Top 5 Longest Mountain Ranges in Europe

Beautiful view of the fjord in Norway.
Anna Kurzaeva/Getty Images

Europe is one of the smallest continents but you wouldn't know it from the size of some of its mountain ranges. The mountains of Europe have been home to some of the most daring feats in history, used by explorers and warlords alike. The ability to safely navigate these mountain ranges helped shape the world we know today through trade routes and military achievements. While today these mountain ranges are mostly used for skiing and marveling at their wondrous views, their history is no less important.

   

Five Longest Mountain Ranges in Europe

Scandinavian Mountains - 1762 kilometers (1095 miles)

Also known as the Scandes, this mountain range stretches through the Scandinavian Peninsula. They are the longest mountain range in Europe. The mountains aren't considered very high but they're known for their steepness. The western side drops into the North and Norwegian sea. Its northern location makes it prone to ice fields and glaciers. 

Carpathian Mountains - 1500 kilometers (900 miles)

The Carpathians stretch across Eastern and Central Europe. They're the second longest mountain range in the region. The mountain range can be divided into three major sections, the Eastern Carpathians, Western Carpathians and the Southern Carpathians. The second largest virgin forest in Europe is located in these mountains. They are also home to a large population of brown bears, wolves, chamois, and lynx. Hikers can find many mineral and thermal springs in the foothills.

 

Alps - 1200 kilometers (750 miles)

The Alps are probably the most famous mountain range in Europe. This range of mountains stretches across eight countries. Hannibal once famously rode Elephants across them but today the mountain range is more home to skiers than pachyderms. The Romantic poets would be enamored with the ethereal beauty of these mountains, making them the backdrop for many novels and poems.

Farming and forestry are large parts of these mountains economies along with tourism. The Alps remain one of the worlds top travel destinations, with good reason.  ​

Caucasus Mountains - 1100 kilometers (683 miles)

This mountain range is notable not only for its length but also for being the dividing line between Europe and Asia. This mountain range was an important part of the historical trade route known as the Silk Road. This was the road which connected the ancient Eastern and Western world. It was in use as early as 207 B.C., carrying silk, horses and other goods to trade between continents. 

Apennine Mountains - 1000 kilometers (620 miles)

The Apennine mountain range stretches the length of the Italian Penninsula. In 2000, the Environment Ministry of Italy suggested extending the range to include the mountains of Northern Sicily. This addition would make the range 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) long. It has one of the most intact ecosystems in the country. These mountains are one of the last natural refuges of the largest European predators like the Italian wolf and Marsican brown bear, which have gone extinct in other regions. 

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Rosenberg, Matt. "Top 5 Longest Mountain Ranges in Europe." ThoughtCo, Sep. 23, 2017, thoughtco.com/longest-mountain-ranges-in-europe-1435173. Rosenberg, Matt. (2017, September 23). Top 5 Longest Mountain Ranges in Europe. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/longest-mountain-ranges-in-europe-1435173 Rosenberg, Matt. "Top 5 Longest Mountain Ranges in Europe." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/longest-mountain-ranges-in-europe-1435173 (accessed November 19, 2017).