Liechtenstein Gorge (Liechtensteinklamm), Austria
This is the longest and deepest gorge in the Alps, as well as the most picturesque and idyllic. It is place where rainbows are born, where the force of water is more powerful than that of the mighty rock. It is where nature is stronger than fantasy.
Liechtenstein Gorge rightly deserves the best epithet and the highest praise possible and it is well known far from Austria’s borders.
So what exactly is the gorge?
The gorge is the most surprising monument to nature, a whole world of waterfalls and roaring streams which rush endlessly through rocks reaching a height of three hundred metres. Raised bridges, which you can stand on to catch your breath, wooden staircases, which lead off into the inner depths of the rocks, allow even fresher views. When you’re down in the gorge you find yourself overcome by the awesome power of water, both embracing and fearing it.
Liechtenstein Gorge is four kilometres long, but only one and a half of that are set up for viewing. There are places where the distance between the rocks is only around a metre. The rocks are also so tall that when you lift your head up you can only catch sight of a narrow sliver of the sky. When rays of sunlight do reach down inside through the “eye” above, an amazingly unique game between light and water is created, with a huge number of both tiny and giant rainbows disappearing and reappearing in different places.
The gorge was formed several hundred thousand years ago when climate change during the Ice Age caused the glaciers to melt and huge quantities of water which rushed downwards. The roaring Großarl alpine stream merged with the streams from the glacial melt water and all of this water together carved down through into the valley. The water showed itself to be powerful than the rock and, as a result, the gorge was formed.
Our journey of the history of the gorge as an area open visitors begins in 1875. It was here that the first works began to be carried out under the auspices of the Pongau Regional Alpine Club (Pongauer Alpinvereins). A lack of necessary funding, however, brought the project to a halt and the search began for sponsor. It was found in the form of Prince Johann II von Liechtenstein. Only a year later, in 1876, the construction works were completed and the gorge received the name Liechtenstein in honour of the Prince. In 1924 the first guesthouse was built next to the gorge and it still receives visitors to this day (it was recently restored in 2011). The gorge is open to visitors from the end of May until the end of October. The best time of day to visit is early in the morning and in the evening just before closing time.
Some useful advice:
– The gorge can be very cold, even when the weather outside is warm, so make sure you take a warm sweater or jacket with you.
– Eventhought Liechtensteinklamm is fitted with stairs and bridges make sure you wear proper shoes. Don’t slide and make sure you dig your heel in when walking. The gorge is rather humid and wet in places.
Photographs from this and other blog entries on gorges and waterfalls can also be seen in the album. Open»
5600 St. Johann im Pongau
Tel: +43 (0) 6412 8572
Open to visitros from the start of May to the end of October. The prices and opening times for 2016 can be found on the site»
Liechtenstein Gorge (Liechtensteinklamm) is located four kilometres from the southern exit from the town of Sankt Johann im Pongau (just follow the signposts).
From Salzburg the journey takes under an hour by car. You can get there by travelling on Autobahn A10 as far as the Pongau interchange, turning at Bischofshofen and by going straight on to the southern part of Sankt Johann. The rest of the way is signposted.
From Munich it takes two and a half to three hours by car. A direct train from Salzburg to Sankt Johann takes a little over an hour and it’s possible to walk from the train station to the gorge in good weather (it’s five kilometres, if you’re into walking) or you can take a taxi, which is much easier.