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15 Amazing Viewing Platforms

Thursday, 23rd May 2024



Who doesn’t love a view? Incredible vistas have a knack of luring us in, touching our soul in a positive, life affirming way. Perhaps it is that moment of stillness as we gaze in wonder across nature’s spectacle that gives drives this feeling. Maybe it’s the affirmation of our small place in this world. Sometimes it’s the pure joy that you’ve captured that beauty on camera – whether that’s for your own satisfaction or as bragging rights among friends. No judgement. There’s a little of that in us all.

Our world is vast and spectacular and finding the best spots to appreciate pockets of majesty are well worth the effort. As such, we’ve picked out a selection of viewing platforms and observation decks around our world from Iceland to New Zealand, Norway to Canada that have caught our eye…

Norway’s Vistas

With it’s vertiginous fjords and switchback roads, Norway’s Fjord region isn’t lacking in noteworthy lookouts. The views offered from each are spectacular, but some of the platforms themselves are also things of architectural beauty. Stegastein on the scenic route around Aurlandsfjord is an elegantly contoured wood and glass construction designed to give the sense of floating above the fjord.

Similarly, the viewpoint overlooking the famous hairpins of Trollstigen is also sympathetically built to fit in with the natural surroundings. The grey and rust coloured staircase that leads down to the platform blend into the moss-covered rocky escarpment to add a striking feature to the view. It is one of the key highlights of the Geiranger-Trollstigen National Tourist Route – a highly recommended drive.

Staying in Norway but moving south near to Stavanger, the natural viewpoint that is Pulpit Rock offers sweeping views over Lysefjorden. The angular plateau is almost a perfect square of around 25 metres, which juts out over the deep blue of the fjord below and as far as the eye can see. Daredevils approach the edge to take selfies, while those with a healthy respect for heights favour the central position. This is an iconic plateau and is the reward for one of Norway’s most popular tourist hikes, Preikestolen. Our tip for anyone planning to hike the path, is to arrive early to beat the crowds.

Inspiring Iceland

Jutting out over the rugged Hornstrandir Peninsula, Bolafjall platform in Iceland’s West Fjords sits 628m above the sea. Take a step beyond the cliff face and gaze out across Ísafjarðardjúp and to the vast horizon beyond. The platform sits beside the radar station atop Mt Bolafjall and is a must stop on an off the beaten track self drive in the West Fjords.

Less heady but very accessible on a short break, the 360° outdoor viewing platform of Reykjavik’s Perlan is a great place to take in views of Iceland’s capital city. The deck gently revolves around the main dome, which houses the restaurant. Look across the colourful rooftops to Hallgrimskirkja, the city’s striking church and mountains beyond dominated by Mount Esja. Perlan is more than a viewing platform and eatery. It also houses a number of interactive, permanent exhibitions showcasing Iceland’s trademark natural wonders. There’s an indoor ice cave, a Forces of Nature exhibition, an aurora show projected in state-of-the-art 8K and more.


Celestial Sweden

So much more than a pitstop along the journey, our favourite viewing platform in Sweden is the destination itself for avid aurora hunters. The Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park is one of the world’s premier locations to watch the northern lights with a 70% success rate. Accessed by chairlift it sits right in the middle of the auroral over and the clarity of the skies above take your breath away – often literally given the frigid conditions. But it’s worth it for an incredible display of the northern lights. Warm up inside the station beside a log fire and keep watch through the enormous picture windows.

sweden lapland abisko aurora sky station evening view rth

Canada’s Panoramas

Much like Norway, you don’t have to travel far to find a standout lookout in Canada. The Sea to Sky Gondola at Squamish in British Columbia is an immersive experience that starts with a 10-minute gondola journey to the summit where stunning views unfold over Howe Sound. There are multiple viewing platforms plus walking trails, dining options and the spectacular Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.

Just outside Victoria on Vancouver Island, the spiralling 250m Malahat Skywalk offers unparalleled panoramic views over Saanich Peninsula, Mount Baker and the distant Coast Mountains. Ascend via a tree-lined walkway.

On Canada’s east coast, the stepped boardwalk at the end of Nova Scotia’s Skyline Trail offers hikers stunning views of the Cabot Trail – a 300km touring route that blends scenic coastal driving with the chance to stretch your legs on numerous walking trails.

In the running for most spine-tingling viewing platforms, the Glacier Skywalk along Alberta’s Icefields Parkway, features a glass-bottomed observation platform that extends 30m into mid-air above the glacial valley. Marvel at spectacular views from a truly unique new perspective.

Close Encounters in Alaska

Our pick in Alaska keeps you on the down-low with the viewing platform less about how far your can see, but rather what you can see. Brooks Falls is renowned for grizzly bears and the viewing deck there allows human visitors to get in close proximity to this mighty mammal at a safe distance for both. During summer’s salmon run, the sight of open-mouthed bears staking out the waterfall is unforgettable.


Skies the Limit in New Zealand

The Summit Experience at Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo is another night-time recommendation. Designated as a Dark Sky Reserve by UNESCO there are few better places in the world to stargaze. Visit the mountain top observatory on a guided tour, where expert astronomers will help you navigate the cosmos.

At the other end of the country, nature’s majesty gives way to human engineering at Auckland’s premier attraction, the eye-catching Sky Tower. The slanted glass-panelled viewing deck offers 360˚ views in every direction – over the city and out across the Hauraki Gulf. Dine in a revolving restaurant, hit the SkyBar or take a virtual reality SkyRide!


Epic Australia

Continuing the theme of tall buildings, Melbourne’s Skydeck claims the title of highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere. Also with a VR experience, have a drink at Bar 88 and gaze across the city’s landmarks from your lofty vantage point.

Returning to nature, the Treetop Walk in Western Australia’s Valley of the Giants is a spectacular suspended walkway through the canopy of an ancient tingle forest. It’s a heady experience walking 40 metres through the forest with views usually reserved for our feathered friends. Around 400km south of Perth, between Denmark and Walpole, this is a must do highlight of a self-drive in the far south west.


Feeling inspired?

If our feeling inspired to test any or all of these viewpoints yourself, or seek out your own fabulous views, browse our range of itineraries using our Holiday Finder and then get in touch with our experts on 01737 214 250 or send an enquiry to create your perfect holiday.