10 awe-inspiring bridges & where to eat nearby
Stunning view of the Golden Gate bridge
Golden Gate, San Francisco
Opened in 1937, Joseph Strauss’ Art Deco suspension bridge stands proud above San Francisco Bay, connecting the city to Marin County. Its amber hue (called International Orange) blends with the nearby hills while making it distinct from the sea and the sky. The result is stunning – but it’s often shrouded in fog. Even so, it’s quite magical when driving across from the city in the mist, glimpsing the orange steel, and emerging into bright sunshine on the other side.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
This medieval bridge lined with shops is a quintessential Florence landmark. You can stroll along it, admire what’s on offer in the many jewellers (there used to be all kinds of shops but in 1593 Ferdinand I decreed only jewellers and goldsmiths could trade there after the mess caused by the butchers and the tanners!) and gaze at the River Arno below.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York
The striking design of Brooklyn Bridge is one that is worth lingering over. The work of John A. Roebling, it opened in 1883 to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. But its moment of glory turned to tragedy just a week after opening when a stampede broke out – a woman fell, another screamed, prompting the crowd to believe the bridge was falling down. To restore public trust, PT Barnum led a procession of animals, including 21 elephants, across it.
Admire the bridge from The River Café. Dress up for the evening at this Brooklyn institution and enjoy dishes such as pork belly with scallops or duck breast with sweet potato spätzle.
Harbour Bridge, Sydney
Opened in 1932, the bridge, nicknamed the ‘coat hanger’ because of its shape, is a stunning sight. It’s a design marvel too, requiring all kinds of technical ingenuity in its construction to cope with the high temperatures in the Australian city.
Head to Aria restaurant – along with fantastic views of the bridge, you’ll find fine dining with a menu driven by the seasons and locally sourced ingredients. Its tasting menu might include dishes such as beef fillet with chicory and bone marrow.
Rialto Bridge, Venice
Spanning the Grand Canal, Antonio da Ponte’s beautiful bridge is a Renaissance architectural masterpiece, although not everyone loved it at the time, and it was predicted to fail given its ambitious construction. It defied the critics and prevails as an icon of the city.
Stroll past the shops along the bridge then head canal-side to one of the many restaurants. Osteria Bancogiro, set in a former bank dating back to the 1600s, is next to the bridge and has great views of the Grand Canal. Try the fabulous cicchetti and dishes such as monkfish with clams, while sipping wines from a carefully curated selection.
Tower Bridge, London
Surely winning the award for London’s most ostentatious bridge, Tower Bridge took eight years build. It opened in 1894 and was high-tech at the time, with the road capable of being raised when needed by steam-powered hydraulics to allow large river vessels to pass underneath.
Millau Viaduct, Aveyron
Designed by Lord Norman Foster, Millau is the tallest bridge in the world at 343 metres, and spans the Tarn River Valley. It is considered an incredible piece of design and engineering and is particularly enchanting when it can be seen poking out from the overnight mists.
Domaine Saint Estève showcases the gastronomy of Aveyron, with a view of the viaduct. Enjoy the local Roquefort cheese and lamb.
Helix Bridge, Singapore
Inspired by the geometric arrangement of a DNA strand, this twisting walkway features opposing double-helix structures of stainless steel. It’s stunning at night and offers fabulous views of the city skyline from the viewing platforms.
The Marina Bay Sands has a number of lofty restaurants offering 360-degree views. Try Ce La Vi or Spago by Wolfgang Puck.
Pont de Bir-Hakeim, Paris
While there is no shortage of iconic bridges in Paris (and arguably the most popular is Alexandre III) Pont de Bir-Hakeim is a pretty sight indeed. Designed in the early 1900s by Jean-Camille Formigé, it was originally called Pont de Passy but was renamed in 1948 to commemorate the Battle of Bir Hakeim in Libya. Film buffs – the bridge featured in Last Tango in Paris and Inception.
Take a dinner cruise, aboard the Capitaine Fracasse, embarking by the bridge,
Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, Brazil
This impressive bridge snakes over Lake Paranoá between the city centre and the eastern shore. Completed in 2002, it was named after Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira – known as JK - the former president responsible for constructing the new capital, Brasília.
Just by the JK Bridge, you’ll find Mangai. This is no intimate fine dining spot but a raucous authentic place that always gets rave reviews for its wealth of excellent dishes, served ‘by the kilo’ as is popular in Brazil.
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