So what do you think the most beautiful bridges in Europe are? A difficult question, as it has many of the best bridges in the world. It doesn’t have any of the biggest bridges in the world nowadays, with many of these in China. But when it comes to beautiful bridges Europe is pretty well impossible to match, we think.
Europe has many of the most famous bridges in the world. Ponte Vecchio in Florence and the Ponte di Rialto in Venice are great icons of Italy, as is London Tower Bridge of the UK. The Charles Bridge in Prague, with its rows of statues along its parapets, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe, and makes the Prague cityscape one of the most beautiful on the planet.
In our bridges article we explore these and some amazing bridges in France, Roman bridges in Italy and Spain, and some famous British bridges. We hope you enjoy!
- 1 What is the longest bridge in Europe ?
- 2 What Is The Highest Bridge In Europe ?
- 3 What Is The Oldest Bridge In Europe ?
- 4 Albert Bridge London
- 5 Tower Bridge London
- 6 PONTCYSYLLTE AQUEDUCT, NORTH WALES, UK
- 7 PONT DU GARD, FRANCE
- 8 PONTE SANT’ANGELO, ROME
- 9 RIALTO BRIDGE, VENICE
- 10 PUENTE ROMANO, CORDOBA
- 11 STARI MOST, MOSTAR, BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA
- 12 CHAIN BRIDGE, BUDAPEST
- 13 CHARLES BRIDGE, PRAGUE
- 14 MILLAU VIADUCT, FRANCE
- 15 PONTE VECCHIO, FLORENCE
- 16 PULTENEY BRIDGE, BATH, ENGLAND
- 17 BASTEI BRIDGE, RATHEN, GERMANY
- 18 PONTE 25 DE ABRIL, LISBON
- 19 BARMOUTH BRIDGE, WALES, UK
- 20 PONT ALEXANDRE III, PARIS, FRANCE
- 21 BRIDGE OF SIGHS, VENICE
- 22 MENAI SUSPENSION BRIDGE, NORTH WALES, UK
- 23 CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE, BRISTOL, ENGLAND, UK
What is the longest bridge in Europe ?
The Crimean Bridge – connecting the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula with the Russian mainland – is Europe’s longest bridge, at 18.1 km (11.25 miles) span length.
What Is The Highest Bridge In Europe ?
This accolade goes to the Viaduc de Millau (Millau Viaduct) in France. Until its completion in 2004, the highest bridge in Europe was the Italia Viaduct in Calabria, southern Italy.
What Is The Oldest Bridge In Europe ?
The Caravan Bridge in Izmir, Turkey is the oldest known bridge in the world still in use. It has been dated back to 850 BC, when motor vehicles weren’t quite a consideration for its architect(s). Nonetheless, it’s so solid and strong that it carries motor traffic in the 21st century.
Albert Bridge London
The Albert Bridge is a bit of a London hidden gem. It’s slightly off the beaten path in Chelsea, London, and dates back to 1873. It had to be strengthened as it had a tendency to wobble when a large number of people walked across it. It’s especially beautiful when lit up at night. It’s probably the most beautiful of all the bridges in London.
Tower Bridge London
This world-famous London bridge is one of the best and most beautiful bridges in the world. It’s also possibly the grandest, flanked by two imposing towers. It is a bascule bridge, with a central road section that can be raised to allow high-masted vessels to pass through. It’s surrounded by other famous London landmarks – it’s right next to the Tower of London, and close to The Shard
PONTCYSYLLTE AQUEDUCT, NORTH WALES, UK
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct near Llangollen in North Wales is the highest bridge in Europe – and, indeed the world – to carry water. It was designed by civil engineer Thomas Telford (who also built the Menai Suspension Bridge below), completed in 1805. It carries the Llangollen Canal over 300 metres across the gorgeous Dee Valley in North East Wales. The ‘stream in the sky’ is 38 metres (126 feet) above the valley, and you can either walk across it or take a thrilling ride in a canal narrowboat over the Aqueduct. It’s not often you can get a thrill at 6 km per hour (4 miles an hour) but the views are astounding.
PONT DU GARD, FRANCE
One of the oldest bridges in Europe, the Pont du Gard is a 1st century AD Roman aqueduct in southern France, an easy day trip from Avignon or Nîmes. It spans the Gardon river, and was built to supply water to their city of Nemausus (now Nîmes), and remained in use for around 500 years until its channel clogged up. It’s among the most famous bridges Europe has, instantly recognisable with its three rows of arches. It’s one of the most amazing places to visit in France.
PONTE SANT’ANGELO, ROME
It’s one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe, with views to one of the most beautiful castles in Europe and the biggest church in the world. The Ponte Sant’ Angelo was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian (its original name was Pons Aelius, after one of his middle name) in the 2nd century AD. Three of the original arches remain intact. It spans the River Tiber, leading to the Castel Sant’ Angelo, the mausoleum of Hadrian which also dates from the 2nd century AD. The bridge is lined with vivid white statues of angels which date from the 17th century. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Roman bridges in Europe. And the largest church in the world? St Peter’s Basilica, just to the left in the Vatican City.
RIALTO BRIDGE, VENICE
The Ponte di Rialto is one of the most popular things to see in Venice, and the most famous bridge in Italy. It’s the first bridge built across the Venice Grand Canal, and dates back to 1571. It links the busy San Marco district with San Polo, which is home to the famous Rialto markets, where Venetians go to buy their fresh fish and produce. The distinctive bridge, with its arcades of shops each side, is a Venice must see. If you’re visiting Venice in winter, be sure to catch the sunset from behind the palaces of the Grand Canal from the steps of the Rialto bridge – an incredible sight indeed.
PUENTE ROMANO, CORDOBA
One of the most famous bridges in Spain, the ancient stone arched Roman bridge across the Guadalquivir river is a magnificent sight. It’s one of the most beautiful things to see in Cordoba, a worth companion to the Cordoba Mezquita which stands next to the bridge as you view it from the south side.
STARI MOST, MOSTAR, BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA
The Old Bridge of Mostar was originally built in the 16th century to span the Neretva river through the city. It was built by Mimar Hayruddin, an apprentice to the great Ottoman architect Sinan. It’s a remarkable single-arched stone bridge 20 metres above the river at its highest point. It was destroyed by Croat forces during the Croat-Bosniak war in 1993, and subsequently rebuilt, reopening in 2004.
CHAIN BRIDGE, BUDAPEST
At night, Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, the twinkling lights on the River Danube and reflections of illuminated buildings a wonderful sight indeed. The centrepiece of this is the Budapest Chain Bridge. It was designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark, and is a larger version of his earlier Marlow Bridge across the Thames in England.
CHARLES BRIDGE, PRAGUE
The Charles Bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, and, indeed, one of the most Instagrammable places in Europe. The Bridge was begun by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1357 – it took 45 years to complete. It has become one of the popular icons of Europe because of its rows of statues of saints and bishops on either side. It also happens to have some of the best views in Prague at either end, with some of the finest churches in Prague, which also helps! Dawn or dusk are the best times to see it.
MILLAU VIADUCT, FRANCE
The Viaduc de Millau is the highest bridge in Europe, with part of it 270 metres above the valley floor. One of the piers is the tallest structure in France, 1143 feet (348 metres) higher than the Eiffel Tower. It carries the A75 autoroute from Paris to Montpellier, and was designed by Foster & Partners. It was inaugurated in 2004.
PONTE VECCHIO, FLORENCE
Ponte Vecchio – the Old Bridge – spans the River Arno in Florence, the biggest city in Tuscany. It’s impossible to miss, it’s essentially a street of buildings held up above the river. It’s at the narrowest point of the Arno, around 90 metres, and the present bridge dates from 1345. It has always hosted shops – in the past it was home to butchers’ premises – but these have long since given way to jewellers and art and craft shops. This popular Florence landmark is a very short walk from the best-known of all Florence art galleries, the Uffizi.
PULTENEY BRIDGE, BATH, ENGLAND
The Pulteney Bridge is one of only four European bridges (along with Ponte Vecchio, Rialto Venice and the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Germany) to be lined with shops either side. It dates from 1774, the Georgian heyday of Bath, and was designed by Robert Adam. The Pulteney Bridge was built to connect the burgeoning city of Bath with the Bathwick estate that had been in the Pulteney family for centuries. It’s Palladian in style, and stands above a weir in the river Avon. The bridge blends in beautifully with the Georgian architecture of much of the city. It’s also worth venturing out of the city to visit Prior Park, which has another extraordinary Palladian bridge.
BASTEI BRIDGE, RATHEN, GERMANY
The Bastei (Bastion) is a spectacular rock formation high above the river Elbe in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. It was one of the first places opened up to tourism in Germany in the late 18th century, and inspired artists including Caspar David Friedrich. The Bastei Bridge – one of the most famous German bridges – was built to enable visitors to walk among the rock pinnacles and enjoy stunning views of the Elbe. The current sandstone bridge replaced a wooden one in 1851.
PONTE 25 DE ABRIL, LISBON
The graceful Lisbon suspension bridge is one of the finest of all Portugal bridges. It bridges the River Tagus (Rio Tejo) roughly halfway between the centre of Lisbon and the historic district of Belem to the west. The giant statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King) stands over it and offers a great vantage point, as do some of the Lisbon miradouros, or viewpoints, a short distance away in the centre of the city.
Lisbon is also home to the vast Vasco da Gama Bridge, one of the longest bridges in Europe – indeed, it was the longest until the recent construction of the Crimean Bridge.
BARMOUTH BRIDGE, WALES, UK
Barmouth Bridge (Pont Y Bermo in Welsh) is a wooden railway bridge across the sublime Mawddach estuary in Snowdonia, North Wales. Very few of the best bridges of Europe have a setting as dramatic as this, with Cadair Idris, the main. mountain in southern Snowdonia, dominating the view from the small seaside town.
PONT ALEXANDRE III, PARIS, FRANCE
The most famous bridge in Paris (sorry, Pont Neuf) is the Pont Alexandre III, named after Tsar Alexander III of Russia. It links the Grand Palais with the Hotel des Invalides, spanning the beautiful river Seine. It’s best known for its exuberant Art Nouveau flourishes, particularly its ornate lamps and nymph statues. It also has some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS, VENICE
The Venice Bridge of Sighs links the opulent Doge’s Palace with the dank prisons of the Venetian Republic. Known as Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, prisoners would get their last glimpse of the city from its windows before being incarcerated. It’s one of the most popular Venice landmarks, as the crowds photographing it demonstrate.
MENAI SUSPENSION BRIDGE, NORTH WALES, UK
The second Thomas Telford construction in our list, the Menai Bridge was completed in 1826 to link the isle of Anglesey with mainland North Wales. It’s one of the most beautiful bridges in the UK, nestling beneath the Carneddau range of mountains in Snowdonia. Most road traffic and all rail traffic use the Britannia Bridge a mile downstream. Put this straight onto your Wales bucket list.
CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE, BRISTOL, ENGLAND, UK
This elegant suspension bridge is one of the great landmarks of England. It spans the Avon Gorge between Clifton Village in the city of Bristol and Leigh Woods in North Somerset. The bridge was built 75 metres above the high-water mark so that tall-masted shipping could reach the port of Bristol. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who sadly dies five years before it was completed and opened, in 1864. I would often walk over the bridge when I lived in Clifton many moons ago. Back then pedestrians had to pay a 2pence (less than 2.5 US or euro cents) toll to cross it!