Whatever their dimensions, the time of their construction, the materials used to make them, whether they are purely utilitarian or simply recreational, bridges never cease to impress us and bring us our share of thrills.
Here is our selection of the most spectacular bridges and footbridges in the world.
the bach long bridge (vietnam)
Located in the northwest of Vietnam, this long glass footbridge was inaugurated on April 29, 2022. Installed 150 m above a lush jungle, it concludes a course that winds along a mountain wall. Baptized “Bach Long” which means “White Dragon” in Vietnamese, this 632 m long bridge would be, according to these designers, the longest glass bottom structure in the world, thus relegating to second place, the Chinese suspension bridge in Guangdong, 526 meters long. This tourist attraction which offers a dizzying view of the surrounding nature can accommodate 450 people at a time. Note that the base of the bridge is made of French-made tempered glass.
© Nhac NGUYEN/AFP
THE AROUCA SUSPENDED BRIDGE (PORTUGAL)
Called “516 Arouca”, this pedestrian bridge located in northern Portugal, became the longest in the world thanks to its 516 m in length, on April 29, 2021, thus dethroning the former record holder, the Randa suspension bridge. in Switzerland, also known as the Charles Kuonen footbridge. Connecting two granite slopes located on the territory of the Portuguese municipality of Arouca, this suspension bridge 175 m above the Paiva River consists of 127 mesh platforms fitted with metal railings 1.2 m wide, connected by steel cables to the “V” shaped pillars erected on each side. Open to the public the day after its official inauguration, it should quickly become a major tourist attraction for the entire region.
© Carlos COSTA/AFP
THE GLASS BRIDGE of zhangjiajie (china)
Located in the extraordinary Chinese mountains of Zhangjiajie, in central China, this glass bridge is one of the longest and highest in the world. Perched 300 m above the ground and measuring 430 m in length, it connects two peaks of this natural park in Hunan province. Work of the Israeli architect Haim Dotan, it is one of the major tourist attractions of this site classified by Unesco and famous for its steep mountains surrounded by clouds. Opened to the public in 2016, it can accommodate 800 people simultaneously, with a number of visitors limited to 8,000 per day.
[© Fred DUFOUR/AFP]
THE TITLIS CLIFF WALK (SWITZERLAND)
Inaugurated in 2014, this footbridge is located in the Titlis Alpine massif, near Engelberg, in the heart of Switzerland. The highest suspension bridge in Europe, it offers an extraordinary view of mythical peaks such as the Eiger or the Jungfrau. Built at more than 3,000 m above sea level, it measures only one meter wide by 100 m long, with a precipice of 500 m underfoot. Adrenaline rush guaranteed! Moreover, nerves of steel, as strong as the cables that hold the structure are necessary to make the crossing, according to the officials who manage the site. People suffering from vertigo refrain!
[© John ENGLART (TAKVER)/CC BY-SA 2.0]
the ROYAL throat bridge (usa)
Located near the town of Cañon City, Colorado, the bridge is the highlight of a visit to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, a theme park offering visitors many activities on both sides of the gorge. Suspended 291 m above the Arkansas River, this bridge has long held the record for the highest bridge in the world, from its date of creation in 1929, until 2001. The current record holder is the Chinese bridge of the Beipanjiang, commissioned in 2016, which crosses a precipice with a height under bridge of 565 m. Nevertheless, the Royal Gorge Bridge still ranks first in the ranking of the tallest bridges in the United States.
[© Stephen WALKER/UNSPLASH]
THE CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE (CANADA)
This footbridge that spans the Capilano River is one of the most visited and oldest attractions in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. Indeed, this iconic Vancouver attraction was built in 1889, and was completely rebuilt and secured in 1956. Perched 137 m high above a 70 m deep canyon, it allows visitors to perform an impressive crossing in the heart of the forest. These walk through the foliage of giant cedars and other majestic conifers. Despite the beauty of the crossing, caution and respect for safety rules remain essential because several fatal accidents have already occurred.
[© Michelle R. LEE/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
THE HUSSAINI BRIDGE (PAKISTAN)
Reputed to be one of the most dangerous bridges in the world, it crosses the Hunza River between two cliffs, not far from the village of Hussaïni, in northern Pakistan. With a length of 140 m, it was originally built with simple ropes and planks by the inhabitants of this landlocked region, since then it has been reinforced with the use of steel or metal cables. In 2011, a devastating monsoon still prevailed. Although repaired or rebuilt many times, this bridge unfortunately does not benefit from regular maintenance. Its crossing can therefore prove to be perilous due in particular to the lack of numerous planks on which to ensure its steps, especially when violent winds sweep the footbridge.
[© TESEUM/CC BY-NC 2.0]
THE AIGUILLE DU MIDI WALKWAY (FRANCE)
Nestled at an altitude of 3,842 m, the Aiguille du Midi offers a breathtaking panorama of the Mont-Blanc massif located between France, Italy and Switzerland. Access is from Chamonix by taking place aboard two cable cars successively. Once you have arrived at the upper station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car located at an altitude of 3,777 m, you must take this open-air footbridge which connects the northern peak to the central peak in order to finally reach the summit. Chills guaranteed! But for real thrill seekers, it remains the flagship attraction of the site with the explicit name “Le Pas dans le Vide”. It involves standing above a vertiginous void in a glass cabin, anchored to the central peak of the Aiguille du Midi.
[© Thierry LLANSADES/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Q’ESWACHAKA SUSPENSION BRIDGE (peru)
Connecting the two banks of the Apurimac River, this rope bridge is built using a 600-year-old technique belonging to the Inca civilization. Long ropes and cords are braided from a special straw and then assembled to form the different parts of the bridge. This is the last plant fiber bridge that still exists in Peru. Badly resistant to bad weather, the inhabitants of the region meet every year to restore it for a few days. Note that only four people are allowed to engage on it at the same time.
[© Aga KHAN (IT)/CC BY-SA 4.0]
Langkawi Bridge (Malaysia)
Supported by eight cables anchored on an 81.5 m high pylon, this cable-stayed walkway with a curved shape allows you to walk above the tropical forest and float in the air. Located 708m above sea level, the Langkawi SkyBridge is 125m long by 1.8m wide. Accessible by cable car, it has become the main attraction of the islands of Langkawi, Malaysia. From this bridge, visitors can enjoy an incredible overview of the Malaysian Archipelago as well as Datai Bay.
[© Mohd RASFAN/AFP]
THE TRIFT BRIDGE (SWITZERLAND)
This suspended pedestrian bridge is one of the most spectacular in the Swiss Alps. 100 m high and 170 m long, it hovers above the region of the Trift glacier in the canton of Bern. Built in 2004 and then replaced in 2009 with a safer and more easily accessible structure, this bridge allows those who cross it to have a breathtaking view of the turquoise blue glacial lake.
[© N3M3SJ/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
THE U BEIN BRIDGE (BURMA)
The largest teak bridge in the world, the structure is 1.2 km long and spans Lake Taungthaman, in Amarapura, the former royal capital located in central Burma. During the transfer of the capital to Mandalay in the middle of the 19th century, part of the wood of the palace of Inwa was used for the construction of this bridge. This is made up of more than a thousand teak pillars, some of which have since been replaced by concrete supports. Extremely frequented by the inhabitants of the surrounding area in their daily trips, it is also frequented by the many tourists who come from all over the world to admire it. They come to this magical place especially at dawn or sunset to be able to photograph this true Burmese icon with the best light.
[© D.STANLEY/CC BY 2.0]
CARRICK-A-rede ROPE BRIDGE (northern ireland)
This famous rope bridge connects Carrick Island to the rest of Northern Ireland. Originally, it served as a crossing point for salmon fishermen from the surrounding area. Located in the middle of wild landscapes, and overlooking the ocean, it now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year in search of thrills. Superb and impressive, the passage is 20 m long and dominates the waves from a height of 30 m. Although safe, the crossing can be hazardous because the bridge tends to move depending on the people crossing it and the wind.
[© Tony WEBSTER/CC BY 2.0]
The Kakum Canopy GATEWAY (GHANA)
Set in one of Ghana’s finest national parks, this ride suspended 30-40m above the ground traverses the rainforest for 350m following a guided walkway-to-walkway route. This succession of seven bridges through the canopy was created by Canadian scientists to allow observation of the fauna and flora inhabiting this lush jungle.
[© Hello Lightbulb/UNSPLASH]
THE RANDA SUSPENSION BRIDGE (SWITZERLAND)
Also known as Charles Kuonen, this bridge was inaugurated in 2017, near the village of Randa, Switzerland. Former record holder for the longest suspension bridge for pedestrians in the world, this architectural work extends over a length of 494 m. It provides a magnificent view and panorama of the Matterhorn and Weisshorn peaks as well as the Bernese Alps. Dominating the Zermatt valley from its height of 85 m, this bridge blends in perfectly with the landscape and completes the Europe trail between Grächen and Zermatt, which is one of the most spectacular alpine hikes. With its 65 cm width, hikers are obliged to cross it in single file.
[© Valentin FLARAUD/PHOTO VF.COM]
THE GHASA BRIDGE (NEPAL)
It is by no means a tourist attraction, this Nepalese bridge was first built to pass goods on donkeys as well as cattle in order to prevent the narrow roads of Ghasa from being congested by the passage of herds of animals.
[© John PAVELKA/CC BY 2.0]
THE DOUBLE BRIDGE of Nongriat (INDIA)
Located in the village of Nongriat in northeast India, the double bridge or “double decker” in English, is the most famous of the “living” plant bridges, made from the roots of rubber fig trees. Thanks to an ancestral know-how, the members of the Khasi tribe guide and braid the living roots of trees to build bridges without nails or ropes. These spectacular natural bridges allow the populations of these landlocked villages to cross the rivers in flood during the monsoon and thus be able to join the other communities. According to some residents of Nongriat, the lower bridge is almost 250 years old and the upper one is a little more recent.
[© Chiranjeeb BAUL/CC BY-SA 4.0]