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Austria's most beautiful panoramic roads

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  • Gerlos
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36 Water as companion:

36 Water as companion: The Krimml waterfalls (on the left side) and the Durlassboden reservoir (on the right side) GOLDEN “CURVACEOUS STAR” Once, the gold was carted across the Gerlos to the archbishopric Salzburg: Since 1962, the wonderful pass road with eight turns is a driving pleasure for the epicures. The Gerlos Alpine Road in the extreme west of Salzburg province is one of the most beautiful pass roads of the Alps. It leads into the midst of Hohe Tauern National Park, follows an ancient trade route and bears the distinctive signature of Franz Wallack. In 1930s, the designer and builder from Vienna had bestowed the young Austrian republic with the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, a national monument. He proved his keen sense for a pristine design and lay-out of a road including the regional features with the Gerlos Alpine Road: Harmonic curves and perfectly produced views provide pleasure of getaway of a different class even fifty years after their opening.

ON HISTORICAL TRACES Franz Wallack was assigned the construction of the road in 1949, but the ground-breaking ceremony took place only eleven years later. The fragile financial situation of Austria in the postwar period had caused this delay. The road was opened on 1st December 1962. Thereby, the route across the Gerlos was already an important route since the 17th century, which specially helped the prince bishops to prosper. Till 1803 the Zillertal belonged to the archbishopric of Salzburg: In 1630 a rich find of gold was made high above Zell am Ziller; the powerful rulers constructed a domestic road connection, which ran neither through Tyrol nor Bavarian soil: In the summer of 1631 the three-and-a-half-metres wide road was ready, so that a carriage driven by four horses could cross Gerlos. JOURNEY WITH PERSPECTIVE Today the 7.5-metres-wide and 11-kilometres-long Gerlos Alpine Road runs with its 558 metres in altitude and eight turns with a maximum gradient of nine percent up to the province’s frontier on the Gerlos. The highest point with 1,628 metres above sea level is reached at Gerlos Pass, the so-called Pinzgauer Höhe. The entire route offers stunning view of the surrounding mountains, the gigantic Krimml waterfalls, also of the Salzach valley in Salzburg and the Zillertal Alps in Tyrol. Regular stops and pulling up is strongly recommended: For example, in the parking area of viaduct 6 or on the summits for small hikes in the moors (Nature Conservation Area). Waterfall hiking is also recommendable based on the WasserWelten Krimml by the foot of the road. In the winter the Gerlos Alpine Road leads right into the ski paradise “Zillertal Arena” with 51 mountain lifts and 143 runway kilometres. The entire route between both valley locations i.e. Krimml (Salzburg) and Zell am Ziller (Tyrol) is 38 kilometres. The “Krimmler Wasserfestspiele” (Krimml water festival) take place in the east centre from May to October several times every day. GERLOS ALPINE ROAD 37