You can see and explore every city in many different ways. One of the most spectacular options is to take a look around from above.  It can be just a few floors above, a view from a hill or 148 floors above like from Burj Khalifa. Here is how I explored 10 different cities of the world from above for your travel inspiration:

1) Auckland, New Zealand

There are many ways to see Auckland from above. One of the most popular is the 328 meters high Sky Tower offering a view of the city from 220 metres above street level. However, there are many other options available.The other way is to go fifteen minutes by boat from downtown Auckland to the marine village of Devonport. Mount Victoria is one of Devonport’s famous landmarks. It’s easily accessible by foot. Loved by locals and visitors, Mount Victoria is one of the best vantage points in all of Auckland. Enjoy spectacular views of the Auckland City Skyline and the stunning Waitemata Harbour – have your camera ready! Read about how to travel New Zealand naked clicking this link.10 auckland from above 1320022

One Tree Hill is an 182-metre volcanic peak in Auckland city. It is an important memorial place for both Māori and other New Zealanders. It also offers great views of the sheep and city.10 auckland from above 1310088

2) Queenstown, New Zealand

I just love Queenstown. One of the best ways to see the city is from the Bob’s Peak. Sit back and relax and take in the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll be carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak, where you’ll enjoy the best views in the region unfolding before your eyes. You’ll get to experience a spectacular panorama with breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peak and, of course, Queenstown.

10 queenstown from above 1310225

3) Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the planet and found in the heart of Dubai. It’s marketed as one of the main attractions in Dubai, offering an unrivalled perspective of the city. But the observation deck experience is a bit on the pricey side. So many visitors want to know if it’s worth it. To get up to the 125th floor, during peak hours, is 200 AED if you book in advance, 300 if you buy for that day ($55-$82) for adults. For the 148th floor, it's 500 AED ($136) and you have to book in advance. I didn’t get a chance to see the view during the day so I’m not able to compare the night time view to anything, but I did think it was a pretty remarkable sight. Read more how to spend a day in Dubai clicking this link.

10 dubai from above 158051010 dubai from above 1580537

4) Haifa, Israel

Israel’s third largest city is home to the world-famous Baha’i Gardens – and is often described as a model of coexistence among residents from different religious communities. Just 400-meters long, the Louis Promenade is one of the most picturesque city walkways you’ll ever cross. The promenade was built in 1992 and stretches from Hotel Nof to the upper entrance of the Baha’i Gardens. Take in the panoramic view of the Haifa Bay, Acre, Mount Hermon and Rosh Hanikra. Read about 10 days Israel itinerary clicking this link.

10 haifa from above 122099710 haifa from above 1220948

5) Jerusalem

In the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, a stone’s throw from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the Church of the Redeemer. It was built by Kaiser Wilhelm in the late 1800s. You can climb 177 steps up the bell tower, the tallest in the vicinity, for a fine view over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and as far as the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion.10 jerusalem from above 1210135While you’re in Jerusalem, you can admire a view of the Kidron Valley from above. It is located between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.10 jerusalem from above 1210238

6) Cologne, Germany

If you’re planning to combine culture with stunning views, you’d better be wearing your comfiest shoes. One of the best vantage points in the city is the viewing platform on the south tower of the Dom. You have to climb 533 steps up a narrow spiral staircase to get there. The downside is that if you are standing on top of the famous cathedral, you don’t see the cathedral itself for obvious reasons.10 cologne from above 1080455The panorama platform on top of the high-rise Köln Triangle offers what is probably one of the most stunning views over the city. At an altitude of over 100 metres, visitors enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the city, the Dom, the Rhine and the bridges over the river. Unfortunately, thick glass walls prevent taking good quality photos in my opinion.

7) Genoa, Italy

You can get the panoramic perspective of Genoa taking a steep but short walk up to the Spianata Castelletto platform where you can get 360° views of the city and the port below. If you’re feeling less adventurous, there is also the option of taking the Art-Noveau style public lift, accessible from Piazza del Portello. Genoa has a peculiar colour, don’t you think? A bit sand-like and a little magical. Read more about what to see in Genoa clicking this link.10 genoa from above 1060133

8) Minsk, Belarus

The open observation deck is located at the top of the National Library of Belarus. It offers a panorama of several suburbs and the outskirts of Minsk, as well as a view of the Independence Avenue. To get to the rooftop, follow the signs to the observation deck. When you buy a ticket, you’ll be directed straight to the elevator with its glass windows entertaining you on the way to the 23rd floor.Read more about what to see in Minsk clicking this link.10 minsk from above 1090234

9) Prague, Czechia

Castle Hill: cross the river from the old town and wander up the winding streets. Soon you’ll find yourself at the Prague Castle. At the top of the road that leads from the Charles Bridge is a courtyard in front of the main castle gates. From this plaza, you can get a good view of the city and the river. It’s accessible by walking a path instead of a bunch of narrow staircases.10 prague from above 1570216Another option is to go to the Petrina Tower. Visible on Petrin Hill, west across the river from the old town, is a small replica of the Eiffel Tower. The tower has been built explicitly to be the highest spot in town. Take public transport down to the stop Ujezd. Nearby is a funicular that takes you up to the top of Petrin Hill. The top of the tower is narrow, but it provides great views of Prague from above.10 prague from above 1060835

10) Riga, Latvia

The St. Peters Church Tower is the best known option for a city view, and you can get there on your own. It is excellent for seeing Riga from above, which is a good way to say you have seen a lot of Riga, including the old town, the River Daugava and the Moscow District, very quickly.10 riga from above 1270701I suggest you have a view over Riga from the roof terraces of the Latvian National Museum of Art. It looks interesting I think. I had a feeling I am in the middle of a forest even it is just the Esplanade Park that creates this impression.10 riga from above 1070779Read more about Latvian National Museum of Art clicking this link.
What is your favourite urban view from above? Share in the comments section.

10cities from above

  • Published by Anita on July 01, 2017


Author: Anita Sāne


About the author
Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman from Latvia, 
traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on Instagram and Pinterest.

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#19 Alisha 2018-02-18 02:40
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#17 news 2017-12-29 12:54
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#16 Louie 2017-12-08 19:27
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#15 Rhiannon 2017-07-08 22:04
So many gorgeous views!! From your list I've only seen 2 with my own eyes, those being Prague and Riga. However, I'll be visiting New Zealand next year so hopefully will get to see Queenstown & Auckland too! One of my favourite ever "views from above" (and I'm not sure if this counts!) was when I stood on top of the hotel I was staying at in Jordan one night. In 3 different directions you could see the lights of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. It was amazing!
#14 Jen 2017-07-08 03:25
This is definitely a new way of travel photos. Me and my partner also travel with our drones and love to take photos from above
#13 Ricci 2017-07-07 23:50
What a difference it makes of a place seeing it from a few feet above the ground. It becomes more attractive. The Dubai cityscapes at night looks stunning.
#12 Bhushavali 2017-07-07 17:00
The sheep and city view at Auckland is just gorgeous!
OMG! Night view of Dubai is so stunning!!!
Cologne Germany is my fav out of your views!
#11 Zoya 2017-07-07 05:36
Wow, wow, wow! These pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I haven't been to any of these cities...yet. But they are totally on my list, especially Riga. I can't wait to explore the old town and admire the beautiful architecture of the Latvian National Museum of Art.
Claire Summers
#10 Claire Summers 2017-07-06 15:39
You really have a great eye for capturing a city from above. I especially love the ones of New Zeland. It's somewhere I dream of visiting one day.

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