Driving the Maltatal – a lesser known Austrian Road?
In May last year the team were introduced to this spectacular road by friends we visited in Austria en-route from Italy. We arrived at our friends tired after a long 6-hour drive and just a little too early in the year to visit the famous Grossglockner pass. With this in mind our hosts suggested a shorter journey the next day to drive the Maltatal High Alpine Pass and what a treat it turned out to be.
Starting in Gmund eventually the road enters the National Park where you will need to pay a toll to access the more adventurous part of the route. We also discovered that Gmund is the birthplace of the Porsche Motor Company and houses a private collection which is open to the public between May & October. To top it off, the road finishes at the Kolbrein dam and hotel, should you wish to extend your stay for the evening or simply enjoy an excellent coffee and cake.
Open in daylight between the first week of May and the last week in October, the road climbs 4,750 feet in 18 miles and has spectacular bends and views (perhaps better left to the passenger to enjoy). The road is dominated by six tunnels blasted through the natural stone. The narrowest tunnels are one-way and controlled by traffic lights so you may have a wait depending upon when you reach the entrance. However, there are signs counting down the amount of time to the light changes and visitors are allowed to leave their car and walk to admire the scenery whilst waiting. Or, like us you may just wait with your car and enjoy some of the interesting cars and motorbikes coming in the opposite direction. Apparently, we were there at the best time of year as the snow melt was adding to the numerous waterfalls cascading down the mountain side. The road is very popular with motorcyclists, so much so that in July a ceremony is held at the top of the damn to bless the bikes and ensure a safe riding year ahead. So, perhaps this is a time to avoid if you are not on two wheels.
Once at the top we parked in the public car park which, whilst busy, had plenty of spaces to choose from. We were then rewarded with spectacular views over the damn and for the less cowardly a walk on the glass ‘airwalk’. After that we were ready for a coffee and apple strudel on the decking of the hotel/visitor centre. The Berghotel Malta has a private car park a little further around from the public site but we were just visiting for the day so, after looking around the visitor centre, we set off to enjoy the whole thing again in the opposite direction.
Take the A10 exit Gmünd (130) direction Gmünd/Maltatal. Follow the road along Maltatal Landstrasse via Fischertratten and Brandstatt to the tollbooth of Malta Hochalmstraße. Then continue on the Malta Hochalmstraße to the Kölnbreinspeicher and Berghotel Malta
NB: If travelling at the start or end of the season it would be wise to check on-line or on the following numbers to check the road is open.
Maltatal High Alpine Road
Toll: Brandstatt 35, 9854 Malta
Office: Rottau 12, 9815 Kolbnitz
Telephone: +43 (0) 50 313 39363
Telephone toll: +43 (0) 47 33 2
Route and contact details thanks to https://www.visitcarinthia.at/