These eight cable cars will leave you weak in the knees, and not just because of the heights. Whether ascending one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in South Africa or spinning 360 degrees and traveling over a glacier, you’ll be rewarded with postcard-perfect views along the way.
1. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway?
Cape Town, South Africa
Photo via Flickr / Christopher Griner
South Africa’s Table Mountain Aerial Cableway? zips you to the top of the plateau (3,500 feet above Cape Town) in just five minutes. The floor of the cabin spins 360 degrees so you won’t miss any aspect of the view. While the real draw is a visit to this New Seven Wonder of the World, officially inducted in 2011, the ride to the top is an exciting and scenic way to arrive. You’ll disembark and be greeted by panoramic views of the city below, the Atlantic Ocean, as well as Table Bay and Robben Island. It’s recommended you visit during South Africa’s summer, between November and February, when the days are long and the weather is more likely to cooperate.
2. Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Photo via Flickr / Alfonso Jimenez
This 3.5-mile cable car ride takes you on a 25-minute journey over Hong Kong’s Lantau Island. You can enjoy the ride via a standard, private or crystal cabin, the latter of which has a glass bottom for unprecedented views of the island. Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car’s end destination is Ngong Ping Village, a tourist attraction with no shortage of activities, including a tea house, theater, restaurants and shopping. The Tian Tan Buddha at Po Lin Monastery is not to be missed. This massive bronze statue, one of the tallest, seated, outdoor, bronze Buddhas in the world, is more than 100 feet tall.
3. Titlis Rotair
Photo via Flickr / Björn Söderqvist
Switzerland’s Titlis Rotair doesn’t just offer you 360 degree views, it practically insists on them. It was world’s first rotating gondola and it will have you spinning your way to the top of Mount Titlis, which has an elevation of more than 9,900 feet. During the five-minute ride you’ll be treated to iconic alpine views like snow-capped mountains, ominous crevasses, and one of Europe’s biggest glaciers. Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you can cross Europe’s highest suspension bridge at 1,640 feet above solid ground for even more incredible views.
4. Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Photo via Flickr / Laszlo Ilyes
One of the most popular ways to take in Rio de Janeiro is via the glass-walled cable car that runs from Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) and between Urca Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain. This bondinho, as it’s known locally, is a two-part ride that strings you along more than 4,500 feet of cable. Plenty of views are packed into the short ride, which is just three minutes for each leg of the trip. Views will include Copacabana, Guanabara Bay, downtown Rio, Niteroi Bridge and Corcovado, which is home to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
5. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Photo via Flickr / eosdude
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Queensland, Australia, gives you a bird’s-eye view of the tropical rain forest below. The cableway glides over a 4.6-mile stretch of rain forest canopy at the Barron Gorge National Park. The entire trip takes more than two hours and includes several stations where you can disembark from your gondola and explore the rain forest below.
6. Tianmen Mountain ?Cable ?Car
Photo via Flickr / John Philip
Touted as the longest high-mountain, passenger cableway in the world, the Tianmen Mountain Cable Car travels more than four miles through Zhangjiajie, which is also home to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, where the rock formations are said to have inspired Avatar’s Hallelujah Mountain. The entire area is enchanting, but a trip to the summit of Tianmen Mountain is not to be missed and will take you by rugged mountain peaks and offer aerial views of “99 Bends,” a famous road named after the number of tight curves is requires if you wish to navigate the mountain by road.
7. Wings of Tatev Aerial Tramway
Syunik Province, Armenia
Photo via tatever.com/
The record-breaking Wings of Tatev Aerial Tramway is a cable car connecting Halidzor and the Tatev Monestary in Armenia. At three and a half miles in length, it holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s longest non-stop double-track cable car. You’ll travel high about the Vorotan River and through verdant landscapes before arriving at the 9th-century monastery.
8. Emirates Air Line
Photo via Flickr / Warren Chrismas
Connecting north and south London between the Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks, the Emirates Air Line takes you high above the city and over the River Thames. It’s included on the London Tube Map and can transport passengers between The O2 arena and the ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre. Foggy weather aside, you’ll be treated to expansive aerial views of the city.
Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer and blogger. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India, conquering volcanoes in the Philippines and being humbled in Haiti.