Lifts and elevators have been around for thousands of years (the first known lift was recorded way back in 236 BC) and they offer a simple and easy way of vertically transporting people up or down a building or structure. While most lifts are tucked away in elevator shafts and only offer a view of four walls of shiny metal, there are a few that break with the norm in spectacular fashion. These lifts not only transport people to great heights, they also provide rather stunning views while doing it. The following are 10 of the most incredible lifts, elevators and cable cars on our planet. Get ready to be amazed.
The Hammetschwand Lift in Switzerland is insane
You may not be surprised to hear that the Hammetschwand lift in Switzerland is officially the ‘highest exterior lift in Europe’ at some 847 metres high. The lift itself carries passengers 153 metres up a sheer cliff face in less than 60 seconds. It may not be the most calming of journeys but the views at the top are more than worth it.
AquaDom, Berlin, Germany
If marks were given for originality, the Aquadom elevator in Berlin would be top of the class! This incredible lift is located inside a 25 metre tall acrylic glass aquarium that contains 1 million litres of water and over 1,500 fish. The elevator travels right through the middle of the aquarium, giving the user an incredible view of the marine life.
Sky Tower Elevator, Auckland, New Zealand
The Sky Tower elevator, perhaps unsurprisingly, transports visitors to the top of Auckland’s famous 328 metre tall Sky Tower (the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere). While that is impressive enough, the fact that the floor of each lift is made out of reinforced glass gives visitors an incredible view of the gaping lift shaft below them. Definitely not one for the vertigo sufferers!
The Bailong Elevator, China
The Bailong Elevator is officially the world’s tallest outdoor lift and is located on the side of a sheer cliff face in Wulingyuan, China. The glass lift was first opened in 2002 and now transports thousands of visitors a nerve-wracking 330 metres up into the mountains.
Gateway Arch Elevator, St. Louis, Missouri
The Gateway Arch in Missouri is not only the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere but also the tallest arch in the world. If that wasn’t impressive enough, visitors can also climb into a futuristic looking capsule and ride an elevator tram right to the top of the 192 metre high arch!
Titlis Rotair Rotatable Cable Car, Switzerland
A cable car ride up a mountain is usually exciting enough but the Titlis Rotair in Switzerland takes things to the next level. The cable car itself is fully rotatable, offering skiers a 360 degree view on the way to the top of the 9,926 ft high mountain. The cabin slowly rotates during the 5 minute journey to the top and took 22 years to design and build.
Skyview, Stockholm, Sweden
If you want the best view in Stockholm then the Skyview lift is the only option. The glass gondola is attached to the side of the famous Ericsson Globe building and uses a railway track to transport passengers up the side of the 130 metre tall structure for incredible views across the city.
Stanserhorn Cable Car, Switzerland
If you like a bit of fresh air to go with your gondola rides then the Stanserhorn cable car in Switzerland is for you. The incredible lift actually has an open air top deck, allowing passengers an uninterrupted view of the beautiful Swiss countryside. The cable car transports passengers right to the top of the Stanserhorn’s 6,227 ft summit and provides one of the most breathtaking views on the planet.
Falkirk Wheel, Scotland
The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland is a modern version of a traditional lock, transporting narrow boats and barges from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union canal. The incredible lift rotates in order to raise or lower the boats by 24 metres. It was opened in 2002 and is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.
Peak 2 Peak gondola, Whistler, Canada
The Peak 2 Peak gondola is the third and final cable car on this list and it is here for one reason and one reason only: It is the world’s longest and highest gondola. The lift connects Whistler Mountain with Blackcomb Mountain and stands at 1.8 miles long and 1,430 feet (436 metres) high and its tallest point. The cable cars also have a glass floor, allowing passengers a stunning view of the snow-capped alpine forest below.