Gondolas take passengers across vast expanses of landscape, providing magnificent views of the scenery below. They're not for the faint of heart or for those who have a fear of heights. If you have an adventurous spirit, gondolas, also known as cable cars can allow you to soar in the air and take insights that are only possible from their skyscraping platforms. We've reviewed the top-rated locales to bring you the ten most awesome gondola rides in the world.
10. The Ngong Ping 360 in Hong Kong
CNN ranks the Ngong Ping 360 gondola as the tenth most fabulous gondola ride on earth. The cable car system connects two cities on Lantau Island at the center of Ngong Ping and Tung hung in a 5.7-kilometer expanse of gondola transportation. Cabins are available for visitors with two options. The standard cabins are the most affordable. Options to purchase ride tickets for gondolas with glass floors offer greater thrills but are more expensive. The Ngong Ping 360 provides exceptional views of Hong Kong and has been operating since 2006. It's one of the most thrilling gondola rides in the world for those who are brave enough to ride on gondolas with glass floors.
9. New Zealand's Skyline Queenstown
The Skyline Queenstown is the steepest gondola in the Southern half of the planet. The Gondola ride began operating in 1967, a year after construction commenced. It runs from the city of Queenstown to the top of a 1,467-foot mountain called Bob's Peak. The gondola provides transportation for mountain bikers with accommodation for their bikes to the bike park at the top of Bob's Peak. It's a convenient way for mountain bikers to access the famous recreational area to travel back down the mountain. The views are among the most scenic in the world. It's one of the few gondolas to accommodate bicycles and riders.
8. Stanserhorn Cabrio (Lucerne, Switzerland)
The Stanserhorn Cabrio gondola ride offers cable cars with a roofless upper deck. It's a steep ride that ascends to 7,611 feet above sea level. The gondola starts at the village of Stans and ferries riders to the top of the Stanserhorn Mountain top. The cabins consist of an upper and a lower deck. The total capacity for each cabin's upper and lower decks is 60 persons. The gondola that takes riders to the base station is the oldest funicular in the world, created of iron and wood in 1891 with the original wood-paneled interior and frosted glass from that era in time.
7. Grindelwald Mannlichen Gondola Cableway, Switzerland
The Daily Mail names the Grindelwald Mannlichen Gondola Cableway in Switzerland. The gondola serves as a shuttle that transports as many as 900 passengers each hour from Grindelwald to the Mannlichen summit in the Swiss Alps at 7,700 feet. The track runs for 3.5 miles with breathtaking sky views of the Bernese Oberland area all year round. Riders may choose one-way or round-trip journeys.
6. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in South Africa
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is among the most famous gondola rides in South Africa. The ferrying system is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and shuttles riders to the top of the Table Mountain Plateau at an elevation of 3,500 feet. The aerial ferrying system opened in 1928 and has transported over 23 million riders. The ride provides panoramic views of Table Bay and Cape Town with cable cars that rotate 360 degrees to ensure a full view of the region during ascent and descent.
5. Sugarloaf Mountain Brazil
One of the most highly acclaimed gondola rides in the world is the Sugarloaf Mountain cable car in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The ferrying system ascends with riders from Red Beach to Urca hill at an elevation of 720 feet for its first leg. The second phase of the journey climbs to Sugarloaf Mountain adding 1,300 more feet in height. The experience provides spectacular views of Sugarloaf Mountain, climbers, and beaches near the city.
4. Teleferico de Merida Mukumbari Venezuela
The longest gondola ride in the world is the Teleferico de Merida/Mukumbari cable car system. It's also the highest cable car system that operates in four stages. The highest point of the ridge tops the Andean peaks at 15,600 feet above sea level. Teleferico de Merida reopened in 2014 after a six-year closure for reconstruction with a new name. It's now called Mukumbari which is interpreted as the place where the sun is born.
3. Tianmen Mountains Cable Car China
Wanderlust names the Tianment Mountains Cable Car in Hunan, China one of the most spectacular gondola rides. The cars carry occupants seven kilometers at a 37-degree incline on a thirty-minute ride over the 99 Bends Road for some of the most amazing aerial views to the top where it stops at a cliffside walkway. There, riders have the opportunity to walk across three glass-top skywalks and experience the sensation of walking on air across a 1,400-meter height. It's not for the faint of heart or those who experience vertigo, but it's an adventure for those who can overcome the natural fear of falling.
2. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of the best gondola rides in the United States. The tramway is the largest rotating gondola with 360-degree panoramic views of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. It's a three-kilometer ride that starts at Palm Springs and completes its journey traveling through the Chino Canyon Cliffsto stop at the Mountain Station. It's a popular destination for avid hikers with 80 km of hiking trails. Some go to travel the trails and others love the view and ride the gondola back to the starting point.
1. Peak2peak Gondola, Canada
The best gondola ride in Canada is the Peak2Peak Gondola in Whistler. The journey is 4.4 km and ferries riders in the only cable car on the planet to connect two mountain peaks. The trip takes you to Whistler Peak and next to Blackcomb Peak. The span between the ropeway tower is over 3 km. The highest point above the ground is 436 meters which enticed a few adventurous souls to jump from a survivable height, although it's illegal to do so.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn