Worlds Most Amazing Lookout Points

Categories: Homes / Dwellings

These days, amazing views are just a Google search away. Vacation photos from colleagues and friends fill our inbox, and both amateur snapshots and professional photography have saturated the web. Yet seeing a stunning landscape in the flesh is more than just a pretty picture—it stirs something within. Perhaps it’s a combination of the senses: the slow progression of a copper dawn spilling onto the Urubamba Valley in Peru, the sound of fluttering prayer flags in Bhutan’s Black Mountains, or the smell of roasting chicken in Paris’s 18th Arrondissement. These elements are part of the lasting effects of an experience that can’t be captured on film.

Of course, a quintessential viewing moment can be ruined—perhaps by bad weather or a crush of tourists. That’s why for each amazing view, we’ve given you the best time to go, weather-wise, as well as a secret viewing spot to help you avoid the foot traffic when you’re there.

Remember to stop for a moment, put down that camera, and take it all in. “Nothing ever looks as good through a lens as it does in person,” “So when you’re in front of the real thing, look at it with your own eyes.”

SOME OF THE world’s most stunning landscapes come with stunning lookout points, to boot. Consider Norway. The country is so devoted to its scenic fjords, lakes, and mountains, that it invested $377-million toward building beautiful architectural overlooks from which to observe all that natural beauty. Not every country is that committed, but there are still many observation posts the world over that complement, rather than contradict, their surrounding landscapes. Listed here are ten lookouts of note.

Snohetta, Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion

A mile-long path leads visitors to the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, which is nestled into the landscape at the edge of Dovrefjell National Park. Ship builders crafted the undulating pine interior, which is meant to evoke the surrounding Dovre Mountains and gives the space a cabin-like feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows lets visitors observe Europe’s last wild herds of reindeer as they amble past.

Zaha Hadid, Messner Mountain Museum

Famed mountaineer Reinhold Messner has spent the last decade of his life building a network of museums dedicated to his favorite landscape. His final museum, situated on the summit of Mount Kronplatz in northern Italy, is the work of late architect Zaha Hadid. The multi-level concrete structure is built into the side of the mountain and acts like a tunnel, allowing visitors to walk through the landscape itself. At 7,464 feet above sea level, the museum is accessible only by cable car, but the trek is worth it—an observation deck looks out onto the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites, as well as the Zillertal and Ortler mountain ranges.

Haim Dotan, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Bridge

The world’s longest glass bridge was an exercise in compromise. Its architect, Haim Dotan, agreed to build the 1,200-foot bridge only if it could disappear into the landscape of the surrounding Zhangjiajie National Forest. The resulting structure hangs from white cables that stretch from the cliffs to the center of the span and blend into the clouds. The walkway, made from glass panels, allows visitors to peer 1,300-feet down into the canyon below.

HHF, Ruta del Perregrino

The Ruta del Peregrino stretches nearly 73 miles across the Mexican landscape. Every year, more than 2 million people walk along the path during holy week on their way fromAmeca to Talpa de Allende. This spiraling pavilion from Swiss architecture studio HHF, was built to be a permanent lookout point for people during their pilgrimage. Built almost entirely from concrete (save for the metal handrails and a prayer room made from brick), the spiral staircase affords visitors a vantage point from which to observe the countryside, and, beneath it, a shady place to rest.

Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Seljord Watch Tower

The Seljord watch tower extends 36 feet into the air like a giant periscope overlooking Norway’s Seljord lake. The timber structure has a winding staircase that leads people up to three separate lookout points that afford views of the surrounding lake. If you’re lucky you might spot Selma, the serpent fabled to live in its waters.

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