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!
- Bridges in Europe Q & A
- 20 Beautiful Bridges in Europe
- 1. Albert Bridge London
- 2. Tower Bridge London
- 3. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, North Wales, UK
- 4. Pont Du Gard, France
- 5. Ponte Sant’Angelo, Rome
- 6. Rialto Bridge, Venice
- 7. Puente Romano, Cordoba
- 8. Stari Most, Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina
- 9. Chain Bridge, Budapest
- 10. Charles Bridge, Prague
- 11. Millau Viaduct, France
- 12. Ponte Vecchio, Florence
- 13. Pulteney Bridge, Bath, England
- 14. Bastei Bridge, Rathen, Germany
- 15. Ponte 25 De Abril, Lisbon
- 16. Barmouth Bridge, Wales, UK
- 17. Pont Alexandre III, Paris, France
- 18. Bridge of Sighs, Venice
- 19. Menai Suspension Bridge, North Wales, UK
- 20. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, England, UK
Bridges in Europe Q & A
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.
What are the Most Famous Bridges in Europe
The most famous bridges in Europe are the Tower Bridge London, Charles Bridge Prague, Rialto Bridge Venice and the Chain Bridge Budapest
20 Beautiful Bridges in Europe
1. 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.
2. 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
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Barmouth Bridge, Wales, UK
(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.
17. Pont Alexandre III, Paris, France
The most famous bridge in Paris (apologies, 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.
18. 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.
19. 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
20. 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!