The Austrian Alps boast spectacular cable car journeys. These five spots – from high-altitude platforms to peaceful gardens – are some of the finest places these lifts can transport you
1. Panoramic platform in the Kitzbüheler Alpen
Located at the cross-point between Tyrol, Salzburg and Bavaria, Steinplatte in the Kitzbüheler Alpen
is an all-year-round hotbed for outdoor adventure. One of the most impressive additions to the area is the viewing platform, a walkway that protrudes out from a cliff-face and offers jaw-dropping views over the mountains. Hop on the Bergbahnen Waidring – Steinplatte cable car (open from June-October) to reach the plateau. View from Möseralm towards the top of the Steinplatte (kitzbueheler-alpen.com)
Sections of the podium are constructed with see-through metal mesh, so the bravest among us can look down below their feet to the abyss – it’s some 70 metres to the rocks below. If you’re a little too faint-hearted for that, stick to the cement parts of the platform and the panoramic alpine views straight ahead.
2. Adventure playgrounds and alpine views in Alpbachtal
The Wiedersbergerhornbahn Alpbach
lift in the stunning region of Alpbachtal
takes you up a whopping 1,850m into the mountains. Verdant green pastures sprawl across the scenery at the top, creating a prime spot for summer hiking in the region. Alpbachtal
This cable car is a big hit with children, as you'll find an adventure playground – Lauserland – next to the top station. The playground is full things for them to clamber on and tunnel through, enough to keep them entertained for hours. A kids’ programme filled with craft activities and fun games is held here from Monday to Thursday each week. Travelling with a tiny tot? Baby carriers can be rented here for free (with a small refundable security deposit) – ideal if you’re going off on a hike.
3. A journey through the sky in Wildschönau
Not for the faint-hearted, the Schatzberg cable car in Wildschönau
hangs around 900m off the ground, gliding over the alpine pastures below. Although the thought might make your heart leap up into your throat, braving this ride through the heavens is well worth it for the unparalleled views across the Alps. That’s not to mention all the hikes you’ll find over the mountains at the top, too. Schatzberg cable car (wildschoenau.com)
Reaching a top speed of just 5mph this cable car makes for a relaxing voyage, with ample opportunity to absorb the scenery – and you can use it for free with a Wildschönau Summer Card
. For a long time, this was Austria’s longest single-cable ropeway, so you’ll be travelling on a piece of history.
4. Summit Mount Valluga in St. Anton am Arlberg
Two cable cars ferry visitors up Mount Valluga, aptly named Vallugabahn I and Vallugabahn II
. The first cable car takes you up most of the journey, ascending 2,650m and hanging nearly 190m over the ground below. If you’re not fond of heights, give yourself a pat on the back and settle your nerves with a stiff drink at the Valluga View Restaurant at the end of this first leg. This is the highest restaurant in the entire region, with sweeping vistas to match. Vallugabahn II viewpoint (skiarlberg.at)
Vallugabahn II leaves from beside the restaurant and takes you up to the summit of Mount Valluga. Unique views can be found at the top; from here you can make out not only Austria’s soaring peaks
, but parts of Germany, Italy, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland.
5. Mountaintop garden strolls in Kitzbühel
From May to October each year, a flowering garden
can be found in the lofty heights of Kitzbühel in Tirol
. A scene not often associated with the tops of mountains, this Alpine Flower Garden (also known as ‘Alpenblumengarten’) adds a splash of colour to the otherwise rocky surroundings and can be reached via the Kitzbüheler Horn cable car. View from Kitzbuheler Alpen (Shutterstock)
Bright, vivid flowers spring up from the earth, a pleasant foreground against the mountains in the distance. From this garden, you can take in views across the surrounding highlands, most notably Großglockner, Austria’s tallest mountain. Admission to the garden is free, and you can pick up brochures of information at the cable car stations. Complimentary guided tours run daily in July and August. Main image: Steinplatte viewing platform (kitzbueheler-alpen.com)