9844, Heiligenblut, Hof 1

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The Glockner Tour

The Apriach panoramic road

Not far from Heiligenblut, in the vicinity of the Grossglockner Alpine Road there are a lot of attractions for the interested visitor to the Grossglockner region. One of these jewels is Apriach, the sleepy little mountain village, which hugs the steep slopes of the upper Mölltal. Just as the village, the mountain road to Apriach that we want to cover is nestled on the hillside and winds its way high up from Großkirchheim and Döllach to Apriach and continues through Schachnern up to Heiligenblut.

Starting at the Hunguest Hotel Heiligenblut towards Winklern we pass through Heiligenblut and pass by the right-most eighty-meters-high Jungfernsprung waterfall until we reach after about 10 minutes Grosskirchheim / Döllach. Shortly after the first houses we turn left onto the Dorfstrasse, where the ‘Döllach’ village sign greets us. After another 300 meters we turn left at the ‘Apriach’ junction – careful driving is advisable here.

The road is, as expected, pretty tight and twisty and winds among rustic houses and lush pastures. Some curves are so tight that you would prefer to lift the iron above ;-) Reaching the panoramic road and the intriguing view, however, are a well-deserved reward for the ‘effort’ of the driveway. If you come at intersections the way up and you don’t know what direction to choose, always choose ‘uphill’.

The Apriach road is characterized by the wonderful panorama of the surrounding mountain ridges and the impressive view of the deeply lying Mölltal. The road is rarely travelled since it is not really known for tourists. Still you should drive with caution since both the road and the curves are narrow and difficult to see through at higher speeds. This would not discourage a biker - you should try it by all means.

It is worthwhile to insert breaks during the journey and visit the water mills of Apriach. These mills are historic witnesses of rural life from the times when water was used as a driving force. These mills are still fully operational and used in part in show events.

Similarly, the 400-year-old ‘Mentlhof’ farm is worth a visit. Today it is a beautifully furnished mountain farm museum where you can walk on the path of mountain peasants of early ages and you can learn about the hardships of life above 1,400 m of altitude. You can lend a hand on everything and imagine the works made by the former inhabitants. The Mentlhof tavern offers culinary delights, for the labourer must eat well and hearty!

When you are really close to your destination you can still have a look around in the gold-mining village of Heiligenblut. When you pass Schachnern you can take the road right up the hill to the gold mining village. The road is narrow and the many curves are very tight and sometimes adventurous. After about one km you reach the parking where you can cool down the machine and invite yourself for a drink in the ‘Alter Pocher’ Alpine inn (1,809 m). After the refreshment you can walk around the restored gold-mining village and try panning for gold. Whoever finds a treasure may give me half for the good tip.

After a drink and some gold-panning it is time to go back to the hotel. The switchbacks take you back to the familiar Schachnern road and then to the Glockner panoramic road. Here you turn left and a few minutes later and some meters lower you can see the entrance sign of Heiligenblut.

Lienz - Defereggental -Staller Sattel - Antholz (Italy) - Silian - Lienz

The 250-km round trip should start with a hearty breakfast in the Hunguest Hotel Heiligenblut. You cross Mölltal and drive down to Winklern and then continue through the Iselsberg pass towards Lienz. 
Just before you reach Lienz you should cross two roundabouts and drive towards the city centre. After arriving in Lienz you should always follow the ‘Felbertauern Tunnel’ (B108) signs. Leaving behind the city you drive about 15 kilometres on the national road towards Felbertauern along the river Isel until you reach Huben. Here you have the junction to Defereggental. The junction is shown by a traffic sign as well as a beautifully crafted road sign.

A short and curvy road takes the traveller down to the Defereggen valley. Don’t miss the view to the valley of the Isel River on the left. In the middle you can see right into the valley; you have wonderfully verdant hillsides on the left and the right and at the valley floor, the blue-green Isel River and the road to Felbertauern – our destination.

The Defereggental valley invites you to explore it. Just as the landscape, we can return easily and gently to the road to Defereggental after 20 kilometres. We cross the idyllically overgrown tunnel and pass by traditional farms and houses. Just don’t be hectic. If you wish you can take a detour to the Mariahilf-Wallfahrt Church. You can find it at St. Jakob – signed by signs impossible to oversee. The road continues uphill, now a little steeper, and the road becomes narrower. The Staller Sattel (in Italian: Passo Stalle) is getting closer... On arrival in Stallersattel located at a lofty height of 2,052 m the heroic biker is welcomed by the sight of a deep blue mountain lake reflecting like a dream landscape of the surrounding mountains. You should take a rest in one of the large and small parking places along the lake and enjoy the rugged, beautiful landscape.

After Antholz the road into the valley is so narrow that a simultaneous driving up and down is not possible. Thus, the rule is that in the first quarter of every hour (from 0 to the15th minute) vehicles may drive downhill and in the third quarter (from the 30th to the 45th minute) only uphill. Who arrives at a bad moment would have enough time to let the eyes wander down the South-Tyrol Antholzertal valley and also to have a snack at the bar. When the traffic light turns green you can continue your journey to Antholzertal. When driving on the narrow streets featuring uncountable small curves the inclined biker will quickly realize that a two-way traffic is just impossible on this road. The switchbacks are tight and you wish to cut as many bends as you can. It is delightful and makes a hell of fun!

Once you overcome this bottleneck you pass by Lake Antholzer (1,640 m), a popular tourism destination. Now you cross the three parts of Antholz - Antholz Obertal (1,532 m), Antholz Mittertal (1,250 m) and Antholz Niedertal (1,135 m) to reach the Via Pusteria (Pustertaler road - SS49/E66). You turn left towards Dobbacio (Toblach) and continue always along the E66. You pass by the Fiume Rienza Lake and keep on riding along the valley until you reach Toblach. Stay on the E66 (Via Pusteria) and continue riding towards Innichen, and after passing the border you get back into Austria. Follow the main road to Drautal (B100) until you reach Silian and then continue towards Lienz. To not just focus on the main road and let anything else to do for the eyes, it is worth to leave the main road at Abfaltersbach and turn left to continue along the Pustertaler mountain road. To handle better the longer way back it is worth to have a drink and a snack at restaurant Bärenwirt close to the Assling wildlife park. You can incidentally try out the summer bob track.

After this small detour let’s get back on the road. The mountain road connects to the Drautal main road, which we left earlier and which we take back again - in the direction of Lienz. The way back home from Lienz is made ​​simple: ride always towards Grossglockner / Mölltal. The traffic signposts will show the way.

Mölltal valley - Gmünd - Nockalm alpine road - Lake Millstatt - Drau Valley

Villach Alpine Road touching Weissensee and through Hermagor

After a hearty breakfast and putting on the obligatory protective clothing, in the first section of the journey in Mölltal we descend to Winklern, thence we pass through Iselsberg (1,204 m) toward Lienz to leave Carinthia and we enter East Tyrol. Shortly before Lienz, where you already reach the valley, you will be greeted by a roundabout; there you select the ‘left’ direction to Spittal (B100/B107). After about a kilometre you reach the last crossroad. Here you turn left again towards Spittal. Now are in the beautiful Dölsach, in the Drautal valley, on the Drau Valley road (B100). The road is initially broad and well developed, but after some 20 km it becomes slightly narrower. Continue on this road for some 30 kilometres to Greifenburg. In the centre of the village you turn sharp right in direction Weissensee. At the border of the town a very attractive road section begins. The road climbs steeply and with dozens of sharp curves up to the Weissensee. After the rise you still turn not to the right - to Hermagor - but go straight ahead, always toward the lake. The Weissensee, of a total area of 6.5 sq km is located 930 m above sea level and with this, it is Carinthia's highest lake, inviting for a swim in the summer when water temperatures climb up to 24 °C. Who has forgotten his trunks may have an ice cream.

Now we head toward Hermagor. Like the way up, the route downhill goes through a dense forest area and features marvellous curves. Once you reach the district capital at a height of 600 m you take the main road to Gailtal (B111), then you turn left towards Villach. We keep rolling on this road for the next 40 kilometres and cross the Gailtal valley in a relaxed mood. The tempting offers to use the highway let us cold now. In Arnoldstein, shortly before Villach, we switch to the Carinthian main road (B83). Once you have reached Villach, you can hardly go wrong. The road to the Villach Alpine Panoramic Road is shown very well. Just at the beginning of the panoramic road you pass by the main gates of the Villach Alpine Arena - the facility where many ski jumping World Cups have been held. After reaching Mauthäuschen you can continue toll free using the Carinthia National Park Card, otherwise you pay 13 € for cars and 7 € for motorcycles (summer 2009).

The Villach Alpine Road runs for 16.5 km from Villach-Möltschach (550 m) to the Dobratsch (1,732 m) but not quite up to the summit (2,167 m). For motorists the journey ends at the Rosstratte at 1,732 m. The summit must be hiked on foot. The route with its seven turns and 116 curves offers splendid views. Who wants to look around and not only drive has 11 parking places to grab the opportunity and enjoy the view over Villach, the Karawanken mountains and the Julian Alps. Simple but excellent quality Carinthian dishes are served at the Rosstrattenstüberl Berggasthof (mountain inn) and in the Aichinger hut. If the belly is full, you can start the return journey.

As a designated long-term goal we always head towards Spittal / Drau but without using the highway. We cross the outskirts of Villach on the B86 until it merges with the B100 Drautal main road. This is a very well-maintained road that in the next 30 kilometres brings us h Kellerberg, Feffernitz and Feistritz to reach the beautiful Spittal. Here again there is no danger to miss the right path. Just always head to Mölltal / Grossglockner. Between Lendorf and Möllbrücke we turn to the Mölltal valley and we make 50 kilometres on the B106 national road to reach Winklern. 

On warm summer days it is worth a stop at the Ragga gorge in Flattach. With thousands of years of painstaking work the Ragga stream has created one of the most beautiful gorges in the Alps. Vertical rock walls constrict the romantic gorge and the water mist fills the air. A truly rewarding show of nature that will impress even diehard motorists.

Once in Winklern you put the right indicators and cover the last 22 kilometres to Heiligenblut on the B107, the main road Großglockner road. Arriving back at the Hotel Heiligenblut, you sit and relax on the terrace to review the experiences of the day and enjoy the well-deserved beer in the sunset and luxuriate with the magnificent view of the Grossglockner.

Web Links: 
Villach Alpine Road 
Raggaschlucht Flattach