The Alps, forged by the collision of the African and European tectonic plates, form the boundary between northern and southern Europe. These gigantic thrusts of crystalline rock, which are exposed in the higher central regions, form Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, the Zugspitze and other high peaks in the Alps. Extending from Austria to France, with Germany, Switzerland and Italy in between, the Alps are a diverse intermingling of cultures, history and languages.

With five different climate zones, the Alps are not a singular environment. The weather, plant and animal life differ in each of the distinct regions. Eco-tourists will be enthralled as the flora and fauna varies from north to south, east to west and from lower to higher elevations. The Alps are a wealth of natural wonder and beauty.

In winter, the Alps are a popular destination for tobogganing, snowboarding, Alpine and Nordic skiing. Snow enthusiasts will have a difficult time deciding between Chamonix, Innsbruck, St. Moritz, Torino, and other sites that have hosted the Winter Olympics. Each venue has its own distinct customs and folklore. The perfect mix of awe-inspiring views and the vibrant influences of several different European cultures ensure that the Alps offer some of the most rewarding snowboarding and skiing in the world.

In summer, the Alpine trails and majestic scenery attract hikers, cyclists, mountaineers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers will recognize one of the most familiar castles in the world, Neuschwanstein and be amazed by the spectacular views of the Reichenbach and Staubbach waterfalls that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Cyclists can challenge themselves on the same roads as the Tour de France or traverse the mountain bike path from the Rhône Glacier to Lake Geneva. Each year, climbers from all over the world attempt to summit Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn; determined to stand on “the roof of Europe”. Alpine lakes Como, Chiemsee and Lucerne are havens for swimming, wind surfing and boating. Anglers and whitewater rafters will be captivated by the numerous mountain rivers and streams.

Sightseers will be charmed by the castles, cathedrals, and museums of Salzburg, Innsbruck and Grenoble, the ambiance of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Passion play in Oberammergau, the poet inspiring beauty of Bellagio and the iconic dogs from the Hospice du Grand St Bernard.

Typically, more than 50 million tourists visit the Alps each year. Whether you spend your time in a large Austrian city or a quaint village in Liechtenstein, the Alps are the pinnacle of any European holiday.


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