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17 sensational observation towers that aren't in Paris

By: Matt Hickman on Aug. 5, 2016, 10:39 a.m.
Pyramidenkogel Tower

Photo: Die Grünen Kärnten/flickr

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Pyramidenkogel Tower

In a landlocked country renowned for observation towers that highlight stunning alpine beauty instead of urban skylines, it's hard to pick just one standout example.

Most would select the Donauturm, Vienna's iconic mid-century radio tower with a pair of revolving restaurants, loads of tourists and a big pointy antenna up top. It's a great choice, sure, but the namesake observation tower of Pyramidenkogel, a mountain in the Slovenia-bordering state of Carinthia that sounds like either a molded noodle pudding or a German exercise fad, is far more interesting. Erected to replace a space-age-y concrete TV/observation tower built in the late-1960s, the new Pyramidenkogel Tower was completed in 2013. At 328 feet, it claims to be the tallest wooden observation tower in the world.

Height accomplishments aside, the helix-shaped tower is both a gorgeous work of architecture and brilliant example of structural engineering where visitors will find a top-notch restaurant, a trio of indoor/outdoor observation decks and, brace yourself, Europe's longest covered slide — yes, slide — which, with a total length of 393 feet, wraps around the tower's central core. Sliders can reach a top speed of 15 miles per hour so it's best to wear sensible pants and bring along a tube of your preferred ointment.