There are many types of observation decks. Many observation decks are found in major cities as telecommunications towers. However, many others are natural lookout points which people have made into attractions by building platforms and monuments. A combination of skyscrapers and human-enhanced lookouts offers panoramic views of Europe’s most beautiful natural landscapes and major cities. These 10 observation decks offer a unique perspective on Europe’s landscapes.
Avala Tower, Serbia
It has a fascinating history. It was built as a telecommunications tower on Avala Mountain in the 1960s. The NATO bombing destroyed the tower during the 1990s Balkan War. Serbia decided to rebuild the tower in 2006, and it was officially opened in 2010. The tower is the tallest building in the Balkan peninsula. The tower is still used as a telecommunications tower but has an observation deck. The tower’s antenna spire is 205m high. It has 38 floors, making it shorter than other towers in Europe. It still offers breathtaking views of Belgrade and surrounding areas. It is unique in its construction: instead of being sunk directly into the ground, it has a triangular cross-section and stands on three legs above the ground.
Jubilaum Swarte Tower, Austria
Just outside Vienna, you will find the Jubilaum Swarte. The tower is on top of Gallon Tzinberg (a hill in the forest west of Vienna) and rises 31m. Its total elevation is 483 meters above sea level. The observation deck is reached by climbing 183 steps to the spiralling staircase. From there, visitors can see over 60 km on clear days. The original tower was built in 1889 in honour of Emperor Franz Joseph’s Golden Jubilee. However, the wooden structure was destroyed by a storm. A second tower was built, but it was destroyed by the storm and demolished in 1953. A small museum devoted to local ecology is located nearby. The structure’s last renovation was in the 1980s. The tower is open to the public for free during the winter months, but it is not accessible.
Tour Montparnasse, Paris
You can see 40 km in all directions from the Tour Montparnasse, central Paris’s highest floor. Orly airport can also be seen from the top. This tower is an office building that was constructed in the 1970s. It was condemned for its odd appearance in Paris, and soon afterwards, buildings higher than 7 stories were banned in Paris’s central area. At 59 stories high and 210 meters tall, the skyscraper was the highest in France. The 56th floor houses a restaurant called le Ciel de Paris. The tower’s view is considered the best in Paris, although you cannot see the building. It has been called the second-ugliest building on the planet.
Fernsehturm, a tower for television that towers 368m above central Berlin, is located in Berlin. It is the highest structure in Germany and has been a symbol for Berlin. It is the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe after two TV towers in Russia and one in Riga. It is located above the visitor deck. In just 40 seconds, two elevators take guests to the visitor platform at 666 feet above the ground. Telecare is a rotating restaurant that rotates every half an hour. On a clear day, visibility is approximately 42 km in any direction. The tower has received around one million visitors annually since its construction in 1969.
Torre Jaume I, Spain
Torre Jaume I is part of the Port Vell Aerial Tramway. Although it may not be the tallest tower, that doesn’t make it less valuable. The tower stands at 107m (351 feet), is an aerial pylon lift constructed of steel truss. Carles Buigas built it in 1931. The tower offers stunning views of the sea and panoramic views of Montjuic. You can ride the cable car from Torre Sant Sebastia on Montjuic to reach the tower’s observation platform. The trip takes approximately seven minutes and gives you a bird’s-eye view of most of Barcelona’s famous landmarks. Torre Jaume I is also a tower for telecommunications.
Ostankino Tower, Russia
Ostankino Tower, Moscow, was built during Soviet rule in the 1960s. It isn’t a striking sight. It held the world record in height for the highest freestanding building between 1967 and 1974. Today, it is the tallest structure freestanding in Europe. The tower has an observation deck with indoor and outdoor platforms that offer 360-degree views over Moscow’s Ostankino area. Seventh Heaven is located there at 368 feet above the ground. However, it has been closed periodically following multiple incidents, the worst being a fire in 2000. The tower survived, but the Russian government ensured it remained intact. Visitors can travel six miles per hour up the observation deck via elevators. BASE jumpers love the tower.
Istanbul Sapphire, Turkey
This skyscraper was completed in 2011. It is Turkey’s tallest structure and was once ranked fourth in Europe. However, subsequent constructions have made it 7th. It rises to 261 meters, including the antenna, a design feature and not a telecommunications device. The building has 54 floors above ground and an open roof that offers a 360-degree view of the Levent district. It is conveniently located on Buyukdere Avenue near major highways and a subway station, making it easy to reach. Because it is centrally located, you can see much of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. The tower is also visible from other city areas, including Khedive Palace across the strait. It has been a prominent feature of Istanbul’s skyline since its completion.
The Shard, UK
The Shard, also known as Shard of Glass or Shard London Bridge Tower, is currently the EU’s highest building at just shy of 310m. The 72nd floor has an open-air observation deck. It was completed in 2012. The elevators travel at 6 m/s and have multimedia interfaces that create the illusion of the sky receding and London’s streets coming into focus as you descend. During ascent, the iconic London buildings rising in the air create the illusion. Interactive information is available about landmarks in London and the surrounding areas. The soundtrack of the London Symphony Orchestra provides background music. The observation deck offers spectacular views of London and allows visitors to see as far as 40 km away. Tickets can be booked in advance.
Tyrol Overlook in Austria
This sculptural view is located at the summit of Mount Isidor, Austria. Aste Architecture designed it. It is officially called the “Top of Tyrol” and blends seamlessly with its surroundings, almost invisible in winter. The Tyrol Outlook, which is located 10,500 feet above the ground, gives you access to an observation spot that most people wouldn’t be able to reach. The platform cantilevers 27ft over the mountain’s side, offering a stunning (if somewhat dizzying) view. The platform offers a clear view of the Stubai Glacier, the Zillertal Alps, and the Dolomites. The unique location of the platform on the glacier makes it a potential monitoring station for glacial retreat rates in the summer months. The Top of Tyrol provides an unforgettable experience of the Austrian Alps in any season. It is, however, a little scary.
Aurland Lookout Norway
This lookout is nearly 2,000 feet high above the scenic Aurland valleys and fjords. The Norwegian Highway Department built it. It was designed by Todd Saunders, Tommie Wilhelmsen and is part of a series of national tourist routes managed by the Norwegian government. Aurland is located 200 km inland from Norway’s West Coast. It is made up primarily of deep fjords and soaring mountains and rolling valleys. Stegastein, a lookout that overlooks the valley floor and fjords, is accessible from the top of a cliff. Visitors can plunge from the wooden platform measuring 14 by 110 feet. However, a piece of glass keeps them from falling. The architects claim that the effect gives the illusion of “falling into” the landscape. Some have even called it the “ski jump” and “diving board.”