Welcome to this Austria Motorcycle Tour Guide! You’ll find 6 of the best things to do and see when touring through Austria on your bike here including two epic mountain roads and four things you might not have thought of!
Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Nestled in the Alps the Grossglockner is the highest paved road in Europe and one of the most scenic drives in Austria. It’s the motorway of mountain passes armed with wide sweeping hairpins and excellent visibility looking out over snow covered mountains, cascading waterfalls and glaciers.
There are countless opportunities to stop and take in the beauty of the area, one of the best places is the Pasterze Glacier. It sits at a whopping 5.2 miles in length and is the longest glacier in Austria. The view from the visitors centre is literally breath-taking. Make sure you stop here!
The Edelweissspitze (biker’s point) is another beautiful viewpoint. You’ve got to work for it though as it takes a series of super tight cobbled harpins to get to the top. It’s worth getting up there just for the fun ride alone!
The Grossglockner is about £22 to ride, so don’t get caught out by the toll. Many of the local hotels have offers that cover several passes so it’s worth checking depending where you stay. The road shuts at 6pm and you also get a sticker.
Late afternoon is probably the best time of day to ride because all of the coaches have gone home and it’s just the sports cars and bikes left up there to play.
Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road
The stunning Timmelsjoch creates a link between Austria and Italy. It towers at 8,231 ft above sea level and winds its way through snow spattered mountains, clear babbling brooks and lush valleys on a series of exciting climbs and tight hairpins. The views this mountain pass provide are some of the best anywhere, especially if you get on it in the morning to see the mist lifting over the Otztal Alps in the sunlight.
The road is open from June until the middle of October depending on snow conditions. The opening times are from 7am-8pm. Like the Grossglockner, it is also a toll road. For motorcycles the cost is £12.50 one way and £17 return.
Stop off at the Rasthaus Summit Tavern to take a break on the sun terrace and enjoy a hot chocolate.
Along the pass are many exhibitions and monuments. Stop off at these to learn the history of this road as it was once a secret smugglers trail.
Kehlsteinhaus: The Eagle’s Nest
Kehlsteinhaus (more commonly known as the Eagle’s Nest in English) is an absolute must for any Austrian motorcycle tour. The Third-Reich building was used in WWII by the Nazi Party for war planning. Adolf Hitler visited a number of times but apparently didn’t like it because of his fear of heights and thin mountain air.
It sits atop a mountain at 1,834m. You can’t ride to the top but there’s plenty of parking at the bottom and a public shuttle bus to the summit. It’s about 30 miles from the Ice Cave and 25 minutes from Salzburg so is definitely worth a stop.
Today the Eagle’s Nest is a beer garden and restaurant. It’s very well-maintained and a popular attraction. So make sure you’re one of the early visitors to avoid crowds.
Eisriesenwelt: The World’s Largest Ice Cave
Located high above the village of Werfen is the world’s largest ice cave – the Eisriesenwelt. With a length extending more than 26 miles, this icy labyrinth of crystal clear caves is epically beautiful as it looks like someone hand sculpted every minute detail.
The cave is open from May through to October and entry costs £21. You can jump on a tour which lasts about 70 minutes and is available in English and German. Something to keep in mind is there’s a fair bit of walking and climbing involved, not only inside the cave where there are 1,400 steps, but from the visitors centre too where it’s a 20 minute walk to the cable cars. Once on a car it’s 3 minutes to the top, then it’s a further 20 minutes to the entrance of the ice cave.
The temperatures inside the cave are below freezing. Even in summer with all of the climbing you will still need to wrap up warm.
Visit before 10am or after 2pm because the middle of the day can get busy. Opening times are 8:30-3pm in May, June, September and October. It’s 8:30-4pm in July and August.
Salzburg is only 25 minutes away, which makes it great for combining the cave and an afternoon in the city. Don’t forget, Salzburg is where the ‘Sound of Music’ was filmed and is well worth a ride.
Europe’s Highest Motorcycle Museum
On the Timmelsjoch mountain pass sits an unlikely motorcycle haven in the shape of the Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum. Only opened in 2016, the museum is home to over 170 classic bikes from nearly 70 manufacturers including Moto Guzzi, Ducati, BMW, Honda and Harley-Davidson. The museum also houses some classic cars such as the Ferrari California Spider, Porsche 959 and Lotus 23 B.
There is a restaurant up there offering delicious Austrian and Italian delicacies. It’s the perfect place to stop for coffee surrounded by the panoramic view of the mountains. The opening times for winter are from the end of November to the middle of April 9am-5pm. Summer hours from May to October are 9am-7pm. Tickets are £9.
The museum is located at the toll station, so make sure you get your Timmelsjoch passes there too.
Walchsee: The World’s Best Lunch Stop
Sat in the foothills of the beautiful Kaiser mountain range is the municipal town of Walchsee. The lake (going by the same name) is the fourth largest natural waterbody in the state and is a hotbed for summer activities such as sailing, water skiing and swimming in the sun warmed water.
Stop off at the Bellevue am Walchsee on the way to Hinterglemm. It’s the perfect place to enjoy lunch overlooking the lake and is a beautiful slice of Austria that’s often overlooked on the average motorcycle tour.
Take your swimsuit as the average water temperature is 24C degrees. It’s perfect for a little afternoon dip to cool down from a long day’s ride.
About the Author
Felix Billington is the owner of Magellan, a motorcycle touring company based in the UK. Felix setup Magellan to help people explore new countries and destinations on their bikes easily and safely. He has travelled to over 60 countries and ridden bikes in most of them including China, Mongolia and Nepal.
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