Top 10 Cable Car Rides in the World

Cable car rides offer a thrilling sensation of floating in the air between mountain peaks and above valleys in perhaps the safest form after paragliding and its variations. Typically used as a faster and a more scenic mode of transport, cable car rides or gondolas are used for simple commute within the metropolitan area to ski trips atop the Alps, between just a few poles and cabins hanging from wires.

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Best Cable Car Rides in the World

Here is the list of 10 best Cable car rides of world you must ride once in your life.

1. Seilbahn Zugspitze: Germany

Seilbahn Zugspitze: Germany
Image by Meli1670 from Pixabay

This aerial ropeway runs to the top of the mountain of Zugspitze at 9,718 ft. from the Eibsee Lake at the bottom. It currently holds the record for the longest free span in a cable car in the world at 10,541 ft in length. It replaced the original Eibsee Cable Car, which was also the longest one in the world till 2017. Zugspitze lies on the border of Austria and Germany, and the cable car provides much faster access to the peak from the German side than the railway that too reaches the peak. Covered from all sides snow and 3,000 meters above sea-level, this cable car ride is certainly an adventurous one.

2. Peak 2 Peak Gondola: Whistler, Canada

The 4.4-kilometer Peak 2 Peak gondola ride connects the lodge at Whistler Mountain with the one at Blackcomb Mountain in Canada. It is the only ride that connects the two mountain peaks and once held the record for the longest free span in a cable car at 3.03 km until it was broken by the aforementioned Eibsee Cable Car in 2017. But it still remains the highest point above the ground in a gondola/cable car at 436 meters (1,430 feet). The riders of these cable cars include skiing enthusiasts in the winter and sight-seeing tourists for the rest of the year who can marvel at the vast areas covered in evergreen forests and snowcapped peaks in the distance.

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3. Titlis Rotair: Mount Titlis, Switzerland

Located in Engelberg near Zurich, Switzerland over the famed Mount Titlis, the Titlis Rotair is the world’s first rotating gondola offering a thrilling view from the ride of the glaciers below. It can bring the passengers to the peak of Mount Titlis at 9,908 feet in just over five minutes. The rotating cabin gives you panoramic views of the surrounding snow-covered Alps and the largest glaciers Europe can offer. Another attraction is the open chair Ice Flyer Ride for the ones who dare to ride to the top in a chilly and windy open chair ride.

4. Mi Teleferico: La Paz, Bolivia

Mi Teleferico: La Paz, Bolivia
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The Teleférico La Paz–El Alto or the La Paz–El Alto Cable Car serves the urban area La Paz-El Alto in Bolivia. It is the world’s highest and longest metropolitan gondola at 10 km and takes passengers from the center of La Paz to the district of El Alto over a steep slope of 1300 meters. It replaced a long, congested road in 2014 as another efficient way to commute between these two areas. Along with being efficient in carrying up to 18,000 people every hour, it offers fascinating views of the snow-capped Andes.

5. Sugarloaf Mountain Gondola: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain Gondola: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Joining the Praia Vermelha and the Sugarloaf Mountain, it reaches the summit of the 1,300-foot mountain in the capital of Brazil. When opened in 1912, it was only the third ropeway in the world and till now more than 37 million people have ridden on this Rio ropeway. Owing to its 100-year-old fame, it has been featured prominently in numerous films including the James Bond film Moonraker (1979). Running up some steep and scary parts on its way, the ride proves its worth with gorgeous views of the peak in the front and the water below.

6. Vanoise Express: Les Arcs, France

Vanoise Express: Les Arcs, France
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Connecting the French ski area of La Plagne with the Les Arcs ski resorts in the Alps, the ride stretches 1.8 km in length and 1,250 feet over the valley. It crosses this distance in an impressive 4 minutes, carrying 200 people at once. Just by its description, one can see that it isn’t a conventional cable car; it’s design and operational engineering is unique and powerful in function. A sight of marvel, once it even hosted French tightrope walkers Julien Millot and Tancrede Melet who crossed a 186-foot gap between the two cable cars on the rope.

7. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Palm Springs, California
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Constructed in the rugged Chino Canyon, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating cable car out of only the three that exist. It connects the bottom of the Coachella Valley to the top of Mount San Jacinto. The other rotating cable cars are in the previously mentioned Titlis Rotair of Switzerland and another at Table Mountain in South Africa. To construct this 12.5-minute ride in 1960, helicopters had to be used to put parts of the ropeway into place, to preserve the integrity of the wild canyon.

8. Ba Na Hills Cable Car (Da Nang, Vietnam)

Ba Na Hills Cable Car (Da Nang, Vietnam)
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At 5,801 meters, the Ba Na Hills Cable Car is longest non-stop single track cable car in the world since 2013. Parts for making this marvel were shipped from parts of Europe such as Sweden and Germany to Vietnam. The Ba Na Hills make up a leisure destination, set up by French colonists, with a hill station and resort to which the cable car carries the tourists at a height of 1,500 meters above sea level. It is located near central Da Nang province and is known for its cool atmosphere and historical areas and museums about them.

9. Stanserhorn CabriO: Lucerne, Switzerland

Stanserhorn CabriO: Lucerne, Switzerland
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World’s first double-deck roofless cable car was built in Lucerne in Switzerland to replace an older 1975 ropeway. The Stanserhorn CabriO opened in 2012 and it carries 60 people at once up to 2,320 meters to the top of the Stanserhorn Mountain. the Swiss Post Office released a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion. It also involves the world’s oldest funicular built in 1891, both of which work together daily from mid-April to mid-November. The ride in the funicular takes 9 minutes to the intermediate station and from there it’s a 6.5-minute ride in the CabriO to the top.

10. The Ngong Ping 360: Lantau Island, Hong Kong

The Ngong Ping 360: Lantau Island, Hong Kong
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Previously known as Tung Chung Cable Car Project, the 5.7 km long Ngong Ping 360 is a gondola lift on the island of Lantau in Hong Kong. It connects Tung Chung and the hill region of Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. Intended to improve tourism, the destination is home to Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, to which the only previous access was the risky mountain road. The road journey took around an hour to reach the top while the gondola rides take just 25 minutes with a scenic and relaxing view of the green hills.

The nomenclature in terms gondola lift/ride and cable car rides is often interchangeable around the globe, but in a strict sense, a gondola ride involves suspended cabins on a back-and-forth circulating cables while cable car rides are more scheduled and are faster than gondolas.