The majority of bridges are relatively mundane and utilitarian, but some rise above the rest. From impressive engineering feats to creative designs, some bridges attract thousands, if not millions, of tourists every year. Of course, everyone knows the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Still, there are plenty of lesser-known but equally fascinating bridges to visit on your next trip.
Here are 10 of the most unusual bridges around the world that you must visit.
Related: 10 terrifying bridges you won’t want to cross
ten The Moses Bridge, Netherlands
Most bridges trace a course over the water or space they cross, but the Moses Bridge in the Netherlands cuts directly through the water instead. The bridge provides access to Fort de Roovere, the largest fort in the West Brabant line, a defensive line that used moats to deter attackers. A restoration project required the construction of a bridge over the moat, but this was not advised as it would have ruined the appearance of the site.
The solution was to create a bridge that crosses the water like a trench, rather than crossing it, thus being less visually disruptive while allowing access to people. Built in 2010, the bridge was originally called Loopgraafbrug but is now known as the Bridge of Moses as it appears to part water like the biblical prophet Moses. Although the waterline sometimes seems 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’s being held by two giant stone hands. The weathered hands, which dwarf pedestrians using the bridge, appear to 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 views of the mountains land below, but that in itself is an awe-inspiring sight.
Located in the Bà Nà Hills resort near the city of Da Nang, the bridge connects the gardens to a cable car station. The cable car currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest non-stop single-lane cable car ride, spanning 19,000 feet (5,791 meters). The Golden Bridge may not hold any records, but it’s an impressive addition 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’s actually a bridge that crosses it. The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was first erected 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 may not cross a particularly large stretch of ocean, but it does technically cross it.
A more modern bridge now spans the breach, allowing tourists to say they crossed the Atlantic on foot. Carrick-a-Rede isn’t the only bridge with such a claim, however; Clachan Bridge on the west coast of Scotland achieves the same feat but over a shorter distance. The small arched bridge crosses a narrow channel, the two ends of which connect to the Atlantic.
seven Euro banknote decks, Netherlands
Euro banknotes feature images of fictional bridges instead of real bridges so as not to unfairly prioritize certain countries. However, thought Robin Stam, “it would be amazing if these fictional bridges suddenly turned out to exist in real life.” He contacted the town council of Spijkenisse, where he was born, and “before I knew it, a whole team was working on my idea”.
Between 2011 and 2013, bridges became a reality in Spijkenisse. Each of the seven banknotes, which symbolize cooperation between European countries, represents a different architectural style. For example, €20 is Gothic and €50 is Renaissance. The real bridges are smaller than the art shown on the banknote, but they are brightly colored to match their respective notes. Five of the bridges were constructed of colored concrete and the other two of steel.
6 Banpo Bridge Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, South Korea
The Banpo Bridge is the upper half of a 3,740-foot (1,140-meter) double-decker bridge, located atop the Jamsu Bridge, which crosses the Han River in Seoul, South Korea. In 2008, fountains were installed on both sides of the 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, spraying 60 tons (54 tons) of water every minute.
During the day, the water cascades in different elegant patterns, but is best seen at night. LED lights illuminate the rainbow-colored water jets and the movements are synchronized to the music. As the Banpo Bridge is suspended above the Jamsu Bridge, spectators can even stand on the lower deck to watch the 20-minute show from below.
5 Kinzua Bridge, USA
Most bridges don’t provide a view of what they will look like when they’re taken down, but that’s exactly what the Kinzua Bridge in Pennsylvania does. For a short time, it was the longest and tallest railway bridge in the world, measuring 2,053 feet (626 meters) long and 301 feet (92 meters) high. In 2003, restoration work was underway 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 which opened in 2011. Six of the still-standing support towers were used in the construction. Although the bridge no longer crosses the gorge, it leads to a platform from which one can admire the chilling view of the eleven destroyed towers that have been toppled and remain twisted at the bottom of the valley.
4 The Bastei Bridge, Germany
The Bastei is a spectacular jagged rock formation 636 feet (194 meters) high that towers over the Elbe in Germany. Neurathen Castle sat atop the natural towers until it was burnt down in 1484. Although it no longer houses a fortress, crowds continue to come in droves to see the impressive rocks. In the early 1800s a wooden bridge was built to connect the piers, and around 1850 it was upgraded to become the sandstone bridge that still exists today.
Walking across the bridge provides a close look at the pillars as well as a sweeping panorama of the surrounding mountains and valley below. The spectacular medieval-looking bridge attracts the area as much as the sandstone towers themselves. The view of the bridge nestled between the pillars looks like something straight out of it The Lord of the Rings.
3 Sanctuary of Las Lajas, Colombia
The Sanctuary of Las Lajas is a neo-Gothic style church that stands across a gorge in Colombia. The building juts out from one side of the canyon, 330 feet (100 meters) 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 smaller shrine previously existed due to the location believed to be the site of a miracle.
Local legend has it that in 1754 a woman and her deaf-mute daughter took refuge in a cave and witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary, after which the child was able to talk and talk. People began making pilgrimages to the grotto asking for miracles, and at one point an image of Mary is said to appear on a stone slab. This stone is now part of the altar inside the impressive church.
2 Tianjin Eye on Yongle Bridge, China
The Tianjin Eye in China is unusual compared to other ferris wheels because it is the only one suspended over a river, specifically the Hai River. It is 120 meters high, which means it is dwarfed by the Ain Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which rises to 250 meters and is currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. However, no other observation wheel is attached to a bridge, which makes the Tianjin Eye and Yongle Bridge unique.
The wheel opened to the public in 2008 and can accommodate 384 riders at a time in its 48 compartments, taking 30 minutes to spin. It is attached to the bridge via visually spectacular trifold struts. At night, it’s lit up with colorful neon lights, making it an awe-inspiring sight for pedestrians crossing the bridge below.
1 Living Roots 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 India’s Meghalaya state, where dense jungle means it’s impossible to build roads and bridges from common materials like concrete and steel. More than 100 living bridges have been formed in the province to allow tribal communities to cross the many rivers in the region.
Live bridges are formed by stretching the bamboo across the river, then teasing the aerial roots into position. As the trees grow over the years, the bridges become stronger and can accommodate more people crossing. They are currently on Unesco’s tentative list for World Heritage Site status because they demonstrate “a distinct ethno-botanical journey rooted in deep culture-nature reciprocity and synthesis”.