Tour plan 4

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

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The starting point of this broader tour is Heiligenblut. After breakfast put on the mandatory biking clothing, visit the garage and bring the bike to life.

The first twenty kilometres from Heiligenblut to Winklern go downhill. Shortly after entering Winklern you turn left towards Spittal / Highway. In the next 30 kilometres to Lendorf we touch Flattach (you find the beautiful Ragga gorge here), Obervellach and Reisseck (remember these names for later). At Lendorf the road splits. You have to turn left on the B100 main road direction Spittal an der Drau but DO NOT take the motorway! After this you touch a few small towns with evocative names such as Sankt Peter in Holz. As soon as you recover from the magic of the names you reach the outskirts of the district capital Spittal an der Drau and the first roundabout. The signage is great and if you stick to ‘half left’ towards Gmünd / Katschberg / Millstatt you can leave behind Spittal. Barely outside, road B99 splits. We keep to the left - believe it or not - to Gmünd / Katschberg. Suddenly everything goes really nice - the road runs pleasantly on the creek shore and has plenty of nice curves and quiet hamlets. Fine! This is what makes fun a ride!

The medieval Gmünd and a roundabout come in sight, and depending on your mood you have three options:
  • visit Gmünd (left at the roundabout), a great historic city with nice cafes, museums, a historic castle and for Porsche fans the Porsche Museum;
  • detour to Maltatal (also left at the roundabout) and to the Malta mountain road, including a visit to the Kölnbrein reservoir, or
  • continue towards the Nockalm road (straight at the roundabout).

For the sake of simplicity, we leave nothing out and visit the beautiful Gmünd first. Here you have the option to take to the left towards the castle, because it cannot be unseen and there is plenty of parking at the feet. It is time to turn off the engine and head towards the historic old town, where nice cafes and idyllic streets await to be explored...

"Nestled in the Hohe Tauern and Nockberge national parks lies the small town of Gmünd at the confluence of two rivers: the Lieser and the Malta. This is the origin of the Gmünd name (münden = merge). The two, located on the trade route between Venice and Regensburg, was created in the 12th century or early in the 13th century, firstly as a trading post, out of which evolved rapidly the city. In 1346 Gmünd received the city charter, making it one of the oldest cities in Austria. With its perfectly preserved medieval streets and squares, the city offers an ambience that for miles around is unique." (Source: )

After this excursion and possibly a little refreshment, the bikes are fired up and we continue the journey towards the Malta Valley. In this road section of some 10 kilometres to the tollgate we touch Carinthia's highest waterfall - the Fallbach. With its 200 meters of height it is a truly impressive sight and worth a short stop. From here, the valley deserves its name: ‘Valley of the falling water.’

We continue the journey and a short time later reach the toll-house of the Hochalm Road (911 m above sea level). Bikers who have the Carinthia National Park Card have literally ‘winning cards’ because presenting the card exempt them from paying toll for this road.

From here we make 14.4 kilometres and cross six narrow and partly unlit tunnels, two of which operate as turning ones. In one place there are traffic lights to control the traffic. The entire route is bordered by spectacular waterfalls that along with the impressive tracking make the road an unforgettable experience. The tour ends at a height of 1,933 m at the Kölnbrein reservoir that can be visited inside with the help of a guide. Incidentally, the dam has a height of 200 m and feeds several power plants with water - including the Reisseck plant (here the name comes again) in Mölltal that we passed by.

If you have enough altitude caught and let the huge amounts of water delight you, it's time to break back into the valley and continue the journey. The way back to Gmünd is familiar and at the roundabout the tour continues on the already known B99 towards Katschberg. Again there are to admire the idyllic villages and the stream that runs on the left or right side of the road as a true companion. Once in Kremsbrücke keep the eyes open to miss not the junction towards to the Innerkrems / Nockalm road. You make some 10 kilometres on this road to reach the junction of the Nockalm road. The same rule applies: it is toll-free with the Carinthia National Park Card and costs 7 € for motorcycles and 14 € for passenger cars without the card.

Here begins one of the most beautiful mountain roads in Austria, studded with 52 turns in 34 kilometres. First, it goes up to the Eisentalhöhe summit. The Eisentalhöhe is at 2,042 meters the highest point of the Nockalm road. Here you find a restaurant offering typical Carinthian food, a dedicated motorcycle parking and a belvedere with explanations of the Nockbergen mountains and the surrounding area. The curvy fun continues - the well-built Nockalm road goes down to Karlbad, located at a height of 1,693 meters. The next remarkable point of the Nockalm road is the ‘Schiestlscharte’ pass. It is located in the Nockbergen mountains at a height of 2,024 meters and also features a special parking for motorcycles. We continue now turn after turn and after some nine kilometres we reach the Reichenau plateau at a height of 1,060 m. Just before the southern tollgate of the Nockalm road many bikers turn back to enjoy the experience of the Nockalm road for a second or even a third time before continuing the journey. By the way, there are typical restaurants and inns along the road offering real Carinthian food.

When you have sufficiently contented yourself with the spectacular scenery offered by the Nockberge National Park, you can leave the Nockalm road at the south exit (Reichenau plateau) and head on the B95 towards Bad Kleinkirchheim. After some five minutes of ride or so you reach Patergassen to turn right and take road B88 to Bad Kleinkirchheim. When you reach Döbriach you are at the southeast end of Lake Millstätter. In the following road section we always travels parallel to the lake towards the north and pass through the towns of Dellach, Pesenthein and Millstatt to finally arrive in Seeboden. Now it's time to say goodbye to the lake and head again towards Spittal. After two or three kilometres you should recognize the road since you used it for a short while the way back. We quickly cross the city of Spittal the way back toward Mölltal / Grossglockner. We are back on the well-known toll-free road to drive again through Sankt Peter in Holz and Lendorf. After Lendorf the B100 splits and we go straight toward Lienz, because the Drautal is waiting for us. The B100 is very well built in this section and invites to spin the rubbers a little faster. At this point I want to discourage you all since the local road police is fairly aware of the structural advantages of the road and laser guns are not only used on board of Starship Enterprise…

The return after the well-developed section passes through tranquil villages like Berg im Drautal or Oberdrauburg, until you arrive at the gates of Lienz. From this point on you may follow the road straight ahead into the centre of the town for a great ice cream or you may turn out at the first roundabout towards Mölltal / Iselsberg / Grossglockner. Here you should easily find the way home to Heiligenblut through Iselsberg and Winklern.

Have a nice trip!

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