A unique place at the foot of the Grossglockner Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe is both the finish and high point of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Here, at 2369 metres altitude, you are high above the Pasterze Glacier, at eye level with the Grossglockner. At 3798 metres it is the highest mountain in Austria.   

There is a wide range of exhibitions in the visitor centre at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, from Austria’s highest car exhibition to the National Park Information Centre. Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe is also the starting point for unforgettable adventures in nature. The historic glacier cableway takes you down to the Pasterze, the longest glacier in the East Alps, while the Kaiserstein panoramic path proceeds to the Wilhelm Swarovski Observatory, where you can watch ibex, chamois and eagles. Numerous trails and paths as well as exciting views make your stay at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe an unforgettable experience.

You’ve probably already guessed...

that Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe owes its name to the Habsburg regent. But did you also know that in 1856 the monarch hiked, together with Empress Elisabeth – known as Sisi – from Heiligenblut to the edge of the Pasterze? And it was precisely this point, from where the emperor marvelled at the Grossglockner, that was named after him. Incidentally, Sisi preferred not to tackle the full mountain route with her husband. She stayed at a place called the Bretterboden  and since then this has been known as ‘Elisabethruhe’.

Look & be amazed: Experiences on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe

Servus & Hello! Welcome to the visitor centre on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe

The visitor centre on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00. On an area spanning 1500m², exhibitions based on the themes of nature, mountains, glaciers, cars and much more are presented … 

The visitor centre

Photovoltaic facade Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe | © grossglockner.at/Gellner

Highlight of the National Park Information Centre is the spectacular wide-screen, multi-vision award-winning film ‘Hohe Tauern National Park’. You can get comprehensive information here about offers available in Hohe Tauern National Park and book accommodation und touristic services in the National Park regions of Salzburg, Carinthia and Tyrol online straight away.

grossglockner.at/Franz Neumayr | © grossglockner.at/Franz Neumayr

The Pasterze and the sensational find there, a Swiss pine tree over 6000 years old – the ‘Glacier tree’ – become the allegory for two lovers who could not find each other: the mighty ice giant and the hidden treasures which were concealed beneath the icy mass. However, the exhibition reveals that nothing is for eternity, not even the eternal ice. After all, over the millennia it has been shown time and again that the glacier is alive. It grows, it retreats – due to natural climate fluctuations and in recent history increasingly due to the effects caused by humans too. 

Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hoehe, car exhibition | © grossglockner.at/Eva Mrazek

On a 1000m² exhibition space there is lots of interesting information to learn about the first time the Grossglockner High Alpine Road was driven on and you get to marvel at numerous vehicles. Automobiles from 1926 to the modern era, racing cars, motorbikes and 200 model cars set the hearts of automobile enthusiasts racing. The mountain pass road was first driven on 22nd September 1934 in a Steyr 100, which had been specially adapted for the narrow gravel road. The drivers on this Alpine crossing were none other than road builder Franz Wallack and state governor Franz Rehrl! The route from Ferleiten via the Hochtor to Heiligenblut took five hours – a spectacular and unforgettable time for these two road visionaries.

Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hoehe, exhibition "The Mountain - Women on the Rise" | ©  grossglockner.at/Franz Neumayr

The ‘The mountain, Women on the rise’ exhibition on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe recounts the long path to recognition of female Alpinists. In an exciting and entertaining way, it highlights the outstanding achievements of women on the mountain and uncovers so many myths. Take the interactive quiz to see what your own preconceptions are, and find out how much you know about the differences and similarities between men and women. 

Parking facility & parking spaces: well looked after

While you are exploring the natural surroundings, exhibitions & the like, your car is well looked after in the parking facility at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe and the parking spaces up to the Hoher Sattel – free of charge of course.

Biker Point: Everything for two wheels

At the Biker Point on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe cubicles with lockers are reserved for motorcyclists. Helmets, jackets and other items of equipment can be safely stowed in these so-called ‘bikers’ safes’, while they head out on a stroll or visit an exhibition

Woman sitting at the car with coffee in her hand and smiling, Glockner road in the background | © grossglockner.at

E-charging stations: enjoy the views & charge your battery 

On Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe visitors enjoying e-mobility on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, will find E-charging stations at car parks highlighted in green. More information about Glockner ePower is available here. Incidentally, have you ever heard about the Grossglockner pleasure E-tour through the Hohe Tauern National Park? All sustainable, electric information can be found here

Enjoy good things:
Restaurants & gastronomy on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe 

  • Gletscherrestaurant Freiwandeck is located right next to the visitor centre on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe. The sun terrace and restaurant provide a dreamy view to the Grossglockner, the glacier and the impressive mountain backdrop. 
  • Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Haus, a bothy set-up based on an historic example, scores points with its cosy snug and superb sun terrace. The lodge can be reached on foot via the Kaiserstein panoramic path. 
  • The Panorama Restaurant seats 250 and has a sensational sun terrace with a spectacular view to the Grossglockner, the Pasterze and the surrounding mountains. A high-performance lift takes you direct to the floor where the restaurant is located.  
  • The Kaiserstein is a small, cosy snack spot that is located directly at the Wilhelm Swarovski observatory. 

Marmot & Glacier ice:  
Adventures around Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe   

Kaiserstein panorama trail to Wilhelm Swarovski Observatory
Wilhelm Swarovski Observatory with the Grossglockner in the background | © grossglockner.at/Michael Stabentheiner

The panorama trail to the Kaiserstein starts above the parking facility on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe. After around 10 minutes you come to Wilhelm Swarovski Observatory. Enjoy spectacular views from the vantage point with high precision optic equipment made by Tyrolean company Swarovski. Watch the cute marmots chasing each other, spot the colony of mighty ibex above the observatory and follow the path of ambitious Glockner Alpinists! From the observatory continue to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Haus and to the bus car park (walking time of around 30 mins). 

‘Gletscherweg’ trail and Pasterze glacier cable car

From Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe take the Gletscherweg, a secured Alpine path (walking time to the glacier is around 30 mins, ascent from the glacier is around 1 hour – sturdy footwear recommended!), down to the Pasterze glacier. You can also use the glacier cable car – fee payable – with which you can comfortably tackle half of the ascent/descent. Once you get to the glacier tongue, start your hike on the Pasterzenweg with its ‘Stoamandln’ (cairns), via Margaritzenstausee, continuing to the Glocknerhaus (walking time of around 1 ½ hours). 


The starting point for the Gamsgrubenweg is located on Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe: the award-winning panoramic trail which provides fantastic views, proceeding across the Pasterze and illustrating the ‘legendary’ realm of the mountains in several tunnels. After a good hour you come to the Wasserfallwinkl – the loveliest snack point in Austria with hundreds of artistically constructed little cairns.  

The Gamsgrubenweg is currently only passable up to the exit at Tunnel 6 – after that point it is blocked. The last tunnel of the Gamsgrubenweg is only suitable for Alpinists wearing protective helmets and using professional safety equipment, and is negotiated at your own risk. The circular route via Hofmannsweg is also affected by the area that is blocked.

Alpe Adria Trail | © grossglockner.at

Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe is the starting point for the first stage of the Alpe-Adria-Trail. This long-distance hiking path connects the regions of Carinthia, Slovenia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia  in a total of 43 stages (1 stage = approx. 20 km; walking time of around 6 hours). From the foot of the Grossglockner the trail proceeds through the loveliest of Carinthia’s mountain and lake areas, close to the crossing point of the three countries of Austria, Italy, Slovenia, continuing to Adria and Muggia. Detailed information about this long-distance hiking path can be found on the website

Did you know?

The hike on the panorama path can also be walked free of charge accompanied by National Park rangers. They have lots of interesting information and key facts to tell you about the fauna, flora and of course the majestic Grossglockner. All information about the free guided tours with National Park rangers can be found here. 

Events & Guided tours