In Depth

20 Of The Most Amazing Stairs In The World

As designers, we create stairs to reach heights and cover distances. There are a lot of staircases that catch the eye of tourists. They are pieces of art and provide a different view of the world. Whether they are on the side of a rock – like the stairs of Columbia’s El Penol or through the water like Holland’s Moses Bridge, they are a marvel to experience. The Stepwells of North India and the steps to Machu Picchu play a functional and an aesthetic role. The structures are sometimes so beautifully sculpted and constructed that it takes our breath away.
Even those who have a fear of heights, cannot stop appreciating the beauty of these staircases. If you are not scared of heights and planning on visiting and climbing these stairs, remember to tie your shoelaces, and watch your step!

Most Amazing Stairs In The World:

1. Spanish Steps

PHOTO: Sborisov | Dreamstime.com

Where? Rome
One of Rome’s most recognizable attractions, the Spanish Steps was intended to be a gateway for the Trinità dei Monti church. With 135 steps, this elegant staircase was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII in 1725. It was named after the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican, which is located in the Piazza di Spagna since the 1600s. These steps are quite famous on screen as well, with numerous fashion shows and movies being shot on it.

2. Batu Caves

Beautiful-Staircases-Batu-Caves-Kuala-Lumpur-01 PHOTO: Liens | Dreamstime.com

Beautiful-Staircases-Batu-Caves-Kuala-Lumpur-02 PHOTO: Rechitansorin | Dreamstime.com

Where? Malaysia
These steps leading to the Hindu temple, was originally built with wood and later replaced with stone. The dazzling rainbow pallate of the steps make for amazing photographs.

3. Spiral Staircase Linzhou

PHOTO: Laozhang | Dreamstime.com

Where? China
Definitely not for the faint-hearted, The Spiral Staircase Linzhou,  is built next to the Taihang Mountains. With a height of 300 Ft, only people younger than 60 with healthy heart and lungs are allowed to climb up. This is an understandable restriction, as those who climb are battered by the wind as they go higher.

4. Lion Rock

PHOTO: Nazar1980 | Dreamstime.com

PHOTO: Dchulov | Dreamstime.com

Where? Sri Lanka
One of the must-do things in Sri Lanka is to climb the Lion Rock. 660 ft tall and 1500 years old, the ruins on top of the Lion Rock can only be accessed through the 1200 steps. Halfway up, two lion paws mark the final ascent. To be able to lay eyes on the ruins, the frescos and the breathtaking views, visitors need to survive the steep, slippery stairs, walkways and vertical staircase (which is enclosed in a wire cage).

5. Stepwells

PHOTO: Muslian | Dreamstime.com

PHOTO: Muslian | Dreamstime.com

PHOTO: Muslian | Dreamstime.com

Where? India
With a geometric pattern of 3,500 narrow steps, 13 storeys and 30 meters of depth, the stepwell in Chand Baori is the world’s largest step well. Built in the 9th or 10th Century by the Kind Chanda, it is a source of water, meditation, prayer and bathing. On three sides, stairs enclose the water, while the fourth side has a three storey pavilion.

6. Momo Staircase

PHOTO: Marcovarro | Dreamstime.com

PHOTO: Siaath | Dreamstime.com

Where? Vatican
The Simonetti Staircase (also called Snail Staircase or Momo staircase) is Vatican’s well known and most photographed set of stairs. Formed by two separate wrought iron stairs – one going down and the other going up, they twist together to form a double helix. This is designed to allow people descending to not meet the ones ascending. This ensures uninterrupted traffic in the Vatican museum.

7. Stairs Above the Sea

Via CNN

Where? Spain
A man-made stone staircase, connecting the Gaztelugatxe island to the mainland, this is a very famous staircase. With a chapel dating back to the 9th Century on top, there are around 230 odd stairs that the visitor has to climb to reach it. Along the way, there are several staircases leading to the water. Legend says the visitor has to ring the bell at the entrance of the chapel thrice to make a wish.

8. Monumental Steps of Bom Jesus do Monte

Photography: TasFoto | Dreamstime.com

Where? Portugal
A pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Braga, Bom Jesus do Monte, has an outdoor Baroque staircase climbing 381 feet. This dark granite with white plaster staircase is called the Sacred Way and leads to the sanctuary on top of the hill. The zig-zagging 577 steps are crossed on knees, as a tradition. Different fountains representing different senses along the stairs give the idea of purification to the pilgrims.

9. Umschreibung

PHOTO: Bill45/Shutterstock

Where? Germany
Inside an office building in Munich, this is a confusing set of stairs. As confusing as the name is to non-German speakers, this set of stairs leads to absolutely nowhere. Two interlocking spiral staircases make a continuous, double-helix loop. This Infinite Staircase is designed by Danish architect, Olafur Elaisson in 2004.

10. Baroque Spiral Staircase of Melk Abbey

Photography: Plotnikov | Dreamstime.com

Where? Austria
This spiral staircase has a Roccoco grate and leads from a small library room to other library rooms. The underside of the stone steps are painted in great detail.

11. Tulip Stairs

Beautiful-Staircases-Tulip-Stairs-London-02 PHOTO: FoapAB/Shutterstock

Beautiful-Staircases-Tulip-Stairs-London-01 PHOTO: Piccaya | Dreamstime.com

Where? UK
An original 17th Century feature, this staircase was the first geometric, self-supporting set of stairs in Britain. The wrought iron is painted with a bright shade of blue. The balustrades have patterns of fleur-de-lis, from which the stairs get their name.

12. Vertigo Staircase

PHOTO: Daniela Constantienscu

Where? Australia
Designed in 1898 by architect George McRae, dedicated to the British Monarch Queen Victoria, the building which houses this staircase is known for its elaborate Romanesque architecture.

13. Red Staircase at Livraria Lello

PHOTO: Mikeltrako | Dreamstime.com

PHOTO: Adamkurylo | Dreamstime.com

Where? Portugal
One of the oldest bookstores of Portugal, features this brilliant red staircase. When seen from above, it resembles two streams of water flowing into one. Additionally, it also features a stained-glass ceiling and carved wood shelves.

14. Rococo Staircase at Palazzo Biscari’s

PHOTO: Rabe! via Wikimedia Commons, [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Where? Italy
Located inside a privately owned villa, this rococo styled staircase is intricately ornamented.

15. 16th Avenue Tiles Steps

PHOTO: Burachet | Dreamstime.com

Where? California
The world’s largest mosaic stairs, this 16th Century staircase was a community project. 300 locals worked on the 163 steps contain 2,000 handmade tiles. The 75,000 tile, mirror, and stained glass fragments form a sea-to-stars themed mosaic.

16. Muralla Roja

Beautiful-Staircases-Muralla-Roja-Calpe-02 PHOTO: Nessa Gnatoush/Shutterstock

PHOTO: H368k742 | Dreamstime.com

Where? Spain
A complex of 50 apartments, zig-zag and create a labyrinth of stairs. Painted in shades of blues, and indigos, this looks like an impossible set of stairs.

17. Museum of Islamic Art

PHOTO: Pniesen | Dreamstime.com

Where? Qatar
In the centre of a soaring, 164 feet domed atrium, the spiral staircase has stairs carved on it’s soffit underside to create the illusion of an upside-down staircase.

18. Musical Piano Stairs on Wulin Plaza

PHOTO: WENN Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Where? China
While there are many piano inspired stairs in the world, this one makes appropriate musical notes. Installed to encourage people to use stairs instead of escalators, each step plays a different note.

19. Sprinkenhof Spiral Staircase

PHOTO: Sven Seiler/Flickr, [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] 2. vil.sandi/Flickr, [CC BY-ND 2.0]

Where? Germany
In the office, Sprinkenhof on Burchardstraße, visitors can find one of the most photographed stairs of the world. Built in the Expressionist style, this is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

20. Wurzburg Residence

PHOTO: Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung, Ulrich Pfeuffer, München

Where? Germany
One of Europe’s grand palaces, the Wurzburg Residence has a staircase with three flights and an ambulatory. When visitors turn, the world’s largest ceiling fresco (created from 1750 to 1753) by Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, comes to view.

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