Three different climates have been identified by our evaluation of AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) data using APOLLO (AVHRR Processing scheme Over Land, Clouds and Ocean) for a five-years cloud climatology of the Alpine region. The cloud cover data from four layers were spatially averaged in boxes of 15km by 14km. The study area only covers 540km by 560km, but contains regions with moderate, Alpine and Mediterranean climate. Data from the period July 1989 until December 1996 have been considered. The temporal resolution is one scene per day, the early afternoon pass, yielding monthly means of satellite derived cloud coverages 5% to 10% above the daily mean compared to conventional surface observation. At non-vegetated sites the cloudiness is sometimes significantly overestimated. Averaging high resolution cloud data seems to be superior to low resolution measurements of cloud properties and averaging is favourable in topographical homogeneous regions only. The annual course of cloud cover reveals typical regional features as foehn or temporal singularities as the so-called Christmas thaw. The cloud cover maps in spatially high resolution show local luff/lee features which outline the orography. Less cloud cover is found over the Alps than over the forelands in winter, an accumulation of thick cirrus is found over the High Alps and an accumulation of thin cirrus north of the Alps.