Europe is home to some of the most spectacular and diverse mountain ranges in the world. From the Alps to the Caucasus, from the Pyrenees to the Carpathians, Europe offers countless opportunities for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and cultural explorers.
But do you know which are the highest mountains in Europe? And how do they compare to the tallest peaks in other continents?
Ten Highest Mountains in Europe
In this article, we will reveal the top 10 highest mountains in Europe, based on their elevation above sea level. We will also provide some interesting facts and tips about each mountain, such as its location, history, difficulty, and best time to visit.
So, if you are ready to discover the ultimate bucket list of European mountains, keep reading!
10. Mount Kazbek (5,054 m)
Mount Kazbek is a dormant stratovolcano in the Caucasus Mountains and straddles the border between Russia and Georgia. It is the second tallest volcano in the Caucasus Mountains, after Mount Elbrus.
Mount Kazbek is a popular destination for mountaineers, as it offers stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and valleys. The most common route to the summit starts from the village of Stepantsminda in Georgia and takes about 3-4 days to complete. The best time to climb Mount Kazbek is from June to September.
9. Janga/Jangi-Tau (5,059 m)
Janga is the fifth tallest peak in Europe, with an elevation of 5,059 m. The peak is located on the Russia-Georgia border, straddling Russia’s Kabardino-Balkaria Republic and the Georgian province of Svaneti. Janga’s slopes are covered in large glaciers and ice caps.
Janga is a challenging and remote mountain, that requires technical skills and experience to climb. The first ascent was made in 1889 by a British expedition led by Douglas Freshfield. The best time to climb Janga is from July to September.
8. Koshtan-Tau (5,152 m)
Koshtan-Tau is the highest peak of the Koshtan massif in the Caucasus Mountains and ranks as the fourth tallest in Europe. The peak has an elevation of 5,152 m and is located in the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, which is a federal subject of Russia, near the country’s border with Georgia.
Koshtan-Tau is a complex and steep mountain, with several ridges and faces. The first ascent was made in 1889 by climber Herman Woolley and his party. The best time to climb Koshtan-Tau is from June to September.
7. Shkhara (5,201 m)
Shkhara is the third tallest peak in Europe, with an elevation of 5,201 m. It is part of the Caucasus Mountains and is located in Georgia. It is also the country’s highest peak. Additionally, Shkhara is only 88 km from Kutaisi, Georgia’s second-largest city, and is situated southeast of Mount Elbrus.
Shkhara is a difficult and dangerous mountain to climb, as it has many crevasses, avalanches, and rockfalls. The peak was first climbed in 1888 by a British/Swiss team. The best time to climb Shkhara is from July to September.
6. Dykh-Tau (5,205 m)
With an elevation of 5,205 m in the Caucasus Mountains, Dykh-Tau is Europe’s second-highest mountain. It is located in Kabardino-Balkaria, which is a federal subject of Russia, near the Russia-Georgia border. The peak’s name is derived from the Turkic language, in which dik dagh means “Jagged Mount”.
Dykh-Tau is a formidable and impressive mountain, with steep slopes and sharp ridges. The first ascent was made in 1888 by Mummery and Zarfluh. The best time to climb Dykh-Tau is from June to September.
5. Mont Blanc (4,809 m)
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe outside of the Caucasus Mountains. It has an elevation of 4,809 m and is located on the border between France and Italy. Mont Blanc is also part of the Alps mountain range, which spans eight countries in Central and Western Europe.
Mont Blanc is one of the most famous and visited mountains in the world, attracting thousands of climbers every year. The first ascent was made in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard. The best time to climb Mont Blanc is from June to September.
4. Dufourspitze (4,634 m)
Dufourspitze is the highest peak of Monte Rosa, a massif in the Alps that lies on the border between Switzerland and Italy. It has an elevation of 4,634 m and is the second-highest mountain in the Alps, after Mont Blanc.
Dufourspitze is a challenging and rewarding mountain to climb, offering spectacular views of the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn, and the Bernese Alps. The first ascent was made in 1855 by a team led by Charles Hudson. The best time to climb Dufourspitze is from July to September.
3. Matterhorn (4,478 m)
The Matterhorn is one of the most iconic and recognizable mountains in the world, thanks to its distinctive pyramidal shape. It has an elevation of 4,478 m and is located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, in the Alps.
The Matterhorn is a difficult and dangerous mountain to climb, as it has many steep and exposed sections, as well as frequent rockfalls and avalanches. The first ascent was made in 1865 by a team led by Edward Whymper, but four of the seven climbers died during the descent. The best time to climb the Matterhorn is from July to September.
2. Elbrus (5,642 m)
Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe and the highest volcano in Eurasia. It has an elevation of 5,642 m and is located in the Caucasus Mountains, within Southern Russia. Elbrus has two summits, the taller west summit and the shorter east summit, which are connected by a saddle.
Elbrus is a popular destination for mountaineers, as it is relatively accessible and not very technical. However, it still requires good physical fitness and acclimatization, as well as proper equipment and guides. The first ascent was made in 1829 by Khillar Khachirov. The best time to climb Elbrus is from May to September.
1. Mount Everest (8,848 m)
Mount Everest is not technically in Europe, but we couldn’t resist including it on this list. It is the highest mountain in the world, with an elevation of 8,848 m. It is located on the border between Nepal and China, in the Himalayas.
Mount Everest is the ultimate challenge for any mountaineer, as it requires extreme physical and mental endurance, as well as a lot of money and luck. The first ascent was made in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The best time to climb Mount Everest is from April to May or from September to October.
Europe has some of the most amazing mountains in the world, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges. Whether you are looking for a thrilling adventure or a peaceful escape, there is a mountain for you.
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about these incredible peaks. If you are interested in climbing any of them, make sure you do your research, prepare well, and stay safe.
And if you have any questions or comments about this article or any of these mountains, feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you!
Most Asked Questions About European Mountains
Q: What are the main mountain ranges in Europe? A: The main mountain ranges in Europe are:
The Alps: A large mountain range that spans across eight countries: France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, and Monaco.
The Caucasus: A mountain range that separates Europe and Asia, running
- from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, across Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
- The Pyrenees: A mountain range that forms a natural border between France and Spain, and extends to Andorra and Portugal.
- The Carpathians: A mountain range that runs through Central and Eastern Europe, across Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, and Czech Republic.
- The Apennines: A mountain range that runs along the length of Italy, from the Alps to Sicily.
- The Balkan Mountains: A mountain range that runs through the Balkan Peninsula, across Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, and Turkey.
- The Scandinavian Mountains: A mountain range that runs along the Scandinavian Peninsula, across Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
Q: What is the difference between a mountain and a hill? A: There is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a mountain or a hill. However, some general criteria that are often used are:
- Elevation: A mountain is usually higher than a hill. However, there is no fixed threshold for this. Some sources suggest that a mountain should be at least 300 m or 1,000 ft above sea level, while others use different values.
- Slope: A mountain is usually steeper than a hill. However, this is also subjective and depends on the shape and size of the landform.
- Local context: A mountain or a hill may be defined relative to the surrounding landscape. For example, a small elevation in a flat area may be considered a hill, while a similar elevation in a hilly area may be considered a mountain.
Q: How are mountains formed? A: Mountains are formed by various geological processes that shape the Earth’s surface. The most common processes are:
- Plate tectonics: This is when the Earth’s crust is divided into large pieces called plates that move over the mantle. When two plates collide or slide past each other, they create pressure and friction that cause the crust to fold, uplift, or break. This results in the formation of mountains such as the Himalayas, the Alps, and the Andes.
- Volcanism: This is when magma (molten rock) rises from the mantle to the surface through cracks or vents in the crust. When the magma reaches the surface, it cools and solidifies into volcanic rock. This results in the formation of mountains such as Mount Fuji, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount Etna.
- Erosion: This is when water, wind, ice, or gravity wear away the surface of the land over time. This can create valleys, canyons, or basins between mountains or hills. It can also expose or sculpt the underlying rock layers of mountains or hills. This results in the formation of mountains such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), Grand Canyon, and Matterhorn.
Q: What are some benefits of mountains? A: Mountains provide many benefits for humans and nature. Some of these are:
- Biodiversity: Mountains host a rich variety of plants and animals that have adapted to different climates and altitudes. Many of these species are endemic (found only in one place) or endangered (at risk of extinction). Mountains also act as refuges for wildlife from human activities or climate change.
- Water resources: Mountains store and supply water for millions of people around the world. They collect precipitation (rain or snow) and release it gradually through rivers, streams, lakes, or glaciers. They also filter and purify water by removing pollutants or sediments.
- Climate regulation: Mountains influence the global and regional climate by affecting the circulation of air and moisture. They create different temperature zones and weather patterns depending on their height and location. They also help mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Cultural diversity: Mountains are home to many indigenous peoples and ethnic groups that have developed their own languages, traditions, religions, and lifestyles. They also have historical and spiritual significance for many cultures around the world.
- Recreation and tourism: Mountains offer many opportunities for recreation and tourism such as hiking,