There’s something distinctively captivating about bridges. While they serve a simple purpose, connecting one place to another, they're often intricate and complicated displays of architectural talent. Whether you’re an architecture buff or just looking for iconic views, here are some of the world’s unique bridges.
Dragon Bridge - Da Nang, Vietnam
While Vietnam is home to many unique and scenic bridges, none are more famous than the Dragon Bridge. Snaking its way across the Han River in beautiful arches of canary yellow, the Dragon Bridge is synonymous with Da Nang. As a fairly new construction, built in 2009, the bridge coincides with Da Nang's recent influx of real estate investments and tourist infrastructure.
Its architectural finesse isn’t its only interesting attribute, however. Every weekend night at 8 pm the dragon's head, located at the eastern end of the bridge, comes to life, spitting fire and water from its treacherous jaws. Make sure you arrive early to get a front row seat on the bridge's pedestrian walkway. Local police shut down traffic just before the show for safety purposes and uninterrupted views of the spectacle.
Banpo Bridge - Seoul, South Korea
The Banpo Rainbow Bridge in Seoul, South Korea is an interesting addition to a visit to this city. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the longest bridge fountain in the world. Huge crowds gather on the banks of the Han River to witness the show, a dazzling display of lights set to music. Food trucks, live entertainment, and artisans come in droves on the weekends to cater to the masses giving it a festival-like atmosphere.
You can witness this multicolored spectacle every night from April through October. The first show begins at dusk and lasts for 20 minutes. Bring a picnic blanket and grab chimaek, the staple picnic food of South Korea of fried chicken and beer, at one of the nearby vendors.
Rakotzbrücke - Gablenz, Germany
Commonly referred to as the Devil’s Bridge, Rakotzbrücke is a stone bridge, tucked away in the Kromlau Azalea and Rhododendron Park. About two hours south of Berlin, the bridge was built entirely out of rock found in nearby creeks and streams and constructed to appear as if built from basalt rock columns.
As if the Rakotzbrücke wasn’t already something out of a fairytale, it was originally commissioned by a local knight, Friedrich Herrmann Rötschke, in 1860. This is not a functioning bridge in the present day but does pose a unique photo opportunity, especially in autumn when the surrounding trees turn vibrant shades of orange and red. If it’s a perfect picture you’re looking for, be sure to visit during rainier months when the water levels are high and the visual of a perfect circle is reflected in the calm waters of the lake.
Storseisundet - Averøy, Norway
Connecting one of Norway’s many famous archipelagos, Storseisundet is a truly stunning bridge. The bridge is a bucket-list destination for road trippers who wish to experience the country’s seemingly endless archipelagos, zooming past quaint villages of rusty red cottages tucked into craggy fjords.
You may also recognize this scenic bridge from its feature in the James Bond film, No Time To Die, during an iconic chase scene. This is one of eight bridges that complete the Atlanterhavsveien, a series of roads and bridges that connect the mainland of Norway to the tiny hamlet of Averøy. As a popular pitstop on the intrepid travelers typical itinerary north, be sure to pull over at Lyngholmen parking lot for incredible views out over the ocean.
Las Lajas Sanctuary - Ipiales, Colombia
Spanning the narrow gap over Columbia’s Guáitara River, Las Lajas Sanctuary resembles an exquisite European castle. Built between 1916 and 1949, the tiny bridge at Las Lajas soars a whopping 160 feet into the air where it connects the sanctuary itself to the stairway on the other side of the canyon. The sanctuary’s gorgeous stained glass reflects off the nave once inside giving the appearance of standing within a kaleidoscope.
Two different 18th century miracles motivated locals to build the sanctuary. Legend has it that a mother and daughter were caught in a wicked storm near the site of Las Lajas Sanctuary. When the daughter looked up at the slabs of rock in the mountain, illuminated by lightning, she saw an image of the Virgin Mary and was miraculously healed of her inability to see and speak. Similarly a blind man traveled the Colombian countryside asking for donations to build the sanctuary itself. When he finally received all the funds and returned to the site he was healed and could see again.
Bixby Creek Bridge - California, USA
Perhaps one of the most famous bridges in the United States and a rite of passage for those traveling on the famed Route 1, Bixby Creek Bridge is an iconic image of American road trip culture. Prior to its completion in 1932, residents in the Big Sur area were often cut off for the winter season due to inclement weather and mudslides that would block the Old Coast Road.
Designed by F.W. Panhorst, the bridge is a perfect harmony of function and aesthetic as it allows views of the crashing ocean through its arched abutments. It connects Route 1 between two of the most beautiful towns in Southern California, Carmel and San Luis Obispo. The best place to snag the famous picture or view of the bridge is from the Castle Rock Viewpoint.
Chapel Bridge - Kapellbrücke, Switzerland
Perhaps one of the most beautiful bridges in all of Europe, Chapel Bridge, or Kapellbrücke, is the oldest truss bridge in the world. Built in 1365, Kapellbrücke is a breathtaking sight in Lucerne. Cascades of flowers hang from boxes on either side of the bridge during the summer months, reaching towards the River Reuss and its famous swans gliding below.
While Kapellbrücke is stunning, its history is just as interesting as the bridge itself. The iconic Wasserturm, or water tower, was previously used as a torture chamber, prison, and treasury, but its modern-day use is as a gift shop. Medieval paintings originally decorated the inner beams of the bridge but unfortunately, many of them were lost to a fire in 1993, only 30 remain of the original 147.