Weird Elevators Around the World

With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, we could say that an elevator by any other name is still an elevator. But that’s not entirely accurate when you consider some of the innovative and creative ways that we humans have designed do get us from point A to point B, in a vertical fashion.

There are innumerable elevators in the world but only a few can truly be called unique. We’ve put together a list here of some of the weird elevator designs from around the world. So in your global travels, give a look to these amazing examples of human engineering:


If you’re traveling in Berlin-Mitte, Germany, take time to visit the Radisson Blu hotel. Here you’ll find the AquaDom, a transparent elevator in the center of an 82-foot-tall aquarium. This amazing aquarium holds more than 260,000 gallons of saltwater. More than 1500 fish, representing 50 different species, make their homes here. There are three or four divers whose job is to feed the fish their almost 18 pounds of daily food.

Burj Khalifa Elevator

It seems only right that the world’s tallest building is the home of the world’s fastest elevator. The Burj Khalifa elevator jets visitors upward at a rate of 30 miles per hour, reaching the top floor in only 35 seconds. That’s 2038 feet straight up in 35 seconds. These elevators use double-decker cars, each with its own fancy light show, to service the many floors of the building.

Anderton Boat Lift

Cheshire, England, is home to one of the oldest surviving boat lifts. A boat lift is an enormous engineering project. Its purpose is to raise or lower a boat to move it from one body of water to another that’s at a different elevation. The Anderton boat life was built in 1875 then shut down in 1983. It was restored to use in 2002.

Luxor Hotel Inclined Elevator

No list of things ornate and bizarre would be complete without a mention of the Luxor Hotel’s inclined elevator. Las Vegas hotels are known for doing things differently, and the iconic pyramid of the Luxor Hotel means the elevators must travel on an incline. This 39 degree incline gives riders a breathtaking look at the hotel’s atrium, which is one of the world’s largest.

Gateway Arch Tram

No trip to St. Louis is complete without a visit to the Gateway Arch. To get to the top, a train of eight cars, each with 5 seats, takes you on a 4-minute ride to the observation deck at the top of the iconic Arch. Two trams, one from each leg of the Arch, disembark from the legs every 10 minutes. This keeps the passengers on a level plane, much like a Ferris wheel’s gondola, throughout the trip.

Sky Tower

The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, is not designed for those afraid of heights. Each of the four cars that make up the elevator boasts a glass window in the floor. Riders get to see the ground drop away as they ride up and down the 70-story building, with nothing but the transparent glass between them and the open space below them.