Beauty, utility, and history -- all three features are wrapped up in every one of these bridges. Some stretch between cliffs, others offer bungee jumping, and one is even an actual church. Here are some incredible bridges from around the world that you can actually cross.
Arouca Suspension Bridge, Portugal
Portugal’s Arouca Suspension Bridge isn’t for explorers afraid of heights. Situated between two sturdy towers, the bridge stands 500 feet above the River Paiva, with a see-through metal grid as its walkway. It is the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge, commonly referred to as Arouca 516, as it stretches 516 meters long. The bridge is part of the Arouca Geopark, a beautiful landscape of trees and rivers. Construction finished only last year, and Arouca 516 will now provide a connection between the Aguieiras Waterfall and Paiva Gorge, one of the park’s many geosites.
Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia
Colombia’s Las Lajas Sanctuary is an unbelievable sight: a seemingly floating minor basilica church. Standing 150 feet above the Guaitara River is a beautiful bridge leading to a church built inside a canyon. Local beliefs tell a captivating story of a woman and her daughter, trapped in a storm without shelter until the Virgin Mary appeared in the location the church now stands. The bridge and building stand in honor of that miracle. There have been a few iterations of the structures, but the church and bridge we have today were built between 1916 and 1949.
Formerly the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge, Russia’s SkyBridge is very similar to the Arouca Suspension Bridge -- long and tall with a beautiful view. There is one difference, though: In the middle of the SkyBridge walkway is an entire bungee jump station. Opened in 2014, the bridge stands roughly 500 feet above the Krasnaya Polyana valley as part of the Sochi SkyPark. Visitors are free to walk across and enjoy the view, or up the ante with a dive from the observation deck.
Bastei Bridge, Germany
Germany’s Bastei Bridge cuts through a tourist destination of its own -- incredible tall, jagged rock formations formed from water erosion over the course of millions of years. This bridge is nothing new either -- its construction began as early as 1824. Both the bridge and the rock formation are a major draw to the Saxon Switzerland National Park, which has been a German tourist destination for hundreds of years. Visitors can walk through the natural rock formation via the manmade architectural triumph, all while appreciating breathtaking views.
Aiguille Du Midi Bridge, France
Standing on a bridge more than 1,000 feet in the air is already thrilling, but France’s Aiguille du Midi Bridge goes one step further: It has a fully see-through glass bottom. The bridge was built in 2013, joining the cafe and viewing platforms already built at the mountain’s peak. Located in the French Alps with a panoramic view of mountains as far as the eye can see, the Aiguille du Midi Bridge is relatively a short stretch connecting two nearby mountain ridges, but it’s a thrill nonetheless.
Captivated? Consider planning a visit to Aiguille du Midi as you tour these 7 Most Beautiful Cities And Towns In The Alps, or make your way to the French Alps, specifically, with our picks for the 8 Best Ski Resorts In France For Every Level And Interest.
Konitsa Bridge, Greece
Greece’s Konitsa Bridge is a 19th-century stone arch that looks as natural as the surrounding trees. Constructed in 1870, the bridge has had more than 100 years to settle into its environment, and vines and moss now encompass the structure. This thin bridge is meant for pedestrians and livestock to cross over the Aoos River, and it stands more than 60 feet tall and 100 feet long. The bridge has survived 20th-century attacks during three separate wars, and it’s still standing and drawing tourists every year.
Trift Bridge, Switzerland
Switzerland’s Trift Bridge is a structure designed for daring adventurers. Originally built in 2004 as a means for workers to access a power plant, the bridge was replaced with a sturdier design in 2009 and opened to the public and tourists from everywhere. Trift Bridge is situated in a dip in the mountains of the Swiss Alps, spanning more than 500 feet across. Despite its perilous appearance, its modern design and sturdy materials guarantee the safety of the bridge, and it remains an exciting tourist destination.
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