Breath-taking views at lofty heights are what most cable cars offer and what most cable car users expect from their experience. They float through the air far above the ground or scramble up steep slopes. However, not all cable cars are the same and some represent a more unique experience, standing out compared to the standard, either because they go higher than any other construction of their kind or because of the uniqueness of the location. Tourism-Review brings you the top 10 extraordinary cable cars in Europe.
1. Predigtstuhl Cable Car (Germany)
A real cable car oldie. According to their own information, this cable car is the oldest preserved large cable car in the world. It has been operating since 1928. It connects the Bavarian town of Bad Reichenhall with the 1614-meter high Predigtstuhl. Upon arrival at the top of the mountain, visitors can enjoy a hike, rest at the alpine hut of Schlegelmulde or dine at a local gourmet restaurant. Many consider the cable car as the most elegant construction of its kind in the world.
2. Funivia dell'Etna (Etna Cable Car)
Mount Etna in Sicily is the highest active volcano in Europe and on the south side of the mountain, there is a cable car that rides up to 2500 meters altitude. Thanks to the cable car and further transport by other vehicles up to the top, one can discover the remarkable and spectacular volcanic phenomena that have developed over time. Etna is one of Sicily's and Italy's main tourist destinations and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
3. Hungerburgbahn, Innsbruck (Austria)
The Hungerburghbahn is known for its futuristic design of the architect Zaha Hadid. The curved roofs of the train stations are reminiscent in shape and color of flowing glacier tongues and moraines. The train takes passengers from the city center through the Inn past Europe's highest-altitude zoo to the Hungerburg district. From there you can take gondolas up the Nordkette up to the Seergrube and to the 2300-meter higher Hafelekar.
4. Matterhorn glacier paradise, Zermatt (Switzerland)
Located in the Swiss Alps, the local cable car is the highest cableway, connecting Trockener Steg with the Matterhorn glacier paradise station which is 3,883 meters high. The cable car started operating in 1979 when the first passengers could enjoy being carried up to the summit of the glacier. Ever since there has been an enormous growth in popularity. Only in 2017, more than 400 thousand passengers used the cable car. This represents 20% of the tourists who visited Zermatt as a whole.
5. Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix (France)
Located not far away from the highest peak in Europe, Aiguille du Midi is one of the biggest natural attractions in the Alps. The 3,842-meter peak is connected with the Chamonix resort area with a cable car which started operating in 1955. The Aiguille du Midi is the highest mountain peak served by an aerial lift system and the cable car gets you to the top of it – with an altitude gain of over 2,8000 meters – in about 20 minutes. On the summit of the mountain, there is a platform and glass case from which one can enjoy the panoramic view down to Chamonix.
6. Narvik Cable Car (Norway)
One of the view cable cars across Europe which offers night rides is located in Narvik. The cable car takes passengers 650 meters above sea level to the mountain restaurant at Narvikfjellet. With the completely renovated structure, visitors of the Norwegian port city can enjoy sea views in the midnight sun from early June to mid-July and observe the legendary northern lights during the daytime in early autumn and late winter. Not surprisingly has the site been voted as Narvik's and Norway's top tourism destination on numerous occasions.
7. Stanserhorn cable car, Nidwalden (Switzerland)
Located in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden, the cable car connecting the city of Stans and the 1,898-meter high mountain peak Stanserhorn represents the world's first open double-decker cable car. It boasts a fitting name Cabrio. The lower level fits in 60 people, with 30 more having space on the sun deck. The route and peak provide an amazing view of Lake Luzern and the surrounding peaks. The structures on the summit include a self-service restaurant, several dining rooms as well as a souvenir shop along with an observation deck.
8. Titlis Rotair, Titlis (Switzerland)
Another Swiss mention on our list is Titlis Rotair. This is the world's first revolving cable car which transports passengers up to the station called the Little Titlis, 3,020 meters above sea-level, just several meters below the summit. The uniqueness of the cable car lies in the fact that it revolved 360 degrees, providing the passengers' remarkable panoramic views of the Swiss landscape with various natural beauties. A unique attraction on top of the mountain is the so-called Titlis Cliff Walk, the highest suspension bridge on the old continent.
9. Vallée Blanche Cable Car (France and Italy)
The Vallée Blanche cable car connects two European mountain peaks: Aiguille du Midi in France, which was already mentioned in one of the other examples above, and Pointe Helbronner, located between Italy and France. The attraction spans the valleys between the two mountain peaks and passes over the Mont Blanc massif, representing one of the most popular attractions in the Alps since it started operating in 1958.
10. Fuente Dé cable car, Cantabria (Spain)
In the mountains of Cantabria, 20 kilometers from Santander in Spain, tourists in the Cabarceno Natural Park float in cabins over various fauna like bears, elephants, gorillas, rhinos as well as other, often dangerous animals. The cable car takes its passengers into the heart of the Picos de Europa, 1,823 meters above sea-level. Throughout the almost 4-minute route, passengers have the chance to observe beautiful Spanish landscapes, mountain peaks, idyllic lakes as well as the Bay of Biscay.