15 of the world's most epic bridges
Just because they connect A to B doesn't mean bridges have to be boring. Seriously, sit back and admire these views...
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, opened in 1937
Bridges bring us together. From the Roman Empire to contemporary construction, bridges have provided the perfect opportunity for a society to flex its collective muscles and show just how adept it can be at connecting its citizens with the greater world.
Many designers and architects have blazed their name in the firmament creating a bridge that blends in seamlessly with its environment, or alternatively, expresses something greater than the sum of its parts and makes us reconsider just what comprises a bridge’s ‘bridginess’.
We’ve compiled a gallery of the bridges that really butter our bread. Get ready for some of the most spectacular, stunning viaducts on the planet, from locations as far-flung as Uluwatu in Indonesia, Langkawi in Malaysia, Isfahan in Iran’ and, er, Wrexham, Wales and Des Moines, Iowa.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
Connecting the islet of Gaztelugatxe (Castle Rock in English) to mainland Spain, this outrageously windy bridge over the encroaching Bay of Biscay looks more like something out of Game of Thrones than something that actually exists – probably because it was the filming location for Dragonstone in the show's seventh series.
When you spend 34 years painstakingly building a bridge like 18th-century architect José Martín de Aldehuela did, you'd better hope it comes with a waterfall, improbably gorgeous arches and a prison chamber with an opening above a 98-metre chasm.
When is a bridge not a bridge? We'd wager when it parts the water either side of it, and lets hikers, runners and cyclists who want to cross it enjoy a view of the water at eye level. Thank god (or should we say, Moses) for Dutch design.
Bixby Creek Bridge
Big Sur, CA, USA
OK, so this bridge might not exactly break the mould with its design, but as far as integration into a staggering natural landscape goes, it's just about the most iconic out there. Sadly, in March 2017, heavy winter storms meant the bridge had to be closed for repairs, cutting off Big Sur from the rest of California.
Weekends on canal barges have long gone down in family holiday and stag do folklore, and for that reason the 307m-long Ponycysyllte Aqueduct in north Wales is worthy of a mention. Imagine waking up with a stinking hangover to find your mates have accidentally navigated you 38m above the Welsh countryside. Pure bants.
High Trestle Trail Bridge
Des Moines River Valley, IA, USA
Running roughly half a mile through the Des Moines River Valley in Iowa, the High Trestle Trail bridge was designed to look like the view down a mine shaft as an homage to the region's heritage. It also glows blue every night, which makes it look like a scene from Tron – very cool indeed.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
Offering epic views out across the shimmering blue Strait of Malacca, the Langkawi Sky Bridge dangles a knee-trembling 660m above sea level, right next to the forest-covered peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang. And if that's not enough, it's also curvy, which gives it bonus points.
Đurđevića Tara Bridge
Not content with having built the one-time largest suspension bridge in Europe, the people of Montenegro decided it was probably wise to build Europe's biggest zipline next to it, so adrenaline junkies could fly by and soak up the view. Until this one in Wales trumped it, that is.
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA, USA
Yep, it's probably the biggest shoo-in in the entire world of bridges, but the Golden Gate bridge – which spans 1,280m across San Francisco Bay – is a classic. It was painted rusty orange to make the bridge sympathetic to the surrounding landscape, but also to stop stuff crashing into it. Double win.
Pont du Gard
Just a short snip of the 31-mile Nimes Aqueduct system built by the Romans in the first century AD, the Pont du Gard has been an attraction for tourists and wannabe stonemasons for hundreds of years. And why not? It's got three stories, 52 arches and one beautiful portion of river running underneath it.
Want proof that the hulking mass of concrete and cabling that is the Millau Viaduct in southern France is one of most epic drives in Europe? One of its pylons is actually taller than the Eiffel Tower. Just let that sink in.
New York, NY, USA
Another one that falls under the umbrella of the world's most iconic bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge has connected the brownstones and (more recently) chia seed brownies to Manhattan since 1883. Plus it's in all the movies.
Built in 2001, this red pedestrian bridge in the Dutch capital's docklands area has been rearing its wavy head to the delight of architecture lovers (and to the beguilement of runners) ever since. Grippy, cross-fitted wires help you keep your footing over the undulating walkway, and you're pretty likely to see people diving nine metres into the water if you visit on a summer day.
Famous for its on-bridge shops and tourist hordes, the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge in Italian) was the only crossing of the Arno not to be destroyed by the German army as they retreated in the Second World War – apparently on direct orders from Hitler himself.
Allahverdi Khan Bridge
Also known as Si-o-seh-pol, this 300m bridge is the longest on the Zayanderud. Constructed in 1599 from two sets of 33 superimposed arches, it's the world's best example of bridge design from Iran's Safavid dynasty. We just like the repetitive symmetry and endless reflections.