The Dobratsch, also known as Villacher Alpen Straße, is a panoramic road that starts directly in Villach and winds up 1190m via 11 bends to a total height of about 1725m above sea level.
After about 1.2km, you drive past the ramp of the Villacher Alpen Arena: the place from which skiers jump down from the ski jump. Here you find out that you have to be insane to jump down from this height with two skis.
Luckily, we are on our bikes. The first 10 km of the climb are through wooded areas. Occasionally you have views over Villach, alternating with views over the Gail valley and the Karawanken mountains.
The higher you get, the more peaks of the Julian Alps loom behind the Karawanks. The asphalt road stops at Rosstratte restaurant. If you have enough time, park your bike, and continue on foot for another two hours to the summit of Dobratsch at 2166m.
The mountain was first mentioned in historical records in the 11th century and was used for centuries as a boundary marker for the surrounding regions.
During World War I, the Dobratsch was a strategic military position and was heavily fortified by both Austrian and Italian forces. The interwar period saw the mountain become a popular destination for Alpine hikers and mountain climbers.
In the 1930s, the Austrian government began construction of a massive system of fortifications and bunkers on the mountain, but the work was never completed due to the outbreak of World War II. After the war, the mountain became a popular tourist destination, with ski lifts and a ski resort established in the area. All the ski lifts are closed nowadays, making the Dobratsch a beloved mountain for ski-touring.
The Dobratsch is a national park and you can encounter many different animals: from snakes to chamois and if you are really lucky -or unlucky- you can even spot brown bears.
The Dobratsch mountain is located in the Gailtal Alps in Austria. It is situated near the town of Villach in the southern part of the country.
In 1348, a powerful earthquake struck the region surrounding the Dobratsch mountain in the Gailtal Alps in Austria. The quake was felt as far as Vienna and had a significant impact on the area. The earthquake caused widespread destruction, damaging many buildings and leaving deep cracks in the ground.
Programs that start in Villach, near the Dobratsch: