The European 100 Finest Mountains ranked by primary factor.

The list below identifies and ranks the 100 European mountains with the largest prominence or primary factor. Climbing peaks on this list will get you all over Europe to experience great diversity and incredibly breathtaking views. A vertical ascent on foot of at least 600 meter should be honored in order to qualify as a legitimate climb, many peaks will require more than a 1000 meter of ascent. Go climb them!

The primary factor of a mountain is the minimal vertical drop from its summit before one can ascend a higher peak. In terms of map contours, this vertical drop is defined by the first contour that encircles a higher peak and the preceeding (higher) contour line which has the peak in question as the highest point inside its closed curve. Between these two contour lines lies the (usually unique) defining saddle of the mountain.

Because Europe is attached by land to Asia there exist various, legitimate opinions on where to draw the defining boundary. From a prominence point of view, the natural definition is to consider a gradual higher sea-level until the landmass of Europe separates from Asia, ie. becomes a truely independent continent.

The boundary of "Europe" is therefore defined by the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Arctic Ocean (south, west and north side). In order to find a natural division towards Asia, consistent with the notion of prominence, one should find the lowest path from the Black Sea to the Arctic. The east boundary is defined by going from the Black Sea through the strait of Kerch into the shallow Sea of Azov. From the north-east end of Azov, there is a low depression (going south-east) that connects to the Caspian Sea across a saddle that is only 25 meter above sea level. From the Caspian Sea, head north along the river Volga. Now, follow Volga north (and somewhat east) until the city of Kazan where Volga sharply turns west. Continue upstream (west and north) along Volga until it reaches the big lake Rybinskoye south-west of the city Vologda.
We are now close to three saddles that all are part of waterways. The Mont Blanc key saddle is at 113 meter along the Volga to Baltic canal, while the key saddle for Galdhøpiggen (Scandinavia) is located along the Baltic to the Arctic waterway at elevation 97 meter. See this map (provided by Jonathan de Ferranti) for details. Note that there is also a third, only slightly higher saddle that connects to the Dvina river flowing to the city Arkhangelsk on the Arctic ocean.
In light of this, we see that Europe would separate from Asia if the sealevel rose 113 meter. Scandinavia would separate from both Europe and Asia, but we include it "in Europe" despite the fact that its key saddle connects to the Asia side.

A second consideration is to define which islands "near Europe" to include. Islands are associated with Europe, partly by geography and partly by historical and political relations. We have chosen to include all the islands in the Mediterranean, even Cyprus that geographers may classify as Asian. The Peloponnese penisula poses a special problem since the canal of Corinth now separates it from Greece. However, this is a man made alteration and we do not consider it an island.
10 island peaks make the list, this list is therefore extended to 111 such that also the 100 finest on the contiguous Europe are all included.

A separate list of 10 "European Atlantic Islands" with the most prominent mountains (down to the cutoff of the main list) that politically (and partly geographically) belongs to Europe, complements this list.

Finally, Russia and the Caucasus, lists 12 prominent peaks in Asia, that are "near" Europe. This list contains one island peak in the Arctic, one peak in the Ural and 10 peaks in the Caucasus. The European part of Russia, as defined above, has no peak with high prominence.

This list is based on data compiled by Eberhard Jurgalski, Jonathan de Ferranti, Vasja Kavcic and Petter Bjørstad.

Confirmed or suspected corrections are most welcome by email to:
Copyright 2000-2012, © Petter Bjørstad.
I appreciate that use of these data is acknowledged including a link to my main mountain page.

Two stars behind the rank means that I have climbed it (50/50, 100/100, 112/112).

RankHeightNamePrimary factorCountry
1**4808 Mont Blanc 4695 France
2**3326 Etna 3326 Island Sicily, Italy
3**3479 Mulhacén 3285 Spain
4**3404 Pico Aneto 2812 Spain
5**2706 Monte Cinto 2706 Island Corsica, France
6**2912 Corno Grande 2476 Italy
7**2925 Musala 2473 Bulgaria
8**2456 Timios Stavros 2456 Island Crete, Greece
9**3798 Grossglockner2423 Austria
10**2469 Galdhøpiggen2372 Norway
11** 2654 Gerlach2356 Slovakia
12** 2919 Olympos2355 Greece
13** 2404 Profitis Ilias2344 Greece
14** 4274 Finsteraarhorn2280 Switzerland
15** 3768 Wildspitze2261 Austria
16** 4049 Piz Bernina2234 Switzerland
17** 2941 Hochkonig2181Austria
18** 2764 Korab2169 Albania/Macedonia
19** 4634 Dufourspitze2165 Switzerland
20** 2995 Hoher Dachstein2136 Austria
21**3343 Marmolada2131 Italy
22** 2519 Paringul Mare2103 Romania
23** 3841 Monte Viso2062 Italy
24** 2864 Triglav2052 Slovenia
25** 2544 Moldoveanu2046 Romania
26** 4102 Barre des Ecrins2045 France
27** 2453 Páchnes2038 Island Crete, Greece
28**2694 Maja e Jezerces2036 Albania
29**2503 Säntis 2021 Switzerland
30** 2030 Athos2012 Greece
******** End 2000 meter **** **
31** 3905 Ortler 1953 Italy
32** 1952 Olympos 1952 HP Island Cyprus
33** 2218 Monte Baldo/Cima Valdritta1950 Italy
34**2648 Torre de Cerredo1931 Spain
35** 4061 Gran Paradiso1891 Italy
36** 3050 Pizzo di Coca1878 Italy
37**2336 Cima Dodici1874 Italy
38**2376 Killini1870 Greece
39** 1978 Kissavos 1854 Greece
40** 1834 La Marmora1834 Island Sardinia, Italy
41** 2795 Monte Amaro 1812 Italy
42** 2148 Dikti1798Island Crete, Greece
43** 3257 Haute Cime 1796 Switzerland
44**2482Maja e Papingut1792Albania
45** 2914 Vihren1783 Bulgaria
46** 1956 Pangaion 1773 Greece
47** 2082 Chamechaude 1769 Grenoble, France
48** 2509 Peleaga 1759 Romania
49** 2528Kaimaktsalan1758 Greece/Macedonia
50** 2962 Zugspitze 1746 Germany
******** Europe's 50 Finest **** **
51** 1743 Dirfis 1743 Island Evia, Greece
52** 1834 Jiehkkevarri 1741 Norway
53** 2097 Kebnekaise 1738 Sweden
54** 2637Smolikas 1736 Greece
55** 3264 Antelao 1735 Italy
56** 2217 Pte.d'Arcalod 1719 France
57** 2267 Serra Dolcedorme 1715 Italy
58** 1956 Montalto 1710 Italy
******** Europe's 50 Finest, excluding islands **** **
59**2558 Grintovec 1706 Slovenia
60** 2515 Grosser Priel 1703 Austria
61**2510 Giona 1702 Greece
62**2592 Almanzor 1690 Spain
63**2410Grigna Settentrionale1687Italy
64**2180 Monte Bondone/Cornetto 1685 Italy
65** 3558 Presanella1676 Italy
66** 2286 Snøhetta 1675 Norway
67**2540Solunska Glava 1666 Macedonia
68** 2121 Maja Kendervices 1666 Albania
69**2634Birnhorn 1665 Austria
70** 2472 Col Nudo 1645 Dolomites, Italy
71** 2753 Pointe Percée1643 France
72** 1627 Mount Enos 1627 Island Kefalonia, Greece
73** 1611 Fegari 1611 Island Samothrace, Greece
74** 2752Jôf de Montasio 1596Italy
75**2031 Radomir/Beles 1595 Bulgaria/Greece
76** 2457 Liakoura 1590 Greece
77** 2784 Polinik 1580 Austria
78**2303Pietrosul Rodnei 1578 Romania
79**1885Puy de Sancy 1578 France
80**2165Monte Cimone 1577Italy
81**1625Store Lenangstind 1577 Norway
82** 3614 Tödi 1570 Switzerland
83**2749Birkkarspitze 1567 Austria
84**2376Botev 1567 Bulgaria
85** 2044 Maja e Cikes 1563 Albania
86**2344Ellmauer Halt 1552 Austria
87**2790L'Obiou 1542 France
88**1545Roman Kosh 1541 Ukraine
89**2373Maja e Valamares 1526 Albania
90**2369Hochtor 1520 Austria
91**2089 Sarektjåkkå1519Sweden
92**2351Grimming 1518 Austria
93**4314Grand Combin 1517 Switzerland
94**2601Pelister 1516 Macedonia
95**2351La Tournette 1514 France
96** 1589 Psili Korifi 1514 Greece
97**3418Piz Kesch 1504 Switzerland
99**3151Cima Brenta 1500 Italy
******** End Ultras **** **
100**2857 Le Taillefer 1490 France
******** Europe's 100 Finest **** **
101**1738Monte Amiata 1490 Italy
102**1849Bihor 1483 Romania
103**2523Bobotov Kuk 1478 Montenegro
104**2168Midzor/Midzhur 1478 Serbia/Bulgaria
105**2301Togano 1474 Italy
106**1610Pourianos Stavros 1473 Greece
107**1919Torrecilla 1472 Spain
108**3630Dammastock 1465 Switzerland
109**2476Monte Vettore 1463 Italy
110**2430Raucheck 1463 Austria
******** 100 Finest excluding islands **** **
111**2806Haldensteiner Calanda1461 Switzerland

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