The Swiss Alps are the portion of the Alps mountain range that lies within Switzerland. Because of their central position within the entire Alpine range, they are also known as the Central Alps.
The highest summit in the Swiss Alps is Monte Rosa (4,634 metres) near the Swiss-Italian border. The highest mountain which lies entirely on Swiss territory is the Dom (4,545 metres). Other main summits can be found in the list of mountains in Switzerland.
Since the Middle Ages, transit across the Alps played an important role in history. The region north of the St. Gotthard Pass became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century.
The Alps cover 65% of Switzerland's surface area (41,285 km²), making it one of the most alpine countries. Despite the fact that Switzerland covers only 14% of the Alps total area (192,753 km²), many alpine four-thousanders (48 of 82) are located in the Swiss Alps and the remaining few are within 20 km of the country's border.
The Swiss Alps are situated south of the Swiss plateau and north of the national border. The limit between the Alps and the plateau runs from Vevey on the shores of Lake Geneva to Rorschach on the shores of Lake Constance, passing close to the cities of Thun and Lucerne.
Many mountains attract a large number of alpinists from around the world, especially the 4000-metre summits and the great north faces. The large winter resorts are also popular destinations in summer, as most of aerial tramways operate through the year, enabling hikers and mountaineers to reach high altitudes without much effort. The Klein Matterhorn is the highest summit of the European continent to be served by cable car.