A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published January 28th 2019
Our world is filled with some pretty spectacular wonders, from the natural to the manmade, and bridges are up there with the best of them. Unique and unusual, historic and graceful, are just some of the words to describe the list I've put together below.
In no particular order, these striking bridges jump out at you for various reasons:-
This is one my favourite bridges. Its beauty in the architecture, along with the backdrop of the English countryside, makes for a spectacular photo. It can be found in the 18th century Prior Park Landscape Garden just south of the historic city of Bath in Somerset, England and is one of only four Palladian bridges of this design in the world.
The garden is set in a sweeping valley and adding to the beauty are song birds and squirrels, amongst the seasonal plants. Views of Bath and Somerset are eye-catching too.
This historical bridge over the Zayanderud River is also a weir (dam) and regulates the flow of the river. It was built circa 1650 by a Persian king on the foundations of an older bridge.
The pavilion in the centre was originally decorated with artistic tile work and paintings. It served as both a teahouse and a place for public meetings, with the king often sitting in it admiring the views.
The River Thames has many bridges and the Tower Bridge is the most beautiful of them all with its turrets and Gothic style. Taking its name from the nearby Tower of London, which houses the Crown Jewels, this bridge is part bascule (having a movable section) and part suspension.
This iconic blue and white landmark holds a special place in my heart as I used to work in the old World Trade Centre in St Katharine Docks at the foot of the bridge and frequently walked across it. Memories are flooding back and I'm wishing I was there again.
Just north of Lisbon, off the coastal town of Peniche, is Berlenga Island and this stone bridge with its arches. The site is spectacular and is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve due to the large colonies of birds.
Pink granite cliffs, coves, caves, grottos, a fort constructed from the remains of a 16th-century monastery, and a lighthouse, add to the charm of the island. You can swim, snorkel or dive in this tiny paradise with clear blue waters or hike up the mountain for a great view.
Built in 1805 of cast and wrought iron on 19 masonry piers on the Welsh-English border near Llangollen, this is a bridge of a different kind. It is one that contains water, fed by the Horseshoe Falls on the River Dee, and is used by canal boats and pedestrians.
The water trough of this canal aqueduct was left for 6 months with water in it to ensure it was watertight. At 18 kilometres long, it provides a picturesque way to travel, with views of the Dee Valley.
This "Stream in the Sky" is the world's tallest canal boat crossing and a World Heritage Site.
Also known as the Wind and Rain Bridge, providing shelter from the elements, this one was built in 1912 free of nails and rivets. Made of thousands of pieces of dovetailed wood on top of stone pillars with tiled roofs, it can be found on the Linxi River in the far north of China.
It's a covered combination of bridge, corridor, verandah and Chinese pavilion that allows people to meet and serves as a link between two villages. It has even had a poem written about it.
This one with its unusual twisting frame (left-handed DNA-like design) is a footbridge that opened in 2010 alongside the vehicular Bayfront Bridge. It links the Marina Centre with Marina South in the Marina Bay area.
Canopies of fritted glass and perforated steel mesh provide shade and there are 4 viewing platforms that give you great views of the Singapore skyline. At night, it is illuminated by a series of lights that highlight the double-helix structure.
Completed in 2005, this curved bridge is a pedestrian bridge and is located 700 metres above sea level on the top of Machinchang Mountain. It can be reached by taking the Langkawi Cable Car. A Chinese village is at the base of the cable car, with food and drinks available at the top.
A sweeping view of the green forest cover, the hazy ocean in the distant horizon and the experience of being at par with the majestic mountains makes for a surreal encounter.
The oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, the Rialto connects San Marco and San Polo. It has been rebuilt several times since its first construction as a pontoon bridge in the 12th Century.
The present stone bridge, completed in 1591, consists of two inclined ramps leading up to a central portico. A row of shops adorn each of the ramps of this architectural icon that has become a top tourist attraction in Venice.
A medieval stone segmental arch bridge, the Ponte Vecchio spans the Arno River and was built as a system of defence in the event of a city siege. There were four towers intended for use by the military. Today, only one tower remains.
The bridge is noted for its two levels of galleries. The lower gallery originally consisted of butcher shops but nowadays it is the home of jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. The upper gallery connects the neighbouring Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, along with other palaces.
Such a pretty bridge with flowers adorning the side, the Chapel Bridge struts out diagonally across the River Reuss in the city of Lucerne. Named after the nearby St Peter's Chapel, it's a covered wooden footbridge with a water tower in the middle that was previously used as a prison and a torture chamber.
The bridge is unique in that its interior contains a number of paintings dating back to the 17th Century, depicting events from the city's history. It's also the world's oldest surviving truss bridge.
An unusual design, the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is modern and thoughtfully constructed as it acts as the perfect frame for a photo of Mount Taranaki. It's modelled off the rib cage of a whale and looks like a breaking wave curling over, which is very appropriate with the area being a surf spot.
You can walk, run or cycle down the Taranaki foreshore to end up at this bridge across the Waiwhakaiho River, connecting New Plymouth with Bell Block.
This remarkable bridge is one of the strangest looking bridges I've come across and, from afar, it is invisible to the eye as the water level is at the same level as the bridge.
During the 17th century, a series of moats and fortresses were built over the Dutch Water Line to provide protection from invasion by France and Spain. Fort de Roovere's moat was too shallow for boats and too deep to walk across, thus this sunken bridge was constructed.
Steeped in romantic history, the Charles Bridge in Prague is a historic one that crosses the Vltava River, connecting the Old Town and the Lesser Town. Baroque statues line both sides of the bridge as do Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors.
A tower stands on each end of this stone, Gothic-style bridge and they can be climbed for a view of the city and the bridge from above.
An interesting fact is that it is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge.
This jaw-dropping 19th Century stone bridge, found in Kromlauer Park, was purposely created so that its reflection forms a perfect circle. Delicately thin-arched, it was commissioned in 1860 by the knight of the local town and is known as a "Devil's Bridge" due to comments that such bridges were so dangerous or miraculous that they must have been built by Satan.
Each end of the bridge is decorated in rock spires created to look like thin basalt columns, which occur in many places within Germany.
This ageing relic is still viewable but can no longer be crossed.
High Trestle Bridge Madrid, Iowa, USA
The States' have iconic bridges like the Golden Gate in San Francisco and the Brooklyn in New York but it is the High Trestle Bridge west of Madrid in Central Iowa that has caught my attention for its unusual design. Making you feel like you're looking down into a mineshaft, this pedestrian and bicycle bridge spans the Des Moines River Valley, connecting over 600 miles of trail and uniting 5 communities.
Its tunnel of steel cribs evoke a sense of whimsical travel through time and space and, at night, blue LED's highlight the geometry of it.
Puente Nuevo Ronda, Spain
One could be forgiven for missing this bridge when viewing it from below as it blends in so well with the surrounding rock face. The Puente Nuevo spans a 120metre deep chasm that carries the Guadalevin River and divides the city of Ronda in southern Spain.
A chamber above the central arch has been used for various purposes, including a prison. There would be no escaping, except to your death on the rocks at the bottom of the gorge. Today, the chamber contains an exhibition detailing the bridge's history and construction.
One weird looking bridge, but interesting none-the-least, is the Pont De Singe (meaning monkey bridge) in the historic estate of Tatton Park in north-west England. French artist Olivier Grossetete is the man behind it, creating it for the park's Biennial event that had a theme around flight. He used 3 giant helium balloons to float this rope bridge, made of cedar wood, over a lake in the Japanese garden. The ends of the bridge were left to trail in the water.
Although visitors aren't allowed to use the bridge, theoretically, it is strong enough to hold the weight of a person.
A bridge with astonishingly beautiful blue water below is what you will find in the old town of Mostar, Bosnia. The Stari Most is a 16th Century Ottoman bridge that crosses the river Neretva, joining two parts of the city. Made of stone and hump-backed, it is protected by a fortified tower on each end and, instead of foundations, the bridge has abutments of limestone linked to wing walls along the waterside cliffs.
The bridge is popular for an annual competition that takes place where men dive off it in mid-summer. Despite being the warmest season, the river is very cold and it is a risky feat that requires skill and training.
Golden Bridge (CauVang) Da Nang's Ba Na Hills, Vietnam
This golden steel mountain bridge has to be the coolest bridge ever. It is 150metres long and located in Da Nang's Ba Na Hills Resort with enormous stone hands holding it up. Connecting the cable car station with the gardens, it provides a scenic overlook.
Many visitors have walked it, making it a very popular tourist attraction. At the end of the walk there is a very unusual statues garden of different gigantic body parts which look like they're out of Salvador Dali paintings.
A much nicer bridge in Japan is the Kintai, a historical wooden arch bridge, over the Nishiki River. With five arches, it is located at the foot of Mt Yokoyama.
Kikkou Park, which includes the bridge and the castle atop the mountain, is a popular tourist destination. It is particularly picturesque in cherry blossom season in spring and in autumn when the Japanese maples change colour.
The Atlantic Ocean Road consists of 8 bridges, with the Storseisundet being the longest, making up the road connection from the mainland Romsdal peninsula of Norway to the island of Averoya.
This particular cantilever bridge, passing through an archipelago, is interesting for its curved piece that has had the bridge described as the 'road to nowhere' and the 'drunk' bridge. The optical illusion has you seeing the straight road looking like a diving board until you reach close to the top and see the sharp curve.
A covered wooden bridge over the river Aare, between the village of Kirchlindach and Bern, the Neubrugg looks like a long hut. A Swiss heritage site of national significance, it was built in 1469 to replace a ferry crossing.
Eventually, it became part of two major roads that helped Bern control its territory north of the river. The bridge remained important until motorised traffic made it obsolete.
This modern bridge in the Mur River connects two parts of the city of Graz in southern Austria and is notable for its two pedestrian bridges and the middle floating platform shaped like a giant seashell.
The platform (some call it an island) includes a cafe, a children's play area and an amphitheatre.
One thing is for sure, it is unique.
Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
There are currently 4 friendship bridges over the Mekong River (with a 5th one proposed) and the 3rd bridge connecting Nakhon Phanom in Thailand with Khammouane in Laos is the prettiest.
Classified as a box girder bridge, it is the adornments on the bridge that make it special. Gold and white towers grace each end and gold decorations on overhead posts give the effect of a wave of water when looking at the bridge from the side. The King Nagas Court Serpent Statue and Shrine on the Thai bank nearby add further interest.
Great views make for great photos with the Laos mountains in the backdrop. It is particularly breathtaking at sunrise and sunset.
A cable-stayed bridge over the Moskva River, the Zhivopisny is notable for the giant red arch and the highest of its kind in Europe. It's unique in that most of its length runs parallel to the river rather than across the river. This is because the S-shaped deck bypasses the protected territory of Serebryany Bor island.
Under the top of the red arch is a disk-like structure that was intended to house a restaurant. However, the project for that was abandoned due to fire safety concerns and lack of finance.
The Gardon River lies beneath this ancient Roman aqueduct near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard in southern France. Built as three tiers of archways to bring water to the city of Nimes, it is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts and one of the best preserved.
It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 and is now a popular tourist attraction.
Overall, Europe and Asia outnumber the other continents, with the most bridges steeped in history and tradition.
No doubt, there are many more bridges that compare favourably to the above ones. The list could go on and on.
Do you have a favourite bridge?
If so, please share it via the comments box at the bottom of the page.