, a spectacular gorge formed by the thunderous current of the waterfalls as they cut deep into the towering rock. The next stop is the Gasteiner Tal and the conveniently located cure and health centres of Bad Hofgastein and Bad Gastein. In Böckstein load your car onto the train and take the Tauernschleuse (tunnel) to Mallnitz in Carinthia. In Obervellach the magnificent Falkenstein Castle awaits you before the route takes you on to Kolbnitz in the Mölltal. Just outside of Spittal an der Drau and Porcia Castle, take a minute to explore Teurnia, a Roman archaeological site. From the medieval town of Gmünd, the next stop is St. Michael im Lungau, which can be reached by the Katschbergpass, before returning to St. Johann via the Radstädter Tauernpass.

    Around the Wölzer Tauern - 200 km (124 mi)

    From the shopping town of Liezen the road takes you to the Putterersee in Aigen, the warmest alpine moor lake amongst the bathing lakes in Styria. From the picturesque town of Irdning, the road continues to Donnersbach. The perfect panoramic views of the Erzherzog-Johann-Strasse take you from Ennstal over the Sölkpass to Oberzeiring on the other side. Continuing northwards, your route leads to Hohentauern, with a highly recommended detour of the crystal-clear waters of the Scheibelseen at 1,700 m (1,056 mi) above sea level. From here, head back to Liezen, passing through Rottenmann.

    Across the 'Puszta', the lowland plains of Burgenland - 220 km (127 mi)

    From Vienna, the road takes you via Schwechat and Bruck an der Leitha to Lake Neusiedl. The next stop is Mönchhof, with a trip to the fabulous Baroque Halbturn Castle, then Seewinkel with its countless lakes and ponds, passing through Frauenkirchen and St. Andrä am Zicksee on the way. The route now begins to wind its way back to the surfers' paradise of Podersdorf, and on towards the wine-producing town of Rust with its outstanding architecture. It's on to St. Margarethen, before we reach Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland, then journey back to Vienna through Loretto.

    Experience Vorarlberg's Highest Peaks - 140 km (87 mi)

    Starting in Bludenz, this round trip takes you through the Montafon region. By way of Schruns-Tschagguns, St. Gallenkirch, Gortipohl, and Gaschurn, you travel past Partenen on the Silvretta High Alpine Road, which is one of the most beautiful panorama highways in the Alps.The trip continues to Galtür and Ischgl, over the imposing Trisanna Bridge to the upscale resorts of St. Anton and St. Christoph am Arlberg. This is followed by the 1,793 m (5,883 ft) high Arlberg mountain pass, leading you back to Bludenz by way of Bergdorfer Stuben and Klösterle through the Kloster Valley.