Sweeping in a giant arc some 680 miles long and up to 140 miles wide from the French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea north east to Austria and Slovenia, the Alps are the largest and highest mountain range to lie totally in Europe.
They cover an area of some 80,000 square miles and take in eight countries in their path: France, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria and Slovenia.
Although a distinctive region in its own right, each country has its own feel and the resorts vary greatly; from huge, well-known names linking multiple ski areas and characterful villages with lively aprÃ¨s ski to tiny resorts off the beaten track where you will actually need to speak the local language when ordering lunch at the mountain restaurant. Check out our country pages for more information on a selection of resorts.
The Alpine region attracts over 150 million tourists per year - 95 million long stay, 60 million for day trips
The highest peak is Mont Blanc on the French/Italian border which stands at 4807m/ 15,771 feet
About 2% of the total area of the Alps is covered by ice
The longest valley glacier, the Aletsch Glacier in the Bernese Alps, is 18 km long
The UK and the Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg) region provide the largest number of tourists from beyond the Alpine countries
The majority of visitors to the Alps (about 84%) travel by car with around 9% travelling by train
The total railway network length in the Alps is 8,364kms including 2,622kms of high speed line
Air pollution levels in the valleys are often as severe as in urban areas - ozone smog can reach high levels, and noise pollution is intensified by the topography of the valleys