For your driving pleasure: The world's most beautiful bridges |

We usually drive our cars in the daily commute, on practically the same road every day. But let’s not forget that driving a car can still be pretty exciting, both in the city and outside of it, especially if you can go somewhere special.

We’ve already showed you some of the best roads out there, but now we’re back with another list, of the most beautiful bridges on our planet. From Europe to Asia or North America, no matter where you’re from, you’ll definitely find something nearby where you can spend some quality time in your ride.

Needless to say, hit the jump and check out some of the world’s most beautiful bridges.

Millau Viaduct, France

Located near Millau in southern France, the Millau viaduct is the world’s tallest vehicular bridge, with its biggest mast measuring 343 meters (1,125 ft), only 28 m (125 ft) shorter than the Empire State Building. As you’d expect, weighing 36,000 tons and being 2,460 m (8,100 ft) long, the Millau Viaduct is an engineering masterpiece. Construction began on 10 October 2001, and French President Chirac inaugurated it on 14 December 2004, opening for traffic on 16 December. So, if you’re ever driving in southern France on the A75 autoroute, make sure you take the Millau Viaduct, because for €5.40–7.00 ($7.2-9.4) you will get to see one of the most spectacular views in the world.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

Photo credit:snake.eyes

Probably one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Golden Gate bridge connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County. It spans over the opening of the San Francisco bay onto the Pacific Ocean. The bridge, which is a part of US Route 101 and State Route 1 was completed in April 1937 after 4 years of work and $35 million spent (which were a lot of money back then). At the time of construction, the Golden Gate Bridge had the world’s tallest suspension towers and its center span was the longest among suspension bridges. Today, although it doesn’t hold these records anymore, the Golden Gate Bridge is still one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and a symbol of San Francisco and California. The toll for vehicles is $6 and the FasTrak toll is $5.

Tsing Ma Bridge, Hong Kong

Photo credit:Ken Mau

Named after two of the islands in Hong Kong, Tsing Yi and Ma Wan, the Tsing Ma bridge has a main span of 1,377 m (4,518 ft) and a height of 206 m (676 ft) which make it the 7th longest span suspension bridge in the world and the largest bridge in the world to carry rail traffic. But we’re not interested in the rail traffic, because we love cars, so you should know that the 41 m (135 ft) wide bridge deck carries six lanes of automobile traffic, with three lanes in each direction. Construction started in May 1992, with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher inaugurating the bridge on April 27, 1997. Though only 12 years old, the Tsing Ma Bridge has become a favorite scenic spot as well as a famous landmark and if you’re ever driving in Hong Kong, make sure you don’t miss it.

Mackinac Bridge, USA

Photo credit: Dehk

The Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan, US and connects the city of St. Ignace with Mackinaw City on Interstate 75. With a total length of 26,372 ft (8,038 m), it’s the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western hemisphere. Though plans for the bridge showed up as early as the 1880s, the construction began on May 7, 1954 and it took three and a half years until the bridge was opened to traffic on November 1, 1957. There are two interesting about the bridge. The first is that every Labor Day, two of the lanes are closed to traffic and open to walkers. The second is that the painting of the bridge takes seven years, and when it’s complete, it begins again. The toll is $3.00 for passenger cars and if you feel uncomfortable with crossing the 5 mile bridge or just want to admire the view, the Mackinac Bridge Authority has a Drivers Assistance Program which provides a driver for you. Anyway, no matter if you drive or not, the Mackinac Bridge is definitely a place to see.

Oresund Bridge, Sweden/Denmark

Photo credit:Oresundsbro Konsortiet

The Oresung Bridge, opened on July 1, 2000, is Europe’s longest combined road and rail bridge and it connects Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark with the Swedish city of Malmo. What’s really interesting about the structure is that, because the Copenhagen Airport is nearby, the bridge begins from Malmo and it ends in the middle of the Oresund strait, on an artificial island. From there, the European route E20, which runs across the bridge, continues with a 4,050 m (13,287ft) long tunnel. The Oresund bridge is the longest border crossing bridge in the world, but don’t worry, because the two countries are in the Schengen zone, meaning there are no passport or customs controls, so you can enjoy the ride. With a €36 ($48.5), it’s not very cheap but it sure is one interesting drive.

Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, Japan

Photo credit:Kim Rötzel

Also known as the Pearl Bridge, the Akashi-Kaikyo bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge (measured by the length of the center span of 1,991 metres/6,532 feet). The bridge, which crosses the Akashi Strait, carries the Honshu-Shikoku Highway and it connects the Honshu Island (city of Kobe) to Awaji Isnald (city of Iwaya). The bridge took quite a while to build, 12 years, between May 1986 and April 5, 1998, at an estimated cost of around $5 billion. The toll for crossing the bridge is around $20 so, if you’re ever in Japan, this is one of the places you must drive to.

Hangzhou Bay Bridge, China

Photo credit:WorldInterestingFacts

The bridge runs across Hangzhou Bay off the eastern coast of China and, with a total length of more than 35 km (22 miles) is considered the longest trans-oceanic bridge in the world. The bridge’s construction started on June 8, 2003 and it was officially opened to traffic on May 1, 2008, so it’s basically pretty new. Interesting thing about the bridge is that it has an ‘S’ shape which, besides protecting the bridge from the Silver Dragon annual tidal wave, also helps distract from drowsiness and keep attention on the road (there are also flashing lights of different colors for the same reason). The toll for crossing the bridge is around $11 and Chinese authorities plan on building a service island mid-way through the bridge, where drivers will get restaurants, a hotel, lookout tower and a lot of other services.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, USA

Photo credit:Arif Rochman

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway crosses the lake with the same name in southern Louisiana and consists of two parallel bridges, the longer of which is the world’s longest bridge over water (23.87 miles/38.42 km) and the second longest over any terrain, behind the Bang Na Expressway in Thailand. The bridge, which spans between New Orleans and Mandeville was built between 1948 and 1969 (the first bridge opened in 1956). The toll for crossing the incredibly long bridge is $3.00, which are only collected on the North Shore, because toll collections had to be eliminated from the southbound span, due to traffic congestion.

Great Belt Bridge, Denmark

Photo credit:Sendelbach

The bridge is a part of the Great Belt Fixed Link which connects the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen, across the Great Belt strait. The link, considered the largest construction project in Danish history, consists of a road suspension bridge (the one we’re talking about), a railway tunnel and a box girder bridge. The suspension bridge, also known as the East Bridge, has the world’s third longest main span (1,624 m/5,328 ft), was opened to road traffic on June 14, 1998 and it has a total length of 6,790 m (22,277 ft). With a toll tax of €30/$40 (not cheap), the East Bridge is crossed by around 30,000 cars every day and we envy all those drivers for having the chance to drive on such a beautiful structure.

Donghai Bridge, China

Photo credit:Zhang 2008

Completed on December 10, 2005 and with a total length of 32.5 km (20.2 miles), the Donghai Bridge (Chinese for East Sea Grand Bridge) was the world’s longest cross-sea bridge, until the Hangzou bridge (the one featured in the above spots) opened in 2008. The bridge connects Shanghai, China’s largest city, to the Yangshan port. Although there was a lot of controversy around how the authorities might have invested the money used in another project, the Donghai Bridge has definitely earned its place on the list of “must see” bridges, so if you’re in China, make sure you don’t miss it.

Europabrücke, Austria

Photo credit:basheem

Built between 1959 and 1963, with a 777 m (2,549 ft) length and a 192 m (630 ft) height, the Europabrücke was Europe’s highest bridge for more than 40 years, until the Millau Viaduct opened in 2004. But that doesn’t mean the bridge lost its charm, because it’s built in a very beautiful area, near Innsbruck, Austria, on the main route to Italy, across the Alps. So, if you ever decide to go on an Eurotrip by, make sure you get to drive across this bridge, because we’re sure it’s a splendid experience.

Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge, Brazil

Photo credit:Marcosleal

While many of the bridges featured above had some discerning characteristics, the Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge, in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is definitely one that you will remember. The cable-stayed bridge spans the Pinheiros River, connecting Marginal Pinheiros to Jornalista Roberto Marinho Avenue, and, as you can see above, features an unusual X-shaped mast, supporting two curved tracks. As an interesting feature, authorities decorated it with special lights on the cables, which are turned on during holidays, like Christmas, and on special occasions.

Banpo Bridge, South Korea

Photo credit:Gu Gyobok

I bet you thought the bridge one spot above was pretty memorable, and it sure was, until the administration in Seoul decided to spice up the old Banpo Bridge, dating back to 1982. How did they decide to upgrade the bridge? By adding last year the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, consisting of 10,000 LED nozzles, which run along both sides of the bridge and spray up to 190 tons of “colored” water per minute. Said water is taken from the Han River, which runs under the construction. Cross this bridge at night and we guarantee you’ll remember the experience for as long as you live.

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Post tags : bridge, driving, must-see, Special