Europe's High Points
Getting to the top in 50 countries
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A guide to reaching the summit of every country in Europe - driving, walking and climbing routes to the tops of 50 countries in Europe. Detailed route descriptions, sketch maps - advice on transport, seasons, grading and gear. From afternoon strolls in Malta to three-day mountaineering ascents on classic Alpine routes such as Mont Blanc.
- from simple sightseeing (eg Vatican City) to serious Alpine climbs (Mont Blanc) - all routes clearly graded and equipment required given
- Must See
- for the authors, it was Hvannadalshnukur in Iceland but each reader will have their personal favourite.. Scafell Pike (England)? Mount Elbrus (Russia)? Rysy (Poland)?
Heading to the highest point of any European country is an experience not to be missed. Europe offers the hiker a wealth of adventure and a huge variety of dazzling scenery and each of our 50 countries celebrates its national high point in a different way. Now this unique guide brings together clear and detailed route descriptions of how to reach the summits of countries from Liechtenstein to Latvia, across the continent.
Whether you are attempting to climb a selection of individual high points or collect the set, you will find these routes lead you to some of the most striking landscapes and exciting terrain that Europe has to offer, with all the information you need about each country to get there – along with interesting but incidental information that you don’t!
Stretching from the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle to the arid plains of the Sierra Nevada, this book contains something for everyone – from afternoon strolls in Malta and Moldova to three-day mountaineering ascents on classic Alpine routes such as Mont Blanc and Dufourspitze.
Don’t cross the Channel without it!
A Eurovision for mountains
Why this Guide?
Using this Guide
The Geography of Europe
Plants and Wildlife
When To Go
How to Get There
Health and Safety Issues
What is Europe?
1 Andorra – Pic de Coma Pedrosa 2942m
2 Austria – Grossglockner 3798m
3 Belarus – Dzyarzhynskaya 345m
4 Belgium – Signal de Botrange 694m
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina – Maglic 2387m
6 Bulgaria – Musala 2925m
7 Croatia – Dinara 1831m
8 Cyprus – Mount Olympus (Chionistra) 1951m
9 Czech Republic – Snezka 1602m
10 Denmark – Møllehøj 170m
11 England – Scafell Pike 978m
12 Estonia – Suur Munamagi 318m
13 Finland – Halti 1325–28m
14 France and Italy – Mont Blanc/Monte Bianco 4808m
15 Germany – Zugspitze 2962m
16 Greece – Mount Olympus 2917m
17 Hungary – Kékes 1014m
18 Iceland – Hvannadalshnukur 2111m
19 Ireland – Carrauntoohil 1041m
20 Kosovo – Djeravica 2656m
21 Latvia – Gaizinkalns 312m
22 Liechtenstein – Grauspitz 2599m
23 Lithuania – Aukstojas/Juozapine Kalnas 294m
24 Luxembourg – Buurgplatz/Kneiff 559m
25 Macedonia and Albania – Mount Korab 2764m
26 Malta – Ta’ Dmejrek/Dingli Cliffs 253m
27 Moldova – Mount Balanesti 430m
28 Monaco – Chemin des Revoires 162m
29 Montenegro – Maja Kolata 2534m
30 The Netherlands – Vaalserberg 321m
31 Northern Ireland – Slieve Donard 852m
32 Norway – Galdhopiggen 2469m
33 Poland – Rysy 2500m/2503m
34 Portugal – La Torre 1993m
35 Romania – Moldoveanu 2544m
36 Russia – Mount Elbrus 5642m
37 San Marino – Monte Titano 739m
38 Scotland – Ben Nevis 1343m
39 Serbia – Midzor 2169m
40 Slovakia – Gerlachovsky stit 2654m
41 Slovenia – Triglav 2864m
42 Spain – Mulhacén 3478m
43 Sweden – Kebnekaise 2111m
44 Switzerland – Dufourspitze 4634m
45 Turkey – Mahya Dagi 1030m
46 Ukraine – Goverla 2061m
47 Vatican City – St Peter’s Dome 132m
48 Wales – Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa 1085m
Some Disputed High Points
Azores – Mount Pico 2351m
Canary Islands – Mount Teide 3718m
Faeroe Islands – Slaettaratindur 882m
Italy – Gran Paradiso 4061m; Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 4748m; Nordend (Monte Rosa) 4609m
Turkey – Mount Ararat 5137m
Appendix 1 Countries of Europe Fact Table
Appendix 2 Mountain Routes Graded by Difficulty
Appendix 3 Table of Mountain Heights
Appendix 4 Glossary of Mountaineering Terms
Appendix 5 Further Reading
Appendix 6 Cicerone guides to Europe’s high points
This book is divided into 48 chapters covering the high points of 50 European countries. Each chapter contains basic information about the country (or countries) and its (their shared) high point, including how to get there, the difficulty of the route and equipment needed, relevant map and a detailed route description (or descriptions). A sketch map showing the route/s is provided for each high point. Indications are given of the time needed to complete each route, rather than the distance, as the latter is often misleading on mountainous terrain, and distance can be diffcult to gauge accurately for many of the more far-flung routes.
Although the routes are accompanied by sketch maps, whenever possible you should take a detailed topographical map of an area. Again, when possible, details of suitable maps are given. Unfortunately, due to the remote and little-visited nature of some of the places described, it may be extremely difficult to get your hands on a decent map. When this is the case, searches online can occasionally bring up useful maps. Maps for these areas are often outdated and inaccurate and a degree of caution is therefore required. We have tried to make the route descriptions as clear as possible in case you cannot find a decent map to assist your ascent and descent. Some good map suppliers include: Stanfords, tel: 0207 836 1321 www.stanfords.co.uk; Elstead Maps, tel: 01483 898099 www.elstead.co.uk; and The Map Shop, tel: 0800 085 4080 www.themapshop.co.uk.
Each route has been given a difficulty grade on an ascending scale from 1 to 5:
- Easy tourist amble
- Standard hike
- Hike complicated by difficulties in any of the following areas: route-finding, time, altitude, ascent, scrambling
- Certainly requires the protection of a rope or via ferrata kit. Likely to involve exposure to steep terrain and may involve climbing, crevasses, risk of avalanche or rockfall, very low temperatures and high altitude (in addition to the difficulties of a grade 3 hike).
- Full alpine kit required. Prolonged exposure to high altitude, steep terrain, narrow ridges, climbing, crevasses, avalanche and risk of rockfall. Likely to involve very low temperatures. If severe weather is encountered retreat may prove extremely difficult.
These ratings are based on our own experiences on the mountains. They correspond to the difficulty of the primary routes we have described on the peaks and there may well be easier alternatives. For alpine ascents the official UIAA ratings are also included.
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The following changes in the former Yugoslav Republics have been suggested to the authors by a recent visitor to the areas and may be helpful:
Montenegro - Zla Kolata
Concerted efforts by development agencies and conservationists have ensured the Prokletije is a fairly fluid mountain area; facilities and access have improved in recent years. Our route in EHP is different from that recently waymarked and described in a guidebook “PROKLETIJE MOUNTAINS OF PLAV AND GUSINJE 40 MOUNTAIN TRAILS” by Rifat Mulic and locally available. This new route is marked on new 50,000 Prokletije maps as route 520.
Maps - various 1:50,000 and 1: 60,000 maps are now available, many subsidised by the German/EU development agency.
The new waymarked route starts beside the mosque in Vusanje with a new signpost to Zla Kolata. It may well be that the army barracks in Vusanje referred to as the start of the route in EHP is being used for another purpose, reflecting a decrease in military tension in the area - although this is not confirmed by the authors. The new route heads up to the col between Dobra and Zla Kolata.
[Authors' addendum: We strongly recommend that a visit to the summit of Dobra Kolata (2528m) as well as Zla Kolata (2534m) be taken in. Peaks such as these with only a few metres separating their heights occasionally fall prey to renewed surveying (although we are confident that Maja Rosit, 2525m is certainly lower than Zla Kolata). Some new sources suggest Zla Kolata is 2528m, Dobra 2527m and Rosit 2522m - though the extent to which these heights reflect a reliable modern survey is debatable and as such they are not confirmed. Dobra Kolata, a wonderful summit in its own right, can be accessed easily from the col between the itself and Zla Kolata should the new route be taken. Of note, the description below places the Preslopit Pass in a different place to the maps and sources we used in 2005, so bear this in mind. In EHP, the Preslopit pass is a pass NNE of Dobra Kolata that connects the valley of Vusanje in Montenegro with that of Cerem in Albania, and marked on one map at least as the Borit Pass (we marked this as the Lower Preslopit Pass on our basic map). However, we have seen one new map at least which places Preslopit WNW of Zla Kolata. The power over naming will always reside with map-makers, so bear this in mind regarding 'Preslopit Pass'. Confusingly, it may well prove that multiple passes bear the Presolpit name, with minor appellation differences.]
Serbia - Midzor
Maps - Serbian Geokarta 1:50,000 map Stara Planina, Bulgarian Domino 1:50,000 Stara Planina 3
The access road for the ski development near Babin Zub appears to have been improved: at the end follow the sign to Babin Zub hotel up a side road and ignore a sign to Falkenstein hotel on the new main road.The area is apparently no longer a controlled area; it is now a Nature Park, with signposted routes.
Macedonia/Albania- Golem Korab
Since publication in 2009, the situation has vastly improved for those climbing Korab from Macedonia. The restrictions on climbing the mountain have been lifted as political tensions have eased in the area. It is now possible to climb the mountain at any time of year, although the mass ascent at the beginning of September is still popular.
The military and police presence in the area is now more low key and the guard dogs and razor wire at the Pobeda watchtower in Strezimir are thankfully long gone. It is still advisable to stop at the police checkpoint on the bumpy road up the Radika valley and report your presence and your plans if hiking without a guide.
Since publication a small tourist office has opened in Mavrovi Hanovi. Guides for the ascent can be arranged from here (firstname.lastname@example.org). There is still no decent map of the area. The old Soviet maps available to download on the internet are just as vague as the 1:70,000 map available at the tourist office. The route described in the guide is the 'normal' route shown in blue on this map: www.makpetrol.com.mk/planinari/Maps/GolemKorab.jpg
Route notes: The border town of ‘Durbar’ is more commonly ‘Debar’. After climbing the grassy slopes of Nistrovski Korab, the path traverses westwards across the south flanks of the Kepi Bard ridge, overlooking the large grassy area of Kobilino Pole (Mare's Field). There is some confusion about Mal Korab. The 2344m height attributed to this on the map should not be referred to as Mal Korab. Mal Korab (2683m) is a sizeable upthrust of limestone cliff at the head of the valley and is not visited on the walk, although it is in view ahead of you as you traverse under Kepi Bard. (Confusingly, Mal Korab also used to be known as Kepi Bard. This is not the same as the Kepi Bard under which the main path traverses!)
In spite of these access improvements, the Mavrovo area is still a truly adventurous destination. In addition to our comments about bears, we have also heard reports of wolves in the region.
There is no change in our advice to not attempt to summit from the Albanian side of the mountain.
It has also been suggested that while in the area, a great site is the Jovan Bigorski or John the Baptist monastery near Rotushe (www.bigorski.org.mk).
Belarus - Dzyarzhynskaya
The Belarus high point seems to have seen an increase in visitor numbers (possibly in part due to Europe's High Points). It is now clearly signposted from the road and the area around the carved stone is now a landscaped garden. It is possible to reach the high point quite easily by bus from Minsk. This leaves 2-4 times a day to Volma/Волма, times available from http://ticketbus.by/ allowing 40 minutes to visit the high point before returning back by the same bus. Departure is from Southwestern (юго-западный) bus station or Krasnaya Gorka metro. After leaving Minsk, the bus takes the P65 towards Dzerzhinsk, then turns off right to Skirmantovo/Скирмантово. Get off at stop Скирмантово-1, which is located 3.5 km after a turn. You should request a stop when you see three poles next to a house on your right hand side. Alternatively get off at the next stop in Скирмантово village and walk back along the road until you see the sign for the high point.
Latvia – Gaizinkalns
The large red tower at Gaizinkalns was demolished in 2012. It was built to rival the white tower at Suur Munamagi in Estonia but was never completed. It was knocked down due to safety concerns (it was definitely in an unsafe dilapidated state when one of the authors climbed it in 2005!). The commemorative stone at the summit still remains.
Russia – Mount Elbrus
Due to safety concerns, instability and previous terrorist attacks perpetrated in the Elbrus area it is essential to check with the FCO www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before making plans to travel to the region. The mountain was the scene of the high profile shooting of three tourists and bombing of a ski lift in 2011 which led to Russian forces carrying out air strikes in the area in the hunt for Islamic militants.
Bulgaria – Musala
The cable car is now known as the Yastrebetz gondola.
A Norwegian campaign to give Finland a new highest point is gathering momentum. The Halti massif straddles the border between the two nations: Finland’s current highest point is a 1,324m subsidiary summit of a spur named Hálditšohkka, but the spur’s main 1,331m summit lies barely 40m to the north in Norway. A retired geophysicist and government surveyor, Bjørn Geirr Harsson, came up with the idea of giving the Norwegian summit to Finland as a ‘birthday gift’ to mark the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence from Russia in December next year. Since Mr Harsson first wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July 2015, the suggestion has been gaining support on social media and the Norwegian government is now considering the possibility of re-drawing the border.
"Cicerone are well known for publishing great guide books and have a huge choice on offer...
The authors' first hand knowledge really comes across well. As well as putting forward a serious and straight forward guide to climbing the summits there is also a personal and fun side to the book... I was impressed with the amount of information that had been fitted in and how helpful the content is. I climbed Mount Elbrus in 2005 and I wished I had read this guide before I had gone...
This book is so simple to search through and pick out the information you require. A lot of thought and research has gone into this book and it's noticeable.... A brilliant book!
Click here to read the full review: Europe's High Points, a review from UK Active Outdoors.
UK Active Outdoors, October 2014
“Some of Europe’s high point are more accessible than others” Well, true; especially when you define the dome of St Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City as one of them.
Fortunately, this guide is stuffed with enough information guidance and observation to engage anyone with an interest in either mountains or pub quizzes.
This is a coffee table or loo-side book in the sense that it rewards quick browsing and picture surfing, but it is also a manual and practical guide. Some high points are tough by virtue of height or size, others for technical reasons.
Buy this book for Christmas and you’ll be sure to make it at least to St Stephen’s Day without going stir-crazy.’
(Walking World Ireland, October / November 2009)
‘Ticked off all the munros and Wainwrights and after a new challenge? This book might just fit the bill: it includes facts and figures, amps and walking/climbing instructions for the highest points in every European country – 48 in all.
It provides all the information required to inspire a host of high-level road trips and enough practical tips and advice to lend it weight.
Add it to your bookshelf and not only will you probably excel at your next pub quiz, it might just lift your walking horizons to a whole new level too.’
(Walk magazine, Winter 2009)
The two authors of this book clearly like a challenge, and they started bagging Europe’s biggest peaks, they couldn’t stop. From Elbrus to Mont Blanc, and taking in plenty of smaller and stranger highpoints, this book brings together clear and detailed route descriptions of peaks across the continent.
As well as the more well-known summits, we also enjoyed reading the lesser known, disputed and just plain unusual highpoints featured here, which gave us plenty to talk about down the pub.
(Trek and Mountain, March 2010)
It’s such a simple yet ingenious idea that it’s amazing no-one’s done it before. This is a guide to climbing the highest point in every European country. The climbs range from easy tourist hikes to serious mountaineering and everything in between, and Europe’s High Points gives various different routes up each peak.
Whether you’re in need of a new challenge and want to bag all 50, or if you just fancy seeing the crowning glory of a few countries from the Arctic Circle to the Sierra Nevada, you’ll be inspired here.
(Adventure Travel, November / December 2009)
For those who have finished the Wainwrights or Munros and are looking for a new challenge, how about visiting the highest point of every country in Europe?This book devotes about 4-5 pages to each of the 50 country summits, in each case with a general description, main and alternative routes, information on local transport and accommodation. This is a well-conceived and nicely-written book with plenty of interesting reading and ideas than can be enjoyed by the practical and armchair peakbagger.
(Strider, April 2010)
Rachel Crolla is an outdoors all-rounder who loves hiking, biking, scrambling and climbing. Rachel is an outdoors writer and photographer who is also trained as a journalist and teacher. She has hiked and climbed across the UK, Europe and the USA. In 2007 Rachel became the first woman to reach the summit of every country in Europe, and co-wrote the Cicerone guide book Europe's High Points soon afterwards. She is passionate about enthusing the next generation of hikers and cyclists with a love of the outdoors.View Articles and Books by Rachel Crolla
Carl McKeating is from Yorkshire. He is the co-author with Rachel Crolla of the books, Europe's High Points and Walking in the Auvergne published by Cicerone. A rock climbing and mountaineering enthusiast, in addition to ascending all of Europe's national high points, in 2010 he completed a long-standing ambition to climb all the routes in Ken Wilson's Classic Rock which he followed with a three-month climbing and mountaineering tour of America. A qualified English teacher, in 2014 Carl started work on a doctorate about Mont Blanc in British Culture.View Articles and Books by Carl McKeating
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