The distinctive triangular peak of Grossglockner is the highest mountain in the Austrian Alps at 3,798 meters (12,460 feet); it’s located amid the Lakeland scenery of the Hohe Tauern National Park near Salzburg and its north-east slopes are clad by the Pasterze Glacier, which at nine km (5.5 miles) is the country’s largest. In summer the region is popular with climbers, hikers and cyclists, and in winter there’s skiing at the resort of Heiligenblut/Grossglockner.
Many people visit to experience the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (Grossglockner High Alpine Road), which starts in the mountain village of Bruck and is considered one of the most exciting high-alpine drives in the world. In the course of the 48 km (30 mile) route, there are 36 hairpin bends to negotiate while climbing through 2,504 meters (8,215 feet) of alpine meadows and pine forests alongside tumbling waterfalls and the sparkling blue ice of Pasterze. Blue traffic signs indicate attractions, views and altitude en route to Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe visitor center overlooking the glacier.
Grossglockner is 123 km (77 miles) from Salzburg and can be reached by road in 90 minutes. Grossglockner High Alpine Road is open between May and November and there is a charge of between €24.50 (electric cars) and €34.50 (petrol cars) to drive the route. Pasterze Glacier can be visited by cable car and the fare is €10 return trip for adults; €5 for seniors, students and children.