The coolest bridges in the world don't just get you from Point A to Point B. They do it with style and panache. They're mathematical and artistic marvels, made from the unlikeliest materials. Or else they defy the imagination with their scale and cunning design.
From the monumental to the quaint and traditional, these are the most interesting bridges in the world.
30. The Siduhe Bridge
The Siduhe Bridge (or Sidu River Bridge) is one of China's most impressive -- and that's saying something. Connecting Shanghai to Chongqing, it towers 1,600 feet over the floor of the Sidu River Valley. At more than 4,000 feet in length, it's an impressive sight contrasted against the mountainous terrain. And that view!
29. Millau Viaduct
At 1,104 feet, France's Millau Viaduct isn't just one of the coolest bridges in the world -- it's also the tallest. It's part of the autoroute connecting Paris to the south of France. At more than 8,000 feet long, it definitely leaves its mark on the hilly geography of the region.
No wonder it's considered one of the greatest architectural feats of the century.
Not all of the world's coolest bridges are really tall or really long. The Slauerhoffbrug makes the list because of its unique design. The bridge swings a 15m by 15m slab of road in and out of an opening -- allowing both ships and car traffic to pass. Few would call it beautiful, but it's effective.
It's located in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden, painted yellow and blue for the city's colors.
27. Mathematical Bridge
The Mathematical Bridge may not be a work of art, but it's a masterpiece of math. It connects two parts of Queen's College, Cambridge across the River Cam. Although it's not much to look at, the construction is actually extremely impressive, as it's built solely out of straight planks of wood. The design is therefore impressively complex. Hence the name.
Although the bridge was first built in 1749, it has been rebuilt several times -- always to the original specifications.
26. The Rialto Bridge
We would be remiss not to mention Venice's most famous bridge, and the oldest spanning the Grand Canal.
Indeed, although it's a tourist trap, it's a must-see if you're in Venice. Originally completed in 1591, the design was deemed so audacious at the time that some experts predicted the project would fail. Look at it now, haters.
25. Crab Bridges
What, did you think all bridges were for humans? You humanist!
On Christmas Island, the native crabs migrate from the forests to the oceans to mate every year. This migration puts millions of little critters' lives at risk. Small crabs don't stand much of a chance against cars and trucks. Thankfully, the Crab Bridges help them scuttle over the road without risking their lives. It has also become something of a tourist draw in its own right, particularly during migration season.
24. Evergreen Point Floating Bridge
23. Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Vertical lift bridges are always fun. But the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux, France kicks it up a notch. It's the longest vertial lift bridge in Europe. But what really makes it one of the coolest bridges is the lighting system on its towers, which flashes different colors depending on the state of the tide.
22. The Da Vinci Bridge
In 1502, the great visionary Leonardo da Vinci proposed a bridge to cross the Golden Horn in Istanbul. The sultan rejected it, but had it been completed it would have been the largest bridge in the world.
However, you can see something like what da Vinci's design would have yielded in Nygård, Norway. Artist Vebjørn Sand transformed Leonardo's vision into a walking bridge over the highway. Its sleek parabolic design and wood-steel frame evoke the elegance of the original design.
21. Pynursla Living Root Bridge
These splendid structures are exactly what they sound like:
bridges made from the living roots of trees. It sounds like something out of the elven kingdoms of Tolkein, but such bridges are common in the Indian state of Meghalaya. Some of these pedestrian spans even have multiple levels!
The largest is the one near Pynursla, which is 164 feet in length.
20. The Rolling Bridge
London has its share of famous bridges, but perhaps the most interesting is the Rolling Bridge, which was completed in 2004. It folds up into a metallic ball and then uncoils when someone needs to cross. Admittedly, it's more of a curiosity than anything else.
But its unique design qualifies it as one of the coolest bridges in the world.
19. Capilano Suspension Bridge
Canada's Capilano Suspension Bridge is the best way to explore the rainforests of North Vancouver. It's located in the Treetops Adventures park, so you'll have to pay an admission fee to walk across it. However, at 460 feet long and more than 200 feet above the river below, you definitely won't leave feeling cheated.
Watch your step, though: more than one person has died falling off the bridge.
18. Charles Bridge
Another old and venerable entrant on this list, Charles Bridge is one of the most identifiable symbols of Prague.
This stone bridge has spanned the Vltava River since 1402. Apart from connecting two sides of the city, it also connects visitors to the past. The Baroque statues on the balustrade ornament Charles Bridge and make it an essential stroll for tourists looking to soak in the atmosphere of the Czech capital.
17. Aiguille du Midi Bridge
The Aiguille du Midi is a prominent mountain in the French Alps. After a twenty-minute cable car to the 12,000-foot summit, visitors can walk across a short bridge. Short it may be, but the drop is apocalyptic, and the view priceless. If you're afraid of heights, this will definitely be your anti-fave on this list.
16. The Rakotzbrücke
The Azalea and Rhododendron Park Kromlau in Gablenz, Germany is home to one of the world's most interesting bridges. The Rakotzbrücke is also known as the "devil's bridge" due to its unusual appearance. It's nearly a perfect 180 degrees so that it creates the illusion of a circle when reflected in the water below.
The Rakotzbrücke is only one of several such bridges to be found in Germany. They really do look at though they're straight out of a Medieval fairytale, though most were built no earlier than the nineteenth century.
15. Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge
The Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge on the South Island of New Zealand is the only bridge on this list whose primary purpose is bungee jumping. The main appeal here is the 141-foot drop to the river below. The bridge is also conveniently located inside a nature preserve.
14. Henderson Waves Bridge
Singapore's Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge earns its name. It undulates and slithers up above the trees, connecting two parks over a roadway. It soars 118 feet over the trees and has a total length of 899 feet.
Its unique design easily makes it one of the coolest bridges in the world.
13. The Moses Bridge
The Moses Bridge is a trench that allows crossers to walk through the water without getting wet. It is, in fact, a sort of anti-bridge. It's part of the Dutch Fort de Roovere, an old defensive position fallen into disuse. The Moses Bridge was dug into the moat of the fort in order to allow access without building an unsightly modern bridge.
12. Storseisundet Bridge
One of eight bridges connecting a Norwegian archipelago to the mainland, Storseisundet is most notable as an optical illusion. It's a cantilever bridge with a parabolic shape.
The result is that, when you drive over the peak, it looks as though you're driving off a cliff into the ocean. Don't worry: you're definitely not.
11. Langkawi Sky Bridge
Langkawai Sky Bridge is one of Malaysia's most appealing attractions. It's a pedestrian bridge that snakes its way around the peak of the Gunung Mat Cincang mountain. It's 400 feet long and more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Access to the bridge is via a cable car ride up the side of the mountain.
10. Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge
Brazil's Juscelino Kubitschek is one of the most beautiful arch bridges in the world.
It is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city of Brasilia, with its trademark asymmetrical steel arches. The bridge boasts three lanes of traffic each way, as well as pedestrian walkways. Its total length is 3,900 feet.
9. Royal Gorge Bridge
Royal Gorge may be a bit of a tourist trap; after all, it is located inside an amusement park. Spanning 955 feet above the Arkansas River, it's the highest bridge in the United States. Originally built in 1929, it was the highest bridge in the entire world until 2000. It no longer cracks the top ten, but the stunning view still makes it one of the coolest bridges ever.
8. Jiaozhou Bay Bridge
There are long bridges, and then there are loooong bridges. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge is the latter. At 16.6 miles end-to-end, it's sufficiently long that you may forget you're even on a bridge before you reach the other side.
7. Hangzhou Bay Bridge
If Jiaozhou is an insanely long bridge, them I'm not quite sure how to describe Hangzhou. This bridge, which connects Ningbo and Shanghai, is 22 miles in length and cuts the drive time between the two cities in half.
6. U Bein Bridge
The U Bein is a teakwood bridge in Myanmar that spans 0.75 miles. It crosses a shallow lake that ebbs and flows at various points during the year; in drier seasons, the bridge looks more like a wall in the middle of a mud plain. The structure was originally erected in 1850, but it still remains popular and important for local people. Seeing hundreds of people cross at dawn is truly an inspiring sight.
5. Ponte Vecchio
The Medieval Ponte Vecchio spans the river Arno in Florence. But why should the city end where the river begins?
The bridge is lined with shops and overhanging houses. Artists, jewelers, and souvenir salesmen all ply their trade on the bridge, creating the illusion that you've stepped into a sixteenth-century market.
4. Helix Bridge
If you've ever been to Singapore, you'll know that the city-state goes to great lengths to make public infrastructure beautiful. They have, for instance, the most inventive airport in the world.
It's also home to some of the world's coolest bridges -- like the Helix. As the name suggests, it's enmeshed in metallic spirals designed to mimic the shape of human DNA.
It even has C, G, A and T letters that light up at night, signifying the four chemical bases of DNA.
3. Shaharah Bridge
As it's located in Yemen, you're unlikely to get a chance to see the Shaharah Bridge any time soon. But it is quite beautiful, even in its ruined state. Built in the 17th century in the village of the same name, the bridge is made of limestone and spans a narrow gorge.
2. Hanging Bridge of Ghasa
Located in Nepal, the Hanging Bridge of Ghasa isn't just one of the coolest bridges in the world; it's also one of the most dangerous.
This narrow hanging bridge is used to ferry both people and animals across a steep gorge. If you're looking for a high-adrenaline experience, this is the bridge for you.
1. Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge
The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge in Kobe, Japan has the largest central span of any suspension bridge in the world. It covers 6,532 feet without support. The structure is very sound and secure; it can withstand winds up to 286 km/hour and an earthquake up to 8.5 on the Richter scale.
We hope you enjoyed reading our list of the coolest bridges in the world. Happy travels!