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Bridges are often an important part of a city’s architecture and infrastructure. Although designed to functionally connect two land masses separated by water, bridges also connect people, make transportation easier, and pave the way for communities to thrive. Beyond being incredible engineering feats, bridges are also beautiful and picturesque. Some of the most beautiful bridges in the world are found in Europe. That should come as no surprise considering many cities in Europe have maintained their original charm and historical architecture. Their bridges are no different.
In fact, there are so many European bridges that are both lovely and functional. However, some stand out above the rest. Here are 25 of the most famous bridges in Europe. Each one is so uniquely beautiful. You’ll want to add them all to your European bucket list!
Famous bridges in Europe to add to your bucket list
From small pedestrian bridges to large, modern monuments, these famous bridges in Europe are known for their beauty, unique design, and engineering accomplishments.
Chapel Bridge – Lucerne, Switzerland
Found in the quaint Swiss village of Lucerne, Chapel Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Europe. It is also one of the most beautiful and most photographed. This covered, wooden footbridge spans across the Reuss river in Switzerland. Draped with flowers and illuminated at night, this medieval bridge is one of the oldest wooden bridges on the continent.
Under the roof of Chapel Bridge, old paintings still adorn the eaves. Parts of the bridge were destroyed in a devastating fire in 1993. But the famous landmark was restored to its original glory and still stands as Switzerland’s most popular tourist attraction.
Stari Most – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Emily | Wander-Lush
Mostar’s Stari Most, the ‘Old Bridge’, is a symbol of Bosnia and Herzegovina and absolutely one of the most iconic bridges in Europe. It’s not only the distinctive hemispheric shape that makes this stone bridge famous, but also its history.
Stari Most was constructed in the 16th century when this part of Europe was under Ottoman rule. It stood for almost 450 years. In 1993, the bridge was destroyed by artillery fire during the Croat-Bosniak War. The collapse of the bridge – which was caught on video – became a motif for the carnage and devastation of the Balkan Wars. When reconstruction work finished in 2004 and the bridge reopened to pedestrians, Stari Most rose again as an emblem for a new Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Today, the bridge is a must-see for any traveler to the region. Mostar can be visited as a day trip from neighboring Croatia, but it’s well worth spending a few nights in the small city to explore the charming streets and perhaps see one of Mostar’s famous bridge divers throw themselves from the apex into the river below. In summer, Mostar hosts the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, and a series of professional divers take the plunge.
Stari Most can be viewed from any of the cafes and restaurants that dot the Neretva river, but the best panorama is from the top of the Mehmed Pasha Mosque minaret.
Ha’penny Bridge – Dublin, Ireland
Faith | XYU and Beyond
The iconic Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin is nicknamed from the original toll of one Ha’penny that it cost to cross when it was built. When built, it was to be called the Wellington Bridge but actually it has had a few names, and even now the official name is the Liffey Bridge.
The charmingly curved Ha’Penny Bridge is made of cast iron and freshly painted off white, which is its original color, every year. The three-arched ornate ribs that span the bridge include the original gas lamps.
By 2001, there were over 27,000 pedestrians crossing the bridge daily. It was determined that the structure needed renovation. The restoration took one year. The famous Harland and Wolff, who built the Titanic, did the repair work. The Ha’penny was the first iron bridge across the Liffey built in 1816. Until the Millennium Bridge opened in 1999 this was the only pedestrian bridge across the river.
The bridge had not been spared from the dreaded locks that have plagued bridges around the world causing a great deal of damage. No lovelocks are allowed on the bridge. Any placed on it are removed immediately. In 2012, the City of Dublin removed over 300kg of locks.
Charles Bridge – Prague, Czech Republic
The Charles Bridge is one of the most popular places to visit in Prague. The Gothic bridge connects Prague Castle and the city’s historic Old Town district. Named after King Charles IV, the bridge’s construction started in the mid-1300s and finished in the 15th century. Towers adorn each end of the pedestrian bridge, which crosses the Vltava River. Visitors can climb the towers to get a stunning view of Prague and to see the bridge from above.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the Charles Bridge are the 30 Baroque Statues that line the pedestrian walkway. Although not as quirky as many of the statues in Prague, the sculptures on the bridge add to its allure. In fact, it has become a tradition to touch the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, a martyr who was thrown from the bridge into the river. Touching the statue is said to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague someday.
Vendors and street performers set up along the bridge, making it a fun place to visit in Prague with kids.
Millau Viaduct – La Méridienne, France
Kat | Wandering Bird
One of the most famous bridges in Europe is the Millau Viaduct. Standing at an incredible 886 feet, it ranks number 15 in the list of highest bridges in the world and is a must for any French road trip.
This stunning structure was opened in 2004 and cost around €394 million to build. The bridge is in La Méridienne on the A75 motorway, which links Clermont-Ferrand with Béziers and Narbonne.
It crosses the Tarn valley and is close to Peyre, one of the 10 most beautiful villages in France. It really is an amazing, picturesque spot, especially when the clouds and fog roll in, making the large metal suspensions look like sails among the fog and clouds.
There is also a viewing area and a tourist information center on the motorway, perfect for learning more about the viaduct. Whilst you’re in the area, it is definitely worth visiting the gorges of Tarn that the viaduct rests in. It’s one of the most historical places in France, with old ruins, fortresses and churches, as well as more active activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and climbing – there’s something for everyone.
Pont-Neuf – Paris, France
Sarah | CosmopoliClan
Contrary to what its name suggests, Pont-Neuf (or New-Bridge) is actually the oldest bridge in the City of Lights. Paris’ most iconic bridge dates back to the late 16th century and was the first bridge made out of stone instead of wood. Almost 400 unique stone masks, representing divinities from forests and fields, adorn both sides of the bridge.
Pont-Neuf spans the Seine river and consists of 12 elegant arches divided over two sections that join at the tip of the Île de la Cité. This river island, the historical heart of Paris, is home to several important landmarks such as the Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciërgerie, and the Notre-Dame cathedral.
Apart from its status as one of Paris’ historical highlights, Pont-Neuf’s past is pretty colorful, too. In past times, the bridge was an important social hub for Parisians with merchants selling their goods, acrobats showing their tricks, and street performers looking for fame. In a more recent history, 1984 to be exact, sewer workers came face to face with an actual Nile crocodile under the Pont-Neuf. Don’t let this unusual fun fact stop you from making this legendary bridge part of your Paris itinerary.
Puente Nuevo – Ronda, Spain
The small Andalusian village of Ronda, Spain – just outside of Seville – is home to one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe. Puente Nuevo spans 393 feet across the top of El Tajo Gorge. The bridge was built in the 1700s and took more than three decades to complete. Dozens of people died during the construction of the bridge, which connects the two sides of the small, whitewashed village in Spain.
This beautiful European bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions in southern Spain. In fact, it’s the primary reason tens of thousands of people make the day trip to Ronda, Spain each year.
Tara Bridge – Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
Dhara | It’s Not About the Miles
The Tara Canyon Bridge is arguably the most well-known bridge in Montenegro, and visiting the historic bridge is one of the best things to do in Montenegro. Officially the Đurđevića Tara Bridge, the multi-arched concrete bridge is built over the Tara River in northern Montenegro.
The Tara Canyon, and the Tara Bridge, are part of Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge was first completed in 1940, but it was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt following the war.
The Tara Canyon is one of the deepest in the world, and standing on the bridge looking down into its depths is a fabulous feeling! The river is a surreal aquamarine color, and you can watch people rafting it, far below.
The bridge is open to vehicular traffic, but raised footpaths on both sides allow you to walk its length, so you can admire the views and take photos. Zip-lining is also offered in the area, and if you want to taste rakia, the local moonshine, vendors sell it, along with other local products, at the bridge.
Glenfinnan Viaduct – Scotland
Daniela | Grumpy Camel
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the most iconic places in Scotland, mostly thanks to its appearance in the Harry Potter films.
Built in the late 1800s, this railway viaduct stands at 100 feet above the ground and cuts through the lush green landscape of Glenfinnan. The viaduct sits atop Loch Shiel in the West Highlands, overlooking the Glenfinnan Monument; a location that is steeped in historic significance. It was here that the rebel royal Prince Charles Edward Stuart (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie), raised his father’s standard, marking the start of the 1745 Jacobite Rising – a campaign to overthrow the Hanoverian Dynasty which ruled Britain at the time.
In the Harry Potter film series, shots of the Hogwarts Express were filmed in Glenfinnan. If you’re visiting Scotland in summer, you can pretend you’re on your way to Hogwarts by riding the traditional Jacobite steam train, which travels along the Glenfinnan Viaduct to Fort William and Mallaig.
Dom Luis I Bridge – Porto, Portugal
Jordan | Inspired by Maps
One of the most iconic bridges in the world has to be the magnificent Dom Luis I Bridge that gracefully connects the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia across the River Douro in Portugal.
A glorious double-deck metal arch construct, which, when completed in 1886, was the longest bridge of its type in the world. While six bridges cross the river in Porto – and each is an unforgettable landmark in its own right – the Dom Luis I Bridge is the most utilized and photographed. Interestingly, it passes more than a cursory resemblance of the Dona Maria Pia bridge (about one kilometer upstream) as both consist of grand ironwork frameworks with an arch design.
As it happens, the Dona Maria Pia bridge was completed 9 years prior by Gustave Eiffel of Paris tower fame while the Dom Luis I Bridge designer was Téophile Seyrig, who had partnered with Eiffel’s on the previous bridge.
Turns out, he just wanted to step up and show what he could achieve on his own. And what an achievement it is!
It is impossible not to be spell-bound by the breath-taking beauty of the Dom Luis I Bridge – particularly at sunset when crowds flock to its upper deck for glorious views all around. Even better? In 2003 the upper decks were closed to traffic, so now pedestrians only need to look out for the odd tram while wandering around and enjoying this famous European bridge.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge – Budapest, Hungary
Anjali | Travel Melodies
One of the most famous landmarks of Budapest, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, often tops the list of the most famous bridges in Europe. Visiting the historic Chain Bridge with the Hungarian Parliament all lit up on the edge of the river is a perfect introduction to Budapest! It absolutely is one of the best things to do in Budapest, Hungary.
Commissioned by Count István Széchenyi, and designed by William Tierney Clark, this beautiful suspension bridge spans the mighty Danube connecting the two sides of Budapest – Buda and Pest. Out of 8 bridges over the Danube, Chain Bridge is the most notable as it happens to be the first permanent stone bridge in Budapest across the river Danube.
No matter what time of the day or year, the bridge looks stunning. It remains your constant companion as you explore Budapest – you can admire it while enjoying the panoramic views over the Pest side from Castle Hill, while taking a cruise over the Danube, or while walking across the bridge from Buda to Pest.
As per locals, the sculptor, Marschalko János, who carved the two stone lion statues on the bridgeheads, on realizing that he missed carving out the lions’ tongues, jumped to death off the Chain Bridge into the Danube.
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, United Kingdom
Suzy | Suzy Stories
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the UK’s most famous bridges. Located in Bristol, South West England, it spans the Avon Gorge 101m (331 feet) over the River Avon.
The bridge was originally designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, with construction starting in 1831 and ending in 1864 – 5 years after Brunel died! It’s now a Grade-I listed building in the UK and remains an active toll and foot bridge.
At night, the bridge is illuminated and creates the most dazzling scene, best viewed from the Avon Gorge Hotel. In the daytime, the view from Clifton Observatory offers a landscape that stretches over the gorge to Leigh Woods. For a really unique experience, head over to the observatory during the Bristol Balloon Fiesta where over 150 hot air balloons will glide over the bridge from Ashton Court Estate.
In 2014, the bridge celebrated its 150th anniversary since opening. At the ceremony, an outstanding fireworks display delighted audiences. The event was even opened by a young lad who was BORN on the bridge in 2006. His middle name? Brunel.
Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in this part of England. Its story and the enduring symbol of perseverance it represents closely mirrors that of the local people of Bristol, who remain proud of this historical landmark.
Bridge of Sighs – Venice, Italy
The Bridge of Sighs was once an enclosed pedestrian bridge used to transport prisoners to jail. Supposedly, the last view convicts had prior to imprisonment was through the small square windows on the bridge. This prompted sighs of grief from prisoners upon seeing freedom for the final time. Hence the name the Bridge of Sighs.
Nowadays, the bridge is a popular tourist draw in the city built on water. A visit to the Bridge of Sighs is one of the most popular things to do in Venice, Italy. There is even an old legend that if lovers kiss underneath the bridge at sunset while riding in a gondola, they will be granted eternal love and bliss.
Roman Bridge – Cordoba, Spain
Joanna | The World in My Pocket
The Roman Bridge in Cordoba is probably one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. Built in the 1st century by the Romans, the bridge was built in stone to replace an older wooden bridge crossing the Guadalquivir river. The bridge was very important because this was the route that connected Rome with Cadiz.
Over the years the bridge has been reconstructed many times. The most significant time was in the 8th century, when the bridge was renovated completely by the Moors. Back then the bridge was given the shape that we can see today, but instead of 16, there were 17 arches.
From the old bridge, the only original elements that remain today are the arches 15 and 16. At the end of the bridge there is a tower which was built in the 13th century as part of the city’s defense wall. Whilst today it is a tower, back then it was the main gate to Cordoba.
The Roman Bridge is one of the main attractions in the city and should be crossed at least once during a visit to Cordoba.
ALSO READ: HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN CORDOBA.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Katy | Untold Italy
When you think of Florence, you immediately recall the Ponte Vecchio. This world famous bridge spanning the River Arno is one of the enduring symbols of the city thanks to the Tuscan-hued shuttered buildings facing out over the water. Though there has been a bridge on the current site since Roman times, the current stone structure was built in 1345.
Historically, merchants have always occupied the buildings on the bridge but in the 16th century, Florence’s ruling Medici family decreed that they should only house gold and silver merchants. You will only find jewelers there to this day. But, perhaps the Medici’s most important legacy on the Ponte Vecchio was the construction of the Vasari Corridor above the bridge.
This private passageway links the Uffizi Gallery and the old town to the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno. These days, the corridor is closed, though it is said to be reopening in 2021. Meanwhile, you can still stroll along the cobbled Ponte Vecchio and gaze down the Arno through its segmental arches and that is one of the most charming things to do in Florence.
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge – Višegrad, Bosnia
Stephanie | Sofia Adventures
Bosnia is home to one of the most famous European bridges, the Stari Most in Mostar. But that’s not the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bosnia that’s a bridge! While less famous than its Mostar counterpart, the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad is both a UNESCO site as well as the subject of a Nobel prize-winning novel. That’s a lot of acclaim for a country’s second most-famous bridge!
The novel in question, The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić, tells the history of this bridge from the Ottoman Empire and through the years. You see how the bridge came to be and how its presence shapes the people of the town.
Visegrad is a bit off-the-beaten-path for Bosnia. It is located in the Republic of Srpska, the autonomous region comprised mostly of Ethnic Serbians who live in Bosnia. Photos, paintings, and postcards of the bridge are very popular Bosnia souvenirs, and you can find them all over the town.
Ponte 25 de Abril – Lisbon, Portugal
One of the most notable landmarks in Portugal, Ponte 25 de Abril spans the River Tagus at its narrowest point in Lisbon. The suspension bridge greatly resembles the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. In fact, the same company built both bridges. Ponte 25 de Abril connects Lisbon with the suburb of Almada and Costa da Caparica, one of the more popular day trips from Lisbon.
Although originally built in the 1960s, it was expanded in the 1990s to accommodate an increasing number of commuters. The two-tiered bridge has one level for cars and a second lower level for trains. It is the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and viewing it should be on any Lisbon itinerary.
Erasmus Bridge – Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Lara | Both Feet on the Road
One of the most iconic bridges in The Netherlands is the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam (about an hour away from Amsterdam).
The Erasmus Bridge is the second largest bridge in the Netherlands. The bridge crosses the Nieuwe Maas to connect the center of Rotterdam to the north. It’s 800 meters long (2625 feet) and 139 meters tall (456 feet). But what makes it such an iconic bridge is the elegant architecture and white style that resulted in the bridge’s nickname: The Swan.
When visiting Rotterdam, a visit to the Swan has to be included. The Erasmus bBridge is such an iconic landmark of Rotterdam, that it’s even included in the city’s logo.
The Swan was designed by Ben van Berkel and construction finished in 1996. The Erasmus Bridge is named after the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. One of the greatest scholars from around 1500 of the area. He also lends his name to the University of Rotterdam, The Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The neighborhoods of both ends of the Swan are worth a visit, so the best way to view the bridge is to cross it when you walk from the historic Delfshaven to the kop of South, or when taking a boat tour on the Nieuwe Maas. For an amazing areal view of the Rotterdam harbor and the Erasmus Bridge, head to the Euromast restaurant to dine with a view!
Queensferry Crossing – Edinburgh, Scotland
Gemma | Everything Edinburgh
One of the most recognized images of Scotland has to be the UNESCO World Heritage, Forth Bridge. This iconic red rail bridge launched in 1890 connects the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh and the Kingdom of Fife. However, today, it does not sit over the Firth of Forth alone. There are two other Forth Bridges which start at South Queensferry (Edinburgh) and end in North Queensferry (Fife).
The newest of the three bridges is called the Queensferry Crossing. In 2017, this car-only bridge was unveiled to the public. Scots applied for a lottery-style entry to see if they were the lucky ones chosen to walk across the Queensferry Crossing.
The UK Queen opened the bridge by cutting a ribbon, a poem was dedicated to the bridge, and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, read a speech.
At 1.7 miles, this elegant bridge is the longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge in the world. It is also the tallest bridge in the UK.
At night, its structure lights up and resembles angel wings in the dark.
The second to be built was the Forth Road Bridge in 1964. Less attractive in looks but popular due to its public pathway which allows locals and visitors to walk from Edinburgh to Fife. This is a recommended free thing to do with kids in Edinburgh. This bridge was previously used by cars but is now the route that public buses take.
The oldest bridge, the Forth Bridge, was the first ‘major steel structure’ to be built in the world.
Ponte Sant’Angelo – Rome, Italy
Widely considered the most beautiful bridge in Rome, Ponte Sant’ Angelo dates back to 134 AD. The 5-arch marble bridge crosses the Tiber river. Serving as a gateway from Rome to Vatican City, the bridge is lined with statues of angels. The statues give it the name “Bridge of Angels”. Each of the 10 angels along the bridge depict a portion of the story of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death.
Castel Sant’Angelo sits at the north end of the bridge. The cylinder-shaped castle and mausoleum has been converted into a museum. The museum now houses five floors of art and antique furniture that you can tour.
Tower Bridge – London, United Kingdom
Anisa | Two Traveling Texans
Tower Bridge is one of the iconic symbols of London. Located next to the Tower of London, it is a bascule bridge across the Thames that opened in 1894. It’s often mistakenly called London Bridge, which is a more simple bridge just to the west. To get the best photo of Tower Bridge, stand in front of the Tower Hotel by the dolphin statue.
Anyone can simply walk across the lower level of the bridge, but with a paid admission you can see more.
You can go inside the towers, walk across the upper level (with a glass floor), see the old engine room, and more. Check the website and time your visit for when the bridge is scheduled to be up. There is an option to get a combined ticket to also climb the Monument which will save money. They also offer special behind-the-scenes tours.
Rialto Bridge – Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy is a city of bridges. So, it is no surprise that Venice would be home to at least a couple of the most famous bridges in Europe. The Rialto Bridge extends across the Grand Canal of Venice connecting the two sides of the island city. Constructed in the 16th century, it is the oldest of the four bridges in Venice that cross the Grand Canal. Located in the heart of Venice, the bridge is a main stop for water taxis and water buses.
From the top of the bridge, you get a stunning panoramic view of the Grand Canal. For this reason, it is a popular photo spot for visitors to Venice. The bridge’s unique architecture is aesthetically beautiful and is best photographed from the water.
Forth Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
Amanda | A Dangerous Business Travel Blog
When it comes to bridges in Scotland, the most iconic is definitely the Forth Bridge (also sometimes called the Forth Rail Bridge) in South Queensferry, not far from the capital city of Edinburgh. This big red-orange bridge carries trains across the Firth of Forth between the towns of South Queensferry and North Queensferry.
When the bridge opened in 1890, it was the longest single cantilever bridge in the world at 8,094 feet – and today it still remains one of the longest. The Forth Bridge is the oldest of three bridges that currently span the Firth of Forth and is historic enough to have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. It has also become one of Scotland’s major landmarks.
You can see the Forth Bridge very well from South Queensferry, which you can easily reach from central Edinburgh by car, bus, or train. Visit the (free) Queensferry Museum for a dose of history alongside great views of the Firth of Forth and the Forth Bridge. And, if you’re taking a train north from Edinburgh, chances are your train will pass right over the famous bridge.
UFO Bridge – Bratislava, Slovakia
Darren and Lauren | Faramagan
Whether you’re visiting the picturesque castle or strolling by the river it is impossible to spend a day in Bratislava and not notice the impressive “UFO Bridge.” Since its opening in 1972 it is officially titled Most SNP which stands for Most Slovenského národného povstania. However, locals and tourists alike, refer to it as the UFO Bridge. As soon as you spot it, you will understand why!
As the 7th largest hanging bridge in the world, it is far more than just a road bridge over the Danube. It is in fact the world’s longest bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane and tourists from all over the world visit the Slovakian capital to dine in the clouds inside the bridge’s fine dining restaurant.
It is also the best location to admire panoramic views of Bratislava, thanks to the open air observation deck. From there you can photograph Bratislava castle, Parliament, Old Town and St. Martin Cathedral. It costs €11.90 to take the 45 second elevator up to the observation deck to enjoy the views, however if you’re dining in the restaurant there is no entry fee.
ALSO READ: ONE-DAY ITINERARY FOR BRATISLAVA.
Bridge of 15 Bridges- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Much like Venice, Italy, Amsterdam is a city of canals and thus has many bridges, so you can’t have a list of famous European bridges without mentioning Amsterdam. Exploring the picturesque bridges is a must on any Amsterdam itinerary. So, our final bridge in our top 25 most famous bridges in Europe is actually a collection of bridges known as the Bridge of 15 Bridges. Standing on the bridge gives you a view of at least 15 bridges crossing the canal.
Another honorable mention in Amsterdam is Torensluis. It is the oldest and the widest bridge in the city and was one part of a moat around Amsterdam. It’s unusual width once served an interesting purpose. There are several jail cells below the bridge that were once used to hold criminals! You can still see the barred windows and entrance to the dungeon on the side of the bridge.
Why you should visit these famous bridges in Europe
These beautiful European bridges are just as eye-catching as the scenery surrounding them. With so many famous bridges in Europe, it was a challenge to narrow the list down to just 25. While you can find beautiful bridges in Europe in just about any city or country you visit, those that made this list are guaranteed to leave you speechless.
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Have a question or comment about any of these famous bridges in Europe? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts or share your favorite European bridge in the comments below.