Cortina D' Ampezzo, Italy's most upmarket ski destination. Photo: Shutterstock
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ALETSCH GLACIER, SWITZERLAND

Here above the Rhone Valley you'll find glorious hiking country, with a vast network of signposted trails wandering through pine and larch forests and flower-filled meadows beneath dozens of alpine peaks, including the famous Jungfrau. The glacier is a 23-kilometre World Heritage spectacle of rock and ice. Majelensee is a lake afloat in mini icebergs. Stay in Riederalp or Bettmeralp, tiny villages closed to traffic high above the valley. See aletscharena.ch

FER-A-CHEVAL, FRANCE

Follow the tourist hordes to Chamonix and you're rewarded with close-up encounters with Mt Blanc, the Alps' highest peak. Aiguille du Midi cable-car has mighty outlooks. Veer off into a side valley instead though, and you can hike with locals to Fer-a-Cheval, a horseshoe of mighty cliffs streaked with waterfalls and topped by 3000-metre mountains. The nearby village of Sixt is one of France's most beautiful. See sixtferacheval.com

AOSTA VALLEY, ITALY

This rugged, French-influenced glacial valley in the northwest corner of Italy looks onto the lesser-known sides of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Courmayeur is its best-known resort and is linked to Chamonix by cable car. Chamois, endangered ibex and marmot roam aptly-named Gran Paradiso National Park, but the region is dense with human history, too, its beauty supplemented by a string of well-placed medieval and Renaissance castles. See lovevda.it

NORDKETTE, AUSTRIA

Hop onto a train right in the middle of Innsbruck, and then onto a cable car, and in 20 minutes you'll be dizzy amid a wonderment of serried mountain ranges stiff with snow at the 2256-metre summit of Nordkette in Karwendel Nature Park. The green valley and city below are a wonderful contrast in summer. The funicular stations, designed by Zaha Hadid, are an added attraction. See nordkette.com

BLED, SLOVENIA

The beauty of the Julian Alps invites comparison with Switzerland, but the landscapes are wilder and less touristy. Lake Bohinj, in Triglav National Park, is a scenic gem, yet has only a scattering of accommodations and eateries. Boating, hiking and toe-chilling swimming are among the activities. Then hike up to the Savica Falls, immortalised in Slovene poetry, or take a cable car to the scenic summit of Mt Vogel. See bled.si

GORNERGRAT, SWITZERLAND

Switzerland. get natural. Zermatt (1616 m), traffic-free resort in the Matter valley, Valais. The Riffelsee (2757 m) in the Gornergrat region, backdropped by the Matterhorn (4478 m). By-line: ST/swiss-image.ch sunaug19traveller10?Most Beautiful Places in the Alps Traveller 10 ; text by?Brian Johnston SUPPLIED?https://swiss-image.ch

From 3089 metres on the Gornergrat above Zermatt, jagged snow-capped peaks are strung out along the horizon in every direction. But all eyes are on the Matterhorn, whose distinctive hatchet profile adorns postcards, train tickets and souvenirs in this alpine town. In summer at nearby Riffelsee, the mountains are mirrored in the still waters of a lake. In winter, the nine-kilometre ski run back to Zermatt is magnificent. See zermatt.ch

ANNECY, FRANCE

sunaug19traveller10 Most Beautiful Places in the Alps Traveller 10 ; text by Brian Johnston credit: Shutterstock *** REUSE PERMITTED *** ANNECY,FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 2,2016 - In the streets of Annecy. Annecy is the largest city of Haute Savoie department in the Auvergne Rhone Alpes region in southeastern France.

Photo: Shutterstock

Annecy's castle-topped old town is a gem of the French Alps. A small river where swans glide runs through the middle, spanned by bridges that drip summer geraniums and petunias. Beyond, an alpine lake fed by glacial waters shimmers in translucent blue, surrounded by a ring of mountains. Take a summer cruise on the lake to soak up the serenity and watch hang-gliders drifting like dragonflies above Col de la Forclaz. See lac-annecy.com

LECH, AUSTRIA

sunaug19traveller10 Most Beautiful Places in the Alps Traveller 10 ; text by Brian Johnston credit: Shutterstock *** REUSE PERMITTED *** A Winter Village View over Lech, Austria

Photo: Shutterstock

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The 2360-metre summit of the Rufikopf cable car directly above Lech is the start of the famous 22-kilometre White Ring ski circuit. The opening run offers perhaps the most gobsmacking panorama from a ski slope anywhere in Europe, with a vast panorama of blue and white pavlova-like peaks surrounding you as you swoop downwards. Alternatively, just sit on the terrace at Balmalp Restaurant across the valley, perched above snowy heaven. See lech-zuers.at

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, ITALY

Cortina has been a mountain resort since the 1860s, hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956 and remains Italy's most upmarket ski destination. Fifty cable cars and 150-odd kilometres of ski runs provide access to the surrounding Dolomite Mountains, with their glaciers and jagged peaks. Arrow in the Sky cable-car provides particularly stunning views of the youthful crags and green valleys that typify the region. See dolomiti.org

MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND

Montreux isn't exactly in the Alps – it's on the vineyard-covered shores of Lake Geneva – and not the prettiest town. Who cares? It has the world's loveliest flower-flanked promenades that gaze across the lake to the splendid borrowed scenery of the French Alps. Take the 40-minute walk to lakeside Chillon Castle, behind which loom the fanged, snow-capped Dents du Midi, one of the most fabulous chunks of Swiss Alps. See lake-geneva-region.ch

Brian Johnston travelled both as a guest of tourism offices and at his own expense.

from traveller.com.au