The 516 Arouca in Portugal is the longest suspension bridge in the world. 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 will not open until 2021, but the construction is already is progressing. The start was in 2016, but construction was deliberately kept quiet. As it is getting its final shape, you see more and more posts on social media from people who already want to cross this bridge. According to insiders, it 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. In any case, I would like to see this bridge when it opens.
The 516 Arouca is built 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 found here. 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 climb. But you can also canyoning, for example. And with the construction of the bridge, this area will also be popular amongst international outdoor enthusiasts.
The newest longest suspension bridge
For years there has been a competition for the longest suspension bridge in the world. The record is currently 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.
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.
What is the location of the 516 Arouca?
The 516 Arouca is being built in the north of Portugal, 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.