Five of the best mountain peaks: Climbing a mountain need not be a challenge

How to reach the summit by foot, train or cable car

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The Independent Travel

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn. On 14 July 1865, the British climber Edward Whymper conquered this iconic European peak, but you don't need to be an experienced mountaineer to stand on top of the world.

High-altitude train

The 11,332ft-high Jungfraujoch, near Grindelwald, is Europe's highest train station, and with views across the Aletsch Glacier plus some of Switzerland's highest peaks it feels like another planet altogether. Getting there is half the fun: the 100-year-old cog railway cuts through the north face of the Eiger and provides spine-tingling vistas of climbers toiling up below. At the top there's a restaurant, interactive exhibits and a 360-degree observation platform. Inntravel (01653 617001; has a 12-night Grand Tour of Switzerland, which features the Jungfraujoch and the Matterhorn. The price of £1,895pp includes most meals and a rail pass. Flights extra.

To the Moon and back

The astronaut Neil Armstrong described Mount Teide National Park, in Tenerife, as the closest thing to the lunar landscape he'd ever seen. From the 12,000ft-plus summit of Mount Teide itself it's easy to see why: near-continuous volcanic activity has created a dramatic desert of jagged red stones. And the best news is a cable car will take you most of the way there; if you've got a head for heights, apply for a permit and walk the last 534ft on foot. The Teide Cable Car (00 34 922 010 440; costs €27 (£19) per adult, €13.50 per child.

Mount Teide, Tenerife

Take the high road

There's beautiful hiking to be had on Mount Olympus in Cyprus and in the surrounding Troodos Mountains, as well as wineries and traditional rural villages to explore, but the spectacular drive to one of the highest points in the Mediterranean is hard to beat – so hire a car and hit the road. Apokryfo (00 357 25 81 37 77; is a gorgeous boutique hotel near the base of Mount Olympus. Doubles from €150.

Top cogs

The highest mountain in Wales is a formidable climb, but the views can be enjoyed with no effort at all. The Snowdon Mountain Railway (0844 493 8120; has been taking visitors cog by cog from the tiny village of Llanberis, in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, to the summit of Snowdon for almost 120 years. On a clear day it's possible to see the coast of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Return from £27 per adult, £18 per child.

The name's Bond

The new 10,000ft-high, all-glass Ice Q restaurant, in Sölden, Austria, is stunning enough to be featured in the forthcoming James Bond film, Spectre, and you won't have to break a bead of sweat to get there.

A purpose-built cable car transports guests to the summit, surrounded on all sides by more than 250 peaks of the Otztal Alps. Expect to be stirred, not shaken. Ice Q is operated by Das Central Hotel (0043 525 422 600; Doubles from £104pp, half-board.