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The Alps

The Alps constitute a unified name for the greatest mountain system of Europe, extending from the east of Austria through Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to the west of France. The Alps` highest peak is the Mont Blanc at 4808 meters on the border between France and Italy.

The Alps are divided into three sections: the Western Alps (separated into: Maritime Alps; Cottian Alps; Dauphine Alps; Graian Alps; Pennine Alps), the Central Alps (subdivided into: Swiss Alps including North-Eastern Swiss Alps; Bernese Oberland; Lepontine Alps; Todi Range; Bernina Alps; Albula Range and Silvretta and Ratikon Ranges ) and the Eastern Alps (The Alps of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg and Salzburg, Tyrolean Alps; Ortler, Oetzhal and Stubai Ranges; Lombard Alps; Dolomites; South-Eastern Alps). 

The best of the ski resorts in the Alps are: Chamonix (France), Cortina (Italy), Davos (Switzerland), Garmisch (Germany), Grindewald (Switzerland), Kitzbuhel (Austria), Lech (Austria), Seefeld (Austria), St. Anton (Austria), St. Moritz (Switzerland) and Zermatt (Switzerland).

Chamonix is the French ski area lying at the foot of the Mont Blanc. It offers you one of the best high-mountain coctails of the world. The huge mount is a big attraction itself. The scenery of Chamonix is breathtaking and there are challenging ski areas. This is an exellent place to go skiing, especially for off-piste and expert skiers. Cortina is the Italian ski resort. This is where celebrities, students and honeymooners come from around the globe in order to take advantage of the resort's nursery slopes, profusion or intermediate runs and challenging expert courses. Cross-country skiers enjoy a variety of trails, the snowboarders are delighted by the slopes and the off-piste adventurers find there place for themselves, too.

Davos/Klosters is an active resort in an awesome winter playground in Switzerland. The town stretches for a few kilometers along the wide Landwasser River Valley, between two gigantic mountain ranges. The area is a sector of the southeastern canton Graubunden where some of the best developed winter resorts in the world are located (e.g. Davos & St.Moritz). Except for these tourist centers, this canton is relatively unspoiled, there are magnificent lakes and beautiful mountain spots. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a German ski complex where the old world meets the new one. Garmisch is very modern and anglicized whereas Partenkirchen still remains traditional and charming. Garmisch was the site of the Winter Olympics held in 1936. The resort takes pride in its heritage - the slopes as well as the off-piste facilities that has been excellently maintained according to the German tradition.

Kitzbuhel is a classic Tyrolean location in Austria. We advise you to go there during the Hahnenkamm races - the most prestigious downhill events on the World Cup circuit. They take place in the later part of January each year. Throughout this worldwide known competition, the town is decorated in its showiest attire as it hosts the best world`s ski racers and their fans crowding in order to see them compete.

Of course, each of these resorts offers you alpine and cross-country skiing, as well as a great choice of other winter activities (including snow or not), and a lot of 'apres ski' opportunities. You will also find there a wide range of accommodation from expensive and luxurious hotels to cheap and cosy pensions and a range of dining from delicious cuisine to simple fare, always accompanied by excellent wines.

If you want to visit some places in Austria, go to Innsbruck. Among numerous spots we highly recommend you to see: Triumphal Arch (constructed in 1765 so as to commemorate the marriage of Leopold II and mourn for the death of Emperor Franz I- one side is happy, the other sad), the Old Town, the Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum (a compilation of folk art and historical objects), Hofkirche and the Statue of the Emperor Rudolf.

In the Bavarian Alps in Germany worth seeing are for instance: two 19th-century castles related to 'Mad' King Ludwig II (Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein) in the surroundings of Fussen, Oberammergau (home to quite well-known version of the Passion play), Berchtesgaden (was home to Hitler`s Eagle`s Nest retreat). In Italy is also much to see. In the Western Alps visit the Gran Paradiso National Park (in the Valle d`Aosta area), Monte Rosa (close to the Swiss border), the museums in Turin and the monuments of Aosta.

In the Central Alps in Italy you should visit Sondrio, Como, Milan, Varese (beautiful scenery and lakes), the rock carvings in Valcamonica.

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