13 Breathtaking Places Guaranteed To Make Your Stomach Drop
Non-daredevils can just enjoy the scenery from the ground.
1. Half Dome; Yosemite National Park, United States
Almost 5,000 feet above the valley of Yosemite National Park, Half Dome is one of the most picturesque, and one of the most dangerous, sites in the entire park. The last few hundred feet of the hike up to the top are accomplished with the help of two cables — and no other rock climbing equipment. As the official government page for Half Dome notes, "Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables." Relatively few.
2. Mount Hua (Hua Shan); Huayin, China
Mount Hua is one of the most sacred mountains in China, but if you want to scale its infamous South Peak, you'll have to traverse narrow plank bridges with barely anything to keep you from falling off the side. If you make it to the top, you'll find a temple and teahouse. Even if you can't make it the whole way, there are some pretty amazing views along the journey.
3. Yungas Road; from La Paz to Coroico, Bolivia
Carved into the side of mountains connecting Bolivia's capital of La Paz to the town of Coroico, Yungas Road is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world, with drops of 1,000 feet and sections that are only ten feet wide. Because of the 300 or so deaths that occur on it each year, the road is colloquially known as "Death Road".
4. Trolltunga; Skjeggedal, Norway
Almost 2,300 feet above the surface of Lake Ringedalsvatnet, Trolltunga, meaning Troll's Tongue, is a cliff jutting out precipitously and providing scenic views of the surrounding area. Getting there takes time, though — a hike to reach Trolltunga can take anywhere from four to five hours, and you've still got to get down afterward.
5. Devil's Pool, Victoria Falls; Livingstone, Zambia
Right on the lip of Victoria Falls, located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, you can find the Devil's Pool. During the drier months, the change in water flow of the Zambezi River makes this small rock pool accessible to travelers with enough guts to sit right alongside the rushing water of the falls. But be careful not to fall — it's over 300 feet to the bottom.
6. Dinner in the Sky; Multiple locations (pictured: Beirut, Lebanon)
Originally based in Belgium, Dinner in the Sky is a dining experience that has spread to numerous countries throughout the world, from Brazil to the United States. The dining table, lifted almost 200 feet into the air, seats 22 guests and accommodates the chefs and cooking stations needed to make final food preparations. And if you need to use the bathroom while suspended up in the air? The table can be lowered for emergencies. Try to go beforehand, though.
7. Swing at the End of the World; Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador
The treehouse from which the Swing at the End of the World sits is actually a seismic monitoring station for the nearby Mount Tungurahua. The swing takes you out over the edge of the land on which the treehouse sits, with no safety gear in place to keep you from falling off. Basically, it's like your favorite playground activity got 1000% more dangerous — and more beautiful.
8. Caminito del Rey; Álora, Spain
Built in the early 20th century as a path for workers at nearby hydroelectric plants, the Caminito del Rey has been closed in recent years because of the dilapidated state of the metal and wood used to create the trail. The government is working to fix the trail and allow it to reopen to the public, although some daredevils have been traversing the trail illegally during its closure. The gorge has seen its share of deaths, though, so take caution.
9. Trift Bridge; Innertkirchen, Switzerland
This suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps spans a distance of over 550 feet, with a more than 300-foot drop to the waters of the river below. The bridge was fixed up in 2009 to make sure it didn't swing so violently in windy conditions. Sounds fun.
10. Capilano Suspension Bridge; District of North Vancouver, Canada
This Canadian wonder was first opened in 1889, but don't worry — it's been updated since then. That's not to say that it doesn't provide its fair share of thrills. The bridge is known to be relatively wobbly, although the views of the tall evergreens and rushing river below are probably worth it. They also recently opened a Cliffwalk nearby, a set of walkways protruding out from the cliff faces, if the bridge isn't enough thrill for you.
11. CN Tower; Toronto, Canada
12. Kjeragbolten; Forsand, Norway
Many people have come to the Kjerag Mountain for its natural beauty over the years, but more recently, adventurers have been climbing to visit the Kjeragbolten, a small boulder wedged between two other sections of rock. It's become especially popular amongst BASE jumpers.
13. Via Ferrata; multiple locations (pictured: Italian Dolomites)
A via ferrata isn't a place so much as a concept; via ferrata means "iron path", and via ferratas can be found all around the world. The via ferratas in the Dolomites were built during World War II as a way for soldiers to navigate the Italian mountain range. The via ferrata is full of cables, ladders, and bridges that will test the nerve of even the bravest daredevils.