The wind in your face, a jaw-dropping vista which stretches for miles and below you hundreds and even thousands of meters of nothingness.
This is what awaits at some of the planet’s most sensational viewing platforms. From a suspended glass cube to a giant transparent capsule which takes you heavenwards – are you brave enough to check out these 5 bird’s eye views of the spectacular and sometimes truly terrifying kind?
The Aiguille du Midi Skywalk (Chamonix, France)
The Aiguille du Midi Skywalk is perhaps the closest you will come to flying with your feet firmly planted on solid ground – well, solid glass anyway. Daring to step out into the cantilevered see-through cube known as ‘the void’ puts nothing between you and the ground, 1,000 m below you, except a floor of clear glass.
Your reward for going where many fear to tread atop this Alpine peak is a vista of snow-covered mountains, an ancient glacier and acres of azure sky.
While this amazing viewing platform is located deep within glorious natural isolation you don’t have to be a hardcore mountaineer to enjoy the high-rise view. Just hop on the Aiguille du Midi cable car and after a 20 minute scenic ride you too can experience the sensation of floating amid remote and hushed wilderness.
The British Airways i360 (Brighton, England)
Both futuristic ride and viewing platform combined, the British Airways i360 is the tallest moving observation tower on the planet. No need to make your way up to the observation deck here because the i360 is a slender needle-like structure with an ascending/descending wrap-round giant-size glass capsule which comes to you.
Glide 162 m into the heavens and then simply enjoy the views of coast, the ever-moving motions of the sea and historic British seaside town.
To celebrate your journey into the sky you can order a glass of something bubbly at the bar or dine in the evening surrounded by a cloak of stars. If that is still not quite exciting enough for you, thrill seekers can feel the sea-breeze on their face and listen to the waves during an adrenalin-pumping abseil directly from the pod.
The Stegastein Lookout (Aurland, Norway)
Norway’s exceptionally dramatic glacier-carved fjords are recognized the world over for their stunning beauty. What better way perhaps than to take in their majesty from above and at Aurland you can do just that at the Stegastein Lookout
While most of the viewing platforms on our list have a distinct space-age appearance this lookout is elegant simplicity and purposely designed to blend in with its magnificent natural surroundings.
Stroll the gorgeous pale wood walkway towards the glass-paneled rim which juts out 30 m from the edge of the mountain and gaze upon the pristine land- and waterscape 609 m below you.
The Space Needle (Seattle, USA)
For those with a passion for sensational city-scapes Seattle’s soaring Space Needle is hard to beat. While newer high-rise buildings have overtaken this giant for sheer height the elegant Space Needle remains the city’s most iconic landmark and it has been receiving visitors looking to feast on magnificent views for decades.
From 184 m up the entire sprawling urban scene is laid out at your feet while your far-reaching gaze can also take in the ocean and the majesty of the Cascade Mountain range towards the south.
Originally erected for Seattle’s 1962 World Fair, the Space Needle has recently had something of a 21st century face-lift so besides the long-established open-air deck you can also now experience the Loupe. Here you’ll encounter the world’s first revolving glass floor platform where you’ll have an unobstructed view of the city’s streets way way below if you look between your feet.
The Shilinxia Glass Viewing Platform (Beijing, China)
China is something of a leading light in the world when it comes to the kind of extreme viewing platforms which truly get the heart racing. Here you’ll find an abyss-spanning glass suspension bridge, the snaking glass-floored walkway which encircles Tianmen Mountain and now the breath-taking and decidedly surreal glass ring in Shilinxia near Beijing.
As far as futuristic designs go this sensationally dramatic overhanging lookout has to be a contender for the world’s best. Looking for all the world like a flying saucer hovering in mid-air, this transparent-floored observation deck suspends you from the gorge’s highest point – almost 800 m above sea level.
For all those who dare to embrace the sensation of stepping out into thin air the views of the mountains and its villages, the forest and the gorge’s floor below you are every bit as magnificent as the structure itself.