Bridges, used since Neolithic times, are pragmatic structures that are often purely utilitarian — stone, concrete, or steel and brutal — the cheapest way to allow passage over a chasm or body of water. Since the earliest bridges were built — likely of fallen logs and rocks — the combination of advancing technology and growing interest in the aesthetics of urban surroundings have led to increased complexity in the design of these public works. (Here are the states with the oldest bridges).
Some of the greatest feats of engineering and architecture in the world are bridges. The tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct in France, balances elegance and utility with its record-breaking 808-foot piers and eight cable-stayed spans suspended above the verdant Tarn River valley, proving that one doesn’t need to sacrifice beauty for practicality.
24/7 Tempo has compiled a collection of some of the most beautiful bridges in the world by reviewing hundreds of images of bridges — including railway trestles and pedestrian walkways — with innovative design and engrossing natural surroundings.
The bridges selected span six continents (excluding only Antarctica) and range from cable-suspension bridges to viaducts to steel or stone arch bridges. Some have been damaged by floods or war and have been rebuilt or repaired, following their original design. A few of the oldest are European bridges, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, with surrounding views of medieval and renaissance architecture. (Want to see more historic buildings? Here are Europe’s most beautiful castles.)