There is something about a beautiful staircase.  It can evoke a sense of wonder and appreciation in us, something bigger than us.  Sure, staircases can be practical – a means of transport from one level to another – but they can be so much more.  The vantage point from the top of a stair, the beauty of some.  The scale of work involved – how did someone build this? The intricate detail.  At Stairlock we love a good staircase and have compiled this list of our favourites, those we feel generate genuine wonder, from around the world.

  1. The Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven with more than 3,000 steps it is a steep, steel step structure that provided pedestrian access to former U.S. Navy communication facilities on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii.
  2. Canyon Staircase is located next to the waterfall Pailon del Diablo, an amazing steep and slippery staircase next to the most spectacular waterfall in Equador.
  3. The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project was a neighbourhood collaboration to create a sea to star themed mosaic flowing up a 163 step stairway located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Heights Neighbourhood.Residents started the project in 2003 in a grassroots effort to connect the neighbours in a community project to beautify Golden Gate Heights.
  4. Momo Staircase. Stunning and practical, the Momo Staircase in the Vatican uses an ingenious double helix design to facilitate the smooth flow of people in the busy Vatican museums. One wrought iron stairway goes up, another goes down, twisting to ensure uninterrupted traffic in both directions. Designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Simonetti in 1932, it has become one of the most photographed staircases in the world.
  5. El Peñol, the Rock of Guatapé, is a 200 metre monolith that was once worshipped by Tahami Indians. It is topped by a three-storey viewing tower and convenience store, reached by climbing the 740 steps that make up the surreal staircase built into the side of the rock. There is a shrine to the Virgin Mary halfway up if you find you need divine intervention to continue.
  6. Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal. A historic staircase within a book store set in an art nouveau building, beautiful. In Portugal’s second city, Porto, of wine fame, you will find the Livraria Lello, a nearly organic-looking staircase which such character.
  7. Art Gallery Of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. As you would expect from a renowned art gallery, the staircase inside the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is just as worthy an exhibit as the art. The Frank Gehry-designed smooth, wood-clad staircase winds its way up from the second floor through the glass ceiling to the fifth floor.  And, you cannot see the actual steps.   It looks more like a sculpture than a useful stairwell.
  8. Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Seoul, South Korea). Designed by Zaha Hadid the staircase within Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a dizzying display of the late architects work.  A striking web, with beautiful character and contrast.
  9. Heaven’s Gate Mountain (Zhangjiajie, China). Located within Tianmen Mountain National Park in south eastern China, the Heaven’s Gate Mountain allows visitors to quite literally walk up a mountain. Once at the top of the staircase, visitors are rewarded with spectacular views on both sides of the divide thanks to a 431-foot tall natural hole in the mountain.  Simply spectacular.
  10. Patagonia, Chile & Argentina. These wooden steps were made specifically for hikers exploring the wilderness of Patagonia. Located along the tip of South America, Patagonia is one of the most stunning natural wonders of the world, and should be a must-visit for anyone able to trek through the elements. A hikers heaven.
  11. Chand Baori (Abhaneri, India). Built between 800 and 900 A.D., Chand Baori is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks in northwest India. The structure is comprised of roughly 3,500 steps that funnel 100 feet into the ground.  Remarkable effort and phenomenal structure.
  12. The Vessel (New York City). The Vessel is an interactive sculpture comprising a network of stairs and landings that visitors can climb (or take an elevator) to the top. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the structure was created to add harmony and balance within a grid of vertical metal and glass.  Fascinating.
  13. Tiger & Turtle Magic Mountain (Duisburg, Germany). Is like no other roller coaster in the world in the sense that visitors do all the work by walking throughout the structure. Designed by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, the loop is more of a sculpture than an actual ride. Nevertheless, those who go will be awarded with a workout and sweeping views of the surrounding countryside of Duisburg.  For the thrill seeker in all of us.