The Alps & Europe
You hop on a train to a quaint Bavarian town below soaring mountain peaks. You tighten your leather boots and hike out of the town, gaining altitude with each switchback. Eventually, tired and sweating, you arrive at an alpine hut where you sit on the porch and sip a cold hefeweisen and soak in the views while waiting for your hot dish of spaetzle. You are in Germany. Life is good.
About three quarters of Austrian land is mountainous, encompassing almost the entirety of the northeastern Alps. Photos here include the Lechtal Alps in the summer, and the Zillertal and Ötztal Alps in the winter.
The Swiss Alps include some of the mightiest peaks in the range, including the most famous mountain of all -- the one and only Matterhorn.
See lots more photos from Switzerland here.
The Dolomites in Italy, or Le Dolomiti in Italia, are some of the most jagged peaks on Earth. This region is truly an alpine paradise. These mountains were formed from ancient reefs, and therefore they pop up in clusters, or groups, instead of traditional straight ranges. Between these jagged, towering groups of mountains are gentle grassy meadows filled with colorful wildflowers and quaint alpine towns. The Dolomites are also famous for their "via ferrata" climbing routes. Translating to "iron way", these routes have fixed cables that climbers can clip into for safety, making it possible for hikers and novice climbers to safely climb large, steep routes that normally would only be the domain of experienced climbers. The via ferrate have a fascinating history; they were initially installed by Italian and Austrian troops who fought a ferocious battle against each other in the Dolomites during the First World War. Tunnels, bunkers, and other relics of the war are found throughout the peaks of this region.
Julian Alps, Slovenia
The Julian Alps are a rugged and beautiful range in of Slovenia, the northernmost country of the former Yugoslavia, bordering Italy and Austria.
Photos from the Pyrenees, which run along the southern border to Spain.
See the Norway gallery!