Grossglockner Road

Top choice Scenic Drive

in Hohe Tauern National Park

A stupendous feat of 1930s engineering, the 48km Grossglockner Road swings giddily around 36 switchbacks, passing jewel-coloured lakes, forested slopes and above-the-clouds glaciers from Bruck in Salzburgerland to Heiligenblut in Carinthia. The superfit can bike it: it’s worth the back-breaking uphill for the exhilarating downhill, some say.

Between toll gates, all attractions are free. Begin your drive bright and early to beat the crowds, as the road is often bumper-to-bumper by noon, especially in July and August. It’s also worth checking the forecast before you hit the road, as the drive is not much fun in snow or a storm. Variations of the route include overnighting in Heiligenblut or continuing on to Lienz.

The route is doable by bus, although it's a time-consuming option. Bus 5002 runs frequently between Lienz and Heiligenblut on weekdays (€11.10, 1¼ to 2¼ hours), less frequently at weekends. From late June to late September, four buses run from Monday to Friday, and three at weekends between Heiligenblut and Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe (€6.10, 32 minutes).