Have you ever heard the name Grossglockner? Maybe yes if you are from Austria or live around the Alps in Europe. We must admit that we had not heard about it before and we want to share with you how we discovered the most beautiful road in Europe.
Everything started with my obsession to memorize the satellite images of the zone that we want to visit. In that exploration, using Google Earth, I saw this:
Finally I realized that there was a hostel at the highest point of the road, at 2,600 m, where we could sleep. Moreover, I found those two huts and I decided there was no better place to spend a night. We modified the plans for the previous day just to be able to sleep there. And fortunately we could. Here starts the story that brought us to the Grossglockner road.
First thing you have to know is that you have to pay a toll to pass through the road and it is not full time opened. Just check it here for times and prices.
After the toll we started the ascent. It was impossible not to stop every 5 minutes just to take photos and videos of the picturesque landscapes of green, white, blue and grey. The highest mountains in Austria are full of white patches of snow that never get molten. We did it in August and we could play a little bit with snow balls in one of our stops.
The road has a total of 48 km and 36 turns leads directly into the centre of Austria’s largest national park with an area of 1,800 km² that extends across the provinces of Salzburg, Tyrol and Carinthia. The highest point of the mountain road is the Edelweiss Spitze located at just above 2,500 m. Several 3,000 m peaks open up to the wandering gaze, but the largest of them all is the Grossglockner. The striking mountain towers above the entire region at 3,798 m, and is at the same time the highest summit of Austria.
The hotspot, or maybe we should say the “coldspot”, is the Franz Josep Glacier. Yes, the same name as the one in New Zealand that we described in a different post.
The views of the glacier are astonishing and you can do some excursions around it.
And after the glacier we went to the Edelweiss Spitze to have a hot soup, typical food and a nice sleep. When we left the restaurant in the inn we went by walk using a lantern directly to our hut. Just a small bathroom, a table and a bunk. All made of wood. No luxury, just charm and warm in the cold night at almost 2,600 m. The road was already closed, we were just us in a tiny hut at the top of the Alps. Alone. Romantic.
We slept comfortably and in the morning, when we opened the curtains, we received a present.
I couldn’t wait to put my trousers, my T-shirt and jump to the outside and cold world to enjoy the unique moment.