Whilst I am off exploring Vietnam with Eleanor (keep up to date with my travels via INSTAGRAM and TWITTER) I have some bloggers taking over my site! Here is Susanne talking about Three Austrian mountain passes that you have to visit!
“I am Susanne from https://www.floralcars.com/ – a motorsport enthusiast, rookie road tripper, and blogger. I regularly write about books, lifestyle and travel – focusing mostly on road trips. Hopefully you are going to join me on my trips.”
While the beginning of May marks the opening of many mountain roads in Europe, June marks the true of the road tripping the season. Schools are closing for summer at the end of the month, the weather is almost always enjoyable and most importantly, all the roads that are made to be driven on for fun are open.
The great things about road tripping is that if you have access to a car the whole wide world is available to you. One of the things that I love the most is a scenic route up a mountain. Any mountain pass whispers sweet nothings to a road tripper, tempting you to drive up. It is a combination of an empty road ahead, a stunning view and fun turns.
Austria has a lot of mountains on offer and more than a handful mountain passes. All but one are accessible with the car. However, there are three passes that you mustn’t miss if you ever get the chance to be nearby.
There is not one way into the Kalte Kuchl without driving on at least one mountain pass and one of them is the “Haselrast.”
This pass is part of the Gutensteiner Alps in Lower Austria – which are alpine foothills. Thus, it peaks at “only” 778 meters. Since it is not quite as high up as other passes, it is open all year around and it’s not unlikely that you’ll be met with snow-free road even in mid-November.
The Haselrast goes from West to East. Coming from the West side, you need to take an inconspicuous looking road at the intersection right in front of the town “Rohr am Gebirge.”
Then you are going to have a couple of fun kilometres ahead of you.
What the Haselrast lacks in stunning views, it makes up with fun turns. The plus is that you can go a bit faster and because it is one of the “lesser known” roads in Austria, there is little to no traffic at all. The last time I had been there, I counted the number of cars I met on one hand.
On top of this, it gives you is the spirit of a high alpine road. If you’re suffering of Fernweh for alpine roads, the Haselrast and the Kalte Kuchl are your best place to find a cure that doesn’t involve a big trip.
The Zellerrain mountain pass lies between the boarder of Lower Austria and Styria. It is part of the Ybbstaller Alpen and goes from West to East.
In the past, the mountain pass was often inaccessible on the Syrian side due to bad weather. However, after construction works in 2004 it is open all year around now. Since it is a public road, you are not required to pay a toll.
In the depths of winter, I’d advise carrying snow chains in your car. While the road had been cleared while I was there, it is an easy place to get caught off guard should they be mandatory. Meaning that if you leave your snow chains at home, you have no other choice but to turn around. This would be tragic because the view from the peak is beautiful:
I recommend starting your drive in Lower Austria as it grants you a stunning view of the mountains on the top and when you roll back down again.
Afterwards, you can enjoy rolling down a winding road and always have a beautiful sight in front of you. In winter the photo opportunities are rare because the turns out are used for snow removal. However, the sight of the Zellerrain pass in winter is one you are unlikely to forget.
Hochtor aka Großglockner Hochalpenstraße
The Großglockner High Alpine Road is the biggie of Austrian mountain passes, the daddy, the Le Mans of mountain passes. This road is one of the best-known roads in the world. It is also one of the few that manages to live up to its reputation.
The road goes from North to South, starting in Tyrol and terminating in the small village of Heiligenblut in Carinthia. The Durchzugsstraße peaks at 2504 meters. A side road leads you to the Edelweißspitze – while this is a dead end it brings you up to 2572 meters.
The Großglockner Hochalpenstraße is only open from the beginning of the May – depending heavily on the weather and snow removal – and it closes in October. Furthermore, it is not a public road, thus you are required to pay a toll around 35€ per day.
If you start early in the season you will find a beautiful view in front of you, an empty road ahead and still snow resting at the side. All of that while other people are considering which bikini to buy for the beach. In the end, the “when” is irrelevant. The Glockner is stunning all year around. It does not matter if you start your climb at Fusch on the North side or in Heiligenblut on the South. It is impressive all year around and a provides a beautiful holiday destination.
For more fun things to do abroad, click HERE