Forget the Eiffel Tower, the city's modern eyesore - the Montparnasse Tower - offers the most unobstructed view of every Paris landmark of interest. Go straight up to the top viewing deck or stop in to the newly renovated Ciel de Paris restaurant on the 56th floor for a Millefeuille or cocktail with a breathtaking view.
Bernal Heights is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco. It's a little off the beaten path, but on a clear day the park at the top of the hill offers an amazing view of the city and the bay. On a foggy day, the park feels like the setting of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Did I mention dogs are allowed off-leash?
I took this photo with frozen hands but am glad I did as it's a great view of the path of descent from the top of Kilimanjaro (which is right behind me in this photo).
Every step down the mountain was another step closer to more oxygen! We were all fairly giddy with the oxygen when we got back to 12,000 feet (where we stopped for the night).
If you're thinking of climbing Kili, definitely consider REI. The trip I did also included a follow-up safari - also highly recommended.
REI: Mount Kilimanjaro Climb - Marangu Route and Safari Extension
Way up in the Alfama, the Castelo Sao Jorge is a Lisbon must see (and do).
This castle was really the beginning of Lisbon. The first king, Afonso Henriques captured this hilltop fortress from the Moors in the 12th century.
The site was occupied by Romans, Visigoths, then Moors.
In the 14th century, it became the Royal Palace.
You can walk the pathways, explore the castle,and enjoy the fantastic views of downtown Lisbon, the Tagus River, and the April 25th Bridge.
Sit and enjoy a cool drink at one of the stands or have lunch at the Casa Do Leao. Watch the peahens and pigeons wander the grounds.
If you buy the Lisboa Card,( information centers sell them. A good Lisbon map indicates locations. ) you get a discount for the castle.
Don't neglect the rest of the Alfama after seeing the castle and if you are happily weary after this adventure just take the trolley down to the Praca do Commercio.
While on a road-trip through Andalusia, we spent a day exploring the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. The twisting mountain roads took our breath away at regular intervals. The region is famous for its Peublos Blancos (or white villages). One was so pretty, we decided to stop and take a look.
We climbed up, up, up the narrow streets of Zahara de la Sierra, only to discover there was no place to park. On the way back down, we stopped at a small guest house restaurant to grab some lunch.
Al Lago's shady terrace overlooks, as the name suggests, the lake, which supplies the local villages with fresh water.
We dined on delicious local treats while sipping sangria in the sun. With a view like this, we could have stayed all day.
If you can finangle your way to The Thompson's Rooftop (usually reserved for guests and residents of the hotel), you'll find one of the most picturesque views of the city's skyline.
It's worth the $15 mojito. Bring your bathing suit, too. In the summer time, the pool is open.
The Banyan Hotel has several amazing places to catch a glimpse of the breadth of Bangkok. AFARer John Galante recommended the Moon Bar at the very top of the 61 story building. Unfortunately when I arrived there was a private event being held there. The hotel recommended I enjoy the Latitude Lounge which did far from disappoint. The Thai whiskey and spicy edamame snacks I enjoyed were made unforgettable by near 360 degree views of the city. I came just before dusk, right in time to see the amazing transformation the city undergoes as the sun sets and the lights go on.
The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II in Rome, nicknamed the 'Wedding Cake' (and, alternately, the 'Typewriter') for its distinctive, boxy shape, offers some of the most stunning, panoramic views to be had of the Eternal City, in every direction. There is an elevator to the top and a large roof deck from which to take it all in—not to be missed, and particularly glorious at sunset, as the shadows fall across the Roman Forum.
Wherever you are in Europe, you're never far from a cathedral with hundreds of steps leading to a church tower boasting sweeping views of whatever city or town lies beneath. Bath Abbey is one of those cathedrals, but its 212 stairs are worth every step. The view from Bath Abbey's tower roof is among the most picturesque in Europe and offers a unique glimpse at this charming English city. The journey includes a stop in Bath Abbey's bell chamber, a walk across the Abbey's famous vaulted ceiling and a few minutes to rest behind its clock.
One of my favorite cities in the world is Guanajuato in Mexico. I feel in love with the colonial streets the minute I set foot. It is a beautiful city with colorful building, cobble stone streets, and rustic design. It is no wonder that Diego Rivera is from such an artistic city. If you go to Guanajuato be sure to visit El Pipila monument for the best city view. Check out the mummy museum, El Cristo Rey, and Diego Rivera's childhood home. If you are looking for a place to stay there are many great hotels at great prices. The best time to visit Guanajuato is in October during the Festival Cervantino. If you don't making during October make sure to join a callejonada to "el callejon del beso." The best thing a person can do is roam the streets of Guanajuato at a leisure pace to get a good feel of the city's beautiful history.
From Avenida Sucre, take Avenida La Bandera and then head uphill. Climb the flight of stairs, take a few minutes to catch your breath, and enjoy the panoramic view of La Paz. Be sure to wear sunblock! The sun is strong at this altitude. No entrance fee.
Watching the sunset from Roppongi Hills was my favorite Tokyo experience. We bought tickets to the Mori Art Museum, which include entrance to the observation deck on the 52nd floor of Mori Tower. We payed 1500 yen ($17) for the museum and observation deck and an extra 500 yen ($5.69) to go up to the open air sky deck. The sky deck is literally on the roof of Mori Tower and has a completely unobstructed view of Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge and the sprawl of Tokyo with a helicopter pad in the center. We saw the Aida Makoto exhibit at the museum, an entertaining modern exhibit made even more exciting when we got to the end and saw the artist working on his pieces. Out of my four day stay in Tokyo this is my number one recommendation.
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, our first destination was Victoria Peak. Yes, maybe it is overrated. But when in Hong Kong, it just must be done! Finding the base of the tram on foot was pretty easy, there are signs everywhere. The tram itself was quite fun, but we took the bus on the way down to skip the line up. We paid extra for access to a viewing platform, and the views, obviously, were pretty incredible.
Full Account Here: http://aliscottwhatwegetupto.blogspot.ca/2012/03/hong-kong-day-1.html
Between the crowds and the stairs, it's a bit of work to get there, but the view of Rome and St. Peter's Square from the rooftop of St. Peter's Basilica is breathtaking. From here you can also get to the dome, which provides amazing views of the church itself. The Square is impressive as well, and provides great opportunities to view fantastic architecture and do some people watching.
No trip to Sevilla in Spain would be complete without a trip to the Catedral de Sevilla. Formerly a mosque, now it is a massive cathedral. If you visit, be sure not to miss La Giralda, the cathedral's belltower that used to be a minaret. The most spectacular views of the city are from the top of that tower. Also not to miss are Christopher Columbus's tomb, the Court of Oranges, and a prayer or two.
One of the best views of Florence can be enjoyed from the Piazzale Michelangelo, a short walk across the Arno River from downtown Florence. For a fun afternoon head to the square and enjoy an enchanting panorama of the city, followed by a relaxing al fresco lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. You can continue taking in the beautiful view from an outdoor patio while enjoying a plate of fresh pasta and a glass of rich wine.
The Piazzale Michelangelo is also worth a visit at night to get a very different view of Florence. The lights of the Duomo and the buildings surrounding it make for a magical nighttime scene.
Roughly an hour's bus ride north from Yangshuo will take you to the small fishing village of Xingping. It's just south of the karst bluff viewpoint imprinted on the back of the 20 RMB note. Alternatively, you can reach the quaint village by haggling with the endless array of touts and their bamboo rafts (or it's modern PVC-replica version) in Yangdi or even further up the river and coasting south along a wonderful area of the Li River.
When I traveled, I opted to bamboo raft for a smaller fee from Yangdi down to Nine Horse Frescoe Hill and hike through farms and along the interior road the rest of the way to Xingping. It took a few hours between walking and a nice stop for lunch at a riverside cafe, but the scenery was quite rewarding.
When you finally reach Xingping, close to the waterfront and guided by a few signs around the back of several buildings (ask locals if you get lost and...
Arequipa, Peru, is known as the white city because of the use of cillar, a volcanic mineral, on most of the city's downtown buildings and can be seen just fine at eye level. However, if you decide to climb about five flights of stairs to to the terrace restaurants that overlook the Plaza de Armas, you will be rewarded with a white city that turns golden right before your eyes.
Yellowstone National Park is no secret by any stretch of the imagination. Yellowstone is one of America's most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason; there few places in the country where you can rub shoulders with grizzlies, smack racks with moose, track prey with bald eagles, and badger the badgers. But people rarely consider the way they get in and out of the park, and this is one road less traveled you shouldn't miss.
The north east entrance out of Yellowstone through Montana takes you up and over some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. My camera loved it, my car hated it, and I felt lucky that I was able to experience a bit of the park relatively few people every experience. Our crew had spent our last night in the park in Mammoth, a destination often eschewed for the much more popular Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Consider rolling north the next time...
This view overlooking Ghent is a common one in Belgium. Many Belgium cities feature bell towers centrally located, some of which visitors can still climb to the top, like this one. For a nominal fee, visitors can wind their way up the stairs, or take an elevator to the top. A self-guided tour of the belfry includes learning about how bells go from concept to ringing throughout a city.
Graz, Austria’s second largest city, is an ancient beauty. Its first fortifications date back to the 11th century. As a result, the heart of the city is made up of almost a millennium worth of buildings and styles that give Graz its storied atmosphere. The sea of terra cotta roofs and pompous Baroque palaces even convinced UNESCO to declare the whole historic center a World Cultural Heritage Site. You too should discover the romantic streets and hidden cobble-stone courtyards, wander between the grand archways of the old city walls and sit down for a glass of wine on one of the charming squares, which give Graz a positively Mediterranean flair.
Right smack dab in the center of the chaos that is New Delhi, exists the quiet center of the universe: Jama Masjid. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, and completed in 1656, this is the largest and most popular mosque in all of India. It can hold up to 25,000 worshippers, yet be the quietest place on Earth at the same time. Within its walls is also held an antique copy of the Qur'an. The photo above is taken from atop one the of two 130-foot tall minarets. I made the trek up, only to find myself in the company of five teenagers just hanging out and enjoying the view. And what a view it is! You get a scope of the vast expanse of Delhi from this particular vantage point. I enjoyed my perch for a while, descended the steps, took in one last moment of solitude within the mosque, and waded back into the calamity outside its sacred walls.
When I travel, I am always looking for a location in which I can have an over view of the city. It gives me a sense of location, it good for photography and it also much more quiet most of the times.
If you travel to Florence, one of the places you should visit is Piazzale Michelangelo.
Better early in the morning, when you still see the morning dew or just before sunset
I was told that I HAD to go to Bruges, it was a non-negotiable, must-see. I watched the movie "In Bruges" on my way there and decided that I had to go up to the top of the famous bell tower. It was way more than I bargained for as I was pretty sure that I developed a raging case of vertigo by the time I made it to the top. But I was beyond well rewarded once I reached the top and spent a solitary thirty minutes admiring the beauty that is the gorgeous city below.
When in Madrid, I highly recommend to visit Circulo de Bellas Artes. The views from the rooftop of the Fine Arts Circle is breath taking. Buy a ticket at the reception, speed up to the roof and stand by the feet of Goddess Minerva. Highly recommended during sunset with a glass of wine in hand.