OK ladies and gentleman, prepare yourself for a ride in the Alps- our ‘Road radar’ is this time riding the Grossglockner High Alpine Road! 48 kilometres long smile it will be!
Motorcycle touring in the Alps
In this ‘bikers heaven’ area, there are many roads to choose from. Some of you who already rode in the Alps, would perhaps say that small, hidden backroads are what makes the Alps. We almost agree on that, but definitely think that some of popular rides like riding the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Austria and Passo Stelvio in Italy, should be on every rider’s route. In between, you can choose to ride other famous passes, or stick with the roads less travelled. So there’s definitely something for all of us here.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road. The road.
- Country: Austria
- Highest elevation: 2.504m/8.215ft
- Road length: 48km/30mi
- Hairpins: 36
Imagine yourself in a picturesque Alpine village, surrounded by beautiful green meadows and high mountain peaks. It’s 7AM and sun just woke you up; soon you’ll be zipping your cop of coffee/tea while admiring the view from the balcony. Silence. Fresh air. Just awesome. For us riders, that sounds like a great start of the day- so let’s pack up or stuff and start riding the Grossglockner High Alpine road.
Historically starting in the city of Bruck, the road takes us south to the Hohe Tauern National Park, with two biggest highlights being the Grossglockner (highest mountain in Austria at 3.798m) and a glacier called ‘Pasterze Glacier’. Of course, if you want to actually step on the peak of Grossglockner, you’ll have to ‘climb up’ the last 1500m or so on foot- so usually a nice view does it for us riders. But, Pasterze Glacier is much easier to reach and walking on the glacier is a ‘must’ while there. There are secured trails for walking; and the ‘Glacier Railway’ so you can choose between walking, or hopping on a fast ride.
Following the ‘Fuscher Ache’ river through green meadows after Bruck, we’ll first need to stop at the toll booths and pay for our entrance to the National Park and usage of the phenomenal ‘grippy’ high alpine road. In 2015, toll for a single motorcycle equals 24.50 Eur and after settling that amount, you can stay between the entrance and exit booths till the daily road closure (the exact closure time varies depending on the month). That means you can ride the road and curves like 100 times back and forth (very common actually), or take your time on the top and enjoy the views, have lunch etc.
Before approaching the actual mountain pass, called ‘Hochtor‘ at 2.504m, there are several different museums, info-points and vegetation zone information centres you can check out. But, above all, we recommend a stop on ‘Edelweiss-spitze‘ at 2.571m- after a pretty challenging narrow road taking you to the highest vantage point, you’ll be able to enjoy a panoramic view of more than 30 ‘over 3.000m’ high mountains around you. It’s also called ‘Biker’s Point’ as it cannot be reached by busses and there’s a big motorcycle parking on top. Restaurant too, of course!
Kaiser-Franzjosefs-Höhe at 2,369 m
After Edelweiss-spitze, road continues towards Hochtor, called ‘head of the pass’ and takes you to a crossroad: turning left means heading to the Heiligenblut and ending your Alpine experience by passing the second toll booths. Therefore, we advise to continue straight to a dead-end Kaiser-Franzjosefs-Höhe, a beautiful lookout point, visitors centre, cinema and famous Wilhelm Swarovski observation tower. It’s actually the biggest meeting and information point on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Be ready (actually hope) to see marmots, taste traditional ‘Wurst’ sausage and walk on the Pasterze Glacier. On all our motorcycle tours in the Alps, we stop here offering all possible choices to our guests- walking to the glacier, having lunch, seeing exhibitions and learning about the history of the road or, riding back to the first tool booths and enjoy all the curves again. If you’re riding on your own, on the Kaiser-Franzjosefs-Höhe, there are helmet lockers for leaving your stuff secured, while taking a tour of Grossglockner.
After exploring the Kaiser-Franzjosefs-Höhe, we need to go back to the same crossroad where we continued straight, now making a right turn towards Heiligenblut. Although this high Alpine road has come to an end, there’s so much more in front of us so don’t be sad- let’s ride the adventure!
In MotoTrip, we offer two different Alpine guided motorcycle tours- the biggest difference is in duration (9 days of ‘Alpine discovery‘ vs 15 days of ‘AlpsTastic‘), but this Grossglockner High Alpine Road is included on both! So if feeling like riding BMW motorcycles through the ‘sound of music’ landscapes, let us know!
Information and links:
- Official Grossglockner High Alpine Road website
- Current weather/webcams
- Opening times: Beginning of May until 15 June: 6 am – 8 pm; 16 June until 15 September: 5 am – 9.3 pm; 16 September until end of October/beginning of November: 6 am – 7.30 pm
- Entrance for a motorcycle in 2015: 24.50 Eur
Let us know your thoughts on what you think about this post; sounds interesting? If you already rode it, how was it? Have a video- send us the link!
Ride safe, will be back soon!