While the Alps may be the most well-known mountain range in Europe, the Caucasus Mountains contain all 10 of the continent's highest peaks. The Caucasus Mountains run from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, and are considered a natural boundary that separates Europe and Asia. The 10 highest peaks in the Caucasus Mountains are all located in Russia or Georgia, or along the border between the two countries. Additionally, these 10 peaks are higher than the tallest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, which has an elevation of 4,808 m.
The Six Highest Peaks in Europe
1. Mount Elbrus
Europe's tallest peak, Mount Elbrus, is located in the Caucasus Mountains, within Southern Russia. It is a dormant volcano with two summits, the taller west summit that has an elevation of 5,642 m, and the shorter east summit that has an elevation of 5,621 m. Mount Elbrus is included on various lists of notable mountains, such as the Seven Summits and the Volcanic Seven Summits, which are the highest mountains and highest volcanoes on each continent, respectively.
With an elevation of 5,205 in the Caucasus Mountains, Dykh-Tau is Europe's second-highest mountain. It is located in Kabardino-Balkaria, which is a federal subject of Russia, near the Russia-Georgia border. The peak's name is dervied from the Turkic language, in which dik dagh means "Jagged Mount." In 1888, Mummery and Zarfluh were the first to summit Dykh-Tau.
Shkhara is the third tallest peak in Europe, with an elevation of 5,201 m, and is part of the Caucasus Mountains. It is located in Georgia, and is the country's highest peak. Additionally, Shkhara is only 88 km from Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, and is situated southeast of Mount Elbrus. Climbing Shkhara is challenging and demands a perilous ascent along a steep, heavily-glaciated peak. The peak was first climbed in 1888 by a British/Swiss team.
Koshtan-Tau is the highest peak of the Koshtan massif in the Caucasus Mountains, and ranks as the fourth tallest in Europe. The peak has an elevation of 5,152 m and is located in the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, which is a federal subject of Russia, near the country's border with Georgia. Koshtan-Tau was first summited in 1889 by climber Herman Woolley and his party.
Janga is the fifth tallest peak in Europe, with an elevation of 5,059 m. The peak is located on the Russia-Georgia border, straddling Russia's Kabardino-Balkaria Republic and the Georgian province of Svaneti. Janga's slopes are covered in large glaciers and ice caps.
6. Mount Kazbek
With an elevation of 5,054 m, Mount Kazbek is the sixth highest mountain in Europe. It is a dormant stratovolcano in the Caucasus Mountains, and straddles the border between Russia and Georgia. It is the second tallest volcano in the Caucasus Mountains, after Mount Elbrus.