The western portions of the Ore Mountains have the highest peaks. The Klínovec (1244 m) on the Czech side and the Fichtelberg (1214 m) on the German side are the highest mountains of this range. In the west the Ore Mountains are continued by the much lower Bavarian Fichtelgebirge. In the east the Elbsandsteingebirge on both banks of the Elbe river may be regarded as the easternmost extension of the Ore Mountains. The Ore Mountains are gently sloping away to the north, where the cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz are located on the foothills, but the southern incline is extremely steep.
The Ore Mountains were virtually unsettled during the Middle Ages and covered with dense forests. In the 15th century the discovery of silver and tin deposits led to the settlement of the mountains and the foundation of cities. The name is derived from the richness in mineral resources. Today the mountains are also a popular winter sports resort.