Something draws us to get on top of the world. Whether it is a great city building or a towering mountain, there is an instinct telling us to climb it. We know the scene from the top will be amazing. Indeed, high up views are usually the most beautiful views. We crave this beauty, and many people dedicate their free time, and travel time, to reaching it. 

Feel on top of the world

There is a reason we use this saying to describe a feeling of elation. To be high up, close to the sky, is a great feeling. It inspires power and freedom. These are our reasons why we love climbing high for the most beautiful views. 

You earn the beauty with hard work

More often than not, a view from high up requires hard work. Whether it’s cathedral steps, a mountain path or climbing a cliff face, the way upwards is exhausting – and the view is all the more beautiful for it. True, sometimes you can drive. And cable cars usually offer lovely outlooks without the effort. However, there is something in the idea of earning a magnificent view. Especially if you have worked hard all day for the promise of a single beautiful sight at the end of the road.

Your appreciation grows the harder you work towards it. There seems to be a strong correlation between the effort you put in and the sublimity of a view. All that spent energy eventually gives back to you – when you are standing on tired legs at the peak of a mountain. Not only will you be on top of the world, but you will also feel on top of the world because you earned the moment and all its subsequent beauty. 

High up views give perspective

One great thing about views from high up places is the sense of perspective they invoke. In a literal way, being so high up helps you find your bearings. You can scan the land around you and notice main features – where the sea is, where a town is, where major landmarks are. If you are in the city you live in, you might see your house in the distance. Or if you are lost in nature, you can climb upwards to help find your way again.

Yet, the sense of perspective goes deeper than this. Seeing cars, people, and trees so small below you can help you appreciate how far you have traveled, and how hard you have worked. It also puts your own place in the scene in perspective. In a large city, you might realize how small each person is, including yourself, compared to the buildings towering over them. Or, in nature, you might compare the smallness of the trees the greatness of the mountains. The smallness of a boat to the vastness of the ocean. In any situation, a wider perspective puts everything into a context. There is probably something profound to be realized in this sense of perspective – but it’s also just cool to experience. 

You can see much more

Some people put our love of high up views down to innate, primitive instincts. They say that the broad perspective meant that we once felt more prepared and powerful because we were able to see enemies coming towards us in the distance.

Indeed, in paintings of the sublime, and those of symbolic, powerful figures, they are always high up, looking out over clouds and mountainous terrain. It simply is epic to stand on top of a mountain. It feels excellent to be able to see for miles in every direction. If anything, this feeling makes the climb worth it.

Especially in a city, a sense of having space can be valuable. When streets are small and tight, or wide but crowded with people, it can feel claustrophobic. Getting above the ground provides space and fresh air. You receive the light without the shadows of buildings and get a bird’s eye view of the land beneath you.

An adrenaline rush also comes from this emotional perspective. Being high up triggers another primitive instinct – survival. Not only is the view beautiful, but it is also exciting. The rare opportunity and different perception give you a rush. Plus, the steep drops and scary falls kick in your natural adrenaline. Not to mention – these impressive views make for some fab photo opportunities. Be sure to remember your camera. 

You can catch a sunset

Watching a sunset is a daily opportunity to embrace natural beauty. From high up, you get the best views of watching it fall into the horizon. You have a broad, open outlook, without buildings or trees getting in the way. It is the perfect way to end the day. Grab some beers, climb a hill and watching the evening sky light up, then dim down.

Many cities offer towers or access to buildings that take you to the top. Dubrovnik city walls and other old towns look down over the streets and sea of the area. The Eiffel Tower, Paris or The Shard in London are famous towers to climb. These opportunities give you a unique perspective – one you would never naturally find in an urban environment.

There are various settings in which to appreciate a beautiful moment. By the sea, in a forest, in the city buzz are all great locations. But simply getting high up is possibly one of the best. There is a universal pull to high places. Something about the enticing, vast perspective draws us in. So next time you are traveling, take every opportunity to climb somewhere high and allow yourself to feel on top of the world.


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