Switzerland/Italy (4,478 m) – Europe’s Most Iconic Mountain
The Matterhorn is arguably the most famous mountain in Europe. Located amidst some of the highest and most prominent peaks in the Alps, the Matterhorn is (contrary to popular belief) not Europe’s tallest mountain. However its sharp four-sided peak which rises above the clouds like a pyramid is visually much better known than Mont Blanc ot any other Alpine mountain.
The Matterhorn is among the peaks that have been known since earliest man arrived in the Alps. During the 18th and 19th century, it was the Mecca for mountain climbers in what was known as the Golden Age of Alpinism. Ironically, it was one of the last Alpine mountains to be conquered. It was not scaled until 1865 by a team led by Edward Whymper, four of whose members were subsequently killed.
Today the Matterhorn is located in one of the world’s premier ski destinations, and it can be found in the backdrop of more pictures than any other peak in Central Europe. Although countless tourists visit the area every year, relatively few dare the peak, where over 500 climbers have died in the last two centuries. The Matterhorn is one of the mountains which surrounds the picturesque city of Zermatt a few miles to the east.