Hvitserkur in Iceland at sunrise
LuigiMorbidelli/istockphoto

Breathtaking Natural Bridges and Arches Around the World

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Hvitserkur in Iceland at sunrise
LuigiMorbidelli/istockphoto
Natural Bridge State Park
©TripAdvisor

Natural Bridge State Park

Virginia

Take one guess how the Virginia town of Natural Bridge got its name. The bridge itself is rather modest by natural-bridge standards, Today, it's probably best known for being a former property of President Thomas Jefferson.    


Related: Historic American Towns Where You'll Travel Back in Time

Natural Bridges National Monument
zrfphoto/istockphoto

Natural Bridges National Monument

Utah

This landmark gets its name from the three natural bridges in the landscape. Since 1909, the bridges have had the official names Sipapu, Owachomo, and Kachina. Sipapu is a Hopi word meaning “place of emergence,” referring to the Hopi belief that their ancestors entered the world through that archway. Owachomo means “rock mound,” and “Kachina” is a reference to the ancient rock art on the bridge, similar to symbols commonly featured on kachina dolls.    


Related: Stunning Photos of Every National Park in America

Santa Cruz California
littleny/istockphoto

Natural Bridges State Beach

California

Though this state park gets its name from the enormous rock formation on the shore, it's also a wildlife preserve offering visitors a chance to see seals, otters, sea anemones, and other Pacific coast life.   


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View from Tamesguida cathedral in Tadrart Rouge.
Slimoche/istockphoto

Tassili N'ajjer

Algeria

This national park in the Sahara Desert is home to more than 300 naturally formed rock arches, and also one of the world's largest collections of prehistoric rock carvings and drawings, some of which are as old as 12,000 years. The carvings were made when the Sahara was still a grassland, and feature crocodiles, antelopes, cattle herds and the humans who hunted these animals, long ago when the Sahara was green.   


Related: Spectacular Photos of Hard-to-Reach Places

Rainbow Bridge Landscape in Sunlight
Alysta/istockphoto

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Utah

Given how the forces of erosion work, it's no surprise that most natural bridges and arches look far rougher and more uneven than their human-made counterparts. But Utah's “rainbow turned to stone” arcs almost as gracefully as its namesake in the sky.    


A view of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah
ventdusud/istockphoto

Delicate Arch

Utah

There are over 2,000 arches and bridges in the “red-rock wonderland” that is Utah's Arches National Park. The park's largest and most famous such feature is the free-standing Delicate Arch. 

Amazing natural rock arch wonder, Etretat, Normandy, France
Janoka82/istockphoto

Cliffs Of Etretat, France

The White Cliffs of Dover are an iconic English landmark, but across the English Channel in Normandy is an even more stunning white-chalk formation: cliffs and three natural arches towering over a white-pebble beach.     

The Green Bridge of Wales / Pont Werdd Cymru near Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
Alan Morris/istockphoto

Pont Werdd Cymru / Green Bridge Of Wales

There are many stunning formations to be seen as you travel the rocky shores by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales. Yet one rock bridge stands out even among all that beauty–a magnificent rock bridge topped by (relatively) lush vegetation giving it the name “Green Bridge of Wales.”

Bay of Islands, Great Ocean Road, South Australia
BriBar/istockphoto

London Arch (formerly London Bridge)

Australia

The children's rhyme says “London Bridge is falling down,” but in Australia, it fell already, back in 1990. That's when London Bridge, a double-span natural rock bridge just off the coast of Port Campbell National Park, collapsed into the ocean, leaving the single London Arch to remain.   


Related: Amazing Tourist Attractions That No Longer Exist

Puente del Inca
Puente del Inca by Mariordo (None)

Puente Del Inca

Argentina

Despite its name, the “Inca Bridge” crossing Argentina's River Las Cuevas was carved by Mother Nature, not the Incas. But the Incas did use the bridge when they needed to cross the river.  


Related: 14 Under-the-Radar Destinations in Latin America

Photo of a beach in Cabo San Lucas
sorincolac/istockphoto

Arch Of Cabo San Lucas

Mexico

The Arch of Cabo San Lucas is also known as Land's End. It's at the very tip of Baja California, the strip of land separating the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Cortez. In addition to stunning scenery and rock formations, the spot is also home to colonies of seals and sea lions.      


The Blue Caves in Zakynthos (Greece)
j-wildman/istockphoto

Blue Caves Of Zakynthos

Greece

Zakynthos is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, and the Blue Caves are one of its most popular tourist attractions. This ancient seaside cave has since eroded into a mostly open series of natural archways and openings accessible by boat.


beautiful landscape with pravcicka brana rock formation, Falcons Nest Hotel and forest in Czech Republic
LightFieldStudios/istockphoto

Pravčická Brána, Czech Republic

Pravčická brána, or “Right-Handers' Gate,” is the largest sandstone arch in Europe. Some of the Narnian-landscape scenes from the 2005 film "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" were filmed here — though the scene where the children run across the arch was created in the studio, since the arch itself may no longer be walked or climbed on.     


Rock House Cave in Hocking Hills
Kenneth Keifer/istockphoto

Rock House Cavern

Ohio

The “rock house” in Ohio's Hocking Hills State park is actually the side of a cliff long-since eroded into a sort of natural tunnel with seven “windows” (actually natural arches) along one wall.    


Great Pollet Arch
Mnieteq/istockphoto

Great Pollet Sea Arch

Ireland

The Great Pollet Sea Arch is the largest such natural feature in all of Ireland. Accessing the arch became much easier in April 2022, when a new walkway leading directly to the arch opened to the public.   

 

Related: 30 Free Things to Do in Ireland

Hvitserkur in Iceland at sunrise
LuigiMorbidelli/istockphoto

Hvítserkur

Iceland 

There are not one but two natural archways at the base of this black basalt slab poking above the surface of Iceland's Hunafloi Bay. Hvítserkur is also nicknamed the “Troll of Northwest Iceland.”    


Kenai Fjords National Park
National Parks Service

Kenai Fjords National Park

Alaska

Look at a map of Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park and you'll notice one body of water is named Three-Hole Bay. That name presumably comes from the three holes, or archways, eroded into the rock protruding above the surface of the bay.    


Durdle Door
Durdle Door by Sean Davis (CC BY-SA)

Durdle Door

England

The Durdle Door is arguably one of the most iconic sights to be found along England's Jurassic Coast. It's gone by this name for at least a thousand years; the word “durdle” derives from the Old English word “thirl,” meaning to pierce or drill.     





Angel Windows
USDA

Angel Windows

Kentucky

The “angel windows” are spectacular rock arches in the Daniel Boone National Forest. Of all natural bridges and archways in the United States, the Angel Windows might be among the easiest to reach, being located at the end of an easy, kid-friendly 0.6-mile hiking trail.


Kolb Natural Bridge
National Parks Service

Kolb Natural Bridge

Arizona

The Kolb Natural Bridge is the largest span in Arizona's Grand Canyon. It was named after Emery and Ellsworth Kolb, two brothers who took the first film footage of the Grand Canyon in 1911. The Kolbs' photography studio still stands on the canyon rim to this day.


Wadi Rum / Valley Of The Moon
Wadi Rum / Valley Of The Moon by Raya Sharbain (CC BY-SA)

Wadi Rum / Valley Of The Moon

Jordan

Of all the dry riverbeds, or wadis, in the Jordanian desert, the largest is Wadi Rum, or “Valley of the Moon.” The valley's many spectacular features include a stunning natural bridge crossing high above the desert floor.   


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The Bridge on the Moon
NASA

The Bridge on the Moon

No, this isn't a poetic name, like the “Valley of the Moon” in Jordan; in 2010, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera photographed a natural bridge on the surface of the Moon, specifically the rim of King Crater. Of course the Moon has none of the wind or water activity responsible for Earth's natural arches and bridges; scientists think the bridge at King Crater is the remnant of an ancient collapsed lava tube.