Range TypeContinent
Highest PointElbrus (5642 m/18,510 ft)
Area11,567,047 sq km / 4,466,041 sq mi
Area may include lowland areas
Extent11,822 km / 7,346 mi North-South
9,571 km / 5,947 mi East-West
Center Lat/Long61° 59' N; 27° 1' E
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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Europe, as geographers have long noted, is not really a continent. The most cynical view is that it is merely a peninsula of Asia, only promoted to continent status becasue people from there happened to have conquered most of the world at one time or another.

However, this convention is very useful when it comes to dividing up the world. The Eurasian landmass is so huge and dwarfs all the other continents so much that chopping it up helps equalize things a little bit. This is especially true when it comes to dividing up the mountain ranges of the world--Asia by itself has enough mountains to overwhelm the range scheme, and anything that can be offloaded to Europe keeps the continents more in balance.

Therefore, the definition of Europe used here includes the entire ranges of the Urals and the Caucasus, since using them in their traditional role as dividing lines makes little sense in the context of range classification. Also included, of course, are all ranges west of the Urals: the Alps, Pyrennes, Carpathians, Scandinavian Mountains, and many other important highlands.

For such a relatively small continent, Europe actually has more than its fair share of awesome alpine terrain. The Alps are the quintessential European range, dominating the heart of the continent and rising to rugged, ice-clad slopes directly from densely-populated plains, but the Caucasus are actually higher and even more scenically spectacular.

Even after the Alps and Cacausus, Europe still holds many other impressive ranges, from the unexplored icecaps of Svalbard to the rocky cliffs of Greece, and from the forested ridges of the Urals to the glaciers of the Pyrenees. Except for extreme elevation and massive Central Asia-style blocs of ranges, Europe can match any continent in the variety and challenge of its peaks.

Map of Europe
Click on neighboring ranges to navigate to them.

Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.

Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Europe.
WorldLevel 0 (Parent)
         North AmericaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         South AmericaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         EuropeLevel 1
                 Scandinavia-European ArcticLevel 2 (Child)
                 Northwest EuropeLevel 2 (Child)
                 Iberian PeninsulaLevel 2 (Child)
                 AlpsLevel 2 (Child)
                 Italian Peninsula and IslandsLevel 2 (Child)
                 Eastern Europe RangesLevel 2 (Child)
                 Balkan PeninsulaLevel 2 (Child)
                 Ural MountainsLevel 2 (Child)
                 Caucasus MountainsLevel 2 (Child)
         AsiaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         AfricaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         Australia-OceaniaLevel 1 (Sibling)
         AntarcticaLevel 1 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the Europe

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NamemftRange2
1.Elbrus564218,510Caucasus Mountains
2.Gora Dykh-Tau520517,077Caucasus Mountains
3.Shkhara519317,037Caucasus Mountains
4.Gora Koshtan-Tau515216,903Caucasus Mountains
5.Pik Pushkin510016,732Caucasus Mountains
6.Jangi-Tau508516,683Caucasus Mountains
7.Gora Kazbek503416,516Caucasus Mountains
8.Mishrigi501916,467Caucasus Mountains
9.Katyn-Tau497916,335Caucasus Mountains
10.Kukurtlu Dome497816,332Caucasus Mountains
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NamemftRange2
1.Elbrus564218,510Caucasus Mountains
2.Mont Blanc481015,781Alps
3.Mulhacén347911,414Iberian Peninsula
4.Etna335711,014Italian Peninsula and Islands
5.Musala29259596Balkan Peninsula
6.Gerlachovský štít26548707Eastern Europe Ranges
7.Galdhøpiggen24698100Scandinavia-European Arctic
8.Gora Narodnaya18956217Ural Mountains
9.Puy de Sancy18856184Northwest Europe

Photos of Peaks in the Europe


The volcanic cone of Elbrus is very atypical for the Caucasus.
Gora Kazbek
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Kazbek from Kasbegi (1984-09-21). Photo by Frederick Johnson.
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Mont Blanc

The summit of Mont Blanc as seen from the Dome du Gouter area, on the standard ascent route (1993-08-17).
Monte Bianco di Courmayeur
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Italian topographic maps clearly show the France-Italy border passing over the summit of Mont Blanc, as specified by treaty.
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Monte Rosa

Greg Slayden contemplates the cloud-capped icy majesty of the Monte Rosa massif, high point of the Swiss Alps (1993-08-14).
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Nordend from the Dufourspitze (2010-07-31). Photo by Robert Garneau.
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The Mischabel massif on a crystal clear day, from the slopes of the Fletschhorn. The Dom is the highest summit (1993-08-21).
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Happy team on Parrotspitze summit - successful acclimatization before going to Mont Blanc. The peak behind us is Liskamm (2019-06-16). Photo by Rok Podgornik.
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On the east ridge (1991-09-01). Photo by Iwan Auderset.
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This unusual view of the Matterhorn showcases it’s sheer east face (1993-08).

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