There's something quite humbling about mountains. Even though man has conquered most of the world's summits, they still retain an untamed quality - a reminder that we are only a tiny part of the landscape. When the Victorians started travelling for pleasure, it was the mountain ranges of Europe that became the backdrops for so many novels. Books like Dracula and The Mysteries of Udulpho featured stunning mountainous landscapes and were the beginning of a fascination we still have today with the world's giants. Whether you love climbing mountains or just photographing them, these are some of the most spectacular peaks across the globe.
The beauty of Alpamayo in northern Peru has earned it the title of the world's most beautiful mountain. Beauty can still be dangerous though and climbing this pyramid shaped peak is not to be taken lightly. Standing at just under 6000 metres, Alpamayo offers a unique challenge due to the multi-faceted nature of each individual route up to the summit. Climbers often describe the mountain as "fluted" and "knife edged", but most agree that it provides one of the most stunning climbs in the world.
For Nature Lovers
Meru Mountain in Tanzania may live in the shadow of its more famous brother, Mount Kilimanjaro, but Meru is often described as the more beautiful mountain to climb. This is the fifth highest mountain in Africa at just over 4500 meters, and nature lovers will appreciate the habitat that surrounds the mountain and covers its lower slopes. Animals such as elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and vibrant parrots can be seen along the way. The fauna is just as impressive with exotic flowers, juniper trees and dry rainforests scattered along the route.
Mont Blanc at 4810 meters, reachable from the French resort of Chamonix, is the highest peak in Europe and is famed for its rugged beauty. Skiers love the fact that Chamonix has twelve ski areas for different skill levels and plenty of cross country options. From the top of Mont Blanc you can look down upon other major summits of the Alps, a stunning view that must be seen in your lifetime. You can also visit the La Mer de Glaces, a huge glacier on the Northern side of Mont Blanc where you can explore a "Grotte de Glace" or Ice Cave.
The lush Huayna Picchu in the Andes provides a spectacular view of Machu Picchu, the famous Inca ruins. It's a challenging walk and only the fit and able-bodied should attempt it, but you don't need to be an accomplished climber to make it up the summit that sits 1,200 metres above the ruins. Only 400 people are allowed on the slopes each day and you have to sign in and back out again when you descend. Walkers report that it can get scary, especially when wet, but ruins such as the Temple of the Moon that are strewn about the mountain make it well worth the effort.
For Fairy Tale Lovers
One of the world's most iconic mountains has to be The Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, with its stunning figure and bold, sharp peak looking down over the surrounding glaciers. At a height of 4478 metres, this fairy tale peak whose likeness frequents Disney parks, is a big tourist destination loved by skiers, hikers and climbers. Dubbed the "mountain of mountains" it is one of the most photographed mountains in the world.
It's not surprising that the untouched wilderness of the Antarctic is home to one of the most photogenic mountains in the world- the Spectre in the Organ Pipe Peaks of the Transantarctic Mountains. At 2,020 metres it must seem a dwarf compared to our other choices, but height is not everything. You'll find no abundant wildlife or ski resorts here; the landscape is stark, cruel and dramatic but perfect for capturing on film.
Written by Paula Gardner. Paula is a travel writer and blogger at Soothed in the City. Paula's passion is mindful travel, using as many senses as possible to deepen the travel experience. She loves street markets, learning how to cook regional food, trying local wines, and chilling at pampering spas. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Top