About place: Alps

People have always been fascinated by mountains. Beside them one feels oneself help-less, but all the same can't help but admire their magnificence. There are many mountain ranges in the world, though Alps are distinguished among them by different reasons.

Alps aren’t as huge as Himalayas, and as long as Cordilleras, but relative to tourist at-tractiveness they are incomparable. Alps are the highest mountains in Western Europe. They span the territory of 9 states, such as Switzerland, Austria and France. Partly, Alps cover the territory of Germany, Italy and Slovenia, but those are only minor mountain massifs.

There live about 20 million people in Alps, and such high density of population makes Al-pine scenery especially fascinating: nice cottages are scattered among picturesque moun-tains most of which are covered with snow, cows are grazing on wonderful Alpine meadows. Surely, one can rightly apply the word «idyll» to all this beauty. Of course, there is no such atmosphere in severe Himalayas or Andes, though they are at least as beautiful as Alps.

The valleys of Alps are covered with leaf-bearing trees: oaks, limes and maples. At the altitude of 1500 meters they are mostly substituted by the conifers. Alpine meadows are at the altitude of 1800-2100 meters. Soil is fertile and pastures are good there. Above 2100 meters one can hardly find anything but dwarfish bushes and mosses, and above 2500 meters there is nothing but snow peaks.

The most famous peaks of Alps are Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Jungfrau, and Marmolada. Mont Blanc (4807 m) is considered to be the highest peak in Europe, however, if you include Caucasian range into Europe, then Elbrus Mount (5641) would be much higher than Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc is on the border of France and Italy. There has been created a superior tourist infrastructure providing for hiking in summer and skiing at resorts of Chamonix (France) and Courmayeur (Italy).

Matterhorn Mount (4478 m) is the most recognizable part of Alpine mountain range. It has perfect pyramidal shape making it as famous. The resort of Zermatt located at its foot also makes it possible to rest there both in summer and winter.

Jungfrau Mount (4158 m) is one of the most scenic peaks of Switzerland. From the towns of Interlaken or Wengen one can make a trip to the beautiful valley of Grindelwald, visit the village Gimmelwald or take a ride on the mountain railway line. It length is only 9 kilometers, and the height drop is 1400 m. You'll see picturesque landscapes of Jungfrau, Eiger, Monch surrounded by glaciers and valleys.

Here are some other attractive places of Alps mountain region:
Engadin. It is a valley in the south-east of Switzerland. It is one of the most famous resort areas, where the nobility has rested for centuries. St. Moritz is considered to be the most posh resort in Engadin

Berchtesgaden and Kenigsee. Berchtesgaden is a small German village at the foot of Watzmann Mount, located not far from Austrian city Saltsburg. You can have a stroll along the alleys of Berchtesgaden, and then make a trip to Kenigsee. It is similar to Norwegian fjords, and there are good tourist routes around Jenner Mount.

Lugano-Locarno. It is a region of Italian Alps. Though the mountains aren’t high there, even palms can grow in its peculiar climate conditions. You can combine your recreation in the area with a tour of Northern Italy, shopping in Milan or just sightsee-ing.

The Dolomites or Dolomite Alps. The region is in the north-east of Italy. The peaks of the Dolomites look like small towers. From the highest Marmolada Mount (3342 m) one can see beautiful views of Swiss Alps and Italian lakes.

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