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Höhe, Austria

Pyramidenkogel Observation Tower

This spire on an Austrian mountain is wrapped around a long spiral slide and has the world's tallest wooden observation deck. 

There is a mountain in Austria called Pyramidenkogel, reaching 2,700 feet above sea level. That’s not very tall compared to the Alps, only about a quarter the size. But add the world’s tallest wooden tower to the top, and now you’ve got yourself a view.

In German the mountain is called Pyramidenkogel, but in nearby Slovenia, a short ten miles to the south, the name is Jedvova. On top of the mountain is a wooden spire that tops out at 328 feet (about 32 stories), with a viewing platform at the crown, a tower restaurant, and a slick, spiral slide.

The current tower isn’t the original. In 1950 the first one was built, a rickety version that went up along with a commemorative cross honoring the fallen soldiers of both World Wars, and the anonymous and mysterious “Opfer des Berges”—Victims of the Mountain.

In 1968 a sturdier replacement went up, which was about half as tall as the current one. The design was a sort of mid-century modern Jetsons looking thing, and it served well for the next 40 years. When a contest was launched in 2008 for another new design, it came down in a dramatic implosion. It took a few years to sort out the funding for the new one, but finally, in 2013, it was finished.

Pyramidenkogel is near the resort village of Maria Wörth, along the southern banks of the Wörthersee (Lake Wörth). Reaching into the sky has been hugely popular through all three towers, but if you come to the summit now, use the new slide—at over 200 feet it’s Europe’s longest—to bring you back down to Earth. 

Know Before You Go

The tower is open 7 days a week, year round (check the website for seasonal hours). Snows can sometimes get in the way, so in winter it's a good idea to call ahead and check for weather closures (+43 (0) 4273/2443).

Admission is €11 for adults, €8 for students, €5.50 for kids 6-15, and under 6 are free. It's an extra €4 to ride the slide.