Going up, going down – whichever way you choose to travel, these staircases will either wow you or do your legs in! (Or both).
Most Dizzying: Vatican Museums Staircase, Rome
If there’s one thing Italian artists know how to do, it’s impress. This ornate, dizzying spiral staircase can be found in the Vatican Museums and was designed in 1932. It’s a double helix, meaning that you can go down on one staircase, and up on the other!
Most Impressively Ancient: Chand Baori, Rajasthan
Indian stepwells were common structures in medieval times and this one in the village of Abhaneri is hard to pass up. Famed for its geometric stairway patterning, Chand Baori was built in the 8th and 9th Centuries and is 13 stories deep!
Most Death-Inviting: Mount Huashan, Shaanxi Province
If you have a death-by-staircase wish, your dreams have come true! The Chinese built this crazy staircase, along with insane trails and wooden pathways, right on the cliffs of Mount Huashan so that they could get to the peak of the mountain. Today, the trial is a popular yet terrifying tourist hike. We dare you!
Most Spiral-ish: Garvan Institute Staircase, Sydney
Some say it looks like a giant slinky, while others have thought it to be a huge streamer. In truth, this amazing helical staircase is actually inspired by the structure of DNA. How fitting, given its location! It was designed by Aussie architect Ken Woolley.
Most Rollercoaster-Like: Tiger and Turtle, Duisburg
Ever wanted to climb some stairs, just for the novelty? For those who love (or are scared of) rollercoasters, this coaster-inspired staircase in Germany (which sits on its own Magic Mountain) is loads of fun. At 21 metres high, there are some stunning Rhine views to take in. And at night, LED lights make this staircase look spectacular.
Most Geometric: Tulip Stairs, London
It 05/look exquisite and beautiful, but these Tulip Stairs are also known for being perfectly geometric. Apparently they were also the first ever self-supporting helical stairs built in all of England (the flowers in the balustrade supposedly reflect the emblem of the royal Bourbon family). They can be found and climbed in the Queen’s House at Greenwich.
Most Daring: Metal Stairway to Heaven, Buenos Aires
Uh, is your meeting on the next level up or down? Taking this metal ‘Stairway to Heaven’ 05/prove deadly – if only it were real! It’s actually a piece of art installation by Swiss artists Daniel Baumann and Sabina Long, who do lots of crazy and arty things with stairs. Cool, hey?
Most Exhausting: Tianmen Cave, Zhangjiajie
It’s definitely worth it once you get to the top, but when you’re standing at the bottom looking up – you know you’ve got a long climb in front you! The 999 steps of Tianmen Cave lead travellers up to the ‘Gateway to Heaven’, where it’s said that earth meets the Gods. If you don’t believe that, you can at least bask in the amazing views!
Most Colourful: 16th Avenue Steps, San Francisco
It’s nice to bring a little colour into things. This beautiful, mosaic tiled staircase in California is a colourful wonder that connects 16th Avenue to Grand Park View.
Most Cool to Climb: Stairs Over the Sea, Biscay
Spanish holidays are amazing experiences at best, but this incredible island staircase is set to take your breath away! To get to the small islet of Gaztelugatxe, visitors must take this staircase path over the ocean. Whatever you do, don’t lose your balance.