The majority of bridges are relatively commonplace and utilitarian, but some rise above the rest. From feats of impressive engineering to creative designs, there are some bridges that draw thousands, even millions, of tourists each year. Of course, everyone is familiar with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Still, there are many less well-known but equally fascinating bridges to visit on your next trip.
Here are 10 of the most unusual bridges from around the world that you need to visit.
10 The Moses Bridge, the Netherlands
Most bridges chart a course over the water or space they are crossing, but the Moses Bridge in the Netherlands cuts directly through the water instead. The bridge provides access to Fort de Roovere, the largest fort on the West Brabant Line, a defensive line that used moats to deter attackers. A restoration project required a bridge to be built across the moat, but this was not advised as it would have ruined the site’s appearance.
The solution was to create a bridge that cuts through the water like a trench, rather than crossing over it, thus being less visually disruptive while still allowing people access. Built in 2010, the bridge was originally called Loopgraafbrug but is now known as the Moses Bridge because it appears to part the water like the biblical prophet Moses. Although the waterline sometimes looks precarious, the height of the water is controlled by dams, so the sunken bridge cannot be flooded.
9 The Golden Bridge, Vietnam
The Golden Bridge in Vietnam is designed to look like it is being held up by two giant stone hands. The weathered hands, which dwarf the pedestrians using the bridge, look as though they have been standing for centuries, but in reality they are made of wire mesh and fiberglass and have only been in place since 2018. The bridge offers a vista of the mountainous terrain below, but it is itself an impressive sight.
Located in the Bà Nà Hills resort near Da Nang City, the bridge links the gardens to a cable car station. The cable car currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest non-stop single-track, stretching across 19,000 feet (5,791 meters). The Golden Bridge may not hold any records, but it is an to the resort, which Forbes describes as “a cross between Disney’s Epcot, a French ski resort, and a Buddhist mountain retreat.”
8 Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world’s oceans, and despite its huge size, there is actually a bridge that crosses it. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was first put up in 1755 to allow fishermen to cross from mainland Northern Ireland to a small offshore island. Spanning a 98-foot (30-meter) deep and 65-foot (20-meter) wide chasm, the bridge might not cross a particularly large portion of the ocean, but it does technically cross it.
A more modern bridge now spans the gap, enabling tourists to say they have walked over the Atlantic. Carrick-a-Rede isn’t the only bridge with such a claim, though;on the west coast of Scotland achieves the same feat but over a shorter distance. The small arched bridge crosses a narrow channel, both ends of which connect to the Atlantic.
7 The Euro Banknote Bridges, the Netherlands
Euro banknotes feature images of fictional bridges instead of real ones in order to not unfairly prioritize certain countries. However, Robin Stam thought, “it would be amazing if thesesuddenly turn out to actually exist in real life.” He reached out to the city council of Spijkenisse, where he was born, and “before I knew it, there was a whole team working on my idea.”
Between 2011 and 2013, the bridges were made a reality in Spijkenisse. Each of the seven banknotes, which symbolize the cooperation between European countries, depicts a different style of architecture. For instance, €20 is Gothic, and €50 is Renaissance. The real bridges are smaller than the art denoted on the banknote, but they are brightly colored to match their respective notes. Five of the bridges were built using colored concrete, and the remaining two used steel.
6 Banpo Bridge Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, South Korea
is the upper half of a 3,740-foot (1,140-meter) double-decker bridge, sitting atop Jamsu Bridge, which crosses the Han River in Seoul, South Korea. In 2008, fountains were installed along both sides of Banpo Bridge, earning it the Guinness World Record for the longest bridge fountain in the world. Amazingly, 380 nozzles line the sides of the bridge, shooting out 60 tons (54 tonnes) of water every minute.
During the day, the water cascades down in different elegant patterns, but it is best seen at night. LED lights illuminate the water jets in rainbow colors, and the movements are synchronized to music. As Banpo Bridge is suspended above Jamsu Bridge, spectators can even stand on the lower bridge to view the 20-minute show from below.
5 Kinzua Bridge, USA
Most bridges do not offer a view of what they will look like when they are destroyed, but that’s exactly what thein Pennsylvania does. For a short period of time, it was the longest and tallest railroad bridge in the world, clocking in at 2,053 feet (626 meters) long and 301 feet (92 meters) high. In 2003 restoration work was being done on the structure when it was partially destroyed by a tornado.
It was determined that rebuilding the bridge would be too expensive, so instead, the remaining structure was converted into a pedestrian walkway that opened in 2011. Six of the still-standing support towers were used in the construction. Although the bridge no longer crosses the gorge, it does lead to a platform from which people can take in the chilling view of the eleven destroyed towers which were blown down and remain twisted at the bottom of the valley.
4 The Bastei Bridge, Germany
The Bastei is a spectacular 636-foot (194-meter) tall jagged rock formation that looms over the Elbe River in Germany. Neurathen Castle used to sit on top of the natural towers until it was burned down in 1484. Although no longer home to a fortress, crowds still visit in droves to see the impressive rocks. In the early 1800s, a wooden bridge was built to link the pillars, and around 1850, it was upgraded to thethat still stands today.
Walking the bridge provides a close-up look at the pillars as well as a sweeping panorama of the surrounding mountains and valley below. The dramatic medieval-looking bridge is as much of a draw to the area as the sandstone towers themselves. The view of the bridge nestled between the pillars looks like something straight out of The Lord of the Rings.
3 Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia
Las Lajas Sanctuary is a Gothic revival-style church that sits across a gorge in Colombia. The building juts out from one side of the canyon, 330 feet (100 meters) up from the bottom, and is connected to the other side by a 160-foot (49-meter) long bridge spanning the Guáitara River. The current church was built between 1916 and 1949, but a less grand shrine existed before then due to the location supposedly being the site of a miracle.
Local legend has it that in 1754, a woman and her deaf-mute daughter sought shelter from a storm in a cave and witnessed the appearance of the Virgin Mary, after which the child could speak and talk. People began making pilgrimages to the cave to ask for miracles, and at some point, an image of Mary supposedly appeared on a slab of stone. This stone is now part of the altar inside the impressive church.
2 The Tianjin Eye on Yongle Bridge, China
The Tianjin Eye in China is unusual compared to other Ferris wheels because it is the only one to be suspended over a river, specifically the Hai River. It stands 394 feet (120 meters) tall, meaning it is dwarfed by thein the United Arab Emirates, which stands at a staggering 820 feet (250 meters) and is currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. However, no other observation wheel is attached to a bridge, making the Tianjin Eye and Yongle Bridge unique.
The wheel opened to the public in 2008 and can accommodate 384 riders at one time in its 48 compartments, taking 30 minutes to complete a rotation. It is attached to the bridge via visually dramatic tri-pronged struts. At night it is lit up with colorful neon lights, making it an impressive sight for pedestrians crossing the bridge below.
1 Living Root Bridges, India
A living root bridge is a suspension bridge formed from the living roots of trees, usually rubber trees. These living bridges are particularly common in the Indian state of Meghalaya, where the dense jungle means that building roads and bridges from common materials like concrete and steel is impractical. More than 100 living bridges have been formed in the province to enable tribal communities to cross the many rivers in the area.
The living bridges are formed by stretching bamboo across the river and then teasing the aerial roots into position. As the trees continue to grow over the years, the bridges become stronger and can accommodate more people crossing. They are currently on Unesco’s tentative list forbecause they demonstrate “a distinct ethno-botanical journey rooted in profound culture-nature reciprocity and synthesis.”