Of course, there are numerous mountains that appeal to a certain sense of wonder inherent in many a nature gazer. Mount Fuji in Japan, for instance, ticks all the boxes of what a mountain “should” be when it comes to presenting itself as a thing of beauty. It’s near symmetrical conical structure and its snow-capped upper reaches give it a mystique that many of the Himalayan peaks fail to display, given the individual peaks there are often lost amongst the company they keep.
One country, easily accessed, that has more than its fair share of beautiful peaks is Switzerland. A haven for skiers and snowboarders in the winter months and hikers’ year round, Switzerland is now luring more activity holiday makers than ever. The options are simply endless, so to aid you in selecting the best Switzerland has to offer, we’ve compiled our top 10 guide to the most beautiful peaks in the country that offers so much more than just; cuckoo clocks and chocolate.
1. Matterhorn (height 4,478 metres) – the mighty Matterhorn is the archetypal Alpine peak, and one of the last of the great mountains in the region to be climbed (in 1865). Not only one of the highest peaks in the Alps, its structure is as fascinating as it is imposing, with its four steep faces corresponding to the four compass points.
2. Eiger (3,970 metres) – a peak steeped in history, mystique, and no little tragedy. Its north face is the stuff of mountaineering legend and one of the most challenging climbs in the Alps. The beauty of the Eiger lies in its unattainable nature, at least for mere mortals.
3. Jungfrau (4,158 metres) – one of the monster peaks of the Bernese Alps, the Jungfrau appears more like a vast wall of snow-covered rock than a typical mountain, but its vastness is its beauty, a hulking immovable mass that makes any onlooker feel humbled in its presence.
4. Monte Rosa (4,634 metres) – the highest of the Swiss mountains (and second only to Mont Blanc in Western Europe), Monte Rosa’s main summit is known as Dufourspitze, and is the culminating point of the Pennine Alps. Monte Rosa can be viewed in one of the great panoramas of Europe from the vantage of Zermatt, which also takes in the Matterhorn and other great peaks.
5. Weisshorn (4,506 metres) – Topping the nearby Matterhorn by a few metres, the pyramidal structure of the Weisshorn is its big draw, with three knife-edge ridges which descend from the summit: one almost perfectly northwards, one southwards and the other perpendicular to the two, running eastwards.
6. Mont Vélan (3,726 metres) - the highest summit which lies between the Great St Bernard Pass and Grand Combin, Mont Vélan has two large glaciers covering its flanks and often catches clouds in its recesses, giving it an otherworldly air.
7. Finsteraarhorn (4,274 metres) – the highest mountain in the canton of Berne, the Finsteraarhorn is also the third most prominent peak in the Alps. Bursting through the surrounding glacial valleys, it looks all the more impressive for its relatively remote (even by Alpine standards) location.
8. Piz Bernina (4,049 metres) – the Piz Bernina marks the highest point of the Bernina Range and is the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps. Located near St Moritz – one of the best resorts for skiing in the Alps – its isolation, in comparison to some of the other peaks of a similar elevation, makes it appear even more massive than it actually is.
9. Dom (4,545 metres) – the second highest peak in Switzerland and third in the Alps, the Dom is situated in the Pennine Alps above the winter and summer activity haven of Saas Fee in the canton of Valais. The view of the Dom from the north, with the Matterhorn also in sight, is one of the great vistas of the Alps, especially in the late spring.
10. Titlis (3,238) – first climbed way back in 1739, Mount Titlis sits proudly in the Urner Alps and makes the list in part because it is the site of the world’s first revolving cable car. And let’s face it, without cable cars, the non-mountaineers among us may never get the chance to view some of these – and the many other – beautiful peaks that abound in Switzerland.