Nature & Mountains / The Alps

The highest peaks in the Alps

The Alps are one of the biggest mountain ranges in the world. They extend for almost 1,200km, and cross eight different countries. Starting near Nice in France, they pass through Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Slovenia, ending in Austria.

With a surface area of 190,959km², the Alps are a rich source of biodiversity, where nature reigns supreme. More than 30,000 species of animals and 13,000 plant species live here, including wolves, ibexes, marmots, bearded vultures and salamanders. If you want to learn more about mountain wildlife, take a look at these articles.

However, the Alps are also one of the highest mountain ranges in the world, with the famous Mont Blanc peak at 4,810m, as well as numerous others that rise above 4,000m. These 82 peaks can be found in France, Switzerland and Italy.

Let’s take a journey to discover the Alps’ highest peaks.

Mont Blanc 🇫🇷

The peak of Mont Blanc rises above the clouds
The snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc pierces the clouds. © Charlie Hammond

Majestic, colossal, overpowering – there are so many words that describe this mythical summit. But there’s no doubt that at 4,810m, Mont Blanc is not only the highest mountain in the Alps, but also in the whole of the French and Western European mountain ranges.

The third most visited natural site in the world, it attracts millions of visitors and thousands of mountaineers from all over the world every year, all curious to explore this legendary place.

Climbing Mont Blanc

It is possible to climb Mont Blanc and it’s a dream shared by mountaineers worldwide.

However, it’s an expedition that should not be taken lightly. As the Chamonix-Mont Blanc tourist office warns: “The dream is accessible if you don’t underestimate the deceptively easy slopes of this legendary mountain. Conquering this summit is a real mountaineering achievement, due to its various aspects: high altitude, physical commitment, technical skills and preparation. So, if you want this mountain to be one of your most wonderful memories, call upon the services of a high mountain guide.”

If you’re after a less challenging adventure, you can still appreciate this wonderful mountain by staying in the famous resort of Chamonix and exploring it from there.

Why not ski in the mountains surrounding it, or take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi? You can strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and follow the routes around it, paraglide from it or fly over it in a helicopter. You’ll be spoiled for choice and will soon understand why it is known as the roof of Europe!

Mont Maudit 🇫🇷

The rocky surroundings of Mont Maudit
Mont Maudit – a summit in the Mont Blanc Massif © Alpinéo

The second-highest mountain in the French Alps, Mont Maudit rises to an altitude of almost 4,465m. It’s definitely one to visit while you’re staying in Chamonix.

Often overlooked by mountaineers in favour of neighbouring Mont Blanc, its ascent is still exceptional.

One of its ridges, the Kuffner ridge, is renowned for its beauty and is considered to be one of the most spectacular routes to the top of Mont Maudit, due to its impressive panoramas, altitude, isolation and variety of climbs.

But again, those wishing to conquer it should be in very good physical condition, experienced and well-equipped. Be sure to ask an expert for advice if you plan to tackle it.

It’s also a good idea to take regular breaks at the refuges along the way to regain your strength. Depending on your chosen route, the refuges you might come across include the Torino hut, the Cosmiques hut and the Fourches bivouac.

As for its name, it gets that from the old name for Mont Blanc: the cursed mountain. Mont Maudit is also the site of the first fatal accident during an expedition to Mont Blanc in 1820, but skilled alpinists shouldn’t let that deter them from experiencing its beauty!

The Dôme du Goûter 🇫🇷

The Dôme du Goûter is another of the Alps’ highest peaks.

Reaching a height of 4,304m, this mountain is an essential stage in the ascent of Mont Blanc. Just a few steps from the summit, on the Aiguille du Goûter, you’ll find a hut of the same name where you can enjoy a well-earned break before heading back down.

The metal Refuge du Goûter perches on the edge of a snowy cliff, way above the clouds
The Refuge du Goûter clings to the cliffs between the snow and the clouds © Ski Libre

The mountain gets its unusual name from the time of day when the sun passes over its summit – at 4 pm in the afternoon. This is the traditional time when children eat their afternoon snack or “goûter”!

You can observe this phenomenon from the town of Chamonix, or better still, from one of our beautiful luxury partner properties, which you can book through OVO Network.

You’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in Chamonix. Whatever the season, whatever your age or level of fitness, there’s something for everyone. And here are some articles that prove it:

Mont Blanc du Tacul 🇫🇷

The summit of Mont-Blanc du Tacul covered in snow and coloured pink by the sunset
The snow-covered summit of Mont-Blanc du Tacul: it’s the perfect first climb for budding mountaineers © John Valai

Part of the Mont Blanc Massif between the Aiguille du Midi and Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc du Tacul is another peak on the official list of 4,000m climbs drawn up by the UIAA (International Union of Mountaineering Associations).

At 4,248m, its summit is an ideal climb for those who are new to high mountain climbing, thanks to its relatively easy access routes. Some of these routes can be done in half a day, and are popular with climbers of all abilities.

But you’ll still need a guide, especially if you are a novice climber, and you’ll need all the right equipment to tackle the different terrains, which alternate between rocks, crevasses snow and ice.

If you want to tackle this ice giant, we recommend staying in Chamonix, to make your stay and your climb easier. As the Aiguille du Midi is the starting point for one of the most popular routes, you’ll be right there, ready to jump in the cable car and tackle the faces of one of the highest peaks in the Alps.

It’s a classic and unmissable climb, that’s just as worthy as its higher neighbours.

Find more properties near Mont Blanc


La Pointe Dufour 🇨🇭

Pointe Dufour has to take first place when it comes to the highest peaks in Switzerland. With a height of 4,634m, it’s the highest peak in Switzerland and one of the highest mountains in the Alps

Situated in the heart of the Mont Rose Massif, on the border between Switzerland and Italy, it attracts many climbers prepared to tackle its steep faces and extreme conditions to reach its summit.

Due to its altitude, the peak is always covered in snow and temperatures rarely rise above 0°C in some seasons. It is also regularly hit by violent thunderstorms, strong winds, fog, frost and snow or hail storms. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you set out for the summit.

The snowy, rocky peak of Pointe Dufour pierces the clouds
There’s snow all year round on the summit of Pointe Dufour, the highest peak in Switzerland

Set out to conquer it

To conquer this mountain from the Swiss side, you’ll need to board the Gornergrat cogwheel railway, which leaves from Zermatt. The train will take you to Rotenboden station, the starting point for your ascent.

On the way, you’ll come across the Monte Rosa refuge – we recommend that you spend the night here before continuing.

The next section between the hut (2883m) and the summit is long and difficult. However, you’ll forget the long and difficult journey when you see the magnificent views from the top.

MySwitzerland also warns about the dangers of climbing these high peaks: “Climbing four-thousand metre summits requires good physical health, meticulous preparation and technical skills in mountain sports. We recommend booking a mountain guide. Switzerland Tourism accepts no liability in this case.”

Nordend 🇨🇭

The snow-covered peak of Nordend in Switzerland
Nordend, one of the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps © Office de Tourisme MySwitzerland

The summit of Nordend, next to Pointe Dufour, is also one of the highest mountains in the Alps, at 4,609 metres, and a must-see destination for altitude enthusiasts.

It’s possible to climb it, but again, good equipment, training and physical fitness are important. You’ll also need a guide, who will share his local knowledge and best advice.

If you’re travelling from the main French Alpine ski resorts, you should allow between 2-3 hours to reach Zermatt, the starting point for an ascent on Nordend:

  • From Chamonix: 2h20
  • From Morzine: 2h45
  • From Megève or Les Gets: 2h50

This summit is located at the northern end of the Monte Rosa massif, hence its name – Nordend means northern end in German.

Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 🇮🇹

At 4,748m, Mont Blanc in Courmayeur is another of the highest peaks in the Alps. Located on the border between France and Italy, it is also the highest mountain in Italy.

As its name suggests, this mountain is located in the resort of Courmayeur, not far from Chamonix, and close to its cousin, Mont Blanc.

Courmayeur is a lively mountain resort, especially in winter, when there’s plenty for those who love snow sports.

The resort has about 20 ski lifts and 30 different slopes and offers a Mont-Blanc Unlimited ski pass, which allows you to cross into the Chamonix area. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts can also take advantage of this exceptional setting, thanks to the numerous trails.

In summer the Val Vény and the Val Feret are also popular with climbers, hikers and mountain bikers. High mountain enthusiasts can take advantage of the fine weather to push their limits by setting out for the summit.

Those who are really committed can continue up to the summit of Mont Blanc, which is linked by a small ridge.

Mont Blanc and Mont Blanc of Courmayeur are less than a kilometre apart – the latter is known as an “antecima”, a secondary mountain peak situated below a main peak, at a slightly lower altitude. It can also be considered a stage in the ascent on the main summit.

The Grandes Jorasses 🇮🇹

An aerial view of the Grandes Jorasses and its six peaks in the sunshine and cloud
The Grandes Jorasses ridge marks the border between France and Italy © Chamonix Expérience

At 4,206m, the summit of Grandes Jorasses also deserves its place amongst the highest mountains in the Alps.

It’s easily recognisable by its rocky ridge with six peaks, which marks the border between France and Italy. These are:

  • Pointe Walker at 4,208m
  • Pointe Whymper at 4,184m
  • Pointe Croz at 4,110m
  • Pointe Marguerite at 4,066m
  • Pointe Hélène at 4,045m
  • Pointe Young at 3,996m

Many routes crisscross its various slopes, but its reputation comes mainly from its north face. At 1,200m high and 1km long, it is one of the largest granite faces in the Alps. For a long time, its ascent was considered to be one of the great challenges of the Alps.

Still today, the north face attracts climbers from all over the world, and it now has a large number of climbing lines evolving on rocky, glacial and mixed terrain. These allow it to be climbed in all seasons.

But beware, its ascent is no less difficult. Access to the Grandes Jorasses is only for the most experienced climbers. You’ll find more accessible routes on its other sides.

A climber tackles the Grandes Jorasses as the sun sets
Climbers tackle the Grandes Jorasses at sunset © Sylvain Mauroux

If you’re not a climber, but still want to see the Grandes Jorasses, there is another way!

You’ll have to head for Chamonix and take the cable car that links the Aiguille du Midi to the Pointe Hellbronner. This spectacular aerial ride offers a unique panorama of the Mont Blanc Massif and the Grandes Jorasses.

So now you know all about the Alps’ highest peaks, whether they are French, Swiss or Italian. Now all you have to do is visit them and see them for yourself! Check out our range of luxury partner properties across the Alps, to find the perfect base for your Alpine holiday:

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