Photos clockwise from top left: Grosser Speikkogel (Austria #1);
Kitzbuheler Horn (Austria most popular); Grobglockner (best road);
Rettenbachferner (highest road); Grosser Osheniksee (Austria #2).
Pound for pound (well, hectare for hectare) there is no greater cycling country than Austria. All of its Top 10 climbs are steep, scenic and exceptionally challenging. Großkirchheim, Austria is home to five Top World 100 bike climbs within a 40 kilometer radius. We have climbed by road bike in Austria twice and thoroughly enjoyed each trip.
THE HARDEST BIKE CLIMB IN AUSTRIA
This is the hardest bike climb in Austria, but the upper portion may be closed to bikes as of June 2018. We would recommend you double check Strava before traveling a long distance for this climb. With that caveat, here is our report: At 9.7 miles with an average grade of 10.6% and Fiets Index of 18.39, this is the most difficult climb in Austria and a World Top 10. The climb is very scenic and ends at an aircraft detection radar tower. Grosser means “great” in German and this truly is a great climb!
THE NEXT HARDEST BIKE CLIMB IN AUSTRIA
Don’t blink or you’ll miss this one! At km 2.9/mile 1.8 there’s a right turn onto a one lane access road to Oscheniksee Reservoir that is 9.33 km (at 12.6% average grade!) up the hill and through multiple sets of wonderful hairpins. Nearly all of this climb is on a road that is not open to vehicle traffic. This is an amazing and very fun bike ride.
HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN AUSTRIA
This is an amazing climb that has many features to it -- Rettenbachferner is not just another pretty face! First, this is a Top 50 World Climb and simply a brute! At just over eight miles it averages a 10.7% grade and has a 2.5 mile stretch averaging just over 12%! So, it really tests us from start to finish and is well worth the trip to Solden just for the challenge of the climb itself.
This is the highest paved road in Europe that is open to motor vehicles. Pico Veleta is a higher road, but it is not open to motor vehicles all the way to the top.
BEST ROAD IN AUSTRIA
Grobglockner is the highest mountain in Austria and the road over it is an engineering marvel. The road surface is impeccable, with many stunning views of the surrounding mountains along the way. The climb is very challenging, averaging nearly 9% over 11.5 miles. Grobglockner from the Fusch (north) side is ranked #28 on our Top 100 World Climbs List (from Pockhorn it is ranked #86).
The grade is nearly constant throughout the climb -- the average for steepest ¼ mile is 11.67%, steepest mile 10.76% and steepest stretch over a 2.5 mile run is 10.1%. Other than a respite through the hairpins (kehres), there is no relief from the double digit grade.
THE MOST FAMOUS AND POPULAR ROAD BIKE CLIMB IN AUSTRIA
This is the only climb we have documented throughout the world (including hundreds of climbs in each of Europe and the US) that has a timing machine on it -- you pay for a ticket and push start and are then timed to the finish, at which point you’ll be ranked. This timing machine was developed pre-Strava, but was a Strava of one for a long time!
The climb is just a monster -- 12% average grade for 10 kilometers -- and is one of the great bike climbs of Austria, Europe, and the world. There are also not only signs counting every hairpin (kehre), but also kilometer markers as well. A magnificent and fun bike climb.
Km and gradient markers along the climb.
Each hairpin is marked.
THE LONGEST ROAD IN AUSTRIA
Ride 37.8 kilometers, gaining 1,953 meters at 5% average grade.
At 37.8 kilometers, the Kauntertal Gletscher climb is by far the longest bike climb in Austria.