Le Alpi - Viaggio in Germania

The Alps – Travel Germany


The immense mountains that cut through central Europe fascinate with their grandeur and mark the entire culture and lifestyle of the regions in which they are located.

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain ranges in Europe, stretching across several countries: southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, France and Monaco. The Alps mountain range is approximately 1,200 km long, with its highest point being Mont Blanc, in France (Monte Blanc, in Portuguese) with 4807 meters of altitude.

The view from Mont Blanc in France, the highest point in the Alps.
Photo: Travel Germany

Despite the difficult terrain and negative temperatures in winter, there is a record of human occupation in different areas throughout the Alps since prehistoric times. In Antiquity, the Alps were inhabited by tribes, such as the Rhetians, Helvetii, Alemannics, among others. As early as the 2nd century BC, the Alps were the scene of battles between the army of the Carthagenian general Hannibal and the Republic of Rome. Such battles were marked in history by Hannibal's crossing and the elephants used in combat.

Lake Königsee in southern Germany

The trade routes that crossed the Alps, both in the Roman period and in the early Middle Ages, brought prosperity to the cities they belonged to, since crossing from southern to northern Europe through the Alps was an arduous task. One of these routes was the Via Claudia Augusta, which we now know as the Romantic Route, in Germany.

Also in the heart of the Alps, the Swiss Confederation was born in 1291, through a mutual and voluntary cooperation agreement between three cantons. What we know today as Switzerland – one of the most prosperous and developed nations in the world – has around 60% of its territory occupied by the Alps.

Thus, the relief and nature in the Alps created an entire culture and lifestyle of its own in the regions through which the mountain range passes. Although in different countries, we see regions such as Tyrol, in Austria, or South Tyrol, in Italy, southern Bavaria, in Germany, which share many customs and cultural aspects in common, expressed in dialects, songs, celebrations, architecture, celebrations and cuisine known as “alpine”.

Lake Constance, on the border of Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Not surprisingly, the mountain goat, or ibex, became present in many coats of arms of cities and cantons, as a symbol of resilience and strength of those who live close to the giant mountains of the Alps. Another symbol of the Alps is the Edelweiss flower. Called the “flower of the Alps”, it is known for its cold-resistant properties and for remaining beautiful and intact in appearance, even when it is dry, and thus, it also earned the nickname “eternal of the Alps”. The song “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music” perpetuated the name of this flower, just as the film showed the world the bucolic landscapes of the Austrian Alps.

Salzburg, Austria – Setting of the film “The Sound of Music”

In the 19th century, the population increased with the construction of railways and tourism soon began. Currently, entire cities are dedicated solely to tourism in the Alps.

Visiting the Alps in summer or winter?

It is possible to do various activities in the Alps in all four seasons. In winter, the region is popular for snowboarding and skiing. In summer, less extreme activities such as hiking, cycling and mountaineering take over, in addition to the alpine lakes that attract sailors and swimmers. A great idea is to go to the top of other mountains to observe the Alps from above! From Monte Generoso, located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, you have a view of almost the entire Alpine mountain range, from the Matterhorn, through the Jungfrau to the Bernina Mountain Range!

Enjoy the Alps in summer and spring – outdoors, hiking, or cycling.
Foto: Switzerland Tourism By swiss-image.ch/Ivo Scholz

A charming attraction is going up the mountains by cable car. Despite the cold, it's worth it! In some mountains, such as Mount Titlis, in Switzerland, or Zugspitz, in Germany, the cabins are closed, for greater comfort and safety. Enjoying the view from up there, sipping hot chocolate (there are usually restaurants on the tops of the mountains), is spectacular, like nothing else! And to get down, the bravest take the Rodelbahn, a “cart” on rails that passes through the middle of the forest providing a stunning landscape. But for those who are afraid, it is possible to go down by cable car too.

The Alps near the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

The experience of driving through the Alps is also incredible, seeing them from afar and little by little up close, the feeling is breathtaking. But what about snow, is it possible to see it in summer too? Yes!! Normally, even if the temperatures in cities are around 30 degrees, it is still possible to see some accumulated snow on the mountain tops (each year is different, it's not guaranteed), and still enjoy it a lot, as summer days are longer.

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