Over a distance of 13.3 kilometres, the suspension railway runs through the Wupper Valley, of which a good ten kilometres of track run above the river. The full return journey takes around an hour, and covers 20 stations. Some of these suspension railway stations have retained their Art Nouveau architecture, being replaced in the course of the modernisation (since 1995) with new or identical stations, and in some cases atmospherically floodlit. Their architecture creates striking imagery in the city, particularly for keen photographers.
The most popular motifs include the view up the shop-lined Kaiserstraße at the Vohwinkel terminus, where the suspension railway runs right past dignified Gründerzeit buildings. The line continues over the confusing Sonnborn motorway junction, to the stadium by the zoo, where the train passes over Support 100, a masterpiece of engineering, to the direction of the river. It is well worthwhile getting out soon thereafter to visit Wuppertal Zoo. Its hilly location, the extensive lion enclosure, and the penguin enclosure with its underground glass tunnel are attractions unrivalled in Germany.
The plant premises of the global Bayer corporation, which was founded in Wuppertal and over the premises of which the train glides, impressively stand witness to the pioneering spirit of the Bergisches Land region. Past the Briller district, Germany's largest continuous quarter of listed villas, the train passes on to the centre of Elberfeld. During the day, this is a great place for shopping or for a visit to the Von der Heydt Museum, and in the evening for a concert at the Historic City Hall, or for bar-hopping through the Luisenviertel district. The suspension railway stations Ohligsmühle and Kluse impress visitors with their audacious, highly modern architecture, while the imposing Regional Court building (1854) is one of the oldest in Germany. High over these, to the north of the Wupper, there is the Hardt local recreation area with the Botanical Garden; to the south of the river there is the unique Waldfrieden sculpture park by the artist Tony Cragg.
The Historical Centre at the birthplace of the philosopher and social critic Friedrich Engels gives Wuppertal Germany's first Museum of Early Industrialisation – witness to the fact that this city was a motor of the Industrial Revolution. Right next to this, and opposite the place where the elephant Tuffi jumped out of the suspension railway train in 1950, are the Opera House and Barmen station. A little further off, the suspension railway stations Alter Markt and Werther Brücke rise as the gates of Barmen city centre, the coloured illuminations of which highlight audacious details of their architecture.
All around the eastern Oberbarmen suspension railway station, there once stretched the bleachfields (“Bleicherwiesen”). The banks of the Wupper on the street Rosenau still retain some of the character of these old fields, and are a popular spot for sunbathing. A little further up is Wichlinghausen station, located on the northern rail trail, which cuts right across the Wuppertal metropolitan area and is now used for leisure purposes by thousands in search of peace and quiet. The parkour park by the station is the biggest in Germany, attracting many enthusiasts for this sport to Wuppertal.