Ten incredible bridge walks

I love bridges, from the simple brick-and-mortar and wooden contraptions (I’m not so sure about the rope kind) to the massive engineering marvels with their elegant spans and towering masts. Some cross a simple stream or small creeks whilst others traverse wide rivers, harbours and canyons. It’s always a joy to cross a bridge on foot; to appreciate the views, to make my knees tremble from great heights, to enjoy the breeze or just to feel the rumble of the traffic.

I’ve crossed many bridges on foot but I’ve chosen ten which were absolutely memorable. If you’re in any of these places, spare some time in your itinerary for an incredible bridge walk experience.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of my absolute favourites. You can do the simple walk from one end to the other or you can choose the exhilarating Bridge Climb which takes you along the arch to the summit of this magnificent bridge on catwalks and ladders, more than 130 meters (+300 feet) above Sydney Harbour. I tried it several years ago to challenge my fear of heights. I guess that’s why I’ll never forget this bridge walk. ;-) Check out the Bridge Climb video below.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

The Golden Gate Bridge is certainly one of the most famous bridges in the world. Crossing it by foot is an experience to treasure. The wind, the terrifying heights, the fog, the vibrating deck, and the views will be etched in your memory forever! It’s a long walk from the San Francisco city side to Marin County on the other end (and back) but oh so worth it!

Yokohama Bay Bridge, Yokohama, Japan

It’s not the longest or highest bridge in Japan but the Yokohama Bay Bridge is definitely one of the most spectacular. About a third of the way across the bridge is a viewing platform which offers amazing views of Yokohama Bay, the city skyline and on clear days, the stunning Mount Fuji. Not to be missed if you’re visiting Yokohama.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA

The Brooklyn Bridge is arguably one of the most famous bridges in the world. It’s been in dozens of movies and television series. In addition, who can ever forget the images of terrified New Yorkers crossing the bridge, covered in blankets of dust, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks? The bridge is truly a global icon and a visit to New York will not be complete without a leisurely stroll across it. The views of the Manhattan skyline are breathtaking and the incessant buzz of the New York traffic below is unforgettable.

Galata Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey

The Galata Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the Golden Horn in Istanbul. There were many designs for a bridge crossing at this spot over the centuries, including drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. However, the first bridge was built in the 19th century. The Galata Bridge that spans the Golden Horn today is the fifth version. A walk across the Galata is a true feast for the senses. The stunning minarets of the Hagia SophiaBlue and Süleymaniyeh mosques and the Galata Tower form a striking backdrop while the spice-filled air, the anglers, and the traffic (cars, buses and trams) on the bridge and the many boats plying the Golden Horn below will keep your senses tantalised!

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

The Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava river that meanders through the city of Prague. It is one of the city’s most famous icons and deservedly so. This historic bridge, with its 16 arches and three Gothic bridge towers, was built in the 14th century and is lined with gorgeous statues. I recommend walking across the bridge both in the daytime, when the bridge is crowded with day-trippers, artisans, artists and souvenir vendors, and in the early evening. When the vendors and artisans have packed up, the day-trippers have left, and the lights illuminating the bridge and Prague Castle are turned on, the bridge turns into, arguably, one of the most romantic spots in Europe.

Tower Bridge, London, England

Often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge (I guess that nursery rhyme had something to do with it), the Tower Bridge is one of the most famous symbols of London, and probably the most famous bascule bridge in the world. It’s a short stroll across the bridge but the views over the Thames to the Tower of London (another iconic landmark), the lovely Butler’s Wharf and the futuristic London City Hall (designed by Norman Foster) will stay with you forever.

Pont des Arts, Paris, France

The Pont des Arts is my favourite bridge in Paris. This elegant metal bridge, with its nine arches, crosses the Seine river and connects the Louvre with the Institut de France. The best part: it’s a pedestrian bridge. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge in the evenings to watch the Paris lights and be temporarily blinded by the cruise boats as they pass by below! :-)

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

The Ponte Vecchio is a gorgeous medieval bridge that spans the Arno river in Florence. Its most distinguishing feature is the fact that it has houses and shops built on it. If you’re visiting Florence, do some research on the fascinating history of this bridge before you visit. It’s an amazing story involving the Medici family, merchants and some of Italy’s greatest architects. As you walk across the present-day bridge, with its jewellery, art houses and souvenir shops, recalling the history of the bridge will help you truly appreciate its beauty.

Kintai Bridge, Iwakuni, Japan

My favourite wooden bridge, the Kintai Bridge is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Located in Iwakuni, a town in the Yamaguchi Prefecture on Honshu island, the Kintai Bridge will keep you captivated for hours. I’d never seen anything like it before. Built in the 17th century, the bridge is one of the National Treasures of Japan and crosses the Nishiki river in a series of wave-like curves. The views from the bridge of the lush forested hills and the impressive Iwakuni Castle are absolutely gorgeous. In spring, the breathtaking cherry blossoms add a touch of magic to the surroundings of this incredible bridge.

Which other great bridge walks would you add to this list? Please add your suggestions in the comments section. :-)

Update
Inspired by this post, Air Treks has created a customised round-the-world itinerary for bridge lovers so that you can see all these bridges. A brilliant idea!

Air Treks' Bridge RTW itinerary

Air Treks’ Bridge RTW itinerary

Read other posts from the Velvet Escape “Tens” series.

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57 Responses to “Ten incredible bridge walks”

  1. Keith Jenkins 27/08/2013 6:05 pm
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    Thank you Mary for the tip! :-)

  2. Mary 27/08/2013 4:30 pm
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    Mackinac Bridge between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, Michigan.
    Mackinac Bridge is the 4th longest bridge in the world.
    The bridgewalk occurs every Labor Day holiday.

  3. Stefania 20/03/2013 2:15 pm
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    Camino del Rey (Koningspad) in province of Malaga Spain, ultimate thrill seeking experience.

    http://stefaniavanlieshout.com/2012/01/24/het-koningspad/

  4. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas 20/03/2013 2:05 pm
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    I’m a sucker for bridges, my favorite being the bridge that lies next to my house in Spain. Still, the Galata Bridge is absolutely magical and I’d also tout the Chain Bridge in Budapest or the covered bridges of the Atlantic communities. I’ve surprisingly never lived in a city without a river!

  5. Stan Galway 16/07/2012 10:47 pm
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    I recently visited the Forth Railway Bridge in Scotland which is a marvel of construction. I hhave walked across the Bristol Suspension Bridge and slept under the Pont Neuf in Paris (back when you could do that sort of thing) but my bridge highlight was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

  6. Kenny Mah 03/01/2012 3:02 pm
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    Yikes! I’ve only done three of these bridges! Time to get travellin’ again! :P

  7. aNCA Urdea 26/12/2011 8:09 pm
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    I have a thing for bridges and one of the best I’ve crossed was Dom Luis I in Portugal, which goes across the Duoro River, connecting Oporto to Vila Nova de Gaia. The lower part of the bridge is used by the tram line and by pedestrians whereas the upper part can be crossed by metro, by car or on foot. The views from the upper part are spectacular, you are at the same level with the top of the hill on which the Porto old town is whereas down you can see the river banks with all the jolly restaurants and the promenade. Fantastic!
    There are actually 4 bridges in Oporto; Dona Maria Pia Bridge having been constructed my Gustave Eiffel (in the same style as the tower in Paris) before building the Eiffel Tower.

  8. Diana 03/12/2011 6:36 pm
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    Some of my favorites are:
    Ha-penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland;
    Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin, Ireland;
    FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge, Poughkeepsie, NY

  9. Paul McConaughy (@minutrition) 14/09/2011 9:32 pm
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    The beautiful Mackinaw Suspension Bridge connecting the lower and upper peninsula of Michigan has a Labor Day walk each year. Thousands of people participate. http://www.mackinacbridge.org/annual-bridge-walk-7/

  10. yubisay 23/07/2011 9:33 pm
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    ponte vecchio is a lovely bridge in such an enchanting city! if i remember well is also the only Florence’s bridge that wasn’t destroyed in worl war II

  11. Vi 18/03/2011 10:19 pm
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    Thanks for the links to Air Treks, it makes so easy to plan RTW trips. Only at the moment Osaka/Tokyo it is better remove from this itinerary :(

  12. velvet 17/02/2011 2:45 pm
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    Hello George,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree with your suggestions – those are great bridges to walk across as well. I would’ve included the Bosphorus Bridge (indeed, where else can you cross a bridge from one continent to another?!), however, it is no longer possible to walk across it, unless you run the annual marathon. :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  13. George 17/02/2011 2:06 pm
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    I just came across this page, over a year after it was put up…

    I am not a bridge fan, as it were. By happenstance, I have been on five of these bridges.

    For beauty one could easily add Ponte Sant’Angelo and Ponte Vittorio Emmanuele II in Rome, just steps from each other near the Vatican. Or for sheer visuals, how about Pont d’Iéna, with the Eiffel tower on one end and Chaillot at the other?

    But my one major beef with this selection is Istanbul. The Galata is interesting enough for local colour. But the bridge to cross in Turkey is the Bosphorus Bridge. How often do you get to cross from one CONTINENT to another???

    cheers

  14. Dan 03/12/2010 8:42 pm
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    Hi

    Can I just say what a nice collection, the Sydney harbour Bridge was actually made in the UK in my home town of Middlesbrough, it’s stamped made in Middlesbrough also. There are lots of great bridges in the UK have you heard of the Forth Bridge, the Humber Bridge & the Transporter Bridge also in Middlesbrough and a bit further up the Tees River is the Newport Bridge, while these last 2 might not provide the longest of walks they are very special in the world of bridges as they are 2 of a kind and no further than 5 miles apart I am lucky enough to be able to see both on a daily basis. The Transporter is 100 years old next year take a look via wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middlesbrough_Transporter_Bridge

    Great post good luck with your future walks
    Dan

  15. Ted Nelson 03/12/2010 8:31 pm
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    I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in a freezing wind. Despite the cold it was quite a thrill.

  16. Lifecruiser Travel 31/10/2010 9:13 pm
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    That Yokohama Bay Bridge was totally new for us – and what a stunning photo! *whistels admiring*

    Yes, very brilliant idea too with the RTW bridge tour !

  17. eiling 14/08/2010 3:45 pm
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    Agree totally with you but I’ve only done Sydney Harbour, Tower Bridge, Charles Bridge and Ponts des Arts so far. Still have 6 more on the list!

  18. Kelly Drewett 07/07/2010 10:04 pm
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    Inspiring! Thank you!

  19. Billie 02/05/2010 3:29 pm
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    The George Washington Bridge in NYC. You can see the Little Red Light House from there and great views of Manhattan and New Jersey.

    Also, the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY. Great Hudson River views from there.

  20. Laura Heurung 27/04/2010 3:36 pm
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    You have great stuff here! The last bridge intrigues me – even the concept of it. It looks like quite the workout!

  21. velvet 26/04/2010 11:30 pm
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    Thank you Megan for the tip. I’ve never been there but will definitely make a note of it.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  22. Megan Eaves @ Gypsytracks 26/04/2010 11:27 pm
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    You should definitely include the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on this list! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Grande_Gorge_Bridge

    A scene from “Natural Born Killers” was filmed here. It is a WILD bridge walking experience of a deep river canyon!

  23. superwilson 04/04/2010 3:17 am
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    Been to 2 of the 10 bridges stated here. Sydney and New York, but never walked over it. Good stuffs!

  24. Lisa at Wanderlust Women 29/01/2010 2:14 am
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    Hi Keith – great idea for a blog post.
    I’ve had the pleasure of traversing 4 of these spans and by far my favorite is Tower Bridge. I never tire of it. I always feel transported to Victorian London despite the modern whirl of traffic speeding by and I’m always excited to see the span rise for a passing ship….such fun.

  25. velvet 25/01/2010 1:54 pm
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    Thank you Helen for this wonderful tip. I’ve not heard of this bridge but will definitely be checking it out, in case I’m ever in the neighbourhood! :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  26. Helen 25/01/2010 1:19 pm
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    The Transporter Bridge in Newport (Gwent) UK is one of only a handful in the world and 2 in the UK. It may not be in a glamorous setting, but riding across it in the gondola or climbing over the top via a series of steep steps is a thrill that has never failed to diminish (for me, anyway). And, yes, I know the Harbour bridge in Sydney extremely well (used to live there!) and the U.S. bridges well, and still say, that I love the good ol’ Transporter! There is so much fascinating history to it that is well worth looking in to as well.
    The bridge is closed at the moment, but has just got funds to reopen in time for the Ryder Cup 2010 being staged in Newport.

  27. velvet 23/01/2010 11:45 pm
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    Thanks for your comment. Yes, the Rialto in Venice is another wonderful bridge bur it’s a pretty short walk. :-) I’ve seen the Millau bridge several times. It’s not open to pedestrians though, except during the annual marathon.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  28. Worldwide Travel Ideas 23/01/2010 2:18 am
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    Very creative, and a great list!

    A couple others that I’d suggest are the Rialto Bridge in Venice, and the Millau Bridge in France.

  29. velvet 19/01/2010 1:18 am
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    Thanks for your tips Roberto & Simone!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  30. Roberto 19/01/2010 1:16 am
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    I would add the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal. It’s got a lovely 30’s Art Deco thing going, and a great view of Montreal and the St. Lawrence River. Plus it takes you to St. Helen’s island, where you can visit the Casino, the Biosphère, the FINA aquatic park, a decent artificial beach, the Gilles Villeneuve Formula 1 track, La Ronde amusement park, and the pleasant Jean Drapeau park. In the summer, it’s the best place to watch the fireworks festival.

  31. Simone 18/01/2010 3:57 pm
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    Don’t forget about Budapest!

  32. Transfer Smart 18/01/2010 7:06 am
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    Great list, you made a right pick for the best bridges in the world. This is my next attraction and of course I will include this in my itinerary for the year 2010. Thanks for sharing this.

  33. Adriana 15/01/2010 9:50 pm
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    great post! that is my favorite spot in Prague!

  34. velvet 15/01/2010 8:52 pm
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    Haha, it sure would! I could be the blogger covering that trip! :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  35. AirTreks Nico 15/01/2010 8:51 pm
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    This would actually make a killer round the world itinerary. Hmm …interesting.

  36. Wouter 15/01/2010 3:48 pm
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    I would also like to recommend a different kind of bridge in Amarapura Burma.

    The U Bein bridge is the longest teak bridge in the world (1,2km). Out in the country, beautifully quiet, there’s a 1.2 km long teak bridge across a shallow lake, built by U Bein (the mayor) at the same time as the United States was building a constitution.

    Really nice walking experience during sunrise or sunset!

  37. Vi @ Travel Tips 15/01/2010 2:07 pm
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    In Auckland, New Zealand, there is smaller version of Sydney Bridge :)

  38. velvet 14/01/2010 11:09 pm
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    Thank you for your comment. Wow, walking across the River Kwai bridge, with its tragic history, must certainly have been a big experience. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Travel Blogs 14/01/2010 10:55 pm
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    Thats a great article with fab pictures. Last year we walked over the River Kwai Bridge in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

    Not as pretty, but definitely a big experience!

  40. velvet 14/01/2010 9:15 pm
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    Thank you Robin for another great tip!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  41. My Melange 14/01/2010 8:40 pm
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    Great list! I have been lucky enough to visit four of them! I’ll add the brand new Walkway over the Hudson, in Poughkeepsie, NY. It just happens to be in my hood. It’s really beautiful in the Fall when the foliage has turned bright orange and deep red.

  42. velvet 14/01/2010 6:24 pm
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    Ahh…another fab tip (for the Ponte Vecchio)! Thanks Andy!

  43. velvet 14/01/2010 6:22 pm
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    Thank you Kathryn & Andy for your comments.

    Kathryn: Yes, the Chain Bridge in Budapest is another great bridge to cross. Fab views of Buda.
    Andy: You mean the Millau Viaduct? Yup, I would love to see it (I’ve only seen it twice from the air – if you’re flying from Amsterdam to Spain, you can’t miss it on a clear day) though I’m not sure pedestrians are allowed on it.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  44. Sydney Bridgeclimb takes top marks for me! And don’t miss the secret passageway at the top of the Ponte Vecchio – appointment/pre-booked tour required, but well worth it.

  45. Andy Jarosz 14/01/2010 6:10 pm
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    What a great idea for a post! I love bridges too, and often make a detour to see one that is spectacular (I would love to see the one in southern France that crosses the deep valley, can’t remember the name now). I’m also fond of the rickety wooden bridges in Asia that seem to be constructed each year and then washed away.
    I am yet to see the 2 Japanese bridges on your list; hopefully this year!
    Thanks for an enjoyable read.

  46. Travelfusion 14/01/2010 6:08 pm
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    Great post! I’ve had the good fortune to cross six of these and would second Antoine’s comment about the fantastic picnicking to be had on the Pont des Arts!

    The only other bridge that I’ve crossed (so far) that I think may deserve mention is the Chain Bridge – connecting Buda and Pest into Budapest in Hungary.

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

  47. velvet 14/01/2010 4:36 pm
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    Thanks for your comment Antoine. Wow, that’s a great summer tip for Paris. I didn’t know that – I’ve never visited Paris in the summer! Haha! But I’ll make sure to head down to the Pont des Arts if I do.

    Cheers,
    Keith

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