When driving Austria, most roads, even motorways, feels like you’re driving the scenic route through the mountains, but this road is on another level and a must when visiting Austria.
Grossglockner mountain pass
Before you think about driving the grossglockner, be aware that there is a charge. This is only €25, which when you drive it you realise it’s an incredible price!
You get to drive 48km of alpine road through the mountains, and if you are driving it in the summer then you can visit the multiple exibits, trails and restaurants that are dotted around the route.
Be warned, depending on the time of year can restrict the opening hours due to daylight hours or the weather.
When we went the weather had started to turn so the weather was sunny and clear one minute, and the next it was a blizzard and a foot of snow! So be careful when driving and make sure your car is weather worthy depending on the time of year.
Arriving at the pass
When arriving at the pass, there is a large open area that has multiple walking routes, there is also a restaurant along with a zoo!
This is a great area to take a rest for a while before embarking on this beautiful yet testing road.
Once you are ready, you can enter the toll and get your free guide and start your journey.
Be sure that when you are driving the grossglockner that you do it with caution. You are in the middle of the Alps and the weather can change without you realising, so black ice or snow could form. This mixed with windy roads that go up and down is a bad combination if speeding.
Saying this though, it is a beautiful road to just sit back and take your time driving it.
You won’t think it takes long to do this route but start early, you don’t want to run out of time to take photos and stop to just admire the views. This is especially true on peak times when you can visit restaurants and exibits.
What you can do?
As I have already mentioned, there are multiple restaurants along the route for you to sit down and take a rest.
For children they have play areas by some of the restaurants too.
For the scenery lovers like us, there are plenty of views points that tell you on route which mountains you are actually looking at.
Kaiser – Franz – Josef – Höhe
This is right at the end of your journey and one of the best views you will see on this route! This one you will definatley want to get out of the car and see the views up close (or as close as you can get)!
This gives you the view of the grossglockner mountain itself (on a clear day that is, unfortunately we didn’t see the peak as it was cloudy) and the Pasterze. The Pasterze is the longest glacier in the eastern Alps, and in driving this gives you an up close view of that!
I saw a glacier when on a school trip to the French Alps. However at that age, I was more bothered about getting somewhere that was warm and I could have some food, rather than actually taking time to look at the glacier and appreciating what it is. This gave me another opportunity to see one and really take it in, so it was especially amazing for me.
It was a very cold and windy day when we went so once we had a walk around and took in the views, we started to make our way back.
There are several trails you can do around the area and glacier, so if you have good weather and enough time, I would definatley do it! On our way back the weather got worse, a part that was once covered in green and orange landscape was now snow. It was amazing to see what a couple of hours can make on an alpine road!
This was one of our highlights of Austria, and our trip so far. We would love to come back and see it in the summer, to see how different it looks, and to see more of the exibits.