From 1970s tourism project to gentle Alpine road

Just like other mountain roads in Austria, the genesis of Nockalm Road is down to the increase in motorisation in the 1950s. Having a car soon became a basic requirement for families. An annual summer and winter holiday became a matter of course. It was during this time of economic upsurge that in 1970, Carinthian state councillor Herbert Bacher made plans for the construction of an Alpine road via the Nockalm. The aim was to ‘give tourism a decisive boost’. The new link was to follow old Alpine paths, on wide stretches, with a gentle alignment with the landscape being the utmost priority. The construction of the road was effected without any huge interventions. The result – a harmonious, natural route that was in keeping with the terrain; just as we still know it today, enjoying every bend!  

Ski circus vs. Biosphere reserve: The Carinthians' battle with nature 

After a construction period spanning eleven years, this charming Alpine road was opened in 1981 by state president Rudolf Kirchschläger. He praised the ‘consensus between technology and nature’, which if nothing else was down to the resistance of the Carinthian people. After all, the original plan had intended to establish two hotel villages with 3000 beds (!) and 18 cable cars (!) after completion of the Nockalm Road, to help promote tourism. But the project developers hadn’t reckoned on the Carinthian people! They did not totally agree with these plans and in 1980, 94 percent of the people were opposed to this mass tourism project and in favour of maintaining the unique natural surroundings. And that is why this wonderfully designed mountain road still proceeds through the Nockberge Biosphere reserve today!

Exhibtions "The window to the biosphere park" at the Glckenhütte | © Biosphärenpark Nockberge/Brandstätter

"A window to the Biosphere reserve' in Glockenhütte 

The re-designed ‘A window to the Biosphere reserve’ exhibition in Glockenhütte recounts the eventful history of the region, through to today’s Biosphere reserve, where nature and people live in harmony. Find out more about the exhibition here. As with all the other exhibitions along the Nockalm Road, there is no charge to visit the ‘A window to the Biosphere reserve’ exhibition! 


The floral road via the Nockalm and its 52 "Reidn"

During the summer months, the Nockalm Road is lined by a real carpet of flowers and it is this that has earned it the designation ‘floral road’. The names of the 52 switchbacks pays tribute to the unbelievable variety of flowers. Every switchback – known as ‘Reidn’ in Carinthian dialect – bears the name of an indigenous plant, also quoted in dialect of course. For anyone who has a furrowed brow when they come across names like ‘Schuastar Nagl-Reidn’ or ‘Kranawet-Reidn’, we provide a list of individual descriptions translated into standard German, which should help.  

52 Reidn (German)

The ‘floral road’ provides an experience from May to the end of October. Get information now about opening times and prices for Carinthia’s Nockalm Road!

opening times and prices