When it comes to choosing the right resort for the upcoming skiing holiday, factors such as guaranteed snow, distance to the destination and the size and family-friendliness of the skiing area are important to most winter sports enthusiasts. But in addition to these points, the surrounding mountains and the fabulous views are of course also part of a perfect ski holiday. But which mountain is the highest mountain in the Alps and which other famous mountains are there? SnowTrex provides help and presents the most famous mountains of the Alps.
An overview of the most famous mountains in the Alps
Mont Blanc in France (4,810 m)
Of course, the French giant Mont Blanc should not be missing from this list. With a height of 4,810 m, this majestic mountain is the highest mountain in the Alps and also the highest mountain in Europe. Mont Blanc is located in the Mont Blanc group in the Western Alps and on the French border with Italy. Its mighty appearance provides the unique backdrop for the Chamonix-Mont Blanc ski region. The ski region is grouped around the French collos, also called the “Roof of the Alps”, and impresses with a total of 870 kilometres of pistes and around 260 lifts. This world-famous mountain cannot be skied itself, but there are all the more pistes with a view of the breathtaking mountain scenery. Incidentally, the Mont Blanc massif has been on the French list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000.
Dufourspitze in Switzerland (4,634 m)
The highest mountain in Switzerland is not the Matterhorn, as many think, but the Dufourspitze. This is disputed time and again. Even though the peak, at 4,634 m, towers above all four-thousand-metre peaks in Switzerland, it is only about 160 m as the crow flies from the Italian border. Since the mountain is thus located to a considerable extent in Italian territory, the Swiss origin of the Dufourspitze is repeatedly doubted. However, it is undisputed that the Doufourspitze is the second highest peak in the Alps after Mont Blanc. It is part of the Monte Rosa massif in the Valais Alps. The impressive rock formation was named after the Swiss general and cartographer Guillaume-Henri Dufour, who published the first accurate map of Switzerland in the mid-19th century. Dufour is still considered one of the most famous and influential people in the history of Switzerland.
There is no ski area on the Dufourspitze, yet every year courageous tourers conquer the second highest mountain in the Alps. The starting point for this is the legendary Monte Rosa Hut, which lies at 2,883 m and can be reached after 2 to 3 hours from the Totenboden railway station of the Gornergrath cable car. From here, tourers start the superlative ski tour towards the Dufourspitze. This route is only suitable for experienced tourers who are free from giddiness. After the tough ascent, a breathtaking view over the valleys of Italy and the many four-thousand-metre peaks of the Valais Alps awaits the adventurers.
Matterhorn in Switzerland (4,478 m)
The Matterhorn – one of, if not the (!) landmark of Switzerland, is definitely one of the most famous mountains in the Alps and enjoys great fame and popularity worldwide. At a height of 4,478 m, the Matterhorn is one of the highest mountains in Switzerland and the ninth highest mountain in the Alps. The mountain is located in the Valais Alps between Breuil-Cervinia and the popular ski resort of Zermatt. A special feature of the Matterhorn, apart from its impressive shape, is that its east, north and west faces are in Swiss territory and the south face is in Italian territory. The Zermatt ski area is located directly on the Matterhorn and with the Zermatt ski pass, winter sports enthusiasts have access to a total of 200 kilometres of slopes in the entire Zermatt-Matterhorn ski region.
The Matterhorn itself is not accessible to winter sports enthusiasts, but the ski area boasts the world’s highest 3S cable car. The top station of the cable car is located at an altitude of 3,821 m on the Klein-Matterhorn. From here, skiers and snowboarders can waggle down an incredible 14.9 km long run that ends in the village of Zermatt. The piste is one of the longest runs in Europe and does not require any draw paths at all. This much is certain: the Matterhorn and the neighbouring ski region definitely have a lot to offer. If you want to learn even more about the legendary Matterhorn, you should plan a visit to the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt.
Eiger-Mönch-Jungfrau triumvirate in Switzerland (up to 4,158 m)
In the Bernese Alps there is a famous trio consisting of the mountains Jungfrau (4,158 m), Mönch (4,107 m) and Eiger (3,970 m). The 3 four-thousand-metre peaks lie on the border of the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais. At 4,158 m, the Jungfrau is the highest mountain of the Dreigestirn and is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area in the Swiss Alps, which covers around 820 km² and is on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list. Skiers and snowboarders will certainly get their money’s worth in the region around the impressive triumvirate. The Jungfrau Region impresses with around 200 kilometres of pistes at altitudes ranging from 796 m to 2,970 m. Winter sports enthusiasts have an excellent view of the 3 mountains from numerous slopes, whose impressive relief can also be seen from afar.
Ortler in Italy (3,905 m)
The highest mountain in South Tyrol is the Ortler with an altitude of 3,905 m. The heavily glaciated mountain is located in the west of South Tyrol and is the main peak of the Ortler Alps. Numerous legends and myths entwine around the Italian giant. In the often gloomy tales, the Ortler is not exactly described as a fair-weather excursion destination and is associated, among other things, with supernatural hunters who hunt across the sky and the realm of the dead. The Ortler is not accessible to alpine winter sports enthusiasts, but it is notorious among ambitious mountaineers. The first ascent, ordered by Archduke Johann of Austria in 1804, is considered the most important alpine event of that time, and even today only the bravest mountaineers dare to make the dangerous ascent to the summit of the Ortler every year.
Winter sports enthusiasts get their money’s worth in the nearby skiing area of Sulden am Ortler. There are a total of 44 kilometres of pistes to explore, and in addition to the varied range of slopes, the popular snow park and much more, the view of what is probably the most famous Italian mountain, the Ortler, is also a highlight of a ski holiday in the region.
Großglockner in Austria (3,798 m)
The legendary Grossglockner is located in the Hohe Tauern mountains in Austria and is the highest mountain in the country at an altitude of 3,798 metres. The mountain and the region around the Hohe Tauern, which are considered the cradle of alpinism, are well-known not least because of the excellent conditions for alpine winter sports. The Großglockner itself cannot be skied or snowboarded, but snow lovers with the “Großglockner” ski pass have the opportunity to explore the varied ski area of Großglockner-Heiligenblut with its 55 kilometres of pistes and 13 ascent options. The skiing area reaches an altitude of 2,989 m and impresses with varied, mostly intermediate pistes. In addition, the view of the Austrian giant makes skiing in this ski area a very special experience.
Wildspitze in Austria (approx. 3,768 m)
The highest mountain in North Tyrol and the Ötztal Alps is also the second highest mountain in Austria: the Wildspitze. The western and northern flanks of the three-thousander form the valley head of the Pitztal, which is considered one of the wildest and most beautiful valleys in Austria. The south and east sides of the Dreitausender end in the Venter Valley. As is fitting, the summit of the Wildspitze has of course been marked with a summit cross since 1933. When the old cross was replaced by a new one in 2000, the old weathered summit cross was brought down to the valley, where it was cleaned and renovated. It was then placed on the southern high bank of the Rofenache between the village of Vern and the Rofenhöfe. The background to this is that the summit of the Wildspitze can only be seen from this very spot. Thus, 2 summit crosses were dedicated to the summit of the Wildspitze.
The slopes of the Wildspitze are not accessible by ski or snowboard, even though they are very popular among ambitious mountaineers. Skiers and snowboarders have to be content with the view of the Austrian giant in the Vent ski area. “Small but mighty” is the motto of the ski area, which impresses with 5 blue and 10 red pistes and, thanks to its high location between 1,900 m and 2,646 m, brings with it a high degree of snow reliability. The ski area is therefore particularly suitable for families, as even children can easily find their way around the manageable area. And when looking at the family photo with the famous Wildspitze in the background, people like to think back to their idyllic holiday.
Großvenediger in Austria (3,657 m)
At 3,657 m, the Großvenediger is the highest mountain in the Venediger group in the Austrian province of Salzburg as well as in the Hohe Tauern. The mountain is heavily glaciated and its impressive appearance and four distinctive ridges have ensured international fame. The “world-old majesty”, as the mountain has also been called since its first ascent in 1841, has had to lose some of its height in the course of glacier retreat in recent years. In the 1980s, the highest peak was still measured at 3,674 m, which brought about some change and confusion. The melting of the glacier at the summit cross meant that it had to be moved. Surveys have shown that after the relocation of the summit cross, the summit was no longer in Salzburg, but in East Tyrol. The Großvenediger has literally moved, which is undoubtedly rather unusual for a mountain.
A milestone was set by the alpinist Günther Freiherr von Saar when he climbed the summit of the Austrian giant on skis in 1902. Skiing on the glacier, however, is still reserved for the absolute elite of the freerider scene. The ordinary skier or snowboarder has to be content with a view of the Großvenediger, which, however, is also quite impressive. In the Wildkogel-Arena, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the unique scenery of the Hohe Tauern with the fantastic view of the millennia-old majesty on a total of 75 kilometres of pistes.
Dolomites in Italy (up to 3,343 m)
This mountain range is undoubtedly one of the most popular and famous mountain regions in the Alps, if not in the whole world, and should definitely not be missing from this list. The Dolomites are located in the Southern Alps and are also classified as part of the Southern Limestone Alps. The impressive rock formations are spread over the regions of Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. In total, there are over 60 three-thousand-metre peaks in the region. The highest mountain group in the Dolomites is the Marmolada, also known as the Queen of the Dolomites, with an altitude of up to 3,343 metres. The impressive peaks build up between Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto and are bordered on the eastern side by the Cordvole river and on the western side by the Val di Fassa. At 3,343 m, Punta Penia is the highest peak in the entire Dolomites. The grey limestone on light-coloured rock is reminiscent of marble, which gave the impressive Marmolada its name. In the light of the setting sun, a fascinating play of colours in shades of red and violet emerges on the unique rock formation. This much is certain: anyone who has had the opportunity to admire the unique nature of the Marmolada as well as the Dolomites will understand why the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
Especially among winter sports enthusiasts, the Dolomites are a popular destination because skiing holidays of a special kind are possible here. In the region, skiers and snowboarders can use the “Dolomiti Superski” ski pass, which has a lot to offer: 1,200 kilometres of pistes with guaranteed snow at altitudes ranging from 1,500 m to 3,200 m, 450 lifts, 400 ski huts on the edge of the pistes, 24 snow parks and, last but not least, the unique panorama guarantee a ski holiday in a class of its own. By the way, the most famous rock formation of the Dolomites “The Three Peaks” can be admired from the skiing area Three Peaks Dolomites.
Kitzsteinhorn in Austria (3,203 m)
The Kitzsteinhorn with its unique appearance is located near Kaprun in Salzburg. The summit is at an altitude of 3,203 m and just 200 m below it is the top station of the summit cable car, which is part of the Kitzsteinhorn/Maiskogel-Kaprun ski area. The Kitzsteinhorn/Maiskogel-Kaprun ski area comprises three ski areas and guarantees fun on a total of 138 kilometres of pistes, which are accessible by 47 lifts. In addition to the glacier ski area Kitzsteinhorn, which scores with an extremely high snow guarantee, winter sports enthusiasts can explore the ski areas Maiskogel and Schmittenhöhe.
The three ski areas offer everything a winter sports enthusiast could wish for. Beginners can excellently practise their first turns on the wide, flat slopes, while advanced skiers and ambitious carvers can pose down the red and black slopes. For freestylers, each of the three ski areas has its own fun park with various obstacles such as rails, tubes and boxes as well as kickers in different sizes.
Sella Massif in Italy (3,125 m)
The Sella Massif, a plateau-shaped mountain massif in the Italian Dolomites, is a familiar name to many winter sports enthusiasts. It is partly located in South Tyrol, Trentino and Veneto and the highest mountain of the Sella is the Piz Boè with an altitude of 3,125 metres. The impressive mountain formation is known, among other things, for the “most beautiful roundabout in Italy” – probably better known to most as the “Sellaronda”.
The Sellaronda is probably the world’s most famous ski circuit and requires a good level of fitness. Winter sports enthusiasts need at least six hours for the total of 40 kilometres of slopes. The Sellaronda circles the Sella massif and winter sports enthusiasts can choose whether to do it clockwise or anti-clockwise. On the world-famous ski circuit, skiers and snowboarders cross four valleys in three provinces. Since all the slopes of the Sellaronda are blue or red runs, the ski circuit is not only reserved for professionals. However, winter sports enthusiasts who want to push their personal limits can extend the ski circuit with challenging slopes such as the Porta Vescovo run in Arabba.
Dachstein in Austria (2,995 m)
The Dachstein is the highest peak of the Dachstein massif, a mountain group of the Northern Limestone Alps and also the highest mountain of Upper Austria and Styria. The Dachstein massif has a high recognition value due to the so-called double peak and is known far beyond the country’s borders. The higher peak bears the name Dachstein and is located at an altitude of 2,995 metres. Only 400 m to the north, the Niedere Dachstein rises to 2,934 m. The Rittisberg/Dachsteingletscher ski area on the slopes of the Dachstein massif is very popular among winter sports enthusiasts. The ski area impresses with 30 kilometres of pistes and 22 lifts at altitudes ranging from 728 m to 2,700 m. Freeriders in particular get their money’s worth in this ski area, because in addition to the 30 kilometres of prepared pistes, the ski area impresses with 43 km of ski routes. The considerable height of the glacier also brings with it a high level of snow reliability and breezy fresh snow.
Zugspitze in Germany (2,962 m)
Germany is not necessarily the country first associated with dreamlike winter landscapes and spectacular mountain panoramas. And yet, one particular German mountain cannot be missing from the list of the most famous mountains in the Alps: the Zugspitze. Germany’s highest mountain is located south of the well-known winter sports resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The summit of the Zugspitze, located in the Wetterstein Mountains in the Alps, lies at an altitude of 2,962 metres.
In the popular Zugspitze ski area, which is located in the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena & Garmisch ski region (213 kilometres of slopes), skiers and snowboarders have the opportunity to explore around 20 kilometres of slopes. The top station of the modern Zugspitzbahn, which provides a breathtaking view with floor-to-ceiling windows, is located at an altitude of 2,943 m and thus only about 20 m below the summit of the German giant. From here, you can ski downhill on the snow-covered slopes of the Zugspitze.
Hochkönig in Austria (2,941 m)
This majestic and imposing mountain has a name to match: Hochkönig. It is located in the Austrian province of Salzburg and is the highest mountain range in the Berchtesgaden Alps. The mountain’s main peak of the same name is at an altitude of 2,941 metres. As our list shows, there are numerous mountains in the Alps that tower above the Hochkönig. What makes our majesty special, however, is that the summit towers over all the mountains within a radius of about 35 km. Thus, the Salzburg massif does not disappear in the midst of mountains of the same height, but towers comparatively alone and impressively high. Incidentally, copper mining was practised at the foot of the Hochkönig, in the Mühlbach area, from 3000 BC (Neolithic Age) until 1977.
The region around the striking Hochkönig massif is particularly popular among alpine winter sports enthusiasts. The versatile and ultra-modern ski areas and the traditional and romantic villages offer optimal conditions for a grandiose skiing holiday. The Hochkönig ski area impresses with 120 kilometres of pistes and 36 ascent options and is particularly suitable for families and beginners due to the wide range of flat, wide pistes. The Salzburg giant provides a unique backdrop and a dreamlike view from shallow-swinging, ultra-modern chairlifts. Those who want to ski even further down the valley are in excellent hands in the region, as the Hochkönig ski area is part of the Ski amadé ski region. With the ski pass of the same name, winter sports enthusiasts have the opportunity to explore no less than 760 kilometres of pistes in Salzburger Land. Everyone really gets their money’s worth here.
Watzmann in Germany (2,713 m)
In southern Germany, to be more precise in Bavaria, lies the imposing Watzmann. The mountain is the central mountain range in the Berchtesgaden Alps and the highest point, the Watzmann Mittelspitze, is at an altitude of 2,713 metres. The mountain is not only known for its considerable height. Its unusual, majestic shape is also unique and ensures awareness and popularity even beyond national borders. According to a survey by BERGSTEIGER magazine, the Watzmann, also called the “mountain of destiny of the Berchtesgaden region”, is incidentally the world’s most beautiful mountain, leaving international giants such as the Matterhorn or the Eiger behind. The east face of the mountain stretches over 1,800 metres in altitude, making it the longest rock face in the Eastern Alps. Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy a total of 60 kilometres of pistes in 6 ski areas in the Berchtesgaden region. The varied offer on the slopes is rounded off with the unique mountain panorama of the Watzmann massif. Definitely worth a ski trip!
Fancy skiing on what is probably Switzerland’s most famous mountain, the Matterhorn? Click here for our offers for skiing holidays in the popular winter sports resort of Zermatt.
FAQ about famous mountains in the Alps
The most famous mountains and mountain groups in the Alps include Mont Blanc (4,810 m) in France and the Doufourspitze (4,634 m) and the Matterhorn (4,478 m) in Switzerland. In addition, the Ortler (3,905 m) and the Dolomites (up to 3,343 m) in Italy as well as the Zugspitze (2,962 m) in Germany.
The highest mountain in Switzerland is not, as many assume, the Matterhorn, but the Doufourspitze. The Dufourspitze is 4,634 m high and is located on the Swiss-Italian border. The top of the mountain is on Swiss territory, although only about 160 m from the Italian border. Dufourspitze is the second highest mountain in the Alps after Mont Blanc (4,810 m).
Located in France, Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, with an altitude of 4,810 meters. It is also the highest mountain in Europe, although controversial. In fact, in the Caucasus Mountains there are eight mountains that are higher than Mont Blanc. First and foremost is Mount Elbrus with a height of 5,642 meters. With these mountains, however, it is disputed whether the respective peak lies on European soil or already belongs to Asia.