highest mountains in Italy and how to reach them

Highest Mountains In Italy Anyone Can Visit Via Foot Or Cable Car



Dreaming of epic mountain adventures in Italy?

Whether you’re an avid mountaineer or just crave spectacular alpine vistas, this guide has you covered. From the imposing peaks of Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa to the rugged beauty of the Dolomites, we’ll highlight the highest and most breathtaking mountains across Italy’s diverse ranges.

Better yet, we’ll share insider tips on how to experience their grandeur – by foot for the adventurous souls or by convenient cable car for those seeking elevated views with a taste of la dolce vita.

Get ready to uncover Italy’s mountain marvels up close!

highest mountains in italy reachable by foot and cable car

Top 10 Highest Mountains In Italy & How To Reach Them (Hiking & Mountain Climbing)

  1. Mont Blanc – 4809 m
  2. Punta Dufour – 4634 m
  3. Lyskamm – 4533 m 
  4. Matterhorn – 4478 m 
  5. Grandes Jorasses – 4208 m 
  6. Dent d’Hérens – 4174 m
  7. Breithorn – 4164 m
  8. Gran Paradiso – 4061 m (moderate difficulty)
  9. Piz Zupò – 3996 m (difficult)
  10. Grivola – 3969 m (moderate difficulty)

Monte Bianco highest mountain in Italy

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc, also known as Monte Bianco in Italian, is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe, standing at 4,809 meters (15,778 feet) above sea level. It straddles the borders of Italy and France and is renowned for its challenging climbing routes and stunning vistas.

How To Reach Mont Blanc (moderate difficulty)

Reaching Mont Blanc from the Italian side typically takes 5 days to 1 week, and it’s recommended to go with a guide unless you are an experienced mountaineer.

From the Italian side, you start from Val Veny and ascend via the Miage Glacier to reach Refuge Gonella. From there, you cross a section of the glacier to Col des Aiguilles Grises, then continue along a beautiful ridge to connect with the normal route from the French side.

Punta Dufour (Monte Rosa)

Punta Dufour, the highest peak of Monte Rosa and the second highest in the Alps after Mont Blanc, stands at 4,634 meters (15,203 feet) above sea level on the Italy-Switzerland border. Renowned for its challenging ascent and stunning alpine vistas, conquering Punta Dufour demands technical skill.

How to reach Punta Dufour (moderate difficulty)

Reaching Punta Dufour from the Italian side typically involves a multi-day trek starting from Punta Indren (3,200 m) accessed via lift systems.

Hikers then proceed to Capanna Gniffetti for an overnight stay before continuing towards Colle Gniffetti and then Punta Zimstein.

The final ascent involves navigating a rocky and exposed path to reach the summit of Punta Dufour, standing at 4,634 meters (15,203 feet) above sea level.

Lyskamm (Monte Rosa)

Lyskamm is another prominent peak of Monte Rosa, characterized by its long, steep ridge. It stands at 4,533 meters (14,872 feet) above sea level and presents a challenging ascent for mountaineers due to its icy conditions and technical difficulty.

How to reach Lyskamm (moderate difficulty)

To reach Lyskamm, you’ll need approximately 2 days including rest. The starting path is similar to reaching Punta Dufour.

You start from Staffal, take lifts to Punta Indren, and hike to Capanna Gnifetti for the night. The next day, you reach Colle del Lys and ascend to Lyskamm Orientale, passing Lyskamm Centrale along the way.

Matterhorn Cervino is the 5th of the highest mountains in Italy

Matterhorn (Cervino)

The Matterhorn, known as Cervino in Italian, is one of the most iconic and recognizable peaks in the Alps. Straddling the border between Switzerland and Italy, it rises to an elevation of 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) and is famous for its distinctive pyramid shape.

How to reach Monte Cervino (moderate difficulty)

There are two main ways to reach Monte Cervino from the Italian side, one being through Cresta del Leone.

From Rifugio Oriondé Duca degli Abruzzi (2,802 m), you head to Colle del Leone to start the climb. After some challenging passages, you’ll reach Capanna Carrel (3,830 m) for an overnight stay.

The next day involves reaching Pic Tyndall and navigating characteristic passages like Enjambé and Scala Jordan before reaching the summit.

Grandes Jorasses (Monte Bianco)

Grandes Jorasses is a majestic mountain in the Mont Blanc massif, located on the border between Italy and France. It reaches a height of 4,208 meters (13,806 feet) and is renowned for its challenging rock and ice-climbing routes.

How to reach Grandes Jorasses (difficult)

The easier Italian route starts from Planpincieux, leading to Rifugio Boccalatte for the night.

The next day, climbers traverse the glacier amidst moraines and snowfields, following a marked path left of Rognon de la Bouteille. Crossing Couloir Whymper, they ascend Rochers Whymper aided by a fixed rope.

Finally, navigating rocks descending from Punta Walker, climbers reach the snowy summit cap.

Dent d’Hérens (Alpi Pennine)

Dent d’Hérens is a prominent peak in the Pennine Alps, situated on the border between Italy and Switzerland. Rising to an elevation of 4,174 meters (13,694 feet), it offers stunning views of the surrounding alpine landscape.

How to Reach Dent d’Herens (moderate difficulty)

Dent d’Hérens is reached in 2 days.

From the Place Moulin dam, hikers reach the village of Prarayer. Continuing along the trail, they ascend steeply to Rifugio Aosta (2,788 m) for an overnight stay.

On day 2, they descend briefly to reach the moraines and continue to the northern part of the Grandes Murailles glacier. Ascending the glacier, they reach Colle Tiefenmatten (3,574 m) and then ascend a snowy slope to the summit, offering unparalleled views of the Matterhorn.

Breithorn (Pennine Alps)

Breithorn is a popular mountain in the Pennine Alps, lying on the border between Italy and Switzerland. It has several summits, with the highest reaching 4,164 meters (13,661 feet) above sea level. Breithorn is known for its relatively easy ascent compared to other peaks in the region.

How to reach Breithorn (easy)

Breithorn can be climbed in one day. Starting from Cervinia, climbers take a cable car to Rifugio delle Guide del Cervino. From there, they follow a route initially along ski slopes, then veer off to ascend to the summit.

Gran Paradiso is the 9th highest mountain in Italy

Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso is the highest peak located entirely within Italy, standing at 4,061 meters (13,323 feet) above sea level. It is part of the Graian Alps and is characterized by its glaciated slopes and stunning alpine scenery.

How to reach Gran Paradiso (moderate difficulty)

On the first day, climbers arrive at Valasavarenche and ascend in 2-3 hours to Rifugio Chabod or Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II.

On the second day, the ascent involves hiking on trail tracks and then on the glacier, requiring 4-5 hours to reach the summit.

Piz Zupò (Ortler Alps)

Piz Zupò is a lesser-known peak in the Ortler Alps, situated on the border between Italy and Switzerland. It reaches a height of 3,996 meters (13,110 feet) and offers a challenging ascent for experienced mountaineers.

How to reach Piz Zupò (difficult)

Starting from Morteratsch railway station, climbers ascend to Chamanna Boval (2,495 m) in less than 2 hours.

From there, they ascend the Morteratsch Glacier northward, then turn right towards Buuch and climb steeply to Fuorcla di Crast’Aguzza (3,400 m). Finally, they head towards Piz Zupò, ascending the steep glacier slope to reach the summit.

Grivola (Graian Alps)

Grivola is a distinctive pyramid-shaped mountain in the Graian Alps, located in the Aosta Valley of Italy. It stands at 3,969 meters (13,022 feet) above sea level and is renowned for its rugged beauty and challenging climbing routes.

How to reach Grivola (moderate difficulty)

On the first day, hikers start from Crétaz di Cogne and ascend 1800 meters of elevation to reach Bivacco Gratton for an overnight stay.

The next morning, they traverse the Trajo Glacier to reach the south face of Grivola. Ascending through rocky passages, they reach the North East ridge and continue to the summit.

Things To Consider Before Climbing The Highest Mountains In Italy

The above information provides a general overview of one of the routes to these mountains to give you an idea of the terrain and difficulty level. However, climbing any of these mountains requires careful consideration, preparation, and preferably professional guidance. 

They entail challenging paths, involving the use of ropes and chains, traversing rocky ridges, and enduring harsh weather conditions, compounded by high altitude.

Before attempting any ascent, you should conduct thorough research, assess your physical capabilities, and consider the potential risks involved.

10 Highest Mountains In Italy Anyone Can Visit By Cable Car

If climbing one of the highest mountains in Italy by foot and rope is not something you are after, I get you. I like walks on flat easy terrains but I do enjoy beautiful mountain views. Luckily for us, there’s a way to reach many of the mountains we mentioned above via cable car.

In this section, I will be sharing with you a list of the highest Italian mountains you can reach by cable car and an overview of how you can do that.

In most cases, the cable car route might not take you to the highest peak of that mountain group or the individual mountain, but it’s an experience and a view worth enjoying.

Highest Italian Peaks You Can Reach By Cable Car

  1. Monte Bianco, Alps (highest mountain in Italy)
  2. Testa Grigia
  3. Mount Etna
  4. Punta Rocca, Marmolata (highest Dolomites mountain)
  5. Grawand
  6. Tofana di Mezzo
  7. Passo dello Stelvio (highest mountain road in Italy)
  8. Cima Bianca
  9. Sass Pordoi
  10. Pizzo Groppera

Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) by Cable Car

The Skyway Monte Bianco is an Italian cable car system located in the Aosta Valley, allowing visitors to reach the closest point to the summit of Mont Blanc. Departing from Courmayeur at 1,300 meters, it ascends to Punta Helbronner at 3,466 meters.

Departure town: Courmayeur, Aosta Valley

Testa Grigia highest mountain in italy by cable car

Testa Grigia (Pennine Alps) 

Testa Grigia is a prominent peak located in the Pennine Alps, a mountain range in the western part of the Alps. Renowned for its rugged beauty and alpine scenery, the Pennine Alps stretch across Switzerland, Italy, and France.

Testa Grigia serves as a gateway to the Matterhorn Ski Paradise, accessible via the Plateau Rosa cable car from Breuil-Cervinia.

Departure town: Breuil Cervinia, Aosta Valley

Mount Etna (Volcano)

Mount Etna, located on the island of Sicily, is one of the most iconic volcanoes in the world. As the tallest active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness the power and beauty of volcanic activity up close.

Renowned for its dramatic landscapes and fertile slopes, Mount Etna has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013.

Rifugio Sapienza, situated in Nicolosi near Catania, serves as a popular departure point for exploring Mount Etna. From here, you can embark on guided tours or take a cable car to reach higher elevations on the volcano. You can reach up to 2.9 k metres high without a tour guide.

Departure town: Rifugio Sapienza, Nicolosi, Catania

Marmolada highest italian mountain you can reach by cable car

Punta Rocca (Marmolada)

Punta Rocca is the highest peak of the Marmolada mountain range, which is part of the Dolomites in northeastern Italy. The Dolomites are renowned for their distinctive limestone peaks, dramatic cliffs, and scenic beauty.

Punta Rocca offers panoramic views of the surrounding Dolomite landscape and is accessible via a modern cable car from Malga Ciapela.

Departure town: Malga Ciapela, Veneto

Grawand (Otztal Alps)

Grawand is located in the Otztal Alps, a mountain range in the eastern Alps of Europe. The Otztal Alps are known for their rugged terrain, glaciers, and high peaks.

Grawand is part of the Val Senales Glacier area, accessible via the Grawand cable car. This cable car takes visitors to Giogo Alto, the highest upper station in South Tyrol, offering stunning views of the surrounding alpine landscape.

Departure town: Maso Corto, Trentino South Tyrol

Tofana di Mezzo (Tofane Group)

Tofana di Mezzo is a prominent peak in the Tofane group of the Dolomites, situated near the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Veneto region of Italy. The Tofane group is known for its imposing peaks, challenging climbing routes, and breathtaking vistas.

Tofana di Mezzo can be accessed via the Freccia nel Cielo gondola from Cortina d’Ampezzo, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Dolomite peaks.

Departure town: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Veneto

Passo dello Stelvio Italian highest mountain road

Passo dello Stelvio (Ortes Cevedale Group)

The Passo dello Stelvio is located in the Gruppo Ortles-Cevedale, a subrange of the Southern Rhaetian Alps in Italy. The Gruppo Ortles-Cevedale is characterized by its glaciated peaks, alpine lakes, and rugged terrain.

The Passo dello Stelvio is also the highest mountain road in Italy, with panoramic narrow bends.

You can take a cable car from Bormio to reach heights of 3,174 meters at Passo dello Stelvio, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Departure town: Bormio, Lombardy

Cima Bianca (Tessa Group)

Cima Bianca is situated in the Gruppo Tessa, a mountain group located in the western part of the Alps, near the town of Merano in Italy. The Gruppo Tessa is known for its diverse alpine landscape, including rugged peaks, lush valleys, and alpine meadows.

One can reach Cima Bianca via a cable car from Bormio, ascending to heights of 3,018 meters.

Departure town: Bormio, Lombardy

Sass Pordoi (Sella Group)

Sass Pordoi is situated in the Gruppo Sella, a mountain range located in the Dolomites of northeastern Italy. The Gruppo Sella is renowned for its distinctive limestone peaks, challenging climbing routes, and scenic beauty.

Sass Pordoi is accessible via the Pordoi Pass cable car from Canazei, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Dolomite peaks.

Departure town: Canazei, Trentino South Tyrol

Pizzo Groppera (Rhaetian Alps)

Pizzo Groppera is located in the Alpi Retiche (Rhaetian Alps), a mountain range in the central Alps of Europe.

Pizzo Groppera can be accessed via a historical lift from Madesimo, offering panoramic views of the surrounding alpine landscape.

Departure town: Madesimo, Lombardy

Which Highest Mountain In Italy Should You Visit? Consider This.

Other than the region you plan to visit, another important aspect that you should consider when choosing which one to visit is whether you can get there by train, bus, or car. Below I am sharing which ones are best for those traveling with a car and others more suitable for public transportation.

Italian Mountain Day Trips By Train/Bus

The easiest mountain to reach among the ones I listed above is the highest. If you are visiting the Aosta Valley, you can stay in Aosta and take a 1 hr bus to Courmayeur. From there, you can take the Skyway cable car.

If you are traveling by public transport, another easy mountain to reach would be the Tofana di Mezzo. You can reach Cortina in under 3 hours by train and then take the cable car up. You can do it in one day or spend the night in a Cortina hotel. Cortina is a pretty mountain town.

Although not the highest, another wonderful mountain day trip easily done in one day by train, is Seceda (2500 m).

Learn more about Seceda in my Seceda Peak Day Trip Guide.

And if you are interested in exploring the Dolomites and its beautiful Alpine towns, click here to discover the fantastic Trentino Alto Adige Region.

Seceda in the Fall

Italian Mountain Day Trips by Car

If you have a car, I would suggest Monte Rosa, as you can stay in Aosta and drive to Breuil-Cervinia in under an hour. From there you can take the various cable cars.

The same applies to Grawand. You can reach Maso Corto from Bolzano in just over an hour’s car ride, and then take the cable car.

Italian Mountains FAQ

What are the 3 major mountain ranges called in Italy? 

The three major mountain ranges in Italy are the Alps, the Apennines, and the Dolomites.

What are the top 3 mountains in Italy?

The top three highest mountains in Italy are:

What city in Italy is surrounded by mountains?

Turin (Torino) is a city in Italy that is surrounded by mountains. It is located in the Piedmont region, near the Alps.

What is the highest elevation in Italy?

The highest elevation in Italy is the summit of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), which stands at 4,810 meters (15,781 feet) above sea level.

How high is Mount Etna?

Mount Etna, located on the island of Sicily, is approximately 3,329 meters (10,922 feet) high, although its height can vary due to volcanic activity.

Is the Bernina in Italy?

Yes, the Bernina is partially located in Italy. The Bernina Range is a mountain range in the Alps, situated in both Italy and Switzerland. The highest peak of the Bernina Range, Piz Bernina, lies on the border between the two countries. In Italy it borders with Lombardia in the province of Sondrio.

Which Italian cities are best for mountain holidays?

Some of the best Italian cities for mountain holidays include:

Posted in


Tagged with:

Alessia Spampinato