There’s nothing more spectacular than a city with an imposing skyline and a nearby mountain-top from which to enjoy the view. There’s just something magical about it. I guess it’s the adventure of getting to the top of the mountain and the first moment you feast your eyes on the incredible view. It’s always an enchanting, often surreal experience that makes the effort so worthwhile. I’ve listed below fourteen mountains (or hills) which I’ve visited for truly breathtaking city views. If you’re in any of these cities, I highly recommend making it to the top of these mountains for an unforgettable visual experience.

Victoria Peak – Hong Kong

It’s a fun ride to the top with the funicular. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of one of the most spectacular skylines in the world. I love Hong Kong! Just hop on the Victoria Peak tram for incredible views of this amazing city!

The stunning skyline of Hong Kong.

Grouse Mountain – Vancouver

Just a short hop away from downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is a ski-resort as well as a much-loved hiking area. The views of Vancouver and the snowy peaks of Vancouver Island in the distance on a clear day are stupendous. Get a ticket for the Grouse Mountain Skyride and enjoy the phenomenal views. This amazing picture was taken on a foggy night.

Vancouver as seen from Grouse Mountain.

Corcovado – Rio de Janeiro

The ‘hunchback’ mountain of Rio de Janeiro is the home of the Christ Statue (one of the new ‘Wonders of the World’) and the perfect place to enjoy an unforgettable panorama of Rio de Janeiro, arguably one of the most spectacular city views in the world! Visitors can take the van transport or the cog train from the base to the peak.

Rio de Janeiro seen from Corcovado.

Table Mountain – Cape Town

Table Mountain overlooks Cape Town and Table Bay. The cable-car that brings visitors to the top is the start of a spectacular visual experience. The views from the top of Cape Town, Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head, Table Bay and Robben Island are amazing. Save some time for a lovely stroll around the fijnbos shrubs on the mountain-top. Get a cable-car and scenic bus combo ticket.

The view from Table Mountain.

Twin Peaks – San Francisco

Twin Peaks is the place to be for the most mind-blowing city views of San Francisco. The view of the city-lights at night is absolutely awe-inspiring.

The view from Twin Peaks in San Francisco.

Nordkette – Innsbruck

Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol in Austria, is situated in the Inn Valley and is surrounded by the impressive peaks of the Tirolean Alps. Flying into Innsbruck is an experience in itself! There are many peaks from which visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Innsbruck and the Inn Valley, however, the easiest and fastest is the Nordkette mountain. From its Hafelekar peak, just minutes from the city centre, visitors have a stunning view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

View of Innsbruck from Nordkette.

Mt. Victoria – Wellington

Mount Victoria lies at the edge of downtown Wellington and is a great place to enjoy Wellington’s beautiful location, wedged in between Wellington Harbour and the surrounding mountains of the Rimutaka Range. Various scenes from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy were shot on Mount Victoria. Read more about things to do in New Zealand.


Tibidabo – Barcelona

Tibidabo is the highest peak in Barcelona and the views of the city and the coastline from up here are truly spectacular. There’s more up here to keep visitors occupied other than the views, such as the beautiful Sagrat Cor Church and Barcelona’s oldest amusement park. Read more about things to do in Barcelona.

Tibidabo sits on a hill atop Barcelona.

Cerro de la Cruz – Antigua

Cerro de la Cruz is not the highest peak overlooking the stunning UNESCO Heritage town of Antigua in Guatemala but it offers some of the most stunning views. It’s a relatively easy hike to get to the top and the classic view of Antigua below with the imposing Volcan Agua as a backdrop will leave you speechless.

A view of Antigua with Volcan Agua as a backdrop.

Bob’s Peak – Queenstown

Queenstown is the ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand‘. Located on South Island, Queenstown is surrounded by spectacular mountains and lakes. There are many spots from which to get amazing views but Bob’s Peak is easily accessible and the views of Queenstown are unparalleled!

Panoramic view of Queenstown.

Elephant Mountain – Taipei

Elephant Mountain lies smack in the middle of Taipei and offers arguably the best vantage point over the city and its famous Taipei 101 Tower, until recently, the world’s tallest building. A pleasant 20-minute stroll leads to the top. The trail is lit so you can walk up in the early evenings to take in the sunset and the city lights.


Cerro San Cristobal – Santiago de Chile

The capital of Chile is located at the foot of the imposing Andes mountains but the best views of the city and the mountains can be found at the top of the San Cristobal Hill in the Providencia district. Hop on the Santiago Cable Car to enjoy the stunning views!

Santiago and the Andes mountains seen from San Cristobal Hill.

Schlossberg – Graz, Austria

Graz is Austria’s second-largest city and an absolute gem! There are many things to do in Graz but one I absolutely recommend is to enjoy the panoramic view of Graz from atop the Schlossberg (Castle Hill). You can hike up, take an elevator or the funicular. Whichever way you choose, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views (and there’s a beer garden too!).

A panoramic view of Graz from Schlossberg.

Srd Hill, Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a stunning walled town in Croatia. Travellers flying in are treated to amazing plane window views of Dubrovnik but if you missed that, hop onto the Dubrovnik cable-car from the Old Town to the top of Srd Hill. One other thing to do is to walk along the Dubrovnik walls – the views are simply breathtaking!

Panoramic view of Dubrovnik from Srd Hill.

Do you know of other city peaks that are worth the climb? Please leave your suggestions in the comments section below. Thanks!

Read other articles in the Velvet Escape β€œTen” series:

39 Responses

  • Hi Hannah,
    Nope, I haven’t been to Peru but it sure is high on my list. When I make it to Cusco, I’ll definitely check out the view from the statue. Thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚


  • Loved this post! Have you been to Peru there is a spectacular view of Cuso from the White Christ statue. I love looking at peaks at the end of your trip its kind of cheesy but it gives you time to reflect on the time you spent there.

  • I used to work at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, amazing views during the day you can see the ocean, islands and other mountains. I have to throw in Quito, Ecuador… from the top of the giant Pichincha Volcano

  • Mount Wellington in Hobart has to be up there with the best.

  • Salt Lake City, Utah and the surrounding valley and mountains from Ensign Peak. There are other neat viewpoints around the valley, too.

  • Another vote for Arthur’s Seat and Grouse Mountain from me! Others…Wat Saket, Bangkok (though a bit man-made!) Bob’s Peak, Queenstown (NZ) and Mt Coot-Tha, Brisbane, especially at night.

  • I wish I had known about the Taipei peak! But I am heading to Hong Kong soon and the city looks amazing from that vantage and I look forward to hitting some of these as I pass through the cities πŸ™‚

  • All excellent choices! Especially Vancvouer πŸ˜‰
    I’ll throw one more in the mix – Cusco, Peru

  • You should include Pittsburgh, PA, which was rated by USA Today as #1 view (yes, ahead of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco). Check out (skyline, no “s” at the end).

  • Thanks for your comment Christine. I was thinking of Seoul Tower but it had to be a “10…” post! πŸ™‚ Would love to visit Hawaii one day!


  • Barcelona? .. wish I knew when I visited. Antigua is gorgeous. I’d also have to agree w/ @Gregg on Diamond Head (I’m biased but it is gorgeous & it’s not a very high peak to climb). @Dave W’s Seoul Tower is another impressive view but the air pollution can be bad on some days, though even thru the haze its a bit nice & the Locks of Love are my favorite reason for going.

  • Wow! Stunning photos. Mont Royal in Montreal is not a huge peak, but it does offer gorgeous views of Montreal.

  • Wow, some really breathtaking cityscapes in this collection.

    I am glad to see my Hometown (Cape Town) in there, but that Vancouver shot is eerie looking.

  • Wow, great photos Keith!
    My favourites are Vancouver, Cape Town and Antigua!

    Dorothee πŸ™‚

  • Great series, stunning imagery too. It’s funny how we long to visit a place, but never fully appreciate it until we take a step back for a broader view.

    There’s some wonderful vantage points in Lhasa too, especially from the monasteries which sprawl across hilltops.

  • Breathtaking. I know that SF view well. Ride my bike up there all the time.

    Got a couple to add: The view from Queen Anne Hill in Seattle (think Frasier!) and Cerro San Cristobal in Lima. Two stunning views each with their own flavor.

  • Thanks Isa & Melvin for your comments! Yup, you better get started… lots of climbing to be done! πŸ™‚


  • Love this series – and especially this post. Can only say I’ve conquered one (by car!) – Mt Victoria in Wellington. Beautiful place to take in the views … just watch out for Windy Welly’s infamous winds!

  • Great idea for a post and amazing photos! I’m with Shannon and have many peaks to add to my bucket list, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Thanks! You’ve got a great point there – didn’t think of that but yes, volcanic & seismic activity indeed! I was going to add Mexico City to the list as well… it would’ve been no. 11! πŸ™‚


  • Gorgeous…great picks. Not surprisingly…a strong correlation, in many cases, with areas of potential volcanic activity.

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