From the centre of Heiligenblut you can go up by cable car to the ski slopes. You can ski in an altitude of up to 2.900 m. After about 15 minutes you reach the "Mittelstation" where you can already ski, or you can continue by a second cable car for another 15 min. The best thing was that the skiing grounds weren`t crowded at all- sometimes I found myself almost alone there in the mountains. You can enjoy a truly breathtaking view of the Großglockner and the other mountains. Snow up in the mountains was great, just the last part of the slope wasn`t well prepared, there they used already artificial snow, and it was alternately icy and too soft- kind of a snow which easily breaks your bones if you are not very concentrated. Because of the altitude snow is guaranteed in Heiligenblut from November till April. A one day ticket costs 33 EUR, a 7 days ticket 173 EUR. Kids till the age of 10 don`t have to pay if at least one parent buys a ticket.
Marmot's live across a large part of Europe and Asia from the Alps right across to Mongolia and the far east.
They are rumoured to be elusive and difficult to find. So get your camera and go on a marmot hunt.
When up on the Grossglockner, you've sated yourself on the marvellous roads, avoided the car drivers and their passengers, and the hikers, oh and the cyclists (respect to the pedal brigade!), then take some time to have a cool down and visit the visitor centre.
See the web link for a better explanation rather than me plagiarising their work.
Well worth a visit!
This is high on the list of things every biker must do when touring abroad. Possibly only the Stelvio Pass in Italy is more highly rated.
From the moment you sit at the foot of the Pass by the toll booths at the northern end of the Hochalpenstrasse the anticipation builds. What’s the worst that can happen?
You’d have to be pretty dumb to fall over the edge! No, the worst thing is having a coach or postbus ahead of you… Arrgghhhh! Normal cars are bad enough as the occupants crane their necks to see the view that you, on a motorcycle are part of.
It’s hard to explain the lure of the mountains to non-motorcyclists and the thrill of riding. Those of you that like to tick off passes across Europe can tick off a few high points on this one road.
The road has its own website, go and have a look for yourself to see the wonders of the road itself and the bits on either side that you need to visit simply to come down from the “rocky mountain high” you get up here!
My last trip over was aboard a 25 year old Suzuki GT750, not the best tool for this kind of activity! It was in the last week of May and the roads were cleared of snow but with large snow walls in many places.
Swarovski-Warte is the name of the great observation-point high above Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hoehe, you may see it on my picture, reaching out of the parking-house like a giant crystall ! The name of Swarowski does in this case not stand for the well-known cristall works of art, but rather for their traditional productions of optical lenses with high precision that will help you there to watch the alpine animals like marmots and ibexes etc.
The austrian emperor Kaiser Franz-Josef was hiking in 1856, in the age of 26 years, from Heiligenblut in direction to the Grossglockner and he reached the area that is still called after him and is nowadays the central place for most of the tourist activities. From there you can step down to the Pasterze-glacier, or you can also take the short funicular there. You may watch the marmots or start hiking the Gamsgruberweg. And of course you will find various restaurants and souvenir-shops. The Post-bus fom Zell am See will stop there and before returning to Zell am See or changing to the bus to Heiligenblut, you will have enough time to get out of the bus and look around a bit.
Cardrivers will find a giant (and really ugly) parking-house there free of charge.
Fuscher Lacke is the name of this small lake, that you may see on my main picture. Around that lake you may see an interesting exhibition of various simple machineries and other exhibits, that had been used in order to build that alpine road by primitive means, totally without giant catterpillars, instead by thousands of unemployed people, who came there from all parts of Austria in order to find work in the times of depression.
Grossglockner is the highest mountain in Austria with a hight of 3.798 m above the Sea-level. In the year 1800 the first successful expedition reached its peak and still today you may get there only when you are an experienced climber.
Grossglockner-Hochalpenstrasse passes by this mountain in a distance of several km, you will have a great view to Grossglockner and its surrounding alpine peaks from many places, but the ordinary tourists will never get really close to it.
Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hoehe is maybe the closest place you may get to by car, then you may walk a bit closer on Gamsgruberweg, but after some hundred meters the path gets dangerous, and you need a good climbing equipment to continue.
Fuschertoerl is just a monument to memorize all of the workers, who lost their lives, while building Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse between 1924 and 1935. The austrian architect Clemens Holzmeister built this monument in a hight of 2428 meters above the sea-level at the place with the best view of the Grossglockner.
Fuschertoerl has a large parking-area, but no kiosk, no toilets and no restaurants closeby - the next facilities are in a distance of 500 meters, at Dr.-Franz-Rehrl Haus .
In this small museum called "Alpine Naturschau" you can see the flora and fauna of the area above 2000 meters, where trees will not grow anymore and learn about species that may exist only in this area. Around this museum you will alo see a path with different kinds of minerals and mountain-grasses explained.
That museum is free of charge
and it is open from 09.00a.m. till 05.00p.m.
Gamsgruberweg is a quite easy hikingpath that will take you from the large parking at Kaiser Franz-Josefs-Hoehe to the upper part of Pasterze-glacier. That hiking-path is partly in the open air, partly through various tunnels and these tunnels are also used for exhibitions and interactive installations explaining the history of the glacier and some myths and ledgends of that area.
Hiking on Gamsgruberweg takes about 30 minutes, at the end of it it is advisable not to continue, except that you have a good equipment and are an experienced mountain-climber/hiker.
Kraft-Wellenberg is the name of this monument at the large square at Europaplatz and it was made by the artist Johann Weyringer. This large boat made of bronze symbolizes the golden boat that - according to an old ledgend - was sailing here at the Pasterze-glacier millions of years ago.
St. Vinzenz is quasi the landmark of Heiligenblut. It is a very nice new-gothic church with a partly baroque interieur which was finished in the 15th century. It is said that the saint Briccius brought a little bottle with Christ`s blood to Heiligenblut- the bottle is kept now in the church. In the crypt you`ll find Briccius`gravesite. Around the church is a little cemetery.
In Großkirchheim, about 8 km from Heiligenblut, you`ll find the Hotel Schlosswirt. They have 15 Haflinger horses and offer excursions from 1 to 3 hours, or you can spend the whole day on horse back. You can book horse riding vacations for a few days or for a week too, even with a night in a mountain hut- they are quite flexible. Haflinger are very robust horses that have their origins in Suedtirol- so they are made for horse riding in a mountained area. You can go with them up to the high mountains, to the edge of the glacier. They ride their horses western style, which is unusual for Austria and I needed some time to get used to it, but then I started liking these huge comfortable semi quarterhorse saddles :). In a 2 hours horseback excursion you ride through snow covered forests and meadows and cross crystal clear mountain streams. 1 hour costs 15 EUR, 2 hours 30 EUR, 3 hours 45 EUR and the whole day 75 EUR. If you have your own horse you can bring it with you if you are a guest of Hotel Schlosswirt.
Heiligenblut is one of those truly romantic mountain villages high in the Austrian Alps where the "Hills Are Alive" and seem to sing from the "Sound of Music" to you.
It is idyllically situated high in the Hohe Tauern National Park and is nestled at the foot of the mighty Grossglockner mountain which at 3,798m above sea level is Austria's highest mountain.