Our Guide to The Alps
When Africa bumped into Europe millennia ago the force of the collision created the Alps, Europe’s highest, most extensive mountain range. So came the soaring peaks, crevasse-laced glaciers and sparkling rivers and lakes of a massif that meanders through France, Monaco, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Liechtenstein and Germany.
From Chamonix to the Dolomites and St. Moritz, winter in the Alps is a mecca for powder hounds who love its world-class ski runs and off-piste thrills. Snow-dusted towns, brilliant blue skies, woodlands and medieval villages; this is the home of après-ski; a nightly festival of culinary delights (think raclette and Genepi) and parties in slope-side bars.
Often overlooked as a summer destination, the Alps is an outdoor playground year-round. With its lush green meadows, snow-capped peaks and sapphire-blue lakes, it’s perfect for active families and a great place to hike, bike and kayak. You can go canyoning, whitewater rafting, ice or rock climbing, geocaching, and enjoy cultural tours, including food and wine tastings. We can also arrange for a private guide to take you on an extra-special alpine hike.
Whether you ski or snowboard, you have your pick of Alpine resorts with spectacular terrain and arguably the best snow in the world. Stay in plush hotels with outstanding service or a private chalet with your own chef, driver and nanny. Beyond the resorts, consider a luxury ski safari through the Dolomites or hop on the Glacier Express and wind your way from Zermatt to St. Moritz across gorges and viaducts, past monasteries and abbeys, stopping at three of Switzerland’s best ski spots.
The Alps has plenty on offer for those of us immune to the thrill of high speed downhill pursuits. Gentle rail journeys, nature hikes through breathtaking scenery, even husky sledding, lets you soak up the tranquil Narnia-like qualities of your surroundings where even sipping hot chocolate in a cozy mountain café can seem magical. So even if you don't ski, there's no reason for you to miss out on the picturesque winter delights, and even experience a side of the frozen wilderness that few others do.
Chamonix hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924.
The 5,000 year-old mummified remains of Ötzi the Iceman were discovered in the Alps at the Austrian/Italian border in 1991.
The Alps has 82 official summits that are at least 4,000 meters (13,123 ft.). Mont Blanc reigns supreme at 4,810 meters (15, 780 feet).