Who knew stairwells could be so picturesque? Many are beloved landmarks and others have been transformed with art; some are historic churches or extraordinary nature hikes, and you may even recognise a few from TV shows and movies. Not all of these stairs can be visited due to safety regulations, but they can all be enjoyed virtually through this photo gallery of 12 of the world’s grandest staircases.
The Sacré Cœur Basilica
The Sacré Cœur Basilica is the second-highest point in all of Paris after the Eiffel Tower and has its own epic set of stairs. It takes 270 steps to reach the gorgeous church. The first stone for the Sacré Cœur was laid in 1875. The church is also home to one of the largest bells in the world called Savoyarde. At the top be sure to take in panoramic views of the entire city of Paris and spot the Panthéon, Eiffel Tower and River Seine.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
You’ll find this jaw-dropping staircase in the Basque Country in northern Spain. The island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe towers regally over the choppy waters of the Atlantic Ocean and its wicked windy staircase traces along the cliff’s edge. It zigzags up sharply with a total of 241 steps to the tallest point of the island where a small church named for John the Baptist is located.
The staircase on the island looks like something right out of a fairy tale. The steep stairs may seem familiar since they were portrayed as Dragonstone, home of the Targaryens, in the seventh season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. In true history, the island was supposedly used as a prison for witches during the Spanish Inquisition.