This is two different articles on the world‘s deadliest…and most spectacular…staircases, so there are a couple of double-ups which I have left, as the photographs are different. First article has been edited for clarity.
From way back, stairs are constructed to help in climbing heights, and to reduce the efforts associated with it. However, in some parts of the world, stairs are so terrifying that they look like nothing but passages leading to hell. They are scary in their design, and most of them have claimed lives. Here we present to you the scariest stairways in the world. Walk and be safe!
Pailon del Diablo Waterfall, Ecuador
Located adjacent to a stunning waterfall, and tropical scenery, this staircase is nothing short of a scary walk. The stairs are constructed with oversized pebbles to provide traction. However, the stairs are almost the same colour and blend in a way that creates an illusion of a stone slide. Moreover, they are slippery from the constant drizzle of the waterfall. Though there is a metal railing, it becomes useless after a drenching from the constant mist of water spray.
Half Dome, Cable Route, California
Stretching some 13 kms, The Half Dome Cable Route is a scary walk that takes you to an elevation of about 4,800 ft. In earlier days, because of the difficulty of the climb, the trail used to see fewer people, but in recent times its popularity has grown wider, with 800 visitors a day. This hiking trail takes you to the Vernal and Nevada Falls, then into Yosemite Valley to finally reach the Half Dome.
Janssen Observatory, Mont Blanc, France
Located at the top of the magnificent mountain Le Mont Blanc, the stairs of the Janssen Observatory are something you should think twice about. Though the steps are short and are lined with a strong railing, it’s not the structure but the placement of the stairs which makes you feel nauseous.
Mount Huashan Heavenly Stairs, China
Situated near the city of Huayin, Mt Hua Shan is a magnificent mountain that houses a steep, heavenly staircase. The walkway consists of a three-plank-wide path, with only side chains to hold and put your weight on to reach the next step. However, the moment you reach the final step, every risk that you have taken is rewarded with the most amazing views of the surroundings.
Flrli Stairs, Norway
Located around the town of Lysefjord, this fascinating stairscase is featured in this list for two reasons: the stairs have 4,444 steps, and is sited at an altitude of 2,427 feet. Constructed wholly out of wood, this scary staircase takes you on a journey full of risk and adventure.
Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii
Leading up to the Oahus Koolau Mountain Range, Haiku Stairs are so steep and dangerous that it is illegal to climb, so much so that there is a guard placed at the bottom to stop anyone from going up. Also called the Highway to Heaven, the place is nothing short of the ultimate daredevil hike.
Taihang Mountains Spiral Staircase, China
Attracting tourist from all over the world, this site in China is not for those who suffer from Vertigo. This 300 ft spiral staircase which is installed on the walls of the mountain, is in Linzhou and offers the most adventure-filled experience for mountaineers. The site follows age restrictions, and strict guidelines for the safety of those visiting it.
Angkor Wat Temple Stairs, Cambodia
It is believed that the steps were made so steep to remind climbers about heaven, and the hardships you have to go through to attain it. This staircase is ancient, almost 70 percent inclined, with the risk falling constantly present .
Batu Caves, Malaysia
Situated around a mountain about 8 miles from Kuala Lampur, Batu caves is a famous Hindu holy site in India, housing one of the highest and most dangerous stairways to climb. The stairway consists of 272 steps and takes you to the height of 330 feet, to the main temple.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
There is nothing like the Sagrada Familia, as you tackle this dangerous staircase in the bell tower of the basilica . The staircase coils around the tightly spiral walls and there is no railing to help you during your climb. And just to keep your nerves on edge, there will be large numbers of people walking up and down at the same time, making it all the more risky.
Duomo di Milano, Milan
Any travelers visit to Milan is incomplete without visiting its famous Cathedral filled with more than 2,000 statues. But, in order to discover this landmark, you need to walk through the steep staircase in a shaft that remains congested with the crowd. The walk is indeed scary!
Inca Stairs, Peru
Leading to the Moon Temple at Machu Picchu, there are 600 feet or more of steep, slippery, cloud-covered granite rocks, that the Inca carved more than 500 years ago into the side of Huayna Picchu (the peak in everyone’s photos), which leads to the rarely visited Moon Temple—and a spectacular view of the ruins. The park limits the climb to the first 400 visitors each morning, and has added some metallic chains in the worst parts, so hold on because on one side is a sheer, damp wall and on the other, a straight drop into the Urubamba river.
Inside the statue of liberty Stairs, New York
Do you know that inside of the Statue of Liberty, is a dangerous stairscase that can literally take your breath away? After exploring the museum in the pedestal and going to visit the crown, there is a climb that can be called one of the deadliest staircases in the world. The climb itself is 354 steps, almost 20 storeys, and it is advised only for those in good physical health. Children who are at least 4 feet tall and accompanied by a responsible adult can be allowed to visit.
Discover 21 of the world’s most spectacular staircases
These staircases aren’t just a means of movement—they’re dramatic works of art.
DUISBURG, GERMANYLoop, curve, and climb up to nearly 69 feet on the walkable roller coaster, Tiger & Turtle Magic Mountain. Even with the epic loops closed off by a barrier to the public, the art installation’s twisted metal staircase gives amusement park lovers a new perspective on the classic and exhilarating ride. With 249 steps making up the walkway, visitors can catch striking views of the Rhine, and at night, the handrails are illuminated with LED lights.
Located in one of the world’s most well-known opera houses, the Palais Garnier’s staircases are rich in opulent beauty, intricate carvings, and detailed artwork.
The marble stairs in the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Africa, provides a beautiful foundation to the soaring arches, wide windows, and decorative wood carvings.
Once a path used during World War II to access a radio station antenna on top of Puu Keahi a Kahoe, the Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, climbs nearly 2,500 feet over O’ahu, Hawaii. While the nearly 4,000-step ladder provides stunning views of the island, it is illegal to climb the stairs from top to bottom after the government closed it due to massive weather damage. If caught taking the trek up, you may be slapped with a thousand-dollar fine on the way down.
Used as the command center during the Malayan Campaign and the Battle of Singapore in World War II, the Battle Box was an underground bunker beneath Fort Canning Hill. Explorers can take the cobbled steps down to see where the British made the decision to surrender Singapore to invading Japanese in 1942.
A Consisting of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories, Chand Baori is one of the largest stepwells in the world. In Hinduism, water is a safe boundary between heaven and Earth and provided cleansing powers. Stepwells like Chand Baori were not only a place people could gather to find water and shelter from the heat, but also a haven for bathing, prayer, and meditation.
Following the natural grooves of the Tianshan Grand Canyon, these stairs give climbers stunning views of the wonders that lie below.
Rumoured to have been J.K. Rowling’s inspiration when designing Hogwart’s magical moving stairs, the opulent red staircase in Livraria Lello brings its own magic to Muggles in Porto, Portugal.
Two spiral staircases dance and twist to create “Umschreibung,” a 30-foot-tall sculpture whose name translates to “transcription” or “rewriting.” The flights interlock at the peak to create a continuous loop. Erected in 2004 by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, the stairs can be found in front of the KPMG building complex in Schwanthalerhöhe.
Tucked away in the Andes Mountains, the 26-mile-long Inca Trail to Machu Picchu boasts much of the original Incan architecture from the 15th century.
Inspired by the original Bramante Staircase created by Donato Bramante in 1505, Giuseppe Momo’s 1932 take on the iconic staircase allows people to ascend and descend without ever crossing paths. The ornate bronze balustrade around the stairs is illuminated by the glass ceiling above.
Resembling a snail’s spiraling shell, the Scala Contarini del Bovolo is a hidden gem in the Venetianneighborhood of San Marcos. Travelers can climb to the top of its 80 steps to find beautiful views over the rooftops of the city.
The stairs around the dramatic waterfall El Pailón del Diablo, or the Devil’s Cauldron, are studded with observation platforms and jaw-dropping backgrounds. Raincoats are recommended and make sure to approach the slippery steps with caution.
Just outside the Bahnhof St. Johann tram stop in downtown Basel, Switzerland, these stairs spiral to the heavens.
Considered one of Pittsburgh’s first skyscrapers, the Bank Tower’s decorated marble staircase coils in semicircles from the lobby to the 16th floor.
Visitors can now explore the Fort de Roovere and submerge themselves in the fort’s moat thanks to the Moses Bridge Stairs. Originally an inaccessible island, builders created a sunken bridge so restorations could be made on the 17th-century Dutch fort. To preserve the natural appearance of the island, the bridge sinks walkers into the moat, and two dams at each end ensure that people stay dry.
Familiar to Game of Thrones fans, the tiny island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is connected to the mainland by a manufactured stone bridge. The narrow path leading up to a 10th-century church zigs and zags over 241 steps and fills visitors with awe. Pro tip: There is a local legend that after you reach the top you should ring the church bell three times and make a wish.
Made famous by the 1953 film Roman Holiday, the Trinità dei Monti steps, or Spanish Steps, were designed by the architect Francesco De Sanctis in the 1700s. A steep climb, the 174 steps are between the Piazza di Spagna and the church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti.
The Batu Caves, home to 13 Hindu temples, received a major makeover in August 2018. The 272 steps leading up to the caves were painted rainbow as part of site-wide renovation project.
Locally known as the 66 steps, the Queen’s Staircase was built in the late 1700s to provide direct access from Fort Fincastle to Nassau City. While there are technically 66 steps, only 65 are visible due to the first step being paved over with asphalt in a restoration project.
To celebrate the Masoala Rainforest’s 10th anniversary in 2013, the Zoo Zürich opened the treetop walkway, so visitors can feel like they are a part of the jungle when discovering its native creatures. Comprised of two steel towers, each structure is covered in lianas and epiphytes, and a kapok tree grows in the middle of the large tower.
El Peñón de Guatapé
Great Wall of China
Baroque Spiral Staircase of Melk Abbey
WHERE: Melk, Austria
Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 and sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River. The spiral staircase with Roccoco grate leads from the small library room to other library rooms, which are closed to the public. The undersides of the stone steps have been painted in great detail, adding to Melk Abbey’s reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful monastic sites. Other highlights are the stately royal rooms, the golden, glittering church, and the ceiling fresco by Austrian painter Paul Troger.
WHERE: London, England
In the Queen’s House in Greenwich, the elegant Tulip Stairs, an original feature from the 17th century, were the first geometric self-supporting spiral stairs in Britain. The bright shade of blue paint that coats the wrought-iron structure is made of crushed glass, and restaurateurs have followed this method ever since. The name of the stairs comes from the floral patterns on it, though the flowers in the balustrade are believed to be fleurs-de-lis. In 1966, the Rev R. W. Hardy’s took a famous “ghost” photograph which appears to depict two or three shrouded figures on the Tulip Stairs.
Monumental Steps of Bom Jesus do Monte
WHERE: Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus do Monte is a pilgrimage site outside the city of Braga with an outdoor Baroque staircase that climbs 381 feet. The staircase of dark granite covered in white plaster is known as the Sacred Way and leads to the 18th-century sanctuary of Bom Jesus (Good Jesus) on top of the hill. Although there are no visions or saints associated with the place, many pilgrims choose to uphold tradition and climb up the zig-zagging 577 steps on their knees. Each sense (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste) is represented by a different fountain along the stairways giving the idea of purification of the faithful.
- Discover the Deadliest Staircases in the World, Ease My Trip, 29 August 2017, https://www.easemytrip.com/travel/deadliest-staircases-in-the-world.html
- Discover 21 of the world’s most spectacular staircases, National Geographic, by Starlight Williams https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/photography/discover-21-worlds-most-spectacular-staircases/
- 10 of the World’s Steepest, Scariest Stairways, Red Bull, 17 January 2017, by Tarquin Cooper https://www.redbull.com/us-en/worlds-longest-steps
- The 20 Most Incredible Staircases in the World, Fodors, 13 November 2017, by Winke Carter https://www.fodors.com/news/photos/the-20-most-incredible-staircases-in-the-world