These high alpine panoramic roads take travellers across Austria’s provinces from town and village to mountain lake and glacier.
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 curling back down, crossing Tyrol and heading on towards the southern province of Carinthia. From a view of the longest glacier fields in the Eastern Alps to Europe’s highest waterfalls, each of the road’s 36 hairpin turns reveals something new to enjoy.
Drivers can take a break to hike a themed trail, watch marmots and ibex frolic in their natural habitat or simply enjoy the full experience as Wallack used to – top-down in a convertible, enjoying the Austrian countryside with the wind in one’s hair.
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 where it soars 1,500m, reaching 2,750m above sea level, across 26km. It climbs into the mountains via 29 smooth switchbacks, passing points of interests including the Gepatsch Reservoir, Weißsee Lake and Fernergarten waterfalls, before reaching the main attraction: the Weißseeferner Glacier.
Skiing and snowboarding are 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.
Linking the Paznaun Valley in Tyrol with the Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg, the Silvretta High Alpine Road is world-renowned for its amazing alpine vistas. It reaches its highest point at the 2,032m Bielerhöhe Pass, where the surface of the Silvretta reservoir shimmers under the 3,312m tall Piz Buin Peak towering above.
There’s plenty to see and do along this route, from boating and cycling to fishing while enjoying coffee from a lakeside café but there is one event on this road that is especially loved by automotive 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 rarities from the 1920s sits alongside the nostalgia of more ‘everyday’ classic cars, all set against a backdrop of some incredible alpine scenery.