Alps, a mountain system of central Europe. Its lofty ranges stretch in a rough arc from the Riviera on the Mediterranean coast, across southeastern France and northern Italy, through most of Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein, and into southern Germany and Slovenia. The Alps are about 470 miles (760 km) long along the inner edge of the arc, and 810 miles (1,300 km) along the outer edge. Their width ranges from 80 to 150 miles (130 to 240 km). They cover approximately 85,000 square miles (220,000 km 2).
The Alps are part of a larger mountain system formed during relatively recent geologic time. Some principal parts of this system, aside from the Alps proper, are the Apennines of the Italian peninsula; the Pyrenees, between France and Spain; and the Dinaric Alps, which rise behind Croatia's Dalmatian coast.
Alpine resorts, with their magnificent scenery and their facilities for mountain climbing, skiing, and other sports, are popular vacation spots. Tourists flock to such places as St. Moritz, Lucerne, and Interlaken, in Switzerland; Kitzbühel and Arlberg, Austria; and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.The Alps are the largest mountain system in Europe.