Long suspension bridge in Portugal
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The 516 Arouca is a new suspension footbridge in Portugal. It hangs over a gorge in a nature reserve. You look out over a waterfall and see a river below. You can find it close to Porto.
The 516 Arouca in Portugal was for a whole year the longest suspension bridge in the world, but not anymore. This pedestrian bridge is 516 meters long, hence its name. It hangs above the imposing Aguieiras Waterfall in the Paiva Gorge. With the Rio Paiva, or the Paiva River that runs through it.
This bridge opened in April 2021, after five years of construction. The start was in 2016, but it was deliberately kept quiet. Although, some posts on social media from workers on the bridge were shared. According to insiders, the 516 Arouca is not for the faint hearted; the bridge is 175 meters above the ground.
The new bridge hangs between two immense concrete pillars. The bridge itself is made of steel cables that narrow slightly in the middle. The bottom is transparent so you can look into the gorge. Although not everyone will enjoy that. You can also see through the steel on the sides. This gives the bridge a completely open character.
It takes at least ten minutes to walk across. Although it can also take you 15 minutes if you take a lot of pictures along the way. And you will, I suspect.
The 516 Arouca can be found in the Arouca Geopark. It is part of UNESCO’s European Network of Geoparks. The Arouca Geopark is geological heritage, in particular, because of the many fossils. Just think of 465 million-year-old sea creatures like giant trilobites.
The Arouca park is popular amongst outdoor enthusiasts. You can canoe, kayak, and mountain climbing. But you can also canyoning. With the construction of the bridge, this area will also be popular amongst international outdoor enthusiasts.
Special about the 516 Arouca is the view over a waterfall it offers. Most suspension bridges span a gorge. Which is impressive, but the waterfall gives the bridge something extra. In fact, it is the best way to see this waterfall.
For years there has been a competition for the longest suspension bridge in the world. The record was for years held by the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge. This bridge is located near Zermatt in Switzerland. This suspension bridge is no less than 494 meters long. But the 516 Arouca is more than twenty meters longer. The 516 Arouca in Portugal was the longest suspension bridge in the world, until the opening of the Sky Bridge 721 in the Czech Republic. That suspension bridge is 721 meters long.
The 516 Arouca can be found in the northern part of Portugal, on an hour’s drive from Porto. It is therefore easy to combine with a visit to this wonderful city. So that you can get a good taste of culture and nature.