The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a road that goes through the mountain pass near the heighest mountain of Austria: Grossglockner. It is a famous scenic route (tol included) with a lot of sites to visit on the way. Read on for more! (visited June 2020)
We drove towards the Grossglockner High Alpine Road early in the morning. Once we arrived at the site, we get greeted with mountain ranges and beautiful nature everywhere your eyes can see. To get in you will need to pay a tol. Because we were with one car, we had to pay a day ticket of € 37,-. You can take tickets for the longer term as well. Prices differ per vehicle you enter (for the most recent prices see here). If you do not have the possession of a car or motorcycle, be sure to check here for the trips that can be made with a bus.
In the first viewing point from entering, you get a nice view on all the different mountains that are located in the area.
At the second stop (you will see a sign called ‘Hochmais 1850m’) there is an amazing view from the side of the view you enjoyed at the first stop.
If you drive a bit further you can stop at a small museum called Alpine Naturschau. It is dedicated to the different stones, crystals and minerals found in the mountain range. Oh, and it also has a proper toilet for a break :-).
Be sure that, standing in front of the museum on its left, you walk up for another cool viewing point.
At 2.430 meters you can stop at the restaurant that is near the Fuscher Törl (restaurant has the same name) mountain pass, the highest mountain pass of Austria. Here you see the High Alpine Road in its full glory.
After that, we drove on to the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe.
Here, you can visit the glacier Pasterze, the visitors centrum with a very good restaurant, and take the panorama walking route (see the map below).
The Pasterze glacier hits you with the reality of global warming. It used to look (in 2000) like this:
And now, this is what is left of it:
Since the recordings of the ice started in 1846, the glacier has lost 200 meters of ice in volume and 1.800 meters in length, specifically the tongue area. After we visited the glaciers in El Calafate last year in Argentina, this is a huge world of difference in glaciers!
After we gazed upon the glacier, we decided to have a bit to eat at the restaurant. What is a visit in Austria without a good wienerschnitzel! We also tried the Tiroler Gröstl which is basically a hot pan filled with potatoes, vegetables, sausage and egg. Yum!
After the food I was inclined in taking the route towards the Wilhelm Swarovski observatory and check out the area. In the observatory they explain about the ice formation in the mountain range. And, also a great view!
But, the coolest thing to see here where the capricorns up high grazing and the marmots eating from your hand. So cool!
As you can see, the route has a lot of scenic sites to enjoy. You learn a lot about the nature and global warming, can enjoy some good food and even see wildlife. Perfect to spend a day filled with small hikes, sightseeing and more!