At their simplest, bridges are a way to get from Point A to Point B, but the world’s best bridges are engineering marvels that draw millions of tourists a year. We’ve collected a few favorites below for you.
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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year and gets over 10 million visitors a year. This bridge is 2.7 kilometres long and was completed in 1937. It’s famous for how safe it was for its construction workers at the time – it claimed only 11 construction workers’ lives, with 19 others (collectively referred to as the “Halfway to Hell” club) saved from fatal falls by the safety net slung below the bridge. It is one of the fun things to do in Northern California, alongside a boat trip to Alcatraz and hiking in Yosemite.
Flickr photo by Leonardo Pallotta
Tower Bridge, London
London’s Tower Bridge took 8 years to build with the work of 432 construction workers. In 1952, a city bus driver had to gun it from one bascule to the other after the bridge started to rise while his bus was still on it. In 1977, the bridge was painted red, white and blue for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Check out my 3-day London itinerary which includes the Tower Bridge and a few other must-see when in London!
Flickr photo by Anirudh Koul
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The world’s largest steel-arch bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge is the focus of many of Sydney’s celebrations. Tourists can pay to climb through the arches of the bridge for a thrilling view from the top. In 2008, Stephen Tierney and Claire Tullan were the first couple to be married atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Flickr photo by Herry Lawford
Brooklyn Bridge, New York
When it was first built in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Days after its opening, a rumour spread that the bridge was falling, which caused a stampede in which a dozen people were trampled. Today, Brooklyn Bridge continues to be an icon of New York and has seen its share of demonstrations and drama.
Flickr photo by Ed Costello
Magdeburg Water Bridge, Germany
This amazing aqueduct in Germany took six years to build, costing over half a billion euros. Just under a kilometer long, it helps ships navigate over the Elbe, making this engineering marvel as functional as it is attractive. Interested in the physics behind the Magdeburg Water Bridge? Check out this Wired article.
Flickr photo by chris_lori
Millau Bridge, France
The Millau Viaduct in southern France is the tallest vehicular bridge in the world. While it may not see as many tourists as the Eiffel Tower, its highest pylons are taller than the iconic Paris landmark, and today it sees its fair share of tourists.
Flickr photo by wimbledonian
Ponte Vecchio, Italy
This colourful bridge was the only Florentine bridge to survive World War II, and has seen everything from butchers to jewelers occupying the stores that line it.
Flickr photo by Jonas Ginter
Banpo Bridge, South Korea
South Korea’s Banpo Bridge takes home the prize of longest bridge fountain in the world, with 380 nozzles that spew 190 tons of water per minute from the river below 20 meters out into the Han River. The Rainbow Fountain has jets of water that use over 100 choreographed movements linked to 190 exterior lights, drawing tourists from around the world.
Flickr photo by Taylor Sloan
Henderson Waves, Singapore
The highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore at 36 metres tall, this pedestrian bridge links two parks together and is famous for its wave design. It is lit up by LED lights from 7pm to 2am every day, making it an attractive walk day or night.
Flickr photo by The Naughty Prata