Some people like to spend their holidays lying on a beach, reading a book and drinking cocktails. Others prefer their leisure time to be a bit more, well, active.

Those in the latter category might be attracted by the idea of scaling the Seven Summits – the tallest mountain peaks on the planet’s seven continents.

However, while some of these can be tackled by hikers and hobby climbers with a high level of fitness, others can only be attempted by elite mountain climbers.

In Europe, the highest peak is a matter of geographical debate. The widely held view is that the tallest mountain is Mont Blanc (4,810m) in the Swiss Alps. But a case can also be made for Mount Elbrus (5,642m) in the Caucasus mountains of Russia – if you accept that these mountains belong to the European continent. Some geographers argue that they are part of Asia.

In Africa, the highest peak is Kilimanjaro (5,895m) in Tanzania, while in North America it is the Denali (6,190m) in Alaska. South America’s tallest peak can be found in Argentina: the Aconcagua (6,961m) in the Andes mountain range.

In the Australian continental region, opinions also differ according to geographical definitions. The widely held view is that the Carstensz Pyramid (4,884m) in the Indonesian province of Papua is the tallest. But by narrower definition, Papua does not belong to the continent of Australia. In which case, the highest peak in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko (2,228m).

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Meanwhile, the tallest peak in Asia – and the world – is Mount Everest in Nepal at 8,848m. This leaves Antarctica, whose tallest peak is Mount Vinson (4,892m).

While Mount Everest, Denali, Mount Vinson and the difficult-to-reach Carstensz Pyramid can only be attempted by well-trained professionals, the Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua peaks can be conquered by hobby climbers with the necessary ambition – and physical fitness. – dpa