Have you crossed any of the top 11 iconic bridges around the world?

Bridges are an underrated piece of architecture. When people think of engineering marvels, they’re more likely to think of soaring skyscrapers, elaborate buildings, and historic churches. But famous bridges are just as impressive, if not more.

They’re used to get you where you need to go, and some are traversed by thousands of people each day. From striking American bridges to ancient Roman aqueducts, these structures are one of a kind.

It’s time to discover the most famous bridges and what makes them so unique.

1. Sydney Harbour Bridge

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic Australian landmark. Spanning the dazzling Sydney Harbour, it’s the picture postcard image of the city.

It was built from 1923 to 1932 and has an arch-based design that gave it the nickname “the coat hanger” with locals. You can drive or walk across the bridge any time of day. It’s open 24/7 and free of charge. You can also book a guided bridge climb for jaw-dropping panoramic views of the city.

2. Golden Gate Bridge

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The Golden Gate Bridge is synonymous with San Francisco. The suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate, the strait between San Francisco and Marin County in California. Construction lasted from 1933 to 1937.

The massive bright red-orange structure is considered the most photographed bridge in the world. You can admire it in several ways: on foot, on a bicycle, or if you want to see it from a different angle, take a Golden Gate Bay cruise.

3. Brooklyn Bridge

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There are lots of famous bridges in New York, but the Brooklyn Bridge is the most well-known.

It was built from 1869 to 1883 and is one of the United States’ oldest suspension bridges. Crossing over the East River, it links the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

You can walk, cycle, or stroll the Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway. You’ll be treated to incredible views of the city’s skyline. It’s suggested to go early in the morning to avoid the flocks of daytime tourists.

4. Bixby Creek Bridge

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Bixby Creek Bridge, also commonly called the Bixby Canyon Bridge, rests along the breathtaking Big Sur coastline in California. Due to its artistic design and dramatic surrounding scenery, it’s one of the most photographed bridges in the state.

This reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge opened in 1932. It’s set right next to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. If you want to get out of your car to admire this impressive structure and take pictures of it, there is parking on the ocean side at the north end of the bridge.

5. Vasco da Gama Bridge

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Vasco da Gama Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal. As of December 2022, it’s the longest bridge in Europe, running about 12 km. Construction of this very lengthy structure lasted from 1995 to 1998.

It’s named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who is believed to be the first European to travel to India via the Atlantic Ocean. He sailed there at the end of the 15th century.

There isn’t a pedestrian footpath or cycle lane on the bridge. The only way to travel across is by motor vehicle.

6. Ponte Vecchio

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Ponte Vecchio is a stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River in Florence, Italy. It has been standing since 1345 and was the only bridge in the city not destroyed or damaged during the Second World War.

The area around the bridge is famous for containing many high-end jewelry stores, art dealers, and souvenir shops. It’s an enchanting place to visit any time of day, but when the sunsets, it becomes even more magical.

7. Rialto Bridge

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Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges crossing the Grand Canal in Venice. The single-arched bridge has been standing since 1591. It connects the city center with the well-known Rialto Markets.

Whether you cross the bridge on foot or travel below it on a gondola ride, seeing this famous bridge is a must when visiting Venice. If you want to admire it without hordes of tourists, you’ll need to arrive early in the morning or late in the evening.

8. Stari Most Bridge

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You’ll appreciate this next famous bridge if you’re a history fan. Located in the city of Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the stunning Stari Most Bridge crosses over the Neretva River. The original structure dates back to the 16th century, but unfortunately, it was destroyed during the Bosnian war in 1993.

It was rebuilt and opened again in 2004. The new bridge showcased the previous structure’s original beauty and design. Walking across the bridge is a must when visiting Mostar. You’ll be treated to striking views of the sparkling blue river, and you might see locals diving off the bridge into the water.

9. Tower Bridge

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Out of all the famous bridges in London, Tower Bridge is probably the most iconic. It’s been a symbol of the city since it opened in 1894. The structure is a combined bascule and suspension bridge that stretches over the River Thames.

Pedestrians can walk across the lower walkway of the bridge for free. Or, for a fun experience,  there’s a glass walkway on the structure’s upper level you can cross for a birdseye view of the city. You’ll just need to purchase a ticket for this experience beforehand.

10. Glenfinnan Viaduct

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The Glenfinnan Viaduct is yet another bridge you might recognize from the Harry Potter film series. Set in the scenic Scottish Highlands, this railway viaduct was featured in several of the movies.

Most notably, it was shown in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s in the scene where Harry and Ron struggle to control the flying car, and the Hogwarts Express pulls up right behind them.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the longest concrete railway bridge in Scotland. It was built from 1897 to 1901 and overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the calm waters of Loch Shiel.

11. Millau Bridge

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Millau Bridge (also called Viaduc de Millau) is a famous French landmark that crosses over the Tarn River in the country’s south. It’s one of the tallest bridges in the world — standing at 343 metres. It showcases incredible achievements in European bridge building.

Construction lasted from 2001 to 2004. The end result was a sleek design, with eight notable steel box deck sections that span the length of the bridge.

If you want to visit, you must be in a car. It’s a motorway road bridge, and walking is strictly prohibited.

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Amanda O’Brien is the creator and editor of The Boutique Adventurer. She has visited 80 countries and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers as well as the IFTWTA. She is passionate about wine had has just completed Level 3 of the WSET. Born in Australia, she lives in London.