Love Locks Around the World

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No one is entirely sure where the tradition of lovers attaching padlocks to bridges began — but since the early 2000s, tens (maybe even hundreds) of thousands of “love locks” have been locked to bridges all around the world.

The tradition goes that you and your honey buy a padlock, engrave your names or initials on it, lock it to a bridge, and then throw the key in the river below, thus solidifying your love forever.

It's romantic, to be sure.

And, even though many governments view the locks as vandalism, there's no denying that they add some visual interest to any bridge you spot them on.

Here's a look at some of the love lock bridges I've seen on my travels:

Pont des Arts | Paris, France

Perhaps the most iconic of the love lock bridges I've seen on my travels, the Pont des Arts in Paris is also one of the most controversial. The bridge crossing the Seine between the French Institute and the Louvre is actually reported to be in danger of collapse under the extra weight of all the love locks. The locks have been removed a couple times, but they always show up again.

Pont des Arts in Paris

Love locks on the Pont des Arts in Paris

Ponte Vecchio | Florence, Italy

Today, you won't find many love locks on Florence's most famous bridge. Love locks used to cover the sides of the Ponte Vecchio, but the majority were removed by the city council a few years ago. You can still find a few rebellious stragglers if you look, though.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence

Love locks on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Makartsteg footbridge | Salzburg, Austria

I don't really know the story behind this footbridge in Salzburg, but it was quickly being covered in love locks two summers ago.

Love locks on the Makartsteg footbridge in Salzburg

Salzburg

Butchers' Bridge | Ljubljana, Slovenia

Despite its slightly morbid-sounding name, you'll find a small number of love locks on the Butchers' footbridge in Ljubljana. I love that every bridge in this city has its own character.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Love locks on the Butchers Bridge in Ljubljana

Millennium Bridge | London, England

The Millennium Bridge — crossing the Thames between the South Bank and St. Paul's Cathedral — is probably my favorite bridge in London. And, in the last couple of years, love locks have started to sporadically appear on the bridge's cables.

Millennium Bridge in London

Love lock on Millennium Bridge in London

Ponte dell'Accademia | Venice, Italy

This is proof that people WILL get creative when they want to put a love lock on a bridge that doesn't have chain links or cables. The Accademia bridge is one of only four bridges crossing the Grand Canal in Venice, and you'll find clumps of locks like this along the length of it.

Ponte dell'Accademia in Venice

Ha'penny Bridge | Dublin, Ireland

This pretty bridge spanning the River Liffey was covered in love locks until they were all removed in 2012. People keep adding them in clumps to the bridge, though, so keep your eyes peeled.

Love lock on the Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin

Father Bernatek footbridge | Krakow, Poland

Crossing the Vistula River in Krakow's Jewish Quarter, this pedestrian footbridge is the place to go to see (or place) love locks. I stumbled upon it completely by accident, but thought it was a pretty spot.

Lovers Bridge in Krakow, Poland

So what's your opinion on love locks? Love 'em, or think they're a nuisance?

 

 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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42 Comments on “Love Locks Around the World

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  1. I carry bolt cutters, and love locks will be coming off Venetian bridges this September. They are vandalism, and a plague.

    Nice capture. Have you seen the ones in Korea?

      Nope, haven’t been to Korea yet!

    I don’t mindddd love locks, but I was in Iceland at the top of a waterfall and there were a few on the fence. If the fence fills up with love locks, it will block the beautiful view!

      Very good point! I like them up to a certain point – if they start to obstruct a view or ruin a bridge, then it’s time for them to go.

    We certainly are the love keys world champions in France ! The thing is that Parisians often find this kind of tradition “foreign tourists only”, but I know a lot of them who secretely go to the Pont des Arts to lock a love key with their girlfriend !

    Love this! If I ever come across one I want to add one for my husband and I. Too cute 🙂

      Definitely would make for a good memory.

    I know the love lock idea is supposed to be nice and romantic, but I think it’s a nuissance. They weigh down bridges and cause damage, which cities (and residents) have to pay for (not travelers) and then people throw the keys for the locks in the river causing pollution and more problems. I probably sound all curmudgeony but I don’t understand why people feel they have to prove their love or show someone they love them by putting a lock on a bridge somewhere.

      I definitely see both sides (and, for the record, I’ve never affixed a lock to a bridge anywhere). But you’re right – it’s the locals who have to pay for the damage!

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