The Major Mountain Ranges In Europe

A map showing the elevations of Europe.
A map showing the elevations of Europe.

The Alps are a snow-clad mountain range in Europe that attracts thousands of tourists each year. In fact, the Alps are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. However, although the Alps may be the continent's most well known range, there are numerous other significant mountain range distributed across Europe. Several of Europe's mountain ranges are highlighted below.  


The Pyrenees Mountains are a mountain range in Southwest Europe that form a natural boundary between Spain and France. The range extends for approximately 491 km from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bay of Biscay, and separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe. The highest peak in the Pyrenees Mountains is Aneto, which has an elevation of 3,404 m.


The Carpathian Mountains form an arc extending from Central Europe to Eastern Europe, covering a distance of approximately 1,500 km and ranking as the third longest mountain range in Europe, after the Urals and the Scandinavian Mountains. The range extends through the following countries: Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Serbia. The highest sub-range in the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, which is located in Slovakia, and the highest peak is Gerlachovský štít, which is also located in Slovakia and has an elevation of 2,655 m.


The Scandinavian Mountains are a range located in the Scandinavian Peninsula, with the western edge dropping into the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea, forming the spectacular Norwegian fjords. Although the Scandinavian Mountains are relatively low, they are steep in certain parts. With an elevation of 2,469 m, Galdhøpiggen, which is located in South Norway, is the highest peak in the Scandinavian Mountains, as well as the highest point in mainland Northern Europe. The Scandinavian Mountains also contain the highest points in Sweden and Finland, with elevations of 2,104 m and 1,324 m above sea-level, respectively. Ice fields and glaciers cover large parts of the Scandinavian Mountains.


The Apennine Mountains are a range consisting of several sub-ranges that run parallel to each other for approximately 1,200 km, along the length of peninsular Italy. Como Grande is the tallest peak in the Apennines, with an elevation of 2,912 m. The Apennine Mountains contain pristine forests and montane grasslands, many of which are protected by national parks.

Dinaric Alps

The Dinaric Alps are a mountain range in Southern and Southeastern Europe that form a natural boundary between the Adriatic Sea and the Balkan Peninsula. The range has a length of 645 km and passes through the following countries: Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania. Maja Jezercë, which is located in Albania, is the highest peak in the Dinaric Alps, with an elevation of 2,694 m.

Balkan Mountains

The Balkan Mountain are a mountain range is located in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, stretching for approximately 557 km from the the Vrashka Chuka Peak near the Bulgaria-Siberia border to Cape Emine along the coast of the Black Sea. The highest peaks of the Balkan Mountains are located in the central part of Bulgaria, the tallest of which is Botev Peak, with an elevation of 2,376 m. Several protected areas, such as Central Balkan National Park and Bulgarka Nature Park, help conserve the ecosystem and landscapes within the Balkan Mountains. Additionally, numerous caves within the range are a significant tourist attraction in the region. The Balkan Mountains are closely connected to the history of Bulgaria, and are considered to have the nation and its people.

Ural Mountains

The Ural Mountains are a mountain range that forms part of the natural boundary between Europe and Asia. The mountains run through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and Kazakhstan. Several islands, such as Vaygach Island and the islands of Novaya Zemlya, are a continuation of the Ural Mountains that run below the sea and emerge again on the islands. The Ural Mountains are a rich source of minerals including coal, metal ores, and precious stones, and mining in the region significantly contributes to Russia's economy. The highest peak in the range is Mount Narodnaya, which has an elevation of 1,894 m.

Black Forest

Black Forest is a mountain range located in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg. It is a large, forested area that borders the Rhine Valley to the south and west. The highest peak in the range is Feldberg Mountain, which has an elevation of 1,493 m. The Black Forest has a length of approximately 160 km.

Owl Mountains

The Owl Mountains are a mountain range located in southwestern Poland. The range has a length of approximately 26 km and extends from Kłodzko Land to the historic Lower Silesian region. The highest peak in the Owl Mountains is Wielka Sowa, which has an elevation of 1,014.8 m. A significant part of the range and its landscape is protected by Owl Mountains Landscape Park. 

Caucasus Mountains

Like the Urals, the Caucasus Mountains also form part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The mountain range has a length of approximately 1,200 km and stretches between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Europe's highest peak, Mount Elbrus, which has an elevation of 5,642 m, is located in the Caucasus Mountains. Additionally, all 10 of the tallest peaks in Europe are located in the Caucasus Mountains, particularly in Russia, Georgia, or along the Russia-Georgia border.


The Alps are the highest and longest mountain range that is located entirely in Europe. The range has a length of approximately 1,200 km and stretches across eight Alpine countries in Central, Western, and Southern Europe. Hundreds of peaks within the Alps have elevations of more than 4,000 m. The highest peak in the range is Mont Blanc, which has an elevation of 4,808.73 m.

List of Major Mountain Ranges in Europe

RankMountain RangeCountry of Location
1AlpsFrance, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia
2Apennines,Italy, San Marino
3Balkan Mountains Bulgaria, Serbia
4Black ForestGermany
5Cantabrian MountainsSpain
6Carpathian MountainsCzech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine
7Caucasus MountainsAzerbaijan, Georgia, Russia
8Dinaric AlpsAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia
9Lake District,England
10Măcin MountainsRomania
11Massif Central,France
12Owl MountainsPoland
13Ore Mountains Czechia
15Pindus MountainsGreece, Albania
16Rila-Rhodope Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Greece
17Rhön MountainsGermany
18Šar rangeAlbania, Kosovo, North Macedonia
19Scandinavian MountainsFinland, Norway, Sweden
20Scottish HighlandsScotland
21Sierra MorenaSpain
22Sistema BéticoSpain
23Sistema CentralPortugal, Spain
24Sistema IbéricoSpain
25Świętokrzyskie MountainsPoland
26SudetesCzech Republic, Germany, Poland
27ŠumavaAustria, Czech Republic, Germany
28Swabian AlbGermany
29Serra de TramuntanaSpain
30Ural MountainsRussia
31Vogelsberg MountainsGermany
32Vosges mountainsFrance

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