The Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe

Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe - BesTripTips

As a source of inspiration for humanity since the beginning of time, mountains have been the subject of poems, songs, paintings, and much more. But for climbers, mountains represent something more. It is a challenge, an opportunity to surpass their limits and reach new heights.

In Europe, many mountains offer a unique climbing experience. Mountains with a unique touch can evoke emotions you can always carry with you. So, in this BesTripTips article, I take you to discover some of these peaks, specifically the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe:

  • Matterhorn – 4478 m
  • Elbrus – 5642 m
  • Mont Blanc – 4809 m
  • Grossglockner – 3798 m
  • Mount Olympus – 2918 m


The Matterhorn: A Majestic Friend in the Alps – 4478 m

Matterhorn Mount - The Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe - BesTripTips

Hey, adventurous friends, this treasure of the Alps has fascinated generations of explorers. We’re talking about the majestic Matterhorn, a true icon among alpine peaks that has captured the hearts of many climbers.

Touching the sky at 4,478 meters, the Matterhorn is one of the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe, and it presents itself with its unique pyramid shape, almost challenging anyone to conquer its summit. Its history is as epic as it is fascinating when, in 1865, a courageous group of explorers led by Edward Whymper completed the first ascent that marked the beginning of a new era for mountain enthusiasts.

Now, the Matterhorn offers various ascent routes, each with its unique challenge. The Hörnli Ridge, with its panoramic view, is the most chosen route, but do not underestimate the adventures along the Zmutt Ridge to the northwest or the Furggen Ridge to the southeast because each “path” tells stories of brave explorers who challenged their mountaineering skills.

The Matterhorn: Mountain Climbing Culture

What about the majestic rock walls and snowy ridges, especially the famous north face? In 1931, the brothers Franz and Toni Schmid paved the way, opening a new frontier in mountaineering. Today, challenging this face requires courage, skill, and much audacity.

The Matterhorn, however, is more than a challenge because it is also a place linked to sad moments. Many people have lost their lives trying to embrace its summit. But let’s not be discouraged because its breathtaking beauty is an endless source of inspiration.

The ascent of the Matterhorn has contributed to the “mountain” culture. Since the first conquest in 1865, the charm of this mountain has attracted tourists, skiers, and climbers, transforming regions like Zermatt and Cervinia into must-visit destinations.

Today, the Matterhorn is still one of the most popular destinations worldwide. The Hörnli and Lion routes, among others, attract adventurers from every corner of the planet. But beware: Popularity has led to management challenges, with capacity regulations in high-altitude refuges like the Hörnli refuge.

In 2015, 150 years passed since its first ascent with events and celebrations, but its magnificent silhouette remains a beacon for adventure lovers. So, my friends, if you’re ready for a unique experience among the Swiss peaks, the Matterhorn will welcome you with its imposing arms and a view that will leave you speechless.

Elbrus: The Queen of Europe – 5642 m

Elbrus Mount - The Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe - BesTripTips

In the western part of the Caucasus, this sleeping giant is the highest mountain in Russia and Europe, dominating the landscape at 5,642 meters. Elbrus is not just a peak but a legend encapsulating history, mythology, and mountaineering adventures.

The mountain has two peaks, both dormant-like volcanoes, with the western peak rising to 5,642 meters and the eastern one to 5,621 meters. The history of its conquests began in 1829 when the Circassian Khillar Khashirov reached the eastern summit. A British expedition in 1874 led by F. Crauford Grove conquered the western summit, starting a long history of challenges and successes where climbing is possible during the summer, with violent winds and sudden storms ascending an adventurous feat.

Besides traditional ascents, there are unique adventures like the car ascent in 1997 by the Russian Alexander Abramov or the ski ascent in 1998 by a group of climbers from the Republic of Karachai-Cherkess. In 2016, Russian climbers Artyom Kuimov and Sergey Baranov reached the summit of quads.

The Elbrus Race

Finally, the “Elbrus Race”, where athletes compete on challenging routes to the top and back down, with records held by names like Denis Urubko and Karl Egloff.

However, in recent years, traveling to Elbrus has become safer after a period of instability because of economic problems and armed conflicts. In 2020, the region attracted 424,000 visitors, demonstrating the resurgence of Russian domestic tourism.

So, climbers, be warned. Elbrus represents more than just a mountain; Climbing it is like embracing the history of the earth beneath our feet, an experience that remains engraved in the memory of those who dare to challenge its peaks.

Mont Blanc: Between History and Challenges – 4809 m

Blanc Mount - The Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe - BesTripTips

If there is a mountain that embodies the greatness and majesty of the Alps, it is Mont Blanc. With its “mere” 4,805 meters, this extraordinary peak is a treasure shared between France and Italy, offering alpine adventure enthusiasts an unforgettable experience.

Imagine walking through the valleys of Ferret and Veny in Italy and Montjoie and Arve in France, breathing the fresh air of one of the most famous places in Europe, Mont Blanc, which, with its rich geological history, is a granite giant that has defied the passage of time, painting the surrounding landscape. It is definitely one of the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe.

Climbing Mont Blanc

In 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard made the first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc, paving the way for a long list of mountain enthusiasts eager to conquer the summit. Today, many climbing routes adorn the mountain, with the Goûter Route being the favorite among climbers.

But Mont Blanc is much more than a mountaineering challenge. It is steeped in history, symbolizing French and Italian lands with epochs of political and cultural changes.

The snowy peaks and eternal glaciers offer a unique environment. Still, they are not immune to the challenges of modern times, where climate change has knocked on Mont Blanc’s doors, bringing higher temperatures and sudden heat waves that have altered climbing routes and made the ascent more demanding. Despite the difficulties, Mont Blanc remains a sought-after destination for nature lovers. Refuges like Goûter and Vallot welcome climbers during their adventures, offering a cozy shelter amidst the wild beauty of the Alps.

Mont Blanc has witnessed unique and sometimes eccentric feats, from the daring landing of a pilot on the imposing summit in the ‘60s to the extraordinary achievements of climbers who have broken speed records.

Projects like the proposal to designate it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site signal the collective responsibility to preserve this mountain’s timeless beauty.

In conclusion, Mont Blanc is one of the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe, an invitation to embrace nature with respect and admiration. Every step on this mountain is a journey through history, challenge, and wonder. Anyone venturing on Mont Blanc will carry the fatigue of the ascent and the privilege of sharing a piece of alpine magic.

Grossglockner: The Queen of the Eastern Alps – 3798 m

Grossglockner Mount - The Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe - BesTripTips

Among the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe, specifically in the Eastern Alps, where Grossglockner rises majestically as the undisputed lady of this spectacular alpine panorama. With its distinctive pyramidal profile, Grossglockner is much more than a mountain; it is an Austrian icon that enchants the eyes and captures the hearts of anyone fortunate enough to admire it.

On the border between the Austrian regions of Carinthia and East Tyrol, Grossglockner, or simply Glockner, rises to 3,798 meters, earning the title of the highest mountain in Austria and the Alps east of the Brenner Pass. Looking at Grossglockner, it is impossible not to notice its pyramidal summit. It is actually composed of two peaks, Grossglockner and Kleinglockner (3,770 meters), separated by the Glocknerscharte saddle. This majestic duo creates a spectacle that fascinates climbers and mountain enthusiasts worldwide.

History of Grossglockner

The history of Grossglockner is wrapped in legend and the courage of those who first challenged its unconquered peaks. In fact, the first attempt to climb dates back to 1799, when two brave farmers from Heiligenblut were tasked with exploring a route through the Leitertal valley. On July 23 of that year, they reached the summit of Kleinglockner, paving the way for the famous ascent on July 28, 1800, led by brave men like Sepp and Martin Klotz, Martin Reicher, and others.

The mountain is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including the Pasterze, Austria’s largest glacier adorning the eastern slope of Grossglockner, and ridges like Stüdlgrat and Pallavicinirinne, offering challenges and adventures to the boldest climbers.

Grossglockner is also famous for its alpine road, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Winding through spectacular landscapes, it connects Heiligenblut to Bruck in Salzburg. This scenic road, built between 1930 and 1935, offers visitors an unforgettable experience, culminating at an altitude of 2,576 meters.

In conclusion, Grossglockner is not just a mountain but a living legend that embodies the majesty of the Eastern Alps. Its rich history, intricate topography, and breathtaking beauty attract nature lovers and adventurers, creating an eternal bond with anyone fortunate enough to explore its peaks and admire its timeless splendor.

Mount Olympus: A Journey through Peaks and Legends – 2918 m

Olympus Mount - The Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe - BesTripTips

The last among the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe is Mount Olympus. Itl ies in picturesque northern Greece, between the enchanting Thessaly and the majestic Macedonia. It is a natural wonder that captures the imagination of anyone approaching this spectacle. With 2,917 meters in height, Mount Olympus overlooks the Greek panorama, offering a breathtaking view, a journey through ancient myths, and unforgettable mountaineering adventures.

Mountaineering on Mount Olympus is a fairytale adventure, an experience that takes at least two days, with nights under the stars and sunrise at the highest peak. The first ascent in 1913, carried out by modern heroes like Christos Kakkalos and the Swiss Frédéric Boissonas and Daniel Baud-Bovy, paved the way for a series of routes and challenges for mountain enthusiasts. The normal route to Mitikas Summit starts from the Prionia location at 1,100 meters above sea level, through the Spilios Agapitos refuge at 2,100 meters, culminating at the highest peak in Greece at 2,917 meters.

Myths and Legends of Mount Olympus

But Mount Olympus is more than a physical challenge because it is home to myths and legends. The summit was considered the dwelling place of the Olympian gods, perpetually shrouded in white clouds that bestowed a divine aura upon the place, where reaching the summit without the gods’ permission was impossible. This mystical aura helped build the charm around this sacred mountain. The connection between Mount Olympus and the northern lights, as suggested by Jean Jacques Dortous de Mairan, adds a touch of poetry and mystery because it envisions the ancient Greeks, observers of this celestial phenomenon, building their beliefs and myths in response to luminous spectacles in the night sky.

In conclusion, Mount Olympus continues to invite adventurers from around the world to explore its beauty, challenge its peaks, and contemplate the legends intertwined with every stone. It is a destination that goes beyond the summits, with the promise of an enchanted journey in one of the most iconic places in Greek mythology and nature.

Choose from the Top 5 Mountains to Climb in Europe

To sum up, exploring the top 5 mountains to climb in Europe is a transformative adventure that immerses climbers in nature’s grandeur and human achievements. Each mountain, a unique chapter in this alpine narrative, beckons adventurers to explore their distinct challenges and historical significance.

The iconic Matterhorn, with its pyramid-like silhouette touching the Alpine skies at 4,478 meters, is a testament to human audacity. The Hörnli Ridge, a favored ascent route, offers panoramic vistas, while the infamous north face, conquered in 1931, remains a symbol of courage and skill. 

Elbrus, the regal queen of Europe, stands at 5,642 meters and is located in the western Caucasus. It boasts towering heights and a rich tapestry of history. Climbers brave the unpredictable summer weather, experiencing both the challenges of the ascent and the allure of unique adventures, such as the 1997 car ascent or the 2016 quad climb.

Mont Blanc, a dreamy giant at 4,805 meters, shared between France and Italy, is more than a mountain: It is a living witness to political and cultural changes. Today’s climbers face the task of navigating the snow-covered slopes and the consequences of climate change, which change ascent routes and introduce new challenges.

Grossglockner, the undisputed queen of the Eastern Alps at 3,798 meters, captivates with its distinctive pyramidal profile. It’s not just a mountain but a living legend, entwined with tales of courageous farmers in 1799 and the awe-inspiring Grossglockner High Alpine Road, a scenic route crafted between 1930 and 1935.

Lastly, Mount Olympus, standing at 2,917 meters, invites adventurers on a mythical journey through ancient legends. Its summit, considered the dwelling place of Olympian gods, merges the allure of natural beauty with the enchantment of Greek mythology. Climbing its heights isn’t a physical endeavor; it’s an exploration of tales as old as time.

Exploring these five European mountains is an immersive experience that intertwines the human spirit with the grandeur of nature, where each peak becomes a canvas painted with stories of bravery, resilience, and the timeless allure of conquering heights. At Bestriptips, we hope you will embark on this “alpine odyssey” and let the echoes of these majestic summits resonate within, weaving an unforgettable tapestry of adventure and triumph. Remember to read also the best trip tips for climbing mountains!

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