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A bridge to love

It was ‘the bridge that could not be built’ – and yet it was. After 4 years of construction, which was often hampered by icy winds, treacherous currents and thick fog, the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937. With its 2 towering supports and eye-catching reddish-orange colour, this magnificent bridge quickly came to symbolise San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait and connects San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. In the past, the bay could only be crossed by ferry, which was a time-consuming affair. There was little funding to build the bridge, but engineer Joseph Strauss claimed he could build it for less money than estimated. He was given the go-ahead and may very well have built the world’s most beautiful and most photographed bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge enveloped in fog
The Golden Gate Bridge enveloped in fog

San Francisco

Eye-catching colour

Building the Golden Gate Bridge was definitely not a risk-free undertaking. To prevent as many accidents as possible, a safety net was placed under the bridge, which saved the lives of no fewer than 19 workers – the ‘Halfway-to-Hell Club’. Unfortunately, still 12 men died during construction of the bridge, albeit a relatively low number considering the size of the project.
The colour of the bridge – international orange – was chosen by engineer Irving Morrow, who felt that the initial grey was far too boring. Besides, the reddish-orange colour stood out better in the fog and matched the colours of the sun setting over the bay.
The Golden Gate Bridge illuminated

Biking over the bridge

Although it is a great experience to drive across this famous bridge, it is even more memorable to walk or cross it by bike. The views down into the bay from the bicycle and pedestrian path are breathtaking and make you realise just how tall the bridge really is. Another advantage of biking is that you can visit the lovely harbour town Sausalito, from where you can take the ferry back to San Francisco. Even in case of nice weather, be sure to take a jacket, because the wind on the bridge is often extremely strong and cold.
Biking over the bridge
Impressive cables

“The 2 main cables that connect the bridge supports consist of approximately 129,000 kilometres of steel cable and took 6 months to produce”

The best viewpoints

There are vista points on both ends of the bridge, where visitors can park their car and enjoy views of the bridge. For a totally different view, head to Baker Beach to see the bridge from a much lower angle. However, the most spectacular view continues to be from the north end of the bay, where you look through the gigantic bridge support towards the skyline of the City by the Bay – that is, if San Francisco isn’t blanketed in its famous fog.
View from the Marin Headlands