The World’s Best and Most Affordable Observation Decks
At Omio, we strive to help our customers find affordable experiences and travel well, even on a budget. Therefore, we conducted a study to identify the world’s best observation decks that offer the best views for the best price.
We researched 70 of the world’s most popular observation decks and analysed their ticket prices to determine which building offers the most height per pound, arguably therefore the best value for money. The result is a carefully curated list of the best and most affordable views for budget-conscious travellers.
Study reveals where cost-savvy travellers get the best views for their money
The world’s best observation decks on a budget
Observation decks and rooftops are among the most popular tourist attractions in almost every city. The view into the distance gives travellers a better idea of the city they are visiting and an amazing impression of the surrounding landscape.
Skyscrapers, hotels, TV towers, and historical monuments with observation platforms, can be found in almost every major city in the world, allowing visitors to enjoy stunning panoramic views. The tourism industry has recognised travellers’ desire for lookout points, and in many cases, owners charge high fees for access to the top floors. However, the observation decks at the top of our ranking do not do so; they offer the best and most beautiful views on a budget.
Greatest observation decks in Europe
Six out of the top ten observation platforms where travellers get the most value for money are located in Europe. In addition to the Sapphire in Istanbul and the TV tower in Riga, the Avala TV tower in Belgrade (entrance fee: £2.31 for 205m), the St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral in Plzeň, Czech Republic (£1.29 for 103m), the Torre de Collserola in Barcelona (£4.97 for 288m), and the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw (£4.70 for 237m) are also convincing options.
The five best observation decks in the United Kingdom
The study also examined several observation decks in the UK, including London’s The Shard, the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, St. John’s Beacon TV tower in Liverpool, the Blackpool Tower, and the Brighton i360.
The observation deck of St. John’s Beacon in Liverpool offers the best value for money, with an entrance fee of around £7.50 for the 138m-high building that offers a stunning 360° view of the city.
The Brighton i360 observation tower offers the most expensive view, with visitors paying up to £18 to enter the mobile tower. With its unique technology, the tower is one of a kind in the world and takes people up to 138m.
London’s The Shard has the highest viewing deck in the UK at 310m, with a ticket costing travellers around £32 in total. The observation deck of the Blackpool Tower offers a similar price in value at £17 for 158m. The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth is also worth a visit, with a ticket costing £15 for 170m.
Greatest observation decks in the United States
The USA is known as the birthplace of skyscrapers. These tall buildings have long been regarded as symbols of prosperity and growth. It didn’t take long for savvy business people to realise that instead of renting out the upper floors and rooftops, they could attract tourists to further increase their revenue. Perhaps the most iconic skyscraper observation deck is at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
However, as this study shows, visiting a sky deck in the USA can be comparatively expensive. Visitors pay at least £20 for The Strat in Las Vegas to enjoy a view of the glittering metropolis.
The most expensive ticket is for the observation deck of the Empire State Building, costing about £65 per person in order to reach the 102nd floor of the building (optional: £35 for the 86th floor main deck). However, New York also offers plenty of alternative options. The One World Trade Center’s observation deck costs around £39, and the Top of the Rock observation deck costs about £36.
The best value for money, however, is located in Chicago. A visit to the Willis Tower’s top floor costs £25 for 442m.
Greatest observation decks in Asia
In the 21st century, record-breaking skyscrapers are rising in cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In most cases, exclusive observation decks and public rooftops are already part of the initial plans.
One of the world’s most iconic tall buildings is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Standing at 828 metres, it is the tallest building in the world. Its observation deck, located on the 124th and 125th floors, offers a panoramic view of the Emirate of Dubai and the Persian Gulf. Visitors can reach the deck via the lift in just 60 seconds for approximately £38.
In Asia, the N Seoul Tower in the trendy city of Seoul, South Korea, offers the best value for money. This skyscraper measures 370 metres, and admission costs around £10. Another good deal for travellers is the Skytree in Tokyo, which stands at a massive height of 634 metres. Its observation deck is located on the 350th floor, and the entrance fee is around £19.