Bridges have long served functional purposes like connecting landmasses and decreasing travel times. But the most magnificent bridges achieve far more—blending utility and beauty into destinations themselves. Let’s explore some of the global marvels that redefine possibilities.
1. Bixby Bridge, California
Both postcard staples, the Bixby Bridge along the Pacific Coast Highway and the Golden Gate Bridge framing San Francisco Bay, draw awe for their epic scales and unbelievable engineering. Bixby spans a 260-foot gorge as the golden “Gateway to the Pacific” connects two iconic cities.
2. Columbia Icefield Skywalk, Canada
Canada’s Columbia Icefield Skywalk Dangles Daredevils Above a Canyon A sparkling walkway of glass juts 330 feet out into the air from Alberta’s Jasper National Park, dangling thrillseekers over a glacier-fed canyon. Visible for miles against the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, the skywalk realizes seemingly impossible visions.
3. Nanpu Bridge, China
Shanghai’s Nanpu Bridge Crafts a Record-Setting Spiral The enormous Nanpu Bridge seeks to minimize its footprint in bustling Shanghai via a 5.5-mile spiraling circular ramp crossing the Huangpu River. As the longest bridge of its kind, Nanpu still maintains graceful arcs visible from miles away.
4. Viaduc de Millau, France
France’s Viaduc de Millau Sets the Record for the Highest Bridge Height
The maximally minimalist Millau Viaduct, at 1,125 feet when opened in 2004, still holds records as the tallest vehicular bridge ever built. France now boasts a structure that fully utilizes the possibilities of modern design to eclipse even the Eiffel Tower next door.
5. Seri Wawasan Bridge, Malaysia
Malaysian Wawasan Bridge Resembles Sails Unfurling on the Water Inspired by majestic sails, the uniquely striking Seri Wawasan Bridge features a single pylon leaning 15 degrees out over the water. Cables extending down suspend the bridge deck itself like fabric catching the wind, creating an eye-catching optical illusion.
6. Pont du Gard, France
The ancient Roman aqueduct is still standing tall in southern France.
A testament to pioneering Roman engineers, the Pont du Gard supplied water to the Roman settlement of Nemausus (Nîmes) for 400+ years with its three stacked tiers rising 160 feet over the river. The 49 BC structure remains the highest-standing Roman aqueduct and a sight of unbelievable longevity.
7. Khaju Bridge, Iran
An icon of exquisite Persian design, the Khaju Bridge spans the Zayandeh River in Isfahan, Iran, both beautifully and pragmatically. Ornamented vividly with ceramic painting and tiles, its pavilion-style platforms have long served as a dam, providing for stunning royal gardens nearby since 1650.
8. Sunniberg Bridge, Switzerland
The award-winning Sunniberg Bridge reaches impressive heights while remaining remarkably understated along Switzerland’s Klosters-Serneus route. Designed explicitly to complement the natural landscape through materiality and slim profiles, Sunniberg is a global standout for contextual mastery.
9. Devil’s Bridge, Germany
According to legend, only a pact with the devil himself could explain the architectural anomaly of this picturesque stone bridge spanning Germany’s Rhodope River. Perfectly round, the reflection in the water amazingly forms a full circle, leading many to believe magic assisted its medieval construction.
10. Brooklyn Bridge, New York
A global icon instantly recognizable the world over, the 1883 Brooklyn Bridge remarkably still ferries thousands upon thousands of commuters and visitors between boroughs daily, over 130 years later. As one of America’s oldest suspension bridges, its cultural relevance now matches its structural relevance.
11. Henderson Waves Bridge, Singapore
Unlike convention structures built simply to conquer nature, Singapore’s 120-foot-tall Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge was designed to harmonize with it via its lush greenery, wooden decking, and sheltering curved steel “ribs.” The scenic spot draws locals and visitors alike to its verdant heights.
12. Charles Bridge, Czech Republic
Prague’s 14th-century Charles Bridge Anchors the Historic City Millions of people still visit the pedestrian-only Charles Bridge each year in search of the unbeatable views of Prague Castle and the charming Malá Strana beyond its 30 religious statues and fortification towers on either end. Having anchored the city for over 600 years, tales of war and supernatural events swirl around it.
13. Golden Gate Bridge, California
The “Wonder of the Modern World” spans San Francisco Bay. Upon its 1937 completion, the iconic orange Golden Gate Bridge was rightly hailed for both its record 1.7-mile span and graceful suspension design. Now synonymous with its namesake bay, it set new standards for possibilities in engineering that still astound today as a modern wonder.
14. Tower Bridge, London
Neo-Gothic styling sends Tower Bridge back to a distant era despite relying on thoroughly modern hydraulics to complete its duties across the Thames River. The famous London bascule bridge still operates almost daily, welcoming pedestrians to unparalleled city views from its high-level walkways since 1894.
15. Rialto Bridge, Venice
The oldest crossing over Venice’s Grand Canal, the iconic Rialto Bridge, dates back to the late 16th century, replacing earlier wooden versions. One glimpse of its grandiose white stone arches and vibrant shops peeking out from either side reveals why Rialto remains a city showpiece, attracting millions annually.
16. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
Though officially named Sydney Harbour Bridge, residents found the enormously thick steel arch much more resembled a coat hanger, hence the cheekier nickname. But no matter its moniker, the Aussie icon built in 1932 still hosts both multitudes of cars and adventurous bridge climbers exploring its heights daily.
17. Golden Bridge, Vietnam
Inaugurated in 2018 in Ba Na Hills, the pedestrian Golden Bridge centers around its showstopping concrete supports sculpted into two huge outstretched hands. This clever architectural construct both easily supports the walkway and forms memorable new possibilities in structural supports.
18. Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, Brazil
The asymmetrical JK Bridge cuts a landmark path across Lake Paraná in Brasilia, striking a balance between art and engineering across over 4,000 feet. With curves inspired by ricocheting stones, the bridge soaring 66 feet over the water has earned global praise for its creativity.
19. Root Bridges, India
A one-of-a-kind village solution for crossing the dense rivers of India’s Cherrapunji region, living root bridges utilize the roots of old rubber trees intertwined naturally over centuries. Eleven living bridges organically strengthen annually while drawing adventurers to the one-of-a-kind attractions promising exploration.
Arizona’s Navajo Bridges Doubles Options for Crossing the Mighty Colorado Massive steel vehicle bridges rarely coexist peacefully with relics of the past. Yet when a new bridge arrived at Marble Canyon, spanning the powerful Colorado River, Arizona kept its original 1929 Navajo Bridge intact. Now a second chance at life ferries hikers and bikers enjoying the view.