• Bridges of the Balkans and Eastern Europe

    by  • September 24, 2014 • Architecture, Bratislava, Budapest, City Breaks, Ljubljana, Montenegro, Mostar, Prague

    Be it Budapest, Bratislava or the Balkans, don’t miss these city break sightseeing essentials

    Must-see landmarks in many a European city, the bridges of the Balkans and Eastern Europe rank amongst the most popular and photographed attractions on any short break itinerary, whether it be in Mostar or Montenegro, Slovakia or Slovenia. Here’s a little look at some of the most famous river crossings across the Balkans and Eastern Europe…

    Chain Bridge, Budapest
    One of Budapest’s most famous landmarks, this magnificent suspension bridge was built in the 19th century to connect the once separate cities of Buda and Pest. The first permanent crossing to span the Danube in Budapest, the Chain Bridge survived a bombing by the Austrians during the War of independence in 1848, however was destroyed by the Germans in 1945. Reopened in 1949, the bridge is an exact replica of the original structure.

    Chain Bridge, Budapest

    Chain Bridge, Budapest

    Charles Bridge, Prague
    One of the most visited sites in Prague, the Charles Bridge was commissioned in 1357 and completed in the early 15th century, an important trade route between Eastern and Western Europe across the Vltava River. Connecting Prague’s Old Town with the Lesser Quarter, the bridge is renowned for its Baroque statues and today serves as a pedestrian walkway, buzzing during the day with tourists, street artists and musicians yet particularly romantic at sunset.

    Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana
    Built in 1900-1901, the impressive Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most) pays homage to the mythological origins and symbol of Ljubljana and is unquestionably one of the city’s best examples of Art Nouveau architecture. Formerly known as Jubilee Bridge, Dragon Bridge is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks, particularly for its four large dragons standing sentry at either side of the bridge, and is perhaps best appreciated on a cruise along the Ljubljanica, an essential on any Ljubljana itinerary.

    New Bridge, Bratislava

    New Bridge, Bratislava

    New Bridge, Bratislava
    Suspended from a single pylon, the New Bridge – also known as the SNP Bridge after the Slovak National Uprising – spans the River Danube from below Bratislava Castle and is one of the city’s most distinctive modern structures, particularly for its flying saucer-shaped restaurant set at the top of the pylon. Built solely from steel between 1967 and 1972, the roof of the restaurant serves as an observation desk and offers fantastic views over the Old Town.

    Old Bridge, Mostar
    Spanning the River Neretva, Mostar’s Old Bridge, known locally as Stari Most, has its origins in the 16th century when it was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 and stood for over 400 years until it was destroyed in 1993 during the Bosnian War. Rebuilt and reopened in 2004, the Old Bridge is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Bosnia’s most recognisable landmarks and one of the Balkan’s most distinctive examples of Islamic architecture.

    Durdevica Tara Bridge, Montenegro
    Considered one of the most impressive feats of engineering across Europe, the Durdevica Tara Bridge spans the awesome Tara Canyon, Europe’s deepest with a stomach-flipping depth of 1,300 metres. Built between 1937 and 1940 and measuring 365 metres long, the curved aspect of the bridge, together with its five arches, not only adds to its original engineering brilliance but offers a unique vantage point from which to best appreciate the river and valley beneath. Brilliant for bungee jumping, the bridge also provided a backdrop to the 1978 film, Force 10 from Navaronne.

    About

    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.