A sure-fire way of getting away from the masses of tourists who congregate around Europe's marquee attractions is to take a drive in the country. For this, Austria is unsurpassed.
We refer to roads by color: gold for Autobahn, red for federal roads, and yellow and grey for the most rural routes because that's how they are shown on the large scale (1:200,000 or 1:150,000) maps we recommend for off-Autobahn European driving.
It is the 'yellow' and 'gray' roads that take one deep into the quiet countryside where traffic is light, the scenery most appealing, and where a country's true character reveals itself. A sedate spin down these byways is a most satisfying travel experience.
For beautiful auto trips through remote, sparsely-populated countryside where traffic ranges from light to nonexistent, it's hard to beat Austria. Unlike Germany and Switzerland, where there seems to be a village or town every few kilometers, and all too often traffic consists of long lines of cars behind slow moving trucks, there are portions of Austria, particularly in Styria, where one is reminded of the deserted back roads of Oregon and Washington.
Heavily trafficked country roads are not, of course, unknown in Austria. Just take a ride over the fantastic Grossglockner some summer day, or, on a winter weekend, try Red Road #315 south from Landeck to the Italian and Swiss borders. Though slowdowns and tie-ups can occur virtually anywhere, most of the following suggested routes are over less traveled highways.
Salzburg Grossglockner via Badgastein
Map: Österreich Die Generalkarte #6 & #7 scale 1:200,000.
The longest and most diverse of the three drives suggested in this issue, this one begins in Salzburg and ends in Bruck or Zell am See. We suggest a stopover at Badgastein or Bad Hofgastein and then over the Grossglockner the following day.