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Austria's most beautiful panoramic roads

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78 The summit of the

78 The summit of the Dobratsch can be reached in about one and a half hour starting from the parking area of Rosstratte. Its landmark is the Moscarda tower, the remains of a defence facility built in the 13th century. The broadly curved road via Arta and Tolmezzo runs swiftly under the wheels before the next alpine double strike follows behind Moggio Udinese - Sella di Cereschiatis and Nassfeld pass 2 . If the journey across Sella di Cereschiatis (1,066 m) is a round, harmonic affair, crossing the Nassfeld pass (1,530 m) emerges as a challenge: narrow bends, crisp slopes, a lot of curves, a 180-degree-turn in the tunnel. Back in Carinthia, in Tröpolach we make a right turn and latch back to the federal road 111, which brings us eastwards to Villach. Finally the higher gears can be used again and soon we can recognise the 2,162-metres-high Dobratsch, Villach’s local mountain, on the left. That is our next destination. For that we pass through Villach, follow the sign “Villach Alpine Road” 3 and are immediately in the middle of this 16-kilometres-long route and its seven turns. Impressive views down to Villach and the surrounding lakes alternate with great “cornering” fun. When we arrive on top at the Villach Alpe, there are divine sights of the Julian and Carnic Alps. Summer driving pleasure (left) with many options for stopovers, like for example the viewing platform “Rote Wand” (red wall) (right). SWINGING TURNS UPHILL Back in Villach our route follows a bit of the Drau valley, forks in Feistritz a.d. Drau on the left and takes subsequently to the Windische Höhe Pass 4 . The mountain road stretches in swinging curves uphill and is in between bumpy and so narrow that two cars just manage to pass each other. One may say “small but powerful” to describe this little-known pass. By the way

VILLACH ALPINE ROAD TOUR 4 79 its name has nothing to do with any winds but it refers to the former German-Slovenian language border that passed here – the Slovens were also called the “Windish”. In St. Stefan we reach the picturesque Gail valley, following the river for a while towards west and turn right to Greifenburg from Hermagor. Now we may look forward to the next “cornering” fun as the 1,034-metres-high Kreuzbergsattel 5 is not far away. Initially a few harmless kilometres in Gitsch valley and then the neat road coils in big and small curves along the valley flank aloft. The relatively short summit route is crossed quickly and soon we roll through pretty Greifenburg 6 with its impressive castle. The federal road 100, which runs through the Drau valley with its soft turns, hence comes just at the right moment after the curve-intensive central part of this tour. The summit of the Gailtal and Carnic Alps accompanies us and sets a perfect mood to conclude this tour. Crossing the Iselsberg we finally head back to the Glockner region. Parking area 7 below the Aichingerhütte is a good starting point for a small walk or a hike.