7 Beautiful Cable Car Rides Around the World
When transportation and tourism meet, it's a beautiful thing. Whether you're using them to get from Point A to Point B or just enjoying the amazing views, we've rounded up seven scenic cable car rides from New York City to Rio de Janeiro that deserve a spot on your travel bucket list.
Cable cars and aerial trams around the world give you access to brilliant panoramic views without having to go through the effort of hiking a long, winding trail up a mountain or trekking through the wilderness in search of the perfect vantage point. We scoured the globe to find the most travel-inspiring views, whether you're seeking a relaxing ride in Rio or want to try capturing a different angle of the New York City skyline. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy. And don't forget your camera!
Sugarloaf Mountain Aerial Tram
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sugarloaf Mountain has always been a major Rio de Janeiro landmark—the city itself was founded at the mountain's base in 1565. The Sugarloaf Mountain Aerial Tram was built in 1912, turning Rio de Janeiro into a major tourist destination. Able to carry up to 65 passengers at a time, the cable car offers two rides—first the 722-foot climb to Morro da Urca, then the 1,300-foot rise to the Sugarloaf Mountain summit—and 360-degree views of Copacabana, Ipanema, Guanabara Bay, and the Corcovado Mountains, as well as a peek at the statue of Christ the Redeemer that this area is known for. Take a lunch or shopping break mid-way at Morro da Urca and visit the Bondinho exhibit at the mountain's summit for a look at the role Sugarloaf Mountain has played throughout modern Brazilian history.
How to ride: Tickets cost $27 for adults and $13 for children ages 6-12; children six and under ride free. Cable cars depart every 20 minutes between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Click here for directions from touristy Copacabana and Downtown Rio de Janeiro.
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Cape Town, South Africa
Treat yourself to 360-degree views of Cape Town, the Helderberg Mountains, Blue Mountain Beach, Sunset Beach, Devil's Peak, Camps Bay, Robben Island, Signal Hill and Lion's Head, the Cape Town Stadium, and the 12 Apostles with a ride on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. Cable cars depart every 10-15 minutes and make the 3,559-foot climb up the 260-million year old Table Mountain in under five minutes. More than 20-million visitors have taken a ride since the Cableway opened in 1929. At the top, buy a souvenir, dine in a restaurant while enjoying gorgeous mountaintop views, opt for a short nature walk through Table Mountain National Park or try a longer hike along the top of the mountain down to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden or the Silvermine Nature Preserve. Sip wine while watching a magnificent sunset, or if you're feeling especially gutsy, Abseil Africa offers the opportunity to rappel down the side of Table Mountain, sure to be a memorable experience, if you're brave enough to do it.
How to ride: The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is located 15 minutes from the city center on Tafelberg Road in Cape Town. Adults pay $20 for a round-trip ride while children ages 4-18 pay $10 when tickets are ordered online; children under age four ride free. The Cableway will be closed between July 22nd and August 25th, 2013, for annual maintenance.
The Yellow Mountains Cable Cars
Located in the remote hills of China's Anhui Province, Mt. Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is home to some of the country's most striking natural wonders—you can visit hot springs, waterfalls, and unique rock formations like Lion Peak, the Flying Stone, Monkey Gazing at the Sea, as well as popular tree formations like Black Tiger Pine, Lovers' Pine, and Two Immortals Playing Chess, that the area is known for. Hiking enthusiasts flock to the area's vast trail system with pine trees, streams, and jagged rocks on one side of the path and nothing but sheer cliffs on the other. Yellow Mountain boasts three cable car systems, carrying visitors to various scenic points on the mountain since 1986—the Yungu Cableway takes you from Cloud Valley to White Goose Peak, the Yuping Cableway takes you from the Mercy Light Pavillion to the Jade Screen Pavillion, and the Taiping Cableway takes you from the Pine Valley Nunnery to Pine Forrest Peak. One-way trips last about 8-12 minutes and cost $13 for adults and $7 for children from March 1st and November 30th (prices are $11 for adults and $6 for children from December 1st to February 28th).