Back in 2015, the Parisian government decided to put an end to a long-lasting romantic tradition. Adding millions of love locks on one of its most popular bridges was making it sink. Europe mourned the end of an era for Pont des Arts bridge couples – but Cupid’s tourists can still show their love on the continent. Here’s the love lock guide: romantic bridges across Europe.
If you’re new to the whole concept of love locks, know that they are a symbol of love and commitment (and they looked good in engagement photos). Love padlocks are also a testimony of hope. Couples have to buy the lock, engrave it with their initials or a special date and be present as one of them puts in on a fence, gate or bridge.
For urban sweethearts out there, you can find special locks online, but you can also engrave one yourself and keep the key as a symbol of your love. You can even frame it. You can choose a fence close by to attach it to. No matter where you put it, make sure it’s approved by the law. Otherwise, it will be vandalism, you will get a fine and it will be gone in less than a year.
What is the origin of love locks?
Nobody knows exactly the origin of this lovely tradition, but it has grown in popularity in the last two decades. Some say it might have something to do with the Chinese empire, as it’s one of the oldest on Earth. Asian couples used to lock a padlock on a chain or gate and throw away the key to show their commitment.
Another story goes back to a Serbian tale from World War I. A teacher, Nada, fell in love with an officer, Relja. They committed to each other, but he had to go to war in Greece. There, he fell in love with another woman from Corfu. Nada and Relja broke their engagement and she passed away from a broken heart. Young women from Serbia want to protect their love so they write their name and that of their lover on padlocks and affixing them on the bridge where Nada and Relja met – Most Ljubavi.
Why did authorities take down love locks from bridges?
In the last decade, authorities have “freed” a lot of bridges of the locks’ burden. From Paris to Rome’s Ponte Milvio, lovers were left with the wish to lock in their love, but save history. Unfortunately, too many locks bring lots of rust and weight on pedestrian bridges.
Authorities think of them as destruction and they encourage millions of tourists to rethink this tradition as it doesn’t look good on old public constructions. What’s more, couples throw the key in the water below the bridge and, in time, this ends up being another layer of pollution.
Romantic bridges across Europe where you can put a love lock:
Most Ljubavi | Serbia – this is where the tradition began.
Hohenzollern Bridge | Cologne | Germany – they actually promote it online to attract tourists.
Shoreditch High Street Station | London | England – some couples dare to put lovelocks on bridges, but it’s not supported by the authorities.
Small bridge near John Lennon Wall | Prague | Czech Republic – there were other bridges in Prague, but depending on the year, authorities clean them.
Butchers’ Bridge | Ljubljana | Slovenia – this is another good location approved by the authorities.
Makartsteg Footbridge | Salzburg | Austria – before you visit a place it’s best to check out TripAdvisor to see if tourists are still allowed as authorities bring new rules each year.
Elizabeth’s Bridge | Cluj Napoca | Romania – the history says that soldiers used to meet their sweethearts on this bridge at the beginning of the century.
Good Lock… emmm, luck!