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Thursday
Jan142016

The Best Viewing Platforms In The World

The world is beautiful – and even more beautiful from above. There some amazing places to get breathtaking views; some are manmade, some in the middle of nature. Fact is, being able to see an entire city, a country even, or looking over treetops as far as the eye can see is exhilarating. Here are some of the best places to feel on top of the world!

Stegastein lookout, Norway

flickr | Danny NicholsonIt looks like a very steep – practically vertical – slide down into the Aurlandsfjord, in the southwest of Norway. Except, there is a small, almost invisible glass panel keeping you from falling off the end. The lookout is not for the fainthearted; the walkway is extended out onto the fjord and allows you to look straight down. 2,000 feet down! From the platform as well as from the drive up to it on small, narrow roads, the views of the surrounding mountains are amazing!

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Australia

flickr | KimThe Sydney Harbour Bridge overlooks the entire Harbour, with the iconic Opera House and the Botanic Gardens on one side, Luna Park and the Parramatta River on the other side. Imagine standing right on top, between the two Australian flags, with a 360 degree view. It is possible, by climbing from the visitor centre right onto the steel structure. The climb starts at one of the pillars and on the top edge of the coat hanger.

to Nothingness, Austria

flickr | sommerhitzThe highest bridge in Austria, 328 feet long, and dropping 1,300 feet… is only the built up to the Stairway to Nothingness! After making your way along the bridge you have to brave the steps along the cliffs with only glass walls to keep you from falling. And then, there is the over 300 feet long suspension bridge. It is built by a resort and at the highest point in Austria, with viewing overseeing the Alps!

Grand Canyon Skywalk, United States

flickr | Richard JonesThe Grand Canyon is impressive. It is even more impressive from a glass viewing platform hanging off the cliff. It extends 70 feet over the lip of the Grand Canyon and is a mile from the valley floor! The transparent bridge is bolted into the canyon rim and gives you a panoramic view of the West Canyon. Of course, another way to see it from above is a helicopter ride over the Canyons.

Capilano River Cliffwalk, Canada

flickr | Ruth HartnupThe Capilano River runs through British Columbia, close to Vancouver, and a wobbly, 450 foot long, Suspension Bridge crosses the river. If you look down, the river runs 230 feet below you. Even higher up, at 300 feet, is the Cliffwalk. At the highest point above the river, a walkway takes you through the forest treetops. Only a bit of safety glass is between you and the Capilano Canyon. For the very brave, there are two glass panels to give you not only a 360 degree view, but also a clear view straight down to the forest ground.

The Heavenly Stairs, China

flickr | Dimitry B.How far would you go for a cup of tea? In China, there is a tea house at the top of Mount Hua Shan has beautiful views of the mountains, but the journey to get there is scary, though stunning. All you need to do is climb the Heavenly Stairs at the bottom of the mountain, over 6600 all in all, then take a gondola to the other side, to the southern peak. From there the path becomes very narrow and at times, consists of wood secured to the cliff and chains to hold on to. Then there is a bit of rock climbing involved and a path along the mountain top and there you are: a teahouse with a spectacular view.

The Ledge, United States

flickr | CharlotteFrom The Ledge at the Willis Tower’s Skydeck, you can see across four states! The Tower is 110 stories high and offers views over the entire city. And if you dare, you can take it a step further by going into one of the four glass boxes of The Ledge. They are glass boxes on the outside of the building, offering views across the city, but also straight down over downtown Chicago. A similar experience is the Edge at Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne. If you dare to go into it, you deserve the “I survived the Edge” wristband!

Trolltunga Cliff, Norway

flickr | Jakub SolovskýA natural viewing platform, no glass to hold you back, called the Troll’s Tongue. Not far from Bergen, in the west of Norway, is the lake  Ringedalsvatnet, surrounded by beautiful mountains, perfect for hiking. One of them has a rock sticking out from it like a tongue, right over the lake. Due to the location – over 100 miles of small roads from Bergen and a significant hike - Trolltunga Cliff  is only accessible in the summer months.

By Claire Herbaux Online Journalism Intern

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