10 Cities with Spectacular Views from Above

Posted on August 23, 2012 by

When it comes to exploring a new city, most people opt for grabbing a map and donning a sturdy pair of walking boots. But by far the best way to get your bearings (and some pretty epic photos) is by taking to the air. London is the latest city to add a cable car to its transport repertoire, but the British capital joins a long list of other destinations that have given visitors a budget-friendly way to see the sights from the sky.

London, UK

Newly opened on the 28th June 2012, the Emirates Air Line cable car is the latest Olympic attraction in London. The cable car will take visitors across the Thames, linking the Greenwich Peninsula – home to the o2 Centre (previously the Millennium Dome) – with the Royal Docks and Excel centre, which will be hosting events such as boxing during the Games.

London Cable Car
Flickr photo by IanVisits

New York, USA

The Roosevelt Island Tramway takes four minutes to transport visitors to and from Manhattan. At just $2.25, its one of the cheapest ways to get an aerial view of the prized New York skyline from 250ft up. Once you’re on Roosevelt Island, you can catch a bus, relax in a park, or just hop back on to get another look at the view.

NYC - Roosevelt Island Tramway
Flickr photo by Silveira Neto

Barcelona, Spain

There are a couple of cable cars in Barcelona, one being the “Montjuïc Funicular”, and the other the  “Transbordador Aeri del Port” (or Port Cable Car) which takes a fairly steep ascent up above Barcelona, where Sagrada Familia, the port, harbour and La Ramblas can all be seen.

Transbordador Aeri del Port
Flickr photo by 1yen

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown may not be a city, but the Skyline Queenstown Gondola on New Zealand’s South Island gets a shout for being the southern hemisphere’s steepest cable car. From your sky high vantage point you can take in the icy waters of Lake Wakatipu, and once you reach Bob’s Peak at 450 metres, the viewing platforms lay out the beautiful mountain vistas New Zealand is famous for.

Queenstown, from the cable car
Flickr photo by sa.shots

Cologne, Germany

Open from March to November, the Kolner Seilbahn has been taking passengers up and over the Rhine since 1957; the first cable car to cross  a river in Europe. At one end of the line, there’s the Rheinpark and at the other, the zoo and botanical gardens. At just 6,50 EUR for an adult return, it’s a bargain way to get spectacular views of the Cologne skyline and some pretty good photos to boot.

Kölner Seilbahn
Flickr photo by Alexander Gorlin


Riding high over the city and the harbour with all its cruise ships, this cable car will take you up Mount Faber, over to Sentosa Island off the coast of Singapore. Opt for a return journey at sunset for an especially scenic trip; there are dining packages available for the romantics, and glass bottom cars available for the thrill seekers.

Flickr photo by Sue Elias

Madrid, Spain

The Madrid Teleferico is the perfect spot for a game of city-wide “I spy”. Departing from Paseo Pintor Rosales, you’ll pass by the Templo de Debod and get epic views of the Royal Palace and surrounding landmarks before arriving at Casa de Campo. Just remember to ask for the cabin’s audio guide to be set in your language before you set off.

Casa de Campo, Madrid
Flickr photo by Cybernorn

Brasov, Romania

Over to Eastern Europe, where the Romanian city of Brasov lies nestled against the backdrop of the Carpathian mountains. Look up into the hills and you’ll see the Hollywood-esque lettering spelling out the city’s name, but to get a closer look, catch the cable car (or Telecabina) up to Mount Tampa for a panoramic view of the city – old towns and new – from above.

#059 -  A Billboard or Sign
Flickr photo by rachel_titiriga

Hong Kong

The Ngong Ping 360 is a 5.7km long cable car in Hong Kong, reaching from Lantau Island to Ngong Ping, home to the Po Lin Monastery and the imposing Giant Buddha statue. Over the course of the 25 minute ride, you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of Hong Kong’s valleys, mountains and the South China Sea.

Flickr photo by planetjones

Rio de Janero, Brazil

The Sugarloaf cable car in Rio takes you to the top of the Sugar Loaf mountain (so-called because of its shape). The journey is split into two stages; the final leg taking you a heart-stopping 400 metres above the city. All being well in the weather stakes, you can expect spectacular views of Rio from Copacabana to Ipanema.

Continua lindo
Flickr photo by oijulia

If you’re heading off to take in the views on holiday this year, check the MyVoucherCodes website for Thomson discount codes that’ll make it that little bit cheaper.

*This is a sponsored post by Jo Harris-Cooksley.

7 Responses to “10 Cities with Spectacular Views from Above”

  1. cosmoHallitan August 24, 2012 11:57 am #

    There is also a cable car in Macau that takes visitors up to Guia Fort, the highest point on the island. The ride up provides great views of the city and it costs something like $0.50!

  2. A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer) August 24, 2012 5:30 pm #

    so many great cities, but london will always be my favorite :)

  3. Mary Logain September 17, 2012 12:15 am #

    I love the Rio de Janero, Brazil view but i don't know about going 400 meters high.

  4. Mary Logain September 17, 2012 12:19 am #

    Also the Hong Kong view,, I would ride that one doesn't seem to be that high lol

  5. Dani January 3, 2014 5:20 am #

    All great cities listed! I have been recently to Barcelona and Brasov and loved both. Still need to go to a few others on your list!

  6. click here for info January 27, 2014 1:59 am #

    I hate that I've only been to one of these places. I'm still thankful for the experience though. Riding the Ngong Ping 360 in Hong Kong is one of the best things I've done there. On the other end of the ride, the village, Po Lin monastery and Tian Tan Buddha are in store. There are so many sights to see in Lantau Island. Next on my list, Rio de Janero, Brazil!


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