Tour plan 5

Villach Alpine Road touching Weissensee and through Hermagor

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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.

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