Bridges can be traced back to ancient times. Many are built to serve a useful function of providing passage over an obstacle, like a body of water, but there’s something romantic about them, too. After all, they connect places to each other, and they are accessible for anyone to walk over, preferably hand-in-hand. That said, here is our list of the 10 most romantic bridges around the world. Not surprisingly, Europe is well represented here, and for any that we left out, well, we hope it’s just water under the bridge.
Completed in 1390, this medieval stone bridge is the main pedestrian route linking Old Town with Mala Strana, and then onto Prague Castle itself. Talk about a technique — it is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge. A visit to the City of 100 Spires is not complete without a stroll along the 30 gothic and baroque statues depicting saints. Carved from soft sandstone, they were added later in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The most famous figure is the monument to St. John of Nepomuk, located between statues 17 and 19. Tradition says that if you rub the bronze plaque, it will guarantee your return to Prague. For ultimate romance (and fewer crowds), walk along at dawn and watch the sunrise cast a light across the city’s spellbinding architecture.
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The striking tubular mesh design of this stainless steel footbridge, which opened in 2010, was inspired by the curved form of the structure of DNA. Strategically placed around Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer, and the Bayfront Bridge, the Helix is already considered an architectural and engineering marvel, and one of the Lion City’s most celebrated landmarks. Several viewing platforms are incorporated into the design to provide pedestrians with a way to enjoy and photograph panoramic views of the city’s skyline. The 918-foot walkway is particularly romantic at night when lit by thousands of LED lights.
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New York City’s iconic bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn opened in 1883 and affords plenty of romantic views of the East River, the Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. One of the oldest bridges in the United States, this National Historic Landmark is outfitted with a steel-wire suspension system, yet still feels more elegant than its neighboring bridges up river. It remains among New York City’s top tourist attractions, but you should time your visit right, since it transports 120,000 vehicles and 4,000 pedestrians every day. Weekend afternoons could be so packed on the wooden-planked walkway (cyclists also share the path) that you might have trouble finding a spot to stop for a kiss. That being said, many choose to walk along the scenic and much less crowded Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood for outstanding views of the bridge itself. Another way to experience the bridge is to take the East River Ferry and snag a seat on the top deck.
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Widely regarded as the most ornate, picturesque crossing of the Seine, this deck arch bridge was built to commemorate a diplomatic relationship between France and Russia. In fact, the son of Tsar Alexander III, the bridge’s namesake, laid the foundation stone in October 1896, just in time for the international world’s fair of 1900. This fair also introduced electric lights, therefore giving Paris the nickname City of Light. Crossing the bridge, which connects the Champs-Elysees with the Invalides (for access to the Eiffel Tower), by foot takes you on a stroll along stunning Art Nouveau lamps that glow at night, along with sculptures of lions, cherubs, sea creatures, and two bronze winged horses at either end.
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Opened in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a massive steel arch structure that plays a major role in the city’s skyline. Adventurous types who are not afraid of heights can shell out to join a bridge climb tour, but the much cheaper option is to simply walk across and take in the same panoramic views on a lower level, at no cost. The pedestrian walkway is located on the eastern side and allows visitors to safely walk across the bridge. Walk from north to south towards the city for the best vantage point, and stop to admire the Opera House and Circular Quay along the way. As you approach the southern side of the bridge, look for the Pylon Lookout. For a small admission fee you can go up to the top and experience historical exhibits and 360-degree city views.
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The Millennium Bridge was the first new bridge to be built over the Thames in London in more than 100 years. Pedestrians will find that the 320-meter-long lateral suspension bridge links the city’s financial district to Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe in Southwark. Though it had some wobbly kinks to work out when it first opened in 2000, it has been a favorite crossing for locals and tourists since its official re-opening in 2002. History buffs will love that archaeological excavations were undertaken on both banks before construction started, with remains of structures from the Middle Ages being uncovered. Romantics, on the other hand, will find that the bridge has a great view of the Tower Bridge, and is also perfectly aligned with the south facade of St. Paul’s Cathedral. We highly recommended talking the walk at dusk.
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The Rialto Bridge in Venice opened in 1591 and is one of the four foot crossings spanning the Grand Canal. In fact, the 75-foot bridge, which connects San Marco and San Polo, replaced various wooden bridges that stood in the same location since the 12th century. This version of the bridge has a unique design, formed by two inclined ramps with several archway openings and shops on either side. The stone reliefs on the bridge portray the city’s patron saints St. Mark and St. Theodore and the Annunciation. In addition to St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge is the most visited tourist spot in Venice, so come early to avoid the crowds, or take the more relaxing route by hiring a gondola.
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Khaju Bridge, Isfahan
Located in the province of Isfahan, the Khaju Bridge has remarkable views and a useful design that controls the flow of the Zayandeh River. Built around 1650 by the Persian Safavid king, Shah Abbas II, the bridge is not only used as a dam, but also as a public meeting space. When the river is full, the sunset from the middle of the bridge is not to be missed. Walk slowly to discover remnants of the original paintings and tiles that decorated its double arcade, as well as the pavilion built exclusively for Shah Abbas II. (The remains of stone seats built for him to admire the view are still apparent.) Legend has it that the eyes of the marble lions guarding either end of the bridge glow in the dark. Though the original teahouses located on either end of the bridge are long gone, there’s an ice cream shop on the northern end. Grab a scoop and listen to the locals, who gather at nighttime under the arches, sing.
Symbolic indeed, the Chain Bridge was the first permanent stone bridge connecting Pest and Buda over the Danube River. Its construction (involving iron chains that adjust) was proposed by Count Istvan Szechenyi, a leading figure in 18th-century Hungary, hence its official name, Széchenyi Chain Bridge. The portals are decorated with lion head capstones and the Hungarian coat of arms with the crown and a wreath of leaves. The Buda end of the bridge is at Clark Adam Square, where the funicular takes you up to Castle Hill. The Pest end of the bridge is at Szechenyi Istvan Square, a busy square in the city center. Crossing the bridge is a short walk and the view is beautiful. It’s also well worth a visit in the evening, when the bridge is lit up, allowing you to view the city’s landmarks like Buda Castle. Meanwhile, during the summer months, traffic lanes are closed on weekends to allow for festivals with food stalls and entertainers.
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Tucked away at the southern end of Bruges is the beautiful park area known as Minnewater. According to a folklore sparked by the tragic legend of star-crossed lovers, there was a young lady named Minna who was in love with Stromberg, a warrior of a neighboring tribe. Her father did not agree with her love and arranged her to marry a man of his choice. Minna escaped and ran into the forest, and when Stromberg finally found her, she died in his arms of exhaustion. The lake was named after Minna and the bridge by the lake, built in 1740, was considered the bridge of love, in her honor. Legend has it when you take a stroll over the bridge with your loved one, it will become eternal love. It doesn’t get more romantic than that.
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