02 August, 2019
Last updated on 29 June, 2022
Posted by Spaceships Crew
The Grossglockner Pass or the Grossglockner High Alpine Road - as it’s officially called – is a must-do when your road trip takes you to Austria. To be honest, after seeing the photos you’ll definitely want to include this Austrian road in your European itinerary.
The Grossglockner road is relatively short but due to the amazing scenery and the many hairpin curves you will spend lots more time there than you would expect. This road is listed regularly on list like ‘15 Epic Roads To Drive On Before You Die’ or “Top 10 roads in Europe” and for a reason.
Blast off to the top of the world! The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is one of Europe's most dramatic road trips
Driving the Grossglockner Pass is a challenge, an eye-opener and will be your most scenic drive ever. This is one road trip where you’ll need take it easy, stop often to enjoy the scenery to the fullest.
Getting to the Grossglockner road
There are two ways to enter the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, via Heiligenblut (a cute mountain village with a famous and beautiful church) or via Ferleiten (near Fusch). Each entrance has toll booths as this amazing alpine road isn’t a free road. Trust me, it’ll be worth every Euro cent.
If you drive from one entrance to the other the length of the Grossglockner Pass is only 41 km (25 miles) long. However, if you decide to visit the Franz Josef Höhe (the road leading to the glacier on the Grossglockner mountain) then the distance travelled will be 56 km (35 miles).
Getting from A to B is just the beginning…. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. There’s so much to do and see along the way. You’ll be stopping a lot to take in the view, to shoot some amazing photos or selfies or just to have a snack. And once, you’ve reached B (and exited the park) you can simply turn around and drive back to A. The return trip is included for free in your day ticket.
Opening times & ticket info
The opening hours of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road vary throughout the year due to weather and road conditions. The road is usually open from late April/early May to late October/early November.
The opening times are usually as follows:
Spring (May): 6:00am to 8:00pm
Summer (June – August): from 5:00am to 9:30pm
Autumn (September – October): from 6:00am to 7:30pm
To make sure, always check the official website for weather info, ticket prices and current opening times.
When I did the Grossglockner road trip in July 2019, the entrance fees were:
Car or campervan: €36.50
Motorhome (up to up to 3500 kg GVWR): €36.50
What kind of vehicle do I need?
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road can be experienced with almost any kind of vehicle. You’ll see lots of cyclists and classic or sport cars, but a regular car, campervan or motorhome is perfectly capable of dealing with the many “Kehre” (sharp turns) and the steep mountain road.
Ready for take off to the Alps? A Spaceships motorhome is perfect for your European road trip
Things to do on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Roadtripping the Grossglockner Pass is more than just getting from A to B. It’s nothing like the motorway you take to get to work every day. Leave your “I have to hurry to get to my destination” attitude at home as there is no destination or end-goal. Experiencing the road and its amazing views is your only thing on your to-do list that day.
Along the way there are many photo opportunities and places to stop or park, from small parking spaces for just a few vehicles to big parking lots next to typical Austrian inns (“Gasthaus”). These inns will make it a tasty stop as they serve delicious local snacks and food. You won’t leave the Grossglockner Road hungry.
Tip: go for a traditional Wiener Schnitzel (baked, thin pieces of veal or pork in a golden crust of breadcrumbs and herbs) or try the Knödel (Austrian dumplings), which come with all kinds of fillings (even vegetarian).
Several inns have a terrace with views of the mountains. Perfect for a quick road trip dinner or just drinks and to enjoy the views. As soon as the sun starts to set, you can go to the best spots for even more amazing photo opportunities. The great news is that many people will start to leave the park between 5pm and 6pm so no one will get in your way when you’re trying to capture that Instagram-worthy moment.
And of course, there are lots of opportunities to go hiking on or around the Grossglockner mountain (which is the highest mountain in Austria: 3,798 metres above sea level). From short walks to long(er) hikes, it’s all possible. See this overview of all activities.
The road trip of a lifetime
Words just don’t describe the road trip experience of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, but these photos will. Have a look and you’ll know why it’s impossible to skip the Grossglockner Pass when your European road trip takes you to Austria. Or close to Austria, it’s worth the extra miles. Although miles driven shouldn’t worry you at all as Spaceships campervans and motorhomes come with unlimited mileage.
At over 3500 metres, you'll see snowy peaks, even in the summer months