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10 Highest Mountains in Europe You Must Explore in 2024 

Let’s explore the highest and most majestic peaks in Europe. From the Caucasus Mountains to the snow-capped Alps, Europe is the continent of heaven. These mountains are home to some of the world’s most breathtaking and challenging summits. The allure of these giants is irresistible. For those who dare to tackle its slopes, the rewards are well worth the effort, as the views from the summit and the sense of accomplishment are unmatched. 

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List of 10 Highest Mountains in Europe 

  • Mount Elbrus, Russia
  • Dykh-Tau, Russia
  • Shkhara, Georgia
  • Koshtan-Tau, Russia
  • Mount Kazbek, Georgia
  • Tetnuldi, Georgia 
  • Mont Blanc, Italy, France
  • Mount Dzhimara, Russia
  • Ushba, Georgia
  • Monte Rosa, Swiss Alps, Switzerland

1- Mount Elbrus, Russia

Mount Elbrus is located in the Caucasus mountain range on the border of Russia and Georgia. It is the highest mountain in Europe and stands tall at an elevation of 5,642 meters (18,510 feet). 

The ascent to the summit of Mount Elbrus is a significant undertaking as it requires careful planning, physical endurance, and mental toughness. Climbers must contend with unpredictable weather conditions, including sudden storms and extreme cold, which can drop temperatures as low as -30°C. The high altitude and steep terrain also pose significant physical challenges. 

On the contrary, many climbers have successfully reached the summit of Mount Elbrus. One famous story is that of Prometheus, who, according to ancient Greek mythology, was chained to the mountain by Zeus as punishment for stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to humanity. 

The mythological connection adds a layer of cultural significance to the mountain and highlights its importance in the region’s history and folklore.

Mount Elbrus holds a special place in the hearts of the local population. The mountain is revered by the Balkars and Karachays, two Turkic ethnic groups that have lived in the region for centuries. They refer to the mountain as “Mingi Taw,” which translates to “Eternal Mountains” in Turkish, reflecting their deep respect and connection to the land.

Mount Elbrus is also an important geological feature. It is an inactive volcano, with its two principal summits being dormant volcanic domes. The mountain’s snowfields cover an area of 138 square kilometers, hosting 22 principal glaciers and 77 secondary glaciers. These glaciers are the source of several major Russian rivers, including the Baksan, Malka, and Kuban rivers.

2- Dykh-Tau, Russia

Dykh-Tau is the second-highest peak in Europe, with a height of 5,205 meters (17,077 feet). As a climber’s paradise, Dykh-Tau presents a unique set of challenges that only the most seasoned mountaineers dare to conquer.

The climb to Dykh-Tau’s summit is a daunting task, with technical difficulties, a harsh climate, and altitude posing obstacles. The mountain’s north face is particularly notorious for its steep rock, glacier, and ice climbing, which requires climbers to navigate exposed ridgelines constantly at risk of avalanches. An avalanche is the flow of rock and ice sliding swiftly down a mountainside. 

Temperatures during the climbing season often drop below freezing, and the windchill can make the experience even more challenging. Climbers must be incredibly fit and well-prepared to tackle the mountain’s steep inclines and unpredictable weather conditions.

One notable story about summiting Dykh-Tau is that of Jenn Drummond, who became the first woman to climb the Seven Second Summits in 2021. Drummond, a woman from Utah, shared her experience on the mountain. She also described the electric storm that surrounded her as she climbed.  

She recounted the fear of being struck by lightning, triggering avalanches, and the treacherous terrain that made every step feel like a monumental task. Despite the challenges, Drummond’s determination and perseverance paid off as she successfully summited the mountain.

Dykh-Tau is also a part of the Bezengi mountaineering base, which is renowned for its high-quality infrastructure and extensive set of climbing routes. The base is a hub for mountaineers from around the world that offers an opportunity to explore the region’s rich mountaineering history and culture. 

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3- Shkhara, Georgia

Shkhara is located in the Svaneti region of Georgia. It stands at an elevation of 5,193 meters (17,040 ft) above sea level. It is the highest mountain in Georgia and the third highest in the Caucasus Mountains.

Climbing Shkhara is a challenging journey. The mountain’s south face is the most popular route, which is accessible from the village of Ushguli. The village itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its medieval towers and traditional architecture. 

The climb is demanding due to the immensity of the mountain and the harsh weather conditions that often prevail. One of the most famous summit stories of Shkhara is the first winter ascent, which was achieved by Archil Badriashvili and Giorgi Tepnadze in February 2018.

The duo spent eight days climbing the mountain via a new route, overcoming technical terrain and difficulties up to WI5 and M5. Their achievement marked a milestone in the history of mountaineering and a legacy of determination in the Caucasus region.

Shkhara Mountain is deeply rooted in the country’s history. The region surrounding Shkhara is home to a unique and ancient culture that has been preserved through generations. The traditional architecture, the view, and the colorful wildflowers all contribute to an atmosphere that invites exploration.

4- Koshtan-Tau, Russia

Koshtan-Tau is located in the central Caucasus Mountains of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic in Russia. It is the fourth-highest peak in Europe, with a height of 5,144 meters (16,880 feet). 

Koshtan-Tau is situated near the border with Georgia, which makes it a strategic location for those interested in exploring the Caucasus region. It is essential to remember that climbing Koshtan-Tau is no easy venture. The mountain’s slopes and rugged terrain require a high level of expertise and toughness. 

Koshtan-Tau has a history of mountaineering, with many climbers having reached its summit. One of the most famous stories is that of Herman Woolley, who, along with his party, made the first ascent of the mountain in 1889. 

Woolley’s achievement was remarkable, given the limited climbing equipment available at the time. Since then, many other climbers have followed in their footsteps, each with their own dramatic story. 

Koshtan-Tau also holds significant cultural and historical importance for the local communities in the region. The mountain is deeply rooted in the traditions of the indigenous people, who have valued its beauty and significance. 

For many, climbing Koshtan-Tau is not just about reaching the summit but also about connecting with the region’s history and cultural heritage.

5- Mount Kazbek, Georgia

Mount Kazbek is also known as Mkinvartsveri. It is a dormant stratovolcano located in the Kazbegi region of Georgia with a height of 5,054 meters (16,581 feet) above sea level.

The mountain’s location between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea makes it a prominent landmark. The most popular route to climb this mountain, known as the “Normal Route,” starts from the village of Kazbegi in Georgia and follows the Gergeti Glacier to the summit. The climb typically takes two to three days.

One of the most famous summit stories on Mount Kazbek involves the legendary Georgian mountaineer, Mikheil Khergiani. In 1933, Khergiani and his team made the first winter ascent of the mountain, a journey that was considered nearly impossible at the time. 

Mount Kazbek holds significant cultural and religious importance in Georgia. The Gergeti Trinity Church, a 14th-century Georgian Orthodox church, sits at the base of the mountain. 

6- Tetnuldi, Georgia 

Tetnuldi is the sixth highest peak, with a height of 4,858 meters (15,940 feet) above sea level. Tetnuldi’s summit holds a treasure trove of famous stories, passed down through generations.

One of the notable stories of its climbing started in the winter of 1896, when Douglas Freshfield, a seasoned English mountaineer, set his sights on the peak of Tetnuldi in the region of Georgia. 

The mountain’s beauty and grandeur attracted him, and he was determined to be the first to stand at its summit. Freshfield led his team as they battled against the elements to reach the top of Tetnuldi.

On that fateful day, Freshfield and his team stood victorious at the summit and their footprints marked the beginning of a new chapter in the annals of climbing history. These stories not only inspire but also serve as a reminder of the human will to conquer the impossible.

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7- Mont Blanc, Italy & France

Mont Blanc is the seventh-highest peak in Europe and divides France and Italy. This enormous mountain is called Mont Blanc in French and Monte Bianco in Italian. It rises at an astounding height of 4,805 meters (15,766.4 feet) above sea level. 

The climbing challenges earned it a reputation as one of the deadliest mountains in the world. The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on August 8, 1786, by Jacques Balmat and Dr. Michel Paccard who marked the beginning of modern mountaineering.  

Since then, many have attempted to conquer its snow-capped summit, with the first woman, Marie Paradis, reaching the top in 1808. The climb is not for the faint of heart and it requires a high level of fitness and skill to overcome the risky ice walls. 

The region surrounding Mont Blanc has also been a major tourist destination for centuries. It attracts over six million visitors annually. The massif is home to numerous glaciers, including the Mer de Glace and the Miage Glacier. 

In recent years, Mont Blanc has been at the center of concerns over climate change, with its shrinking summit a reminder of the impact of global warming on the environment. The mountain’s height has been measured regularly since 2001, with a notable decrease of 2.22 meters since the last measurement in 2021. 

The shrinkage is attributed to decreased rainfall and higher winds, which highlight the urgent need for environmental action to preserve the natural beauty of Mont Blanc. 

8- Mount Dzhimara, Russia

Mount Dzhimara is also located in the Caucasus Mountain Range in Russia. It stands at an elevation of 4,780 meters (15,680 feet). Mount Dzhimara is also known as “Jimara”. 

One of the most famous summit stories of Mount Dzhimara involves a group of climbers who braved the mountain’s risky slopes and harsh conditions to reach its peak. Their journey was filled with moments of triumph, struggle, and camaraderie.

Mount Dzhimara is evidence of human exploration and the pursuit of conquering nature’s towering heights. 

9- Ushba, Georgia

Ushba is one of the most beautiful peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Interestingly, it stands tall at an elevation of 4,710 meters (15,450 ft), with its south summit slightly higher than the north summit at 4,690 meters (15,387 ft).  

There are more than 50 different routes to climb. English climbers made the first ascent of the north peak in 1888, while a German-Swiss-Austrian expedition under the leadership of B. Rickmer-Rickmers made the first ascent of the south summit in 1903. 

The mountain’s shape and challenging conditions have earned it the nickname “Matterhorn of the Caucasus.”

Ushba’s cultural significance extends beyond its climbing challenges. Ushba was believed to be the residence of the hunting goddess “Dali” in Georgian mythology. The name of the mountain, “Ushba,” is thought to have originated from the Georgian expression “Ushishari Guli,” which translates to “fearless heart.” 

10- Monte Rosa, Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Monte Rosa is nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Switzerland. The term “roëse,” which means “glacier,” in Aostian patois, is the foundation of the mountain’s name.

It is also known as the majestic mountain that stands at an elevation of 4,634 meters (15,203 feet). Located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, this is the second-highest mountain in Western Europe.

The climbing challenges posed by Monte Rosa are formidable, yet rewarding for those who dare to conquer its peaks. The most famous summit story of Monte Rosa took place on August 1, 1855, when a team of brave climbers led by Matthäus and Johannes Zumtaugwald, Ulrich Lauener, Christopher and James Smyth, Charles Hudson, John Birkbeck, and Edward Stephenson started their climbing journey.

The mountain’s proximity to the Italian border and the Swiss canton of Valais has led to a cultural exchange between the two regions, with influences from both Italian and Swiss traditions evident in the local cuisine, architecture, and customs. 

The mountain has been a source of inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians throughout history. The mountain’s dramatic landscapes and towering peaks have also attracted tourists from across the globe. 

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The highest mountains in Europe offer a diverse and challenging landscape for mountaineers and adventurers. These mountains test physical endurance and mental toughness. On the other hand, these mountains also showcase the cultural and geographical diversity of the European continent. 

As we look to the future, we must protect these fragile mountain ecosystems and ensure that they remain accessible for generations to come. By promoting sustainable tourism and responsible climbing practices, we can ensure that these majestic peaks continue to inspire and challenge us for years to come. 


1- What is the Most Scenic Mountain in Europe?

Mont Blanc is the most scenic mountain in Europe, with a height of 4,805 meters above sea level. 

2- Is Mont Blanc the Highest Mountain in Europe?

No. Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe. 

3- How Many Countries Should You Visit on a European trip?

It depends on your schedule but a minimum of three countries on one trip would be perfect.  

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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