World’s longest pedestrian bridge: Portugal opens a marvel with breathtaking view

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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516 Arouca Image
516 Arouca is the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge that has just opened in Portugal.

Portugal has just opened the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. 

516 Arouca, so called because it’s 516 meters long and is in the town of Arouca, an hour south of Porto, connects Aguieiras Waterfall and Paiva Gorge and is the latest adventure offering in the Arouca Geopark, known for its extreme sports.

It takes about 10 minutes to cross if you’re taking in the beautiful views of the waterfall, the gorge and the fast-moving river seen through the open grid beneath your feet but it could take your just four minutes if you scarily dash over and get it over with.

It’s a Tibetan-style hanging bridge, held up by steel cables and two huge V-shaped towers, and is 1,692 feet, if that makes it feel any more manageable. The River Paiva flows 176 meters (576 feet) below the pathway’s three-foot-wide open metal grid.

The railings are rigid netting, while the deck is constructed of 127 four-meter long modules. Designed by Portuguese studio Itecons, it took three years to build, with construction completed in July 2020. It’s in the eastern part of the Geopark, close to Paiva Walkways, Areinho and Vau river beaches, and the villages of Alvarenga, Canelas and Espiunca.

516 Arouca Image

“This bridge aims at targeting the interest of different types of people: engineering lovers, nature connoisseurs, people who are fond of extreme experiences,” said the local council, Arouca Municipality, in a statement released last year.

Arouca 516 has stolen the longest pedestrian suspension bridge title from the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland, which spans 1,621 feet and opened in 2017. That bridge boasts views of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Bernese Alps.

If height impresses you more than length, the world’s tallest glass-bottomed suspension bridge is Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in China, which allows visitors to bungee jump off its 853-foot-high (260-meter) platform.

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