The world's most exhilarating elevator rides

The world’s most exhilarating elevator rides

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We may never rocket through the ceiling and up into space with Charlie and his Great Glass Elevator, but there are some exhilarating elevator rides around the world that will give you a pretty good go at it. Here are our picks for the world’s most thrilling elevator journeys.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

Soaring high above Dubai is the world’s tallest building, which opened in 2010 and was inspired by a desert flower. The 57 high-speed elevators at the Burj Khalifa boast the world’s longest travel distance between the lowest and highest stops at more than 2,625 feet, and whisk visitors up to the viewing platform on the 124th floor at 33 feet per second. Up here, floor-to-ceiling glass walls make for fabulous ocean, city and desert views.


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Night view across Dubai from Burj Khalifa © elisasophia


CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

As the highest building in the Western hemisphere, you’d expect some serious fun at the top of Toronto’s CN Tower. High-speed glass elevators – some with glass floors – zoom visitors up the 1,148-foot structure in a mere 58 seconds.

Up here you’ll find an outdoor viewing platform and the SkyPod at 1,466 feet, but true daredevils should head for the hands-free Edge Walk on the tower’s exterior! Guests can also catch magnificent 360-degree views of Toronto from the tower’s revolving restaurant.


CN Tower, Toronto © Comstock, 2013. Used under license from


Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Upon its launch at the Exposition Universelle in 1889, the Eiffel Tower transported visitors to its upper floors in small cabin-style elevators. After an extensive series of renovations, two of the original 19th-century elevators are still in use today, and later machine additions from the 20th century trundle up and down the monument. In a single year, the elevators at the Eiffel Tower travel more than 64,000 miles.


Eiffel Tower, Paris © Jupiterimages, 2013. Used under license from


Empire State Building, New York, NY, United States

The 68 highly modernised elevators at the Empire State Building regenerate part of their own energy over 103 floors. Visitors can marvel at New York’s urban skyline from two soaring observatories.

The open-air terrace on the 86th floor provides binoculars and a promenade for those distinctive panoramic views of Manhattan, while the indoor gallery on the 102nd floor represents, for now, the highest public point in New York.


Empire State Building, New York © Ami’s


Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

At more than 1,640 feet, the subtly slanted Taipei 101 building dominates the city’s skyline. More than 60 elevators zip passengers up to the 91st-floor observation deck at Taipei 101 in 30 seconds; many of these are towering double-decker constructions that open on two floors simultaneously. There’s a restaurant on the 85th and 86th floors, almost 1,312 up.


Taipei 101, Taiwan © daymin


Hammetschwand Lift, Bürgenstock, Switzerland

Jutting out high above Lake Lucerne, the 20th-century Hammetschwand elevator in Switzerland connects to a spectacular mountain-walking path, and is Europe’s highest outdoor elevator.

Following a dizzying minute’s ascension over 499 feet, elevator doors open to stunning panoramic views across the lake and the Swiss Alps.


Hammetschwand Lift, Bürgenstock © Lucerne Tourism


(Main image: © 2013 Thinkstock)

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