Bridges aren’t usually the first thing you think of when choosing where to go on vacation, but these often-overlooked passageways can be architectural marvels.
Whether it’s for vehicles or pedestrians, a bridge connects two places — even if it’s simply two sides of a river. While these spanning structures are certainly convenient, they’re also a great place to see beautiful works of art and impressive feats of engineering. Across the world, people have been finding innovative ways to build sturdy spans that not only make commutes more efficient, but also add aesthetic value. A beautiful landscape is only enhanced when you’re standing on a beautiful bridge.
Famous bridges around the globe boast their own style and decor — whether it’s stone sculptures of animals and mythical creatures, intricate balustrades, or even decorative paint and tile work. In some places, like New York City for example, bridges can be an important part of the city’s skyline.
This is why bridges make for a great tourist attraction no matter where in the world you are. In places like New York, San Francisco, and Paris, people flock to famous pedestrian bridges for the experience of walking across them (or for taking a quick selfie). After all, what’s a visit to the Big Apple without a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?
Bridges can also provide a space for reflection and for taking in an area’s natural beauty. Many bridges in China and Japan are excellent places for nature lovers to go sightseeing.
Take a look at some of the world’s most iconic and gorgeous bridges. We guarantee you’ll want to update your bucket list.
Tower Bridge — London, England
One of London’s most iconic sights is Tower Bridge, a structure that was built over 125 years ago. The castle-like edifice is both a bascule (moving, pivoting) and suspension bridge. Since it’s such a well-known landmark, it has also been featured in Hollywood films.
The top of the bridge has a glass floor that allows visitors to challenge their fear of heights while enjoying one of the best views in London.
Charles Bridge — Prague, Czech Republic
This ancient bridge, which crosses the Vltava river in Prague, was built between the 14th and the 15th centuries, making it the oldest bridge in the city. It was originally called Stone Bridge, since it was the only one made of stones at the time. Perhaps the bridge’s most beautiful feature is the 30 baroque-style statues that decorate its balustrade.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge — Budapest, Hungary
This suspension bridge over the Danube river opened in 1849 and has seen a fair amount of history since then. The bridge was by the German army in 1945 and had to be rebuilt in 1949. One of its most distinctive features are the stone lions that were originally sculpted by János Marschalkó.
Pont Alexandre III — Paris, France
This famous French bridge is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Paris, if not the world. One of its prettiest features are the gilded, iron, and stone statues of nymphs, pegasus, lions, and cherubs. But the best part of this bridge is its significant location, close to Champs-Élysées and near the tomb of Napoleon.
Rialto Bridge — Venice, Italy
Venice is a city full of bridges, but the Rialto Bridge is the oldest structure crossing the Grand Canal. It was originally built as a pontoon bridge in the 12th century and serves as an access point to the financial center of Venice. Since the bridge was built using several different materials over the course of its history, it has collapsed and been rebuilt several times. The current bridge is made out of stone and was completed in the late 1500s.
Stari Most — Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stari Most translates literally to “Old Bridge.” The original limestone bridge opened in the 16th century, and at the time was one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world. The bridge remained for over 400 years before being in 1993 during the Croat–Bosniak. It was rebuilt in 2004.
Today, men can enter an annual diving competition off the bridge — a tradition that honors the diver’s transition into manhood.
Helix Bridge — Marina Bay, Singapore
This bridge may not be as ancient as others on the list, but it’s certainly a breathtaking sight. The pedestrian bridge opened in 2010 and was greatly inspired by the double-helix model of human DNA. In addition to its stunning, colorful lights, the bridge is built with canopies to provide shade and shelter.
Dragon Bridge — Da Nang, Vietnam
Yes, this 2,185 foot bridge has a decorative dragon on it. Not only does this yellow, steel dragon have thousands of LED lights, it also breathes. You would think that a breathing dragon would be a traffic, but this creation stays well out of the way of cars.
The bridge was opened in 2013 to honor the 38th anniversary of the North Vietnamese taking over Da Nang near the end of the Vietnam.
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