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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

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1 South Africa Johannesburg Top of Africa 223 m £1.38 £0.01 1974 Skyscraper
2 Turkey Istanbul Istanbul Sapphire 261 m £2.22 £0.01 2010 Skyscraper
3 Brazil Curitiba Torre Panorâmica 10 m £0.94 £0.01 1991 TV tower
4 Latvia Riga Riga TV tower 368 m £3.28 £0.01 1987 TV tower
5 Egypt Cairo Cairo Tower 187 m £1.77 £0.01 1961 TV tower
6 Serbia Belgrade TV tower Avala 205 m £2.31 £0.01 2010 TV tower
7 Czech Republic Pilzen Cathedral of St. Bartholomew 103 m £1.29 £0.01 1295 Cathedral
8 Brazil Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer 700 m £11.90 £0.02 1931 Monument
9 Spain Barcelona Torre de Collserola 288 m £4.97 £0.02 1992 TV tower
10 Poland Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science 237 m £4.70 £0.02 1955 Skyscraper
11 South Korea Seoul N Seoul Tower 370 m £10.30 £0.03 1975 TV tower
12 Germany Cologne Cologne Cathedral 157 m £4.44 £0.03 1880 Cathedral
13 Japan Tokyo Skytree 634 m £19.25 £0.03 2012 TV tower
14 Japan Osaka Abeno Harukas 300 m £9.32 £0.03 2014 Skyscraper
15 South Korea Seoul Lotte World Tower 500 m £15.68 £0.03 2017 Skyscraper
16 Spain Madrid Faro de Moncloa 110 m £3.55 £0.03 1992 TV tower
17 Austria Vienna DC Tower 1 250 m £8.43 £0.03 2013 Skyscraper
18 Hong Kong Hong Kong Sky 100 484 m £18.84 £0.04 2010 Skyscraper
19 Germany Munich Olympic tower 291 m £11.53 £0.04 1968 TV tower
20 Germany Frankfurt Main Tower 200 m £7.98 £0,04 1999 Skyscraper
21 China Shenzhen Ping An Free Sky 599 m £23.96 £0.04 2017 Skyscraper
22 South Korea Busan BUSAN X the SKY 412 m £17.39 £0.04 2019 Skyscraper
23 Chile Santiago Gran Torre Costanera 300 m £12.69 £0.04 2014 Skyscraper
24 Estonia Talinn Tallinn TV tower 312 m £13.31 £0.04 1980 TV tower
25 Germany Stuttgart Stuttgart TV tower 217 m £9.32 £0.04 1969 TV tower
26 Italy Bologna Two towers 97 m £4.44 £0.05 1100 Monument
27 Australia Sydney Sydney Tower Eye 309 m £14.12 £0.05 1981 TV tower
28 UAE Dubai Burj Khalifa 828 m £38.04 £0.05 2010 Skyscraper
29 Italy Turino Mole Antonelliana 168 m £7.98 £0.05 1889 Monument
30 Italy Milan Torre Branca 109 m £5.32 £0.05 1933 Monument
31 Saudi Arabia Riyadh Kingdom Centre 302 m £15.18 £0.05 2002 Skyscraper
32 China Shanghai Shanghai Tower 632 m £33.05 £0.05 2015 Skyscraper
33 Czech Republic Prague Prague TV tower 216 m £11.53 £0.05 1992 TV tower
34 Australia Melbourne Eureka Skydeck 297 m £15.95 £0.05 2006 Skyscraper
35 United Kingdom Liverpool St. John's Beacon 138 m £7.53 £0.06 1965 TV tower
36 Australia Gold Coast Q1 SkyPoint 323 m £17.65 £0.06 2005 Skyscraper
37 Saudi Arabia Mecca Royal Clock Tower Hotel 601 m £33.00 £0.06 2011 Skyscraper
38 USA Chicago Willis Tower 442 m £24.79 £0.06 1974 Skyscraper
39 New Zealand Auckland Sky Tower 328 m £18.42 £0.06 1997 TV tower
40 USA Las Vegas The Strat 350 m £19.83 £0.06 1996 TV tower
41 Canada Toronto CN Tower 553 m £32.91 £0.06 1976 TV tower
42 Thailand Bangkok Mahanakhon Skywalk 320 m £19.31 £0.06 2016 Skyscraper
43 Czech Republic Prague St. Vitus Cathedral 97 m £5.88 £0.06 1344 Cathedral
44 Austria Vienna Donauturm 252 m £15.97 £0.06 1964 TV tower
45 Germany Berlin Berlin TV tower 368 m £24.40 £0.07 1969 TV tower
46 China Beijing China World Trade Center 330 m £22.71 £0.07 2010 Skyscraper
47 VAE Abu Dhabi Etihad Tower 305 m £21.38 £0.07 2011 Skyscraper
48 USA New York City One World Trade Center 546 m £39.04 £0.07 2014 Skyscraper
49 Netherlands The Haag Het Strijkijzer 93 m £6.65 £0.07 2017 Skyscraper
50 USA Chicago 875 North Michigan Avenue 457 m £33.35 £0.07 1969 Skyscraper
51 Singapore Singapore 1-Altitude Viewing Gallery 278 m £21.03 £0.08 1986 Skyscraper
52 France Paris Eiffeltower 324 m £25.11 £0.08 1889 Monument
53 Netherlands Rotterdam Euromast 185 m £14.67 £0.08 1960 TV tower
54 France Paris Tour Montparnasse 210 m £16.86 £0.08 1973 Skyscraper
55 Sweden Malmö Turning Torso 191 m £15.49 £0.08 2005 Skyscraper
56 United Kingdom Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower 170 m £14.81 £0.09 2005 Monument
57 Netherlands Utrecht Domtoren 112 m £11.12 £0.10 1382 Cathedral
58 United Kingdom London The Shard 310 m £32.13 £0.10 2013 Skyscraper
59 Sweden Stockholm City Hall Tower 106 m £11.10 £0.11 1923 Monument
60 United Kingdom Blackpool Blackpool Tower 158 m £16.57 £0.11 1894 Monument
61 France Paris Grande Arche 111 m £13.31 £0.12 1989 Monument
62 Netherlands Amsterdam A'dam Lookout 100 m £12.86 £0.13 1971 Skyscraper
63 United Kingdom Brighton Brighton i360 138 m £18.02 £0.13 2016 Monument
64 Spain Barcelona Torre Jaume I 107 m £14.64 £0.14 1931 Monument
65 USA New York City Top of the Rock 259 m £35.98 £0.14 1933 Skyscraper
66 USA New York City Empire State Building 443 m £65.27 £0.15 1931 Skyscraper
67 Italy Milan Milan Cathedral 108 m £17.74 £0.16 1386 Cathedral
68 USA Seattle The Needle 184 m £31.05 £0.17 1961 TV tower
69 USA New York City Statue of Liberty 93 m £20.08 £0.22 1886 Monument
70 Italy Pisa Leaning Tower of Pisa 57 m £23.51 £0.41 1173 Monument
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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.

Top of Africa
Top of Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa
The “Top of Africa” is an enclosed space on the top floor of the 223-metre, 50-story Carlton Centre skyscraper that allows tourists to enjoy an exciting panoramic view of Johannesburg in South Africa. With an entrance fee of just £1.38, the observation platform offers a view as far as Soweto and beats all other surveyed observation decks in the price-per-metre category (at 0.01 pounds per metre).
Istanbul Sapphire
Istanbul Sapphire in Istanbul, Turkey
The observation deck of the Sapphire skyscraper arguably offers the best view of the Turkish metropolis on the Bosphorus Strait. With a ticket price of around £2.22, visiting the 261-metre tall skyscraper won’t put much of a dent in your holiday budget. Located on the European side of the city, the Sapphire of Istanbul skyscraper opened in 2011 and is the only observation deck that provides a view over two continents.
Torre Panoramica
Torre Panorâmica in Curitiba, Brazil
Visitors can ascend many television towers around the world as operators respond to the human fascination with height and the expansive view over cities and landscapes. The most affordable television tower in our research is the Torre Panorâmica in the Brazilian city of Curitiba. The 110-metre-high panoramic tower, as the name translates, provides a 360-degree view of Paraná’s landscape. A lift ride to the top costs about £0.94 per person.
TV tower in Riga
The Riga Radio and TV Tower in Riga, Latvia
The European TV tower that offers the best value for money is the Riga TV tower in Latvia. The entrance fee to the highest freestanding structure in the European Union is around £3.28. From the observation deck located at 368 metres, visitors to the Riga TV tower can enjoy a unique view over the Baltic Sea. The cost-effectiveness of this experience becomes even more evident when compared to the platform fee at St. John’s Beacon in Liverpool. A ticket for the UK’s most popular TV tower costs £7.53 but only offers a view from 138 metres.
Cairo Tower in Kairo
Cairo Tower in Cairo, Egypt
A visit to the Cairo Tower in Cairo, Egypt, allows visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the impressive Nile Delta without breaking the bank. The entrance fee is just £1.77 for 187m. Unlike most TV towers, the Cairo Tower is a solid construction tower, which also impresses with its floral appearance, reminiscent of lotus flowers. The tower easily catches the eye of tourists, and it’s even better that you can go up for a low price.

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.

Travel to Portsmouth
Travel to Liverpool
Travel to Brighton

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.