El Marco: the shortest international bridge in the world

There’s a bridge called “El Marco” between Portugal and Spain. With a length of 3.2 meters (10.4 feet), it’s the shortest international bridge in the world. It connects the Spanish municipality of La Codosera (located in the province of Badajoz, Extremadura) with the Portuguese Arronches (in Portalegre District).

The smallest international bridge in the world: El Marco
El Marco, the tiny bridge between Spain and Portugal is the smallest international bridge in the world. It has a length of 3.2 meters (10.4 feet). Image source: Wikipedia

El Marco bridge

The construction of the tiny wooden bridge was funded by the European Union. It was built in the first decade of the 21st century by laborers from both the Spain and Portugal sides of the stream.

Before El Marco was built, local people installed some metal plates and a handrail in the nineties, on one of its sides, to make passage safer.

In 2008, the Municipal Chamber of Arronches decided to build the current bridge, using funds of the European Union.

The cars cannot use the bridge, given its size. It is used largely by pedestrians, but bicycles and motorcycles can travel over it safely, too.

World’s smallest international bridge

Previously, the title of World’s Shortest International Bridge was erroneously awarded to the bridge that on Zavikon Island, which built in the late 19th century. Zavikon Island (refers to either the larger or the pair of islands) is in the Thousand Islands archipelago on the St. Lawrence River between New York and Ontario, 2 km (1.24 mi) southeast of Rockport, Ontario and about 200 meters (660 ft) north of the international boundary.

In fact, Zavikon Island is completely located in the Canadian territory. A popular but incorrect tale among local guides is that the larger island is in Canada, while “Little Zavikon Island” is in the United States, and the footbridge between them is the “shortest international bridge in the world”.

A popular but incorrect tale among local guides is that the larger island is in Canada, while “Little Zavikon Island” is in the United States, and the footbridge between them is the “shortest international bridge in the world”.

Even the Zavikon bridge was international (it is not), today, El Marco is at least 4 meters (13 feet) shorter than its North American counterpart.

Zavikon Island bridge, which is erroneously titled "the world's shortest international bridge" by the local guides.
Zavikon Island bridge, which is erroneously titled “the world’s shortest international bridge” by the local guides. In fact, Zavikon Island is completely located in the Canadian territory. Image: Wikimedia

Sources

“The World’s Shortest International Bridge – you can cross from one country to another in a single hop on this little bridge” on Atlas Obscura
“Guess where the Smallest International Bridge is” on the Portugal Adventures website
“El Marco: the little story of the world’s smallest international bridge” on the Diplomat in Spain website
“Thet world’s smallest international bridge. It connects Portugal with Spain.” on Reddit
“The World’s Shortest International Bridge” on the Eye on Spain website

M. Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, an ex-road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the planet Earth and science on this website, ourplnt.com. You can check out my social media profiles by clicking on their icons.

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