Step Up Your Travel: Here Are 6 Beautiful Stairways From Around The World
Photo Credit: Shai Pal

Photo Credit: Shai Pal

Step Up Your Travel: Here Are 6 Beautiful Stairways From Around The World

rome , san francisco , China , Colombia , Mexico , Peru , unitedstates
Spencer Jones
Spencer Jones Jan 26, 2023

Climbing stairs is a great, and often free way to keep fit while on vacation. Whether you’ve sprinted up the mosaic steps of San Francisco, or Mexico’s Pyramid of the Sun, the views make the agony worth it. Some stairways, like the Haiku Stairs in Oahu, are actually illegal. We don’t recommend climbing them for that reason, but if you see pictures online, you’ll understand why they are called the “Stairway to Heaven.”

What are the benefits of taking the stairs, anyway? According to Duke University, “Stair climbing increases leg power and can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. It can also reduce the risk of injury from falls in the elderly.”

Moreover, if you make stair climbing a consistent part of your workout, it “can help you maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.”

Side note: did you know that there’s a special segment of the population that climbs buildings and other structures with hundreds of steps for fun? Oh, yes. It’s absolute murder, but totally worth it.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are six beautiful stairways in the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

1. Mosaic Stairs - California

If the hills in San Francisco aren’t enough of a workout, check out the mosaic stairways. Treat yourself to views of the Pacific.

Here, art is functional. These stairs are free to access and are immediately recognizable for their intricate, colorful designs.

The most famous stairs are at 16th Avenue and Moraga Street. The others are at 15th Avenue and Kirkham Street, Innes Avenue and Arelious Walker Street, Nevada Street and Tompkins Avenue, Avalon Avenue and Athens Street, and Mission Street and 32 Avenue.

Who came up with the concept?

According to The Bold Italic, “Inspired by the Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the mosaic panels by artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher depict our world: starting from the ocean at the bottom, climbing all the way up to the sun, detailing animals, fish, shells, and more. The project kicked off in 2003 when residents Jessie Audette and Alice Yee Xavier started a grassroots effort to beautify the area; neighbors funded the work by sponsoring tiles.”

2. Spanish Steps - Italy


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Rome, or the “Eternal City,” has mesmerized for centuries. Any list of top attractions would have to include Piazza di Spagna, where the steps are located.

According to Civitatis, “The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti in Italian) were built at the beginning of the eighteenth century connecting Piazza di Spagna and the Church of Trinità dei Monti.”

Tourists will frequently climb the stairs to take in the views, or sit down for a break from the suffocating rush of people. Be sure to grab some gelato!

3. The Great Wall - China


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It goes without saying that The Great Wall of China would make the list.

Red Bull ranks it as “Hard,” and says, “The official length of the Great Wall of China is 13,170 miles. Just along one 26-mile stretch — the official course of the Great Wall of China marathon — there are 5,164 stone steps. That’s a lot of steps!”

Also, according to Travel Facts, “The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space with the naked eye.”

If you take these on, plan on doing nothing the next day or two.

4. El Peñón De Guatapé - Colombia


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Type in this famous Colombian site, and Google will populate dramatic photos.

As noted by Travel Awaits, “as if a giant surgeon attempted to stitch up the crack,  you’ll find a staircase built into the crevice. Blending a natural wonder with human intervention, it allows visitors to easily zigzag their way to the top of the rock.”

The views of the water and the rolling hills at the top of the 650 steps are something.  There are snacks and souvenirs for sale as well. You can drive or take the bus to Guatapé from Medellín in about two hours.

5. The Pyramid Of The Sun - Mexico


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This impressive, Mesoamerican structure is in Teotihuacán. At over 200 feet, it’s one of the tallest of its kind. It may have also served a ritualistic purpose, namely, for human and some animal sacrifices.

Who exactly built the pyramid is in dispute. According to Discover Magazine, “We don’t entirely know, partly because little record remains of the city’s ruling class. The layout of the city suggests a top-down hierarchical structure.”

Purchase your tickets in advance and be sure to bring water. The sun can be ruthless and there are no shaded areas.

6. Huayna Picchu - Peru


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The Huayna Picchu “stairs of death” are so named for how narrow and steep they are. If you have a fear of heights, skip this one because, baby, the drop is no joke!

If you focus on putting one foot in front of the other and stay away from the edge, you should be fine. Save the Instagram photos for when you’re finished.

The Huyana Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains are part of a lost, Incan city. Before climbing the steps of Huyana Picchu, soak up the ruins of the city itself.

According to Exploor, “Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with the once-in-a-lifetime experience of witnessing a panoramic view of Machu Picchu, as well as the Urubamba River and the Templo de la Luna (the Moon Temple).”

Related: Disrespectful Tourist Gets Booed and Fined For Climbing Ancient Mayan Temple In Mexico

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