The tunnel of love in the Ukraine developed naturally along a train track.
by China DeSpain
Categories: Gallery.
Photo: Shutterstock

The world is filled with amazing manmade architecture. From the Great Wall to the Great Pyramid, we’re surrounded by design ingenuity. But some of the most breathtaking spots around the globe aren’t composed of bricks and mortar and steel. Some are made of sweeping tree arches and delicately flowering branches.

Sure, human hands may have played a role in the development of most of these archways, but that doesn’t take away from the fascinating way nature has preserved them. Keep reading to see our picks for the 14 most amazing living tunnels in the world.

1. Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

The magnificent oaks that create a tunnel to Oak Alley Plantation are part of a National Historic Landmark. Located in Vacherie, Louisiana, along the Mississippi River, Oak Alley Plantation was built in between 1837 and 1839. It gets its name from the sweeping oaks that arch over the path up to the house, which were planted long before the structure itself was built. While it once functioned as a working sugarcane plantation, it is now a National Historic Landmark and is popularly used in films and TV. It appeared in the movies “Interview with a Vampire” and “Midnight Bayou,” among others, and Beyonce’s “Déjà Vu” video was shot on location at the plantation.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine

The tunnel of love in the Ukraine developed naturally along a train track.This fairy tale-esque passage exists along a train track in the Ukraine. Rumor has it that the track was built to carry wood to a fiberboard factory (apparently used to make IKEA furniture), but the trees were allowed to grow naturally along the sides, with only the train cutting a path. The result is an eerie, almost fully-enclosed tunnel said to grant the wishes of lovers who walk and dream there. You know, assuming they don’t get hit by the train.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

3. Rua Goncalo de Carvalho, Brazil

The rua goncalo de carvalho in Brazil has been described as the most beautiful street in the world. Covering three city blocks in Porto Alegre, the tree tunnel over Rua Goncalo de Carvalho is composed of more than 100 tipuana trees. From above, the trees entirely obscure the road, creating what some describe as the “most beautiful street in the world.” Although developers tried to remove some of the trees to build a parking garage in 2005, protests from residents of the street halted the plans. According to Treehugger, “These trees were planted [and] cherished by its residents, over several decades…It was from this love and this struggle of the residents of Goncalo de Carvalho, that the political power of the city found itself forced to recognize the importance of cultural heritage, landscape and environment, classifying and protecting it with the force of law.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Amigos da Rua Goncalo

4. Yew Tree Tunnel, Aberglasney House, Wales

The yew tree tunnel at Aberglasney House in Wales was probably planted in the eighteenth century.Aberglasney House was originally built in the 1500s in Carmarthenshire, Wales. The home was reconstructed in 1603, and the promenade garden — the most well-preserved of its kind— was added to the property. In 1710, the estate was purchased by Robert Dyer, who further rebuilt the house and grounds, which included the addition of the yew tunnel to the gardens. The trees grew so tall that they eventually bent to form the arches visible today, and it took nine years of pruning to tame them back into a manageable walkway. The trees are now so fused that it’s impossible to tell how many individual trees actually form the tunnel.
Photo credit: Insight2Wales.com

5. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees planted by the Stuart family in Northern Ireland in the eighteenth century.No doubt familiar to “Game of Thrones” fans, the Dark Hedges in County Antrim is one of the most photographed spots in Northern Ireland. The avenue of beech trees was originally planted by in the 18th century by the Stuart family, and let up to their estate, Gracehill House. Today, the trees are more famous for being a tourism hot spot, and are popularly used in wedding photos and the aforementioned TV show. Though the Hedges were privately owned for hundreds of years, a move was made in 2012 to turn them over to The Dark Hedges Preservation Fund, which is charged with protecting and preserving the unique line of beeches.
Photo credit: flickr / horeslip5 

6. Wisteria Tunnel, Tochigi, Japan

Several types of wisteria, in various colors, bloom in the tunnel in the Ashikaga Flower Park.In Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park, the plants bloom in eight seasonal chapters. After the cherry blossom season ends, the wisteria chapter begins. Wisteria is said to be one of Japan’s oldest flowering trees, and the park in Tochigi is home to multiple varieties, including pink, purple, white and yellow types, as well as double-petaled wisteria and giant wisteria. The tunnel in the park stretches for 80 meters, giving visitors an excellent opportunity to experience the flowers in all their forms.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

7. Jacarandas Walk, South Africa

More than 70,000 Jacaranda trees add color to Pretoria, South Africa.Though the Jacaranda tree is native to South America, many varieties of the plant were imported to South Africa more than 100 years ago. The trees bloom in October, erupting in purple-blue blossoms that dot the country. Johannesburg is home to a number of the trees (as well as the world’s largest manmade forest) and the city of Pretoria houses more than 70,000. The trees line boulevards and create spectacular tunneled walks like the one pictured above.
Photo Credit: imgur.com

8. Tree Tunnel, Halnaker, West Sussex

The tunnel of trees near Halnaker, West Sussex, lines an old Roman road that leads to a windmill.This tunnel of trees is located along England’s coast, near the village of Halnaker, West Sussex. The trees line what was once a Roman road (the area is rich with Roman archaeological sites), though the path now leads to a windmill and view of the village and coast. As for the unique tube shape, one local says it’s simply due to traffic. “With all the traffic that has passed this way over the centuries the path has sunk lower and lower, resulting in the distinctive shape you can see today,” he says.
Photo credit: Colin Michaelis

9. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Autumn trees form a spectacular tunnel on the drive to Smugglers' Notch State Park in Vermont.Smugglers’ Notch is a Vermont state park with a fascinating history. When President Jefferson declared a trade embargo on Canada in 1807, desperate locals were forced to turn to smuggling. These Vermonters relied on trade with Montreal, and began sneaking goods and cattle across the border, through the notch. The embargo was eventually lifted, but the route stayed in use. Post-embargo, it was used by slaves escaping the United States, and then by alcohol bootleggers during Prohibition. The majestic tunnel of trees greets visitors as they drive to the park.
Photo credit: flickr / dsz902

10. Cherry Blossom Tunnel, Germany

The cherry blossom trees lining the Heerstraße street in Bonn, Germany only bloom for 7-10 days.There are two streets in the city of Bonn, Germany that look like this. They’re planted with cherry blossom trees, which create sweeping arches over the road each spring. Above is Herstrasse; each year it’s covered in a tunnel of magnificent pink blossoms. Photographers and tourists flock to it annually to catch a glimpse of the enchanting sight, but the window is small: the trees only bloom for 7-10 days, depending on the weather.
Photo credit: Marcel Bednarz

11. Sena de Luna, Spain

This tree tunnel is in the tiny Spanish town of Sena de Luna, which is home to only 450 people.This tree tunnel in the Castile and León region is as mysterious as it is beautiful. It’s located in the tiny village of Sena de Luna, which is home to around 450 people. There are more flowers in the tunnel that residents in the village! As for the tunnel’s origin and history…well, no one seems to know exactly where it came from. If you know more about it, hit the comments!
Photo credit: imgur.com

12. Gingko Tree Tunnel, Tokyo

This magnificent tree tunnel in Tokyo is located in the outer garden of Meiji Shrine.Gingko trees are highly-respected in Japan. Six of the resilient plants survived the bombing of Hiroshima and are still alive today. This has earned the species the title “bearer of home,” since they persevered against incredible odds. Today, Tokyo is home to approximately 65,000 gingko biloba trees, including these creating the tunnel in the outer garden of the Meiji Shrine.
Photo credit: news.xinhuanet.com

13. Point Reyes, California

The tree tunnel at the Point Reyes National Seashore is composed of Monterey Cypress trees.Located in the Point Reyes National Seashore, the Monterey cypress tree tunnel is one of the most distinguishing features of the area. Marshall, an area on Tomales Bay, is the site of a former — and very successful — communication station. According to the National Park Service, “The…’tree tunnel’ at the Point Reyes station is a signature landscape feature that evokes some of the prestige that RCA placed in this profitable, historic operation.” The NPS says that plans are underway “to ultimately list both National Seashore sites and the Marshall facility, now a California State Parks conference center, together as a multiple property National Historic Landmark.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock

14. Bamboo Path, Japan

The 500-meter Sagano Bamboo Forest is located in Arashiyama, Japan.The Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, Japan is one of the most stunning places in the world. A nationally-designated historic site, the forest is home to a 500-meter path that winds through the tall plants, creating this amazing tunnel. Named by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as a “Place of Scenic Beauty,” the path is more than just a feast for the eyes. The sound created by the wind moving though the bamboo is so stunning that Japanese authorities voted it as one of the 100-must preserve sounds in the country.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

There you have it: our choices for the 14 most stunning tree tunnels across the globe. What are your picks? Are there others that you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

About China DeSpain

China DeSpain is a San Antonio-based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

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