From the Swiss Alps to glorious views of Mt Fuji, experience the best aerial views on these jaw-dropping cable car rides.
Cable cars with astonishing aerial views have been around for a long time, but they continue to be constructed and upgraded all over the world. Innovations in mechanical linkages and materials have allowed for rotating cars and see-through floors. B
ut even in an old-fashioned sky tram, the sensation of rising above the rooftops is the closest we can come to a bird’s-eye view. The seat of an airplane, with its deafening roar and postcard-sized windows, is no rival. Tramways are generally cozy enough that riders can see in every direction, and they move slowly so that everyone can relish the scenery. The following are eight particularly scenic and memorable cable car experiences for unforgettable aerial views.
Top of the Rock Cable Car, Gibraltar
Gibraltar, with its strategic location on the strait connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, has a rich history with various nations fighting for control. At the heart of it all, the famous Rock is one of the so-called Pillars of Hercules. Here lies on of the most visually stunning cable cars in the world at 412m above sea level.
On the way up, riders view mountains in two continents, the Sierra Nevada above the Costa del Sol of Spain and the Rif Mountains of Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar. To the east, the Mediterranean sparkles. Finally, riders can observe the monkey colonies (Barbary Apes) that inhabit the Rock. But watch out: the athletic residents are nimble food thieves.
Good to know: Located at the southern end of Main Street next to Alameda Botanical Gardens. Runs through the day, approx every 10 mins. You can also buy a ticket that offers access to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve from the Top of the Rock. Sites include St. Michael’s Cave, the Ape’s Den, the Great Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle.
Sugarloaf Cable Car, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sugarloaf Mountain dramatically raises its rocky head 528 meters above Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. The cable car takes riders from the red beach at Praia Vermelha to the summit, with a quick stop at Urca Hill. Passengers can see the city skyline as well as famous beaches such as Ipanema and Copacabana.
Also, the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world, can be easily seen. Experience the breathtaking view above which James Bond battled the steel-toothed behemoth Jaws in Moonraker.
Good to know: You will first ascend from Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) to Morro da Urca (Urca Hill) – altitude 220 meters. Then from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf Mountain – altitude 528 meters.
Ngong Ping 360 Tramway, Hong Kong, China
This ride traverses the mountainous and woody Lantau Island of Hong Kong, starting from Tung Chung Bay and crossing to the Ngong Ping Village entertainment complex. For an extra fee visitors can ride in a “crystal cabin” and peer down into the waters of Tung Chung Bay through the cabin’s glass floor. All cars offer views of North Lantau County Park and the South China Sea, as well as the 34 meter high bronze Tian Tan Buddha of Po Lin Monastery. The ride offers a respite from skyscraper-packed center of Hong Kong.
Good to know: Ngong Ping Village is the best starting point for attractions like the Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Tai O fishing village, etc.
Hakone Ropeway, Hakone, Japan
Less than two hours by rail from central Tokyo, Hakone is famous for its onsen (natural hot spring baths). Riders of the ropeway can see steam rising from Owakudani volcanic hot spring and the clear blue waters of Lake Ashi.
The main highlight on a clear day is the view of Mount Fuji, which makes riders feel like they have wandered into a wood block print by Hiroshige. The ropeway offers spectacular seasonal variations, including vibrant fall colors and breathtaking winter snowscapes.
Good to know: Take the Hakone Tozan train, the only mountain railway in Japan, from Hakone-Yumoto station (96 m above sea level) and takes 40 minutes to arrive at Gora station (541 m above sea level). The cable car links Gora Station to Sounzan Station, a distance of 1.2 kilometers, in 10 minutes.
Dubrovnik Cable Car, Dubrovnik, Croatia
This cable car ride exemplifies the personality of this Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea. The cable car takes passengers from Old Town to the summit of Srd Hill, which provides a 60 km radius panoramic view of the surrounding area.
You first experience the ancient defensive walls and distinctive red-tiled roofs of Old Town. Higher up, you can see the famed Dalmatian Coast, with its numerous islands, including the nearby forested Lokrum Island. At the summit, riders encounter the Imperial Fort, built over two hundred years ago by Napolean.
Good to know: You can reach the cable car from Dubrovnik Old Town from Pile or Ploče gates (about 8-12 minutes walk around/behind city walls). Pedestrian sidewalks take you from Ploče or Pile gates to lower station. Or walk up the stairs from Stradun (towards Buža gate), and then it takes just a minute across the parking lot towards stairs below cable car, but the stairs are steep.
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Cape Town, South Africa
This cable car is great way to visit the iconic flat-topped summit overlooking Cape Town, South Africa. The upper station resides at an elevation of 1070 meters. During the ride, each car rotates, offering a full 360-degree panoramic view. When the car faces north, passengers see Cape Town, Table Bay, and Robben Island.
Then, during a counterclockwise location from west to south, the full extent of South Africa’s Atlantic Coast becomes visible. A ride at the end of the day yields a 360 degree view of the spectacular African sunset. Catch the lights coming on in Cape Town from the summit.
Good to know: Take the free MyCiTi shuttle service from the Lower Tafelberg Road stop, just off Kloof Nek Road, to the Upper Tafelberg Road stop at the Lower Cable station.
Metrocable, Medellín, Colombia
Medellin, Columbia lies in the Aburra River Valley of the Andes Mountains. As a community deeply nestled in the Andes, Medellin has a very hilly topography that offers major challenges to its transportation system. City officials have countered this by fully incorporating cable cars into the public transit system.
More than 30,000 people a day ride the original K cable car line, which takes riders from the riverside into the Santo Domingo neighborhood. During the trip, the world famous boulder-shaped library buildings in Parque Biblioteca Espana provide enrichment. Watching Medellin unfold in a cable car packed with its hustling and bustling citizens makes Metrocable a unique travel experience for aerial views.
Titlis Rotair Cable Car, Swiss Alps
Mount Titlis is a majestic yet accessible peak in the Swiss Alps. Here, visitors make the last leg of their ascent in the Titlis Rotair rotating cable car. There, riders are dropped off at the Summit Station, 3020 meters above sea level. Along the way, the cable car glides before fabulous aerial views of Alpine peaks and crevasses.
Good to know: For the hardiest thrill seekers, Titlis offers its famous Cliff Walk, a one-hundred-meter-long, one-meter-wide suspension bridge spanning a five hundred meter chasm.
Enjoy these incredible aerial views around the world and let us know your favourite!