Love adventure and love heights? Skywalks are where you should be found. In an urban setting, a skyway, catwalk, skybridge, or skywalk is a type of pedway consisting of an enclosed or covered bridge between two buildings. However, they have come to mean much more as they have been added to natural wonders. Some of the most beautiful yet daring skywalks provide you with the most spectacular views of the best natural wonders of the world. The best ten are listed below.
1. CN Tower in LA
The CN Tower lets you live on the edge, literally. The biggest circular skywalk allows visitors to experience a hands-free walk along the 1.5 metre ledge, enjoying stunning, open-air views of Toronto and Lake Ontario from 356 metres above the ground. You are suspended from the top and you walk on the edge of the circular rim. When you’re suspended high above with absolutely nothing for back-up, you understand this walk is not meant for those with a weak heart. Even the most daring people can be scared to go on this walk. If you are daring but don’t want to live on the ‘edge’, visual attractions are also available on lower and safer grounds. They have a glass floor slightly lower. This floor has only 2.5in of glass suspending visitors 113 stories above the ground. Higher than this is an additional 33 storeys to Sky Pod, where you can see a beautiful 360 degree view of Toronto from 1,465ft.
2. Aurland Outlook in Aurland, Norway
If you are an adrenaline junkie, Aurland Outlook is what you need to visit. This skywalk is not just thrilling, it is fantabulous. The fantastic structure seems like the perfect platform for a daredevil act. Architects Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen were commissioned to design a scenic rest-stop 2000ft above Aurland fjord in Norway and came up with this that won them the first prize in Norwegian tourist routes competition. It is curvaceous and stunning, just as beautiful as the views around it. Its literally seamless end gives you such an adrenaline rush that heightens the experience of this breathtaking view. See the end there? This structure is not for the faint-hearted. But not to worry, a discreet, unframed glass panel keeps you from falling!
3. Langkawi Sky Bridge in Langkawi, Malaysia
A picture of this bridge makes your heart skip a beat as you see the lone bridge surrounded by high forests. The Langkawi Sky Bridge is one of the major attractions of the island. The 410ft-long curved pedestrian bridge above Mount Mat Cinchang offers stunning views and is great for some adventure. Located 2,300ft above sea level, the Sky Bridge is easily accessible by the Langkawi Cable Car. The journey to the top starts out at the Oriental Village in the upper northwest of Langkawi Island, near Pantai Kok. You can treat your eyes to the views of Langkawi’s second-highest and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls and the rainforest. Those with a fear of heights might be a little afraid of the altitude, but it is a very safe bridge with double steel railings and an enclosed wire mesh. The 1.8m wide bridge has two triangular platforms that act as ‘stops’ where you can admire the view and rest your feet.
4. Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, China
On one side a sheer rock face, on the other a 4,000ft drop – the only thing separating the brave traveler from a deadly plunge is a 3ft-wide, 2.5in thick walkway. Inspired by the skywalk in the Grand Canyon, the path running alongside the mountainside is made out of glass, allowing a crystal-clear view of where one false step can take you. The skywalk is situated 4,700ft above sea level on the side of the Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, China. The 200ft long bridge joins the west cliff at the Yunmeng Fairy Summit, the summit of Tianmen Mountain and Zhang Jiajie. A pure adventure, this skywalk is a must for those who are not daunted by heights and love the idea of hanging between life and death. Tourists are asked to wear shoe covers because it appears to be too scary for cleaners!
5. Shanghai World Financial Centre
This bottle-opener shaped building has not just an external attraction but an internal thrill too. At almost half a kilometer in the air, the 55-meter Skywalk observation corridor spans the top of the square gap at the summit of the Shanghai World Financial Center. Its angled glass walls and see-through floor panels make you feel as if you are leaning over the edge and makes for a highly hallucinatory experience. A lighter and easier option is the Skywalk 97 at a mere 439 meters with a glass roof that opens up. The world’s highest observatory, it surrounds visitors with glass on three sides and has fabulous view of the famous riverside Bund.
6. The Grand Canyon
The natural structure is in itself is spectacle. Add to it man-made wonders and you have a complete adventure package. That is what the Grand Canyon Skywalk about. While not located in the Grand Canyon National Park, it is located in a smaller part of the same canyon system, offering a view like none else. Owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe, the cantilever shaped glass walkway is suspended more than 4,000 feet above the canyon’s floor and extend 70 feet from the canyon’s rim. Made on top of the Colorado River, the transparent skywalk offers a view of the Grand Canyon from a different perspective of the canyon, making you ecstatic and treating your eyes to beautiful views.
7. Top of Tyrol, Stubai Glacier in Austria
Excitement is when you know you’re standing in a place few will dare to go to. Top of Tyrol is one such exciting experience. A spectacularly cantilevered viewing platform overhanging a ridge of Mount Isidor in Austria, Top of Tyrol has been designed by Aste Architecture. While it primarily gives you the view of mountains only, the mere act of standing in this deceivingly safe platform makes the Stubai Glacier view a unique experience. More thrills are pumped in your experience as you stand 9 meters away from the mountain.
8. Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk in Australia
Located at Knights Hill up high on the escarpment near Robertson in the Southern Highlands, the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk allows visitors to walk among the rainforest canopy 25 metres above the ground on a steel platform. The 500m elevated walkway features cantilever arms that take visitors to the edge of the escarpment and offer inspiring views of the coastline from Kiama through to Shellharbour. There’s no better viewing area on the entire South Coast, especially after climbing the spiral stairs to the top of the 45-metre tower that looks across Shellharbour, Lake Illawarra and the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be almost face to face with all the creatures of the rainforest, including yellow-tailed black cockatoos, crimson rosellas, kookaburras, eastern whipbirds and honeyeaters among tall gum trees, blackwoods, sassafras, treeferns and vines. The spiral stairs take you for a ‘spin’ but you know the view is worth it.
9. Infinity Room at House on the Rock in Wisconsin, USA
The Infinity Room is the 14th room of the House on the Rock. The House, which is built on top of Deer Shelter Rock with a forest nearby, was joined by The Infinity Room in 1985, hanging out without support underneath. This engineering wunderkind extends 218 feet out over the scenic valley and 156 feet above the forests floor. The Infinity Room has 3,264 handmade windows for walls that give visitors a spectacular view of the outside. The house, a complex of architecturally unique rooms, streets, gardens and shops designed by Alex Jordan, Jr, has its major attraction in this room.
10. Il Binocolo in Meran, Italy
When visiting Trauttsmandorff Castle in Meran, Italy, a walk around the gardens will make you encounter a charming glass structure, cutely poking out of the trees. The funny shaped roof at the end of the platform and the spectacular view it offers gave birth to the name of this eye-catching platform – Il Binocolo, meaning The Binoculars. The mesmerizing structure has been designed by Architect Matteo Thun.