If you want to reach the summit of the highest mountain around Salzburg but prefer to avoid the strenuous hike, then enjoy a comfortable ride to the top on the Untersberg cable car. In operation since 1961, the cable car connects the base station in Grödig/St. Leonhard (456 m above sea level) and the summit station of Geiereck (1,776 m) rising 1,320 m in altitude.
The history of the Untersbergbahn cable car
Already in the 19th Century, ambitious plans were developed to connect the Untersberg mountain with the city of Salzburg. Although it is unimaginable today, the initial plans called for installing a cable car connecting the former harbor area along the current Rudolfskai street with the summit of the Untersberg. Those plans were ultimately abandoned, however the technical expertise that it took to construct the existing cable car system at the end of the 1950’s is no less impressive. The first stage of construction required installing three supporting cable car lines at the base station in Grödig/St. Leonhard. Even today, nearly 60 years later, looking up at the summit from the base of the mountain shows just how challenging this project was for the engineers and workers. The sites where the support towers now stand could only be reached and marked out by experienced climbers using ropes. Despite all the technical challenges, the first complete test run of the cable car to the summit took place on February 18, 1961. Two months later, on April 27, the first passengers were ferried to the top. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine the Untersberg without its cable car, especially since about 100,000 skiers and hikers use the cable car year-round for a relaxing ride to the summit. Expect some goosebumps along the way though, because the enclosed gondola ascends directly alongside the rocky precipices on the ride to the summit.
The Untersberg - a summer and winter paradise
During the winter Salzburgers use the Untersberg as their local ski resort. They ride the cable car leisurely to the top and, weather permitting, ski or snowboard down the 7.5 km slope in 15 minutes to the valley station in Fürstenbrunn. From there it is just a short bus ride back to the cable car station and another run.
Riding the cable car to the summit is equally exciting in the summer. The view on the ride up is itself something you will long remember. The view from atop stretches from the city of Salzburg far below to the Berchtesgadener Land region. When things are especially clear, you can see all the way to the Salzkammergut Lake District and to Lake Chiemsee. Not to be overlooked is the surrounding alpine world with the snow-covered peaks of the Dachstein and Hohe Tauern range. Enjoy the view from atop the summit while hiking along the windy ridge or while leisurely relaxing in a lounge chair.
Important Information: The summit station of the Untersberg cable car is located 1,776 m above sea level and is therefore a part of the high alpine zone. As such, visitors must wear solid shoes and appropriate clothing.
The Untersberg cable car...
- is open daily, except during maintenance periods in the spring and the fall.
- departs on the full and the half hour, with additional runs during high volume periods.
can easily be reached by bus lines 25 and 28, and by car from the Tauern autobahn or from the Alpenstraße road.
Information at www.untersbergbahn.at