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On top of the world: 5 amazing places with a city view

When visiting any city, a great way to get your bearings is to take in the view from the top of a famous landmark. Whether it’s a skyscraper, a tower, a mountain or a big wheel, you’re sure to get a fine vista from the top. And if you can walk, climb, or take the stairs to the top, the view will feel that much sweeter a reward – as long as you have a head for heights, that is! So to inspire you to reach new heights we’ve selected our 5 favourite urban lookout spots.
Rio – Corcovado
Perched on the craggy Corcovado mountain stands the famous art deco statue of Christ the Redeemer with his arms outstretched as if to embrace the entire bay of Rio. Corcovado (meaning “hunchback”) soars 710 metres above the city of Rio de Janeiro. There’s a train (and minivan shuttle service) that will take you to the top, or you can hike it if you’re feeling adventurous. The trail begins in Parque Lage (be sure to sign in at the Guard House). It takes around 1.5 – 2 hours and if you’re lucky you should see monkeys, marmosets and plenty of birds on the way up. The view from the top is magnificent, you can see the entire city far below, perhaps you can spot your Golden Tulip hotel in Rio from here, as well Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.
Departs from Cosme Velho every 30 minutes, journey takes 20 minutes
Return train ticket price: R$46 for adults; R$23 for children
Tickets must be bought in advance:
Start: Rua Jardim Botânico 414 – Parque Lage (pass the mansion and take the path on the right, follow signs saying “Trilha”). Take cash for the entry to the Cristo Redentor statue area, and don’t forget to bring water and mosquito repellent.
Paris – Grande Roue
One of the best views in Paris can be enjoyed without queuing for the Eiffel Tower, and even better, the Eiffel Tower is a part of the view! The Grande Roue or Big Wheel is the largest temporary Ferris wheel in the world, and has travelled to Amsterdam, Anwerp and Bangkok. Now a semi-permanent fixture on the Place de la Concorde, not far from your hotel in the centre of Paris, the Grande Roue takes you on an elegant journey up over the rooftops of the city of light. From inside the pod as the wheel turns, you can enjoy a fabulous view by day or by night, when the city’s lights twinkle and the monuments are lit up.
Metro: Concorde
Open from 11 November 2016 to 17 May 2017
Opening hours:
From 10.30am to midnight during the week
From 10am to midnight on Sundays
From 10am to 1am on Fridays, Saturdays and during the school holidays
Tickets: Adults 12 € / Children under 10 6 €/ Seniors  10 €

Dubai – At.mosphere Lounge
How about lunch or dinner at the world’s highest restaurant? Located on the 123rd floor of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, At.mosphere allows you to enjoy a totally unparalleled view with your food. If you’re going at lunch time, be sure to get there before 1.30pm as that’s when the fountain display happens. By day you can see far out into the desert and over the ocean. Can you spot your hotel in Dubai? At night, the city is a mass of twinkling lights far below you: a mysterious and glamorous experience. The bar restaurant itself is slick and elegant, and the food is excellent.
At.mosphere Lounge opening hours:
Breakfast 7-11am
Lunch 12-3pm
Tea 12-4.30pm
Dinner 5pm-2am
Reserve online:
Access via Armani Hotel Dubai main entrance
Dress code: smart
No children under 10 
Seoul – Art Center Observatory
Although there are several tall buildings in Seoul offering a panoramic view of the city, there’s a place with a view that’s rather special, that’s just a metro ride from your hotel in Seoul. One of the largest parks in the area, Dream Forest is a huge expanse of green hillside, with a variety of plants, ponds and wooded areas. The recently built Observatory is an extraordinary looking building, and its light-filled wooden interior is very tranquil. The third floor may not sound very high up, but from your vantage point on this hillside you can observe the city, forest and even the mountains in the distance.
Dream Forest Art Center, Seoul, Gangbuk-gu, Wolgye-ro 173
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 10pm (last entry 9.30pm)
The observatory is behind the Art Center
Admission free of charge
Porto - Serra do Pilar
The sun-soaked, historic city of Porto is beautiful from all angles. But one of the nicest viewpoints, and a great place to start your exploration of the city, is at the Serra do Pilar Monastery, a short walk from your Golden Tulip hotel. From the huge terrace at the monastery you can take in the stunning view of the river Duoro spanned by the Luis I bridge and the minimalist São João bridge. You can also see the historic centre and the nearby cathedral from here.
Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Largo de Aviz - Santa Marinha, Vila Nova de Gaia, Norte, 4430-329
Opening hours
Tuesdays to Sundays. The Monastery is closed on: January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1st and December 25th.
November to March: 10am to 5.30pm
April to October: 10am to 18.30pm
Last admission 15 minutes before closing.
Price: € 1 or € 3 including a visit to the dome

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