We’re trapped inside, but that doesn’t stop us dreaming about the wider world and where we can go to when everything is back to normal again. It’s easy to feel like our worlds are small right now, so one thing on the agenda for your new bucket list once we can travel again could be getting up high and the sense of perspective of the land around you from the side or top of a mountain.
Here are our top five tourist-friendly mountains (think cable cars rather than crampons) where it’s easy to get that perspective on our place in the world.
Take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain for some unbeatable views of the city, the V&A Waterfront and Robben Island. The enormity of the great city and the ocean that peels away from its shores certainly make you feel small and puts the scope and reach of the world into perspective – perfect to reset those compasses once we’re allowed to travel once again.
Cars go to the top every 10-15 minutes and it’s advisable to buy your tickets in advance to avoid even longer waiting times. You can hike to the top, too (it’ll take you a couple of hours) but remember that in summer temperatures regularly hit the mid- to high-30s.
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Think Mount Fuji and it’s hard to not conjure up the images of the mountain with cherry blossom trees in the foreground and a halo of cloud just under the peak. But the view from on the mountain itself is impressive, too. You can access the fifth station by road (there are plenty of tours that will take you up there by coach) and from there you get expansive views of the city below.
If you want to go to the very top, you can only climb in July, August and the early part of September. Many people choose to get to the 7th or 8th station and sleep overnight in one of the mountain huts before hitting the summit of the 10th station for sunrise on the following morning. For putting the world in perspective, you have to go far (and high) to beat that.
The cable cars will take you to just shy of 400m above sea level, where you have spectacular views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a two-cable car journey to the top – the first will take you to Morro da Urca, with the second connecting you to the summit of Sugar Loaf.
This one’s great in both snow and sun. Grouse Mountain is a 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver and a Skyride that takes you up 2,800 feet towards the top of the mountain transports you to views of the area that are simply breathtaking.
Whether it’s in winter when the mountain is naturally a draw for skiers and snowboarders, or in the summer when it’s a place for hiking, paragliding or ziplining, looking down on Vancouver, the Gulf Islands and the Pacific Ocean from Grouse Mountain certainly allows you to absorb and embrace the sheer vastness of nature surrounding a major city.
Something a little closer to home: Dachstein is part of the Northern Limestone Alps in central Austria and the views from just under 3,000 metres stretch as far as the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
At Dachstein glacier there are fantastic views from a number of points – the panorama gondola will take you up to Hunerkogel at 2,700 metres where you can enjoy the stunning views from either the Skywalk, suspension bridge or the slightly terrifyingly named Stairway to Nothingness, where 14 steps take you down to a glass platform suspended over, well, nothing…
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Have you visited any of these tourist-friendly mountains before? Or perhaps you have others to add to the list? Tweet @icelollyholiday and let us know!