Western Alps

Western Alps
French: Alpes occidentales
Italian: Alpi occidentali
German: Westalpen

Mont Blanc, the highest summit of the Western Alps
Highest point
Peak Mont Blanc
Elevation 4,810 m (15,780 ft)
Coordinates 45°50′01″N 06°51′54″E / 45.83361°N 6.86500°E / 45.83361; 6.86500Coordinates: 45°50′01″N 06°51′54″E / 45.83361°N 6.86500°E / 45.83361; 6.86500
Length 300 km (190 mi)[1]
Width 150 to 185 km (93 to 115 mi)

The Western Alps from space

Countries Monaco, France, Italy and Switzerland
Parent range Alps
Borders on
Orogeny Alpine orogeny

The name Western Alps refers to the western part of the Alpine range. The term has different meanings according to the classification of the Alps in use. The peaks and mountain passes are higher compared to the Eastern Alps, while the range itself is not so broad and more arched.


The Western Alps include the south-eastern part of France (i.e. Savoie), whole Monaco, the north-western part of Italy and the south-western part of Switzerland (i.e. Valais). While in the south-east the range is bound by the Italian Padan Plain, in the east the valley of the Rhone river separates it from the Massif Central. The northernmost part of Western Alps - in the wide meaning of the term - is formed by the Swiss Prealps sub-range.

Partizione delle Alpi

The eight Western Alps sections (1-8) according to the Partizione delle Alpi

In the Partizione delle Alpi (in English literally Partition of the Alps), adopted by the Italian Comitato Geografico Nazionale (National Geographic Committee) in 1926 following the IX Congresso Geografico Italiano (Italian Geographic Congress), the Alpine range is divided into three main parts: Western, Central and Eastern Alps.[2]

In this traditional subdivision the Western Alps start from the Bocchetta di Altare (or Colle di Cadibona) and end with the Col Ferret.

The Partizione delle Alpi divides the Western Alps into the following eight sections (in brackets the section number):

Maritime Alps (1), Cottian Alps (2), Graian Alps (3), Provence Alps (4), Dauphiné Alps (5), Provence Prealps (6), Dauphiné Prealps (7) and Savoy Prealps (8).

See also


  1. Umlauft, Friedrich (1889). The Alps. K. Paul, Trench & Company. p. 78.
  2. Archivio veneto, VV.AA., Deputazione di storia patria per le Venezie, 1971


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