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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!).
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!
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 “Ten” series: