For double decker buses, London is famous. Among double decker airplanes, Airbus has the superlative model. For a double decker sandwich there’s no place like the Blue Ash Chili Diner in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. And for a double decker cable car ride — for that you’ll have to head to Switzerland.
It is there, near the city of Lucerne, that you’ll find The Cabrio†, the world’s best double decker aerial tramway.
To be clear, the Cabrio is not the world’s only aerial tram with double deck cabins. There are two others: the Vanoise Express that traverses the Ponturin gorge in France and the Shinhotaka Ropeway that climbs Mount Hotaka in Japan. But both have enclosed upper floors. And neither offers views as amazing, and in such short a period of time, as what travelers can glimpse from The Cabrio.
Six-and-a-half minutes after hopping on the Cabrio aerial tramway, riders are at the top of Stanserhorn Mountain at a height of 1,850 meters (6,070 ft) above sea level!
Along the way, up to 30 passengers per cable car can stand in the open air on the top deck. Guard rails help provide some sense of safety and give a little protection from the wind that can really whip around the sides of the Stanserhorn. Nevertheless, being on the upper deck still leaves you feeling very exposed. Think of the difference between riding in a convertible versus a regular car.
Not that being on the lower deck significantly lessens the sense of vertigo. That’s because walls are entirely glass. It is hard not to look down at least once.
If that doesn’t appeal, you can also get up (or down) Stanserhorn by hiking or by way of a special mountain railway. At the top you’ll find a revolving restaurant, shops and viewing platforms.
Though the view from it all is rather spectacular, it is not, in our opinion, the best from a cable car in the Alps. For that you’ll have to cross the border into France and to Aiguilles de Chamonix high in the the Mont Blanc massif.
† Some marketing executive at the company that runs the Cabrio, too clever for his/her own good, decided the O at the end of the name should be capitalized. As in “CabriO.” We could not bring ourselves to use the official capitalization in this review.
Europe’s Unusual Chain of Igloo Hotels
The Best Chocolate Spas ← one’s in Switzerland
Cool Architecture: The Matterhorn’s Boutique Hiking Hut
Planning your trip
If you go: On a full cable car, half of the passengers are upstairs, half are downstairs. Most want to be on top. If you do too, position yourself so you are in the first half of a cable car grouping and scurry upstairs to claim your viewing spot.
How much? CHF 68 for a return ticket, at the time of writing. Children, students and Swiss Pass holders are half price.
Family friendly? Absolutely!
For your bookshelf: Trekking in the Alps
Elsewhere on the web: