The 15km-long Panoramic Glacier Road, also known as Ötztal Glacier Road (Ötztaler Gletscherstraße in German), reaching an elevation of 2,830m (9,285ft) above the sea level, ranks among the highest mountain roads in the Eastern Alps, connecting the village of Sölden with the glacier ski areas. It's one of the highest mountain roads of Europe. A sign warns “Mountain Road Only for Experienced Riders.”
The Ötztal Glacier Road, located in the in the Ötztal Alps, is the second highest paved road in Europe and links directly Sölden with Rettenbach Glacier and Tiefenbach Glacier. The two glaciers are connected to each other by the famous Rosi Mittermeier Tunnel (with a length of 1,750 m), the Europe's highest road tunnel. The highest point of the road is at the southern end of the tunnel, at an elevation of 2,830 m (9,285 ft) above the sea level.
Due to the unique location of the Glacier Road amidst high Alpine regions and the climb in elevation over thousands of feet, and pass through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. The road was built in 1972 as a spur from the existing Hochsölden road. The road has been built to accommodate two lanes in each direction, and the average incline is 11 %, and therefore of no problem for cars or buses. Snow chains in winter months are advisable, as it can snow quite unexpectedly in these high alpine climates. The road is only open when considered not dangerous (avalanches). This can sometimes mean that a second road block is possible. The road is accessible for heavy trucks (lorries up to 38 tons) and buses without any problem. Snow chains and steel tracks might be required troughout the year! Due to the unique location of the Glacier Road amidst high Alpine regions, leading up to 2.800 m above sea level, there exists always a risk of sudden unexpected precipitation or drop in temperature. It is warmly recommended to provide the necessary equipment at any time of the year.
This scenic toll road climbs the Rettenbach valley from Solden in the Ötztal valley inTyrol. It’s usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. The glacier ski areas are accessible for heavy trucks (lorries up to 38 tons) and buses without any problem. It was used for scenery in an action chase sequence in Bond’s Spectre movie.
• Road length: Sölden - Rettenbach Glacier: approx. 13 km. Rettenbach Glacier - Tiefenbach Glacier approx. 3 km
• Average elevation gain: 11%
• Maximum elevation gain: 13%