Heiligenblut is a picturesque town in the state of Carinthia, in the southern part of Austria. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and proximity to the Grossglockner (3798 m), Austria's highest mountain. It is called the "Gateway to the Grossglockner" due to its location. The town and its vicinity are a popular destination for mountaineers and nature enthusiasts.

The town is surrounded by breathtaking Alpine scenery, making it a favourite destination for hikers, skiers, and climbers. The area offers numerous hiking trails and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Did you know? The 720-kilometre-long Alpe Adria Trail starts here.

Map - Where is Heiligenblut located?

Heiligenblut is located in Carinthia, in the southern part of Austria. It is in the Hohe Tauern National Park, near the Italian border. The town is at the foot of the Grossglockner, Austria's highest peak, and is surrounded by stunning Alpine landscapes. The town is accessible by road and is well-connected to other major cities. The nearest airports are Salzburg Airport and Klagenfurt Airport, a few hours' drive away.

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Map: Heiligenblut- Vienna distance

More about Heiligenblut

  • Heiligenblut, which translates to "Holy Blood" in English, is named after a relic kept in the local church since the 8th century. The relic is said to be a drop of Christ's blood, making the town a significant pilgrimage destination for Catholics.
  • It hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including traditional Austrian celebrations, music festivals, and sports events. These events often provide a glimpse into local culture and traditions.
The St. Vincent Church in Heiligenblut is an impressive Gothic church that houses the relic and is a must-visit for tourists.
Heiligenblut has a range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals, to cater to the needs of tourists. The town is known for its warm hospitality and charming Alpine atmosphere.

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße) is a famous scenic drive that starts near Heiligenblut and takes you through the Hohe Tauern National Park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. It's a popular route for motorists and cyclists.

Jungfernsprung waterfall (5 km)

The "Jungfernsprung" is a notable waterfall located in the vicinity of Heiligenblut. It is sometimes called the "Virgin's Leap" in English. Knowing for its dramatic and picturesque setting, it is a popular natural attraction in the region. Hikers can reach the waterfall by following a hiking trail.

Jungfernsprung waterfall: The journey to the waterfall not only offers the opportunity to witness the natural beauty of the Austrian Alps but also allows you to explore the folklore and history of the region.

Gossnitzer Wasserfall (3km)

The Gossnitz Waterfall is known for its picturesque setting, surrounded by lush Alpine vegetation and dramatic rocky cliffs. The waterfall cascades fall from a height of approximately 60 meters, creating a stunning display of flowing water against the backdrop of the Austrian Alps. It's a great spot for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers.

Gossnitzer Wasserfall: Many hiking trails in the area lead here, making it a rewarding destination for those who want to explore the natural beauty of Heiligenblut and its surroundings.

History of the town

Heiligenblut has a rich history, primarily centred around its status as a pilgrimage site and its location in the heart of the Austrian Alps. Here are some key historical highlights:

  • Pilgrimage Site: The history of Heiligenblut is closely tied to its status as a pilgrimage destination. The town takes its name, "Holy Blood," from a religious relic kept in the local church since the 8th century. This relic is believed to be a drop of Christ's blood, making it a significant religious site for Catholics. Pilgrims have been visiting Heiligenblut for centuries to venerate this relic.
  • Medieval Origins: Heiligenblut was founded in the Middle Ages, and its history as a settlement dates back over a thousand years. The St. Vincent Church, which houses the relic of the Holy Blood, is an impressive Gothic structure that has stood as a symbol of faith and pilgrimage for centuries.
  • Alpine Farming: Besides its religious significance, Heiligenblut historically relied on agriculture and Alpine farming as a way of life. The local community would herd livestock, farm, and craft to sustain themselves in the challenging mountain environment.
  • Tourism Development: With the advent of tourism in the 19th and 20th centuries, Heiligenblut began to attract visitors drawn to the region's stunning natural beauty and the Grossglockner. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road construction in the early 20th century further increased tourism to the area, making it accessible to more travellers.
  • World War II: Like much of Europe, Heiligenblut and the surrounding region were affected by World War II. The area saw its share of wartime challenges and changes in occupation during the conflict.

Today, Heiligenblut continues to thrive as a tourist destination, welcoming visitors from around the world who enjoy the natural beauty of the Alps, engage in outdoor activities, and explore its historical and cultural heritage.

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