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With a jolt, the gondola begins to move and glides on thick wire ropes. Those who don’t have a head for heights or are afraid of heights prefer to keep their distance from the cable cars, but for everyone else, a gondola ride can literally be the highlight of a trip.
Cable cars not only transport you from A to B, but also allow you to enjoy beautiful places and landscapes in a relaxed way. At dizzying heights you can soar above a volcano in the south, see the Northern Lights in the north or go on a very special safari in the middle of Europe.
We introduce you to the seven most exciting cable cars in the world.
Topless: The Stanserhorn Bahn in Switzerland
A ride on the Stanserhorn cable car in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden takes you on a little journey through the history of cable cars. From the village of Stans the open wooden cabins of the nostalgic funicular from 1893 lead to the valley station of Kälti.
From there, the world’s first open double-decker cable car, aptly named “CabriO”, takes you to the top of the Stanserhorn. Unlike the classic cable cars, the two cabriolet cabins are not suspended below, but between two cables.
Without the ropes over your head, you can breathe in the mountain air on the open upper deck and watch the groundhogs. In good weather you also have a panoramic view of ten lakes and the Alps.
Below sea level in Jericho
No, the Jericho Cable Car does not travel underwater. However, the 1.3 kilometer train leaves from the lowest city in the world: Jericho is located on the Jordan at minus 260 meters above sea level. This makes the cable car the longest that runs completely below sea level.
In twelve gondolas, each for eight people, he takes visitors to the Qarantal Monastery on the Mount of Temptation. You will pass over the Tell es-Sultan excavation site.
The carrying cable must be stopped for entering and exiting. That’s why the other gondolas stop as they ride freely high above the valley.
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High on the Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro
A company from Cologne built the famous cable car in Rio de Janeiro in 1912. Since then, gondolas have floated from the “red beach”, Praia Vermelha, on Morro da Urca to Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro.
While the first gondolas carried 16 passengers at seven kilometers per hour, today they carry 65 people at 31 kilometers per hour. From the summit you have a breathtaking view over the bays of Rio to Copacabana.
When he’s not hiding in the clouds, you’ll also see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado from there.
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Close to the Northern Lights in Norway
In just four minutes, the Narvik Gondol cable car takes you to Narvikfjell, an alpine region of Norway. The gondola lift opened in 2019 and can carry up to 1,600 passengers per hour to the mountain station at 656 meters above sea level.
From there you have a panoramic view of the city of Narvik and the surrounding fjords and mountains. The mountain station is particularly popular with skiers in winter. In summer, you can explore the region by mountain bike or enjoy the sea view under the midnight sun.
Adventures on the Volcanoes in Sicily
It is not only the height that gives emotions to the Etna cableway. The cable car takes travelers to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. During the eruptions of 2001 and 2002, the old railway in Sicily was completely destroyed.
There is now a new facility there. In about 15 minutes, the Etna cableway takes its passengers from the Sapienza Refuge station to the southern side of the volcano at an altitude of 2500 meters.
Guided excursions by four-wheel drive bus through the lava fields depart from the La Montagnola mountain station. At an altitude of around 3000 meters it is therefore possible to hike through the bizarre landscape to the edge of the crater.
Cable car safari in Spain
Safari isn’t just for Africa. You can also see elephants, giraffes and rhinos in northern Spain. A cable car crosses the 750 hectares of the Cabárceno Wildlife Park. A line runs in the shape of a triangle through the park in one direction only, in the second direction passengers can travel up and down.
Through the panoramic windows and the glass floor of the cable car you have an unrestricted view of lions, bears, camels and elephants. Among other things, in order not to disturb the animals in the wildlife park, some of the ropes of the cable car were pulled with a drone.
Fly over the rainforest in Australia
When the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway was built in Australia in 1995, it was the longest of its kind in the world and runs 7.5 kilometers from the base station outside the city of Cairns on Queensland’s east coast to the former mining settlement of Kuranda.
In the gondolas you float a few meters above the eternal green of the Daintree Rainforest – it is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. The “Diamond View” gondolas have a glass floor, from there the animals and plants are literally at the guests’ feet.
There is also a completely open “open-air cabin” with no roof or side panels. Passengers are secured with carabiners and accompanied by a Skyrail ranger.