When rocker Robert Plant wailed about buying a stairway to heaven, what, exactly, did he have in mind? Perhaps one of these out-of-this-world designs — any one of which would be perfect for an ascent to a higher plane.

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The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. Amazing staircases around the world.
This majestic staircase is the centerpiece of the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art. Tibor Bognar/Corbis

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Museum of Islamic Art Staircase, Doha, Qatar

If there had been stairs leading into Wonderland, they would have looked something like this ingenious double flying staircase. Set in the center of a museum designed by I.M. Pei and built in 2008, the stairway has an Escher-like design that lets you see its steps from below as well as from above.

Armani Store Staircase, New York, New York

This white, curvaceous staircase is as stylish as the people who use it — shoppers in the Fifth Avenue store of Italian designer Giorgio Armani. Created by Italian architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, it links four floors of a bellissima space.

Stairway to Heaven, Oahu, Hawaii

These stairs appear to ascend into the clouds along a knife-edged pali (cliff) north of Honolulu. Originally built during World War II, the treacherous trail is technically closed, but adventurers ignore signs and dodge security guards to stand atop the mountains.

Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France. Amazing staircases around the world.
The double helix staircase is in the Château Chambord, once a king's simple hunting lodge. Hemis/Alamy

Double Helix Staircase, Château Chambord, Loire Valley, France

Believed to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci for Francois I's massive 16th-century hunting lodge, the three-story staircase actually consists of two distinct spiral staircases that share a central axis but never meet. As a result, guests (or servants and royals) can simultaneously move up and down the stairs without ever crossing paths.