Once travel safely returns, many holidaymakers will be keen to get out and cover as much ground as possible, conquering kilometers in search of new sights and adventures. These high alpine panoramic roads take travellers across Austria's provinces, from town and village to mountain lake and glacier, inviting drivers to stop off for a nature hike, a few hours of fishing, even a spot of skiing, along the way.
This legendary drive's designer and architect Franz Wallack stated that “among all of the alpine roads, the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße would not be a wallflower, but the brightest star”. In 1935, the 48km road was completed and Wallack’s vision realised.
The Großglockner High Alpine Road winds its way into the mountains from Austria's Fuscher Valley, reaching 2,504m at the Edelweißspitze, before furling back down, crossing Tyrol and heading on towards the southern province of Carinthia. From a sublime view of the longest glacier fields in the Eastern Alps to Europe’s highest waterfalls, a new wonder is revealed with each of the road's 36 hairpin turns. Drivers can take a pause to hike a themed trail or watch marmots and ibex frolick in their natural habitat, or simply enjoy the full experience as Wallack used to: top-down in a convertible, drinking in the glorious Austrian countryside with the wind in one’s hair.
Read more about the Großglockner High Alpine Road here.
If your ideal drive includes stunning views from a cliff-hugging highway, crystal mountain lakes and roaring falls, rounded off with some skiing or sun-soaked relaxation, this is the high alpine road for you.
The Kaunertal Glacier starts in Feichten - the main town of Kaunertal in Tyrol - from whence it soars 1,500m, reaching 2,750m above sea level, across 26km. This road climbs into the mountains via 29 smooth switchbacks, passing points of interests including the Gepatsch Reservoir, Weißsee Lake and Fernergarten waterfalls, before reaching the titular attraction: the Weißseeferner Glacier. Skiing and snowboarding is possible from September to June on the glacier, so for much of the year, visitors can park at the bottom of the pistes, step out from their car doors and head straight onto the slopes.
Read more about the Kaunertal Glacier Road here.
Linking the Paznaun Valley in Tyrol with the Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg, the Silvretta High Alpine Road is world-renowned for its incredible alpine vistas. It reaches its highest point at the 2,032m Bielerhöhe Pass, where the surface of the Silvretta reservoir shimmers under the awesome 3,312m tall Piz Buin Peak towering above.
There's plenty to see and do along this route, from boating and bike riding to fishing while enjoying coffee from a lakeside cafe, but there is one event on this road that is especially loved by autmotive enthusiasts: the Silvretta Classic Rally. Vintage cars race down the road, judged on speed and precision, while beautiful models from the 20th century are on display for visitors to enjoy. The grandeur of 1930s luxury cabriolets and rareities from the 1920s sits alongside the nostalgia of more 'everyday' classic cars, all set against a backdrop of some incredible alpine scenery.
Read more about the Silvretta High Alpine Road here.
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