New perspectives are always a part of the seemingly almighty traveling experience. Without taking things lightly, these breathtaking skywalks and viewing platforms around the world will give you a genuine feel of what it’s like to be “walking on sunshine”.
Just imagine speed running up a mountain (unfortunately some of the mountain itineraries have recently started to come with a curfew) and suddenly realizing- with a paralyzing delight- that there is a shocking gap between you and the heavenly landscape a thousand meters below. This is the feeling you get when reaching Five Fingers, an original platform majestically suspended above Austria’s Hallstatt, in Dachstein. The transparent bottom surface of one of the “fingers” was part of the inspiration for this post.
We started wondering how many similar skywalks worth experiencing are out there and discovered quite a few in our research for thrills. This is obviously an incomplete “list”, so feel free to pitch in and help us out, if you happen to know any other spectacular “lookout” spots.
#1. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver
Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. But Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was added more thrills with the passing of time, such as the Cliffwalk with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges and Treetops Adventure, which employs an innovative compression system (no bolts or nails in the trees) to secure its viewing platforms, as well as seven suspension bridges.
The park is open daily from 9a.m. till 5 p.m. Entrance fee for an adult is $31.95. You can read more how to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park here.
#2. Dachstein’s Stairway to Nothingness
Stairway to nothingness – what an inspired name for this hypnotizing 100-meter-long bridge defying the 1,300ft (396 meters) drop below and located in the Austrian Alps, at the Dachstein Glacier resort. Built for travelers with nerves of steel, the bridge meanders around the mountain range then descends fourteen steps into a glass viewing platform. The unconventional bridge took six months to build and is currently the highest in Austria.
#3. Five Fingers Platform, Austrian Alps
Reaching out like a five-fingered hand over a 400 meter vertical drop, this adrenaline-rush platform offers extensive views over the Alps and the small town of Hallstatt below. Each of the “fingers” was envisioned differently (one of the platforms is made entirely of glass, another has a Baroque picture frame for visitors to capture in photographs- we will let you discover the rest).
Five Fingers platform over Hallstatt is reachable by taking a cable ride from the Ice Caves to the Level 2 Station and following the The Experience Trail directly to 5 Fingers (maximum 20 minute’s walk). We reached it by foot from Hallstatt, but the rangers frown upon that and the trail is not marked, so be careful with this. The current costs for an accent/descend for one adult is 28 Euros.
#4. AlpspiX viewing platform, Germany
Its location has been defined as somewhere “between Heaven and the Höllental Valley”. A more practical approach to identifying the location of this platform would reveal that it proudly stands atop a 1000-meter drop, at the base of Alpspitze peak, just above the top station of the Alpspitzbahn lifts in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. The exceptional viewing spot consists of two steel beams which form a floating X. The bridge is said to be 25 meters long.
According to Zugspitze, this experience is available to all thanks to cable cars and is often combined with easy walks. A walk along the Gipfel-Erlebnisweg – Summer Adventure Trail around the Osterfelderkopf is particularly suitable for families. The Genuss-Erlebnisweg – Pleasure Trail from the top station of the Alpspitzbahn lifts to the top station of the Kreuzeckbahn lifts can also be combined with spectacular views from the AlpspiX. Here are the prices for this season.
#5. Aurland Outlook in Aurland, Norway
On an area of 2,200 square meters, near the town of Aurland, Saunders Architecture have built a viewing platform at one of Norway’s largest fjords of the west coast. Three hours is the time needed to get there, starting from Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city. At a length of about 30 meters and a width of 4 meters, the platform adapts perfectly to the slope and guarantees a perfectly horizontal surface for the visitors to enjoy raw nature.
According to Mapolis.com, walking along the 30 meters towards the platform’s end gives you the feeling of approaching an unsecured end, always having fjord at the horizon in sight. The visitor has the feeling of being drawn towards the depth. It is as if a free fall awaits at the end.
#6. Grand Canyon’s Skywalk, United States
Situated 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) above the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is an ingenious structure, completed in 2007. The concept is simple: you walk on a transparent pathway above the canyon and you feel like literally stepping on the skies. Intrigued?
Completed in March of 2007, the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West has quickly become one of the best day trip destinations from Las Vegas, NV and Kingman, AZ and has become the most recognizable cantilever structure in the world.
#7. Step into the void, French Alps
Step Into The Void is a mountain skywalk, scenically positioned at the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak, near Chamonix, south-east France. Said to be inspired by the Grand Canyon Skywalk, this vertigo-inducing installation consists of a minimalist glass box. It has a see-through bottom, offering unobstructed panoramic views of the French Alps.
With nothing standing between them and the blissful one kilometer void (a sheer drop of 12,604ft), than a 12 mm (1/2 inch) platform of glass enforced by steel frames, this is one experience visitors are unlikely to forget anytime soon.
#8. Langkawi-Sky-Bridge Malaysia
Langkawi-Sky-Bridge is located 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level at the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang on Pulau Langkawi, an island in the Langkawi archipelago in Kedah, Malaysia. As you probably expected, it is located at the end of a scenic cable car ride, a journey that begins at the Oriental Village in the upper northwest of Langkawi Island. Some of the views along the way include those of the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls and the rainforest.
The bridge is closed for renovations from July 2012, but sources state that efforts are being made in order to reopen it to the public worldwide.
#9. Skywalk on Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
The Glass skywalk in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the Tianmen Mountain, China, seems especially built for the fearless. But walking on this incredible pathway, suspended 1,430 meters high up in the air (about 4 691.6 feet) is also 6,35 centimeters thick (2.5 inches), making it safe for the avalanche of tourists.
The Skywalk in the Tianmen Mountain offers thrilling views of the surrounding mountains, not to mention the ones beneath your feet. This is one of the reasons why it is said the cleaners of the path make visitors wear cloth shoes over their footwear, in order to make their job easier and less scary. The bridge is about 61 meters long (200 feet) and its impressive height allows travelers to have a look at the mountain peaks below.
#10. Top of Tyrol, Austria
Top of Tyrol is a mountain-top viewing platform placed in the Stubai Glacier, Tirolean Alps, one hour away from Innsbruck, Austria. The innovative project completed in 2008 by Astearchitecture is located on the Great Isidor which is centrally positioned in the Stubai Glacier, dividing it into the western half and eastern half.
Being situated at a stunning height of 3200 meters above sea level, near the mountain station Schaufeljoch (at 3180 meter altitude), the Top of Tirol has a unique position that offers a breathtaking 360 degree panorama, stretching from the Zillertal and Stubai Alps to the Dolomites and Chalk Alps.
11. Hammetschwand Panorama Elevator, Switzerland
The Panorama Elevator is located on the peak of Bürgenstock Mountain (1,127.8 m) in central Switzerland, near Lake Lucerne. Opened 105 years ago, this metal lattice tower with a surface area of 2×2 meters, 118 meters high and located on a 44 meter high rock pit, is known as the highest exterior elevator in Europe. The entrance, the engine room and the first 14 meters of this pit are completely on the inside of the mountain, while during the next 30 meters it elevates with a full breathtaking view of the Lake Lucerne and Swiss Alps. The whole trip with this elevator lasts about 50 seconds.
Getting there is easiest by taking a 45 minute boat trip from Lucerne, the most important city in the region, to Kehrsiten, situated at the base of the Bürgenstock Mountain. From there on a funicular is available, but to get to the entrance of Hammetschwand Lift you have to hike one of the six trails leading there for approximately one hour.
#12. Suspended platform at Iguazu Falls (Brazil and Argentina)
#13. Titlis Cliff Walk, Switzerland
In numbers, the Titlis Cliff Walk in Switzerland can be summed up as follows: 3,041 metres above sea-level, 500 metres off the ground, 91 centimeters wide, 150 royal steps. This is officially the highest suspension bridge in Europe and comes with heart-pumping views. On a clear day, those on the bridge are able to see the glacier 1,500 feet (460 m) below them along with the Uri Alps and parts of Italy.
One way to get here is by trying out the TITLIS ROTAIR gondola, which rotates its way up towards the snow-covered summit of TITLIS. The gondola revolves 360 degrees during the five-minute trip, a proper landscape “introduction” before adventuring on the bridge.
#14. Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk (Australia)
Fly Tree Top Walk is made of steel, featuring two gently swaying cantilevered arms and a central tower raised nearly 50 meters from the forest floor. Positioned 710 meters above sea level, it allows visitors to take in views from the rainforest floor into the canopy and out to the Pacific Ocean.
Located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk is 1.5 hours away from Sydney and two hours from Canberra, making it a great option for a one-day trip. Spectacular guided sunrise walks take place on the second Saturday of every month and early bird visitors are rewarded with a hot breakfast in the cafe on return. More practical information about this platform here.
#15. Infinity Room at House on the Rock (Wisconsin, USA)
Prepare yourself to enter into the Infinity Room, a 66 meter-long platform that juts out from the House on the Rock, without supports underneath. The House on the Rock, originally opened in 1959, is a complex of architecturally unique rooms, streets, gardens and shops designed by Alex Jordan, Jr.
It is located north of Dodgeville, a city in Iowa County, Wisconsin and is a regional tourist attraction. The Infinity Room was completed in 1985 and extends 218 feet (66 meters) out over the scenic valley and 156 feet (47 meters) above the forests floor. This incredible platform has no less than 3,264 windows for memorable visual treats.