Cape Town, Hong Kong or Hungary: Phenomenal funiculars around the world

2019-04-22 14:30
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When you are out adventuring that all-spectacular view is the reward at the end of a good walk or hike.

But sometimes, nature just doesn't play along - and there will be areas that are too steep or too dangerous to get to on foot.

Ingenuity has seen us come up with all sorts of solutions to get where we are going - such as the funicular. 

Cape Town has its very own one at Cape Point - The Flying Dutchman Funicular, which sees more than 1.2m visitors annually. 

Named after the legendary Flying Dutchman Ghost Ship, the funicular runs through dense fynbos and gets visitors up to 214m above sea level, leaving just a short flight of steps for the best view over the South Western Corner of Africa.  

With its panoramic views on the way up, it offers up one of Southern Africa's most exceptional vantage points. A key appeal of this funicular is at that is also wheelchair-friendly giving the elderly and physically unfit an easy access vantage point.

Locals have no excuse for not visiting as South African National Parks (SANParks) confirmed more affordable rates for South African citizens, SADC citizens and foreigners with a SA residency permit last year. The rates are as follows.

Cape Point Entry Pricing: 

  • Standard Fee Adult R303 and Child R152
  • SADC fee Adult R152 and Child R76
  • Local Fee Adult R76 and Child R39 (this will constitute approximately 48% fee decrease for local visitors).

Cape Point  Funicular pricing: 

  • Children pay R30 for a return trip on the funicular,
  • Adults pay R70 

It's also worthwhile checking out Bordjiesrift, in the Cape Nature Reserve. Regarded as a secret beach, there are braai facility, complete with a beautiful tidal pool.  

READ MORE: Cape Town's hidden beaches 

Here are a few other admirable funicular systems, which offer not just convenience but amazing views as well:

The Peak Tramway - Hong Kong

Hong Kong is known for having loads of tourist hotspots but their most popular attraction has to be the Peak Tramway, which transports both locals and tourists to the upper regions of Hong Kong Island.

The Peak Tramway has a collection of unique must-see attractions, allowing visitors to experience a fun-filled experience of Hong Kong. It’s also one of the world’s oldest funiculars today.

Castle Hill Funicular - Hungary

Considered as one of the grandest cities in the world, Budapest is also known for having one of the world’s most popular funicular systems. The Buda Hill Funicular is a pleasant and a fairly cheap way to save your legs from a long hike.

Running up the side of the famous hill, it was originally used to assist workers to reach the Castle District above. Today it’s a popular tourist attraction, providing views through the heart of Budapest.

Old Quebec Funicular - Canada

Believe it or not, this vintage funicular first operated using a water system for its propulsion way back in 1879. Since then, upgrades to the system have made it into an electric-powered funicular, which moves up and down the hill.

The route of the funicular isn’t that long, but it rises high enough to capture some beautiful views over one of Canada’s most scenic cities.

The Gelmer Funicular - Switzerland

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind funicular experience, Switzerland would be your best bet. The Swiss are known for having an impressive collection of railways across the country. However, Gelmer Funicular is considered as one of the best in the world.

It’s the steepest in Europe, with a gradient so steep it's often compared to a roller coaster. Many commuters prefer taking a ride up for the adrenaline rush alone.