What’s the last best place for the world’s longest pedestrian bridge? If your answer is suspended 500 feet over a river gorge, you may have a new post-Covid bucket list destination.
Check out ‘516 Arouca’ -- so called because it's 516 metres long and is in the town of Arouca, an hour south of Porto in Portugal – connecting the Aguieiras Waterfall and the Paiva Gorge.
The bridge was built by the Institute for Research and Technological Development for Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability as a tourist attraction for the Arouca area, providing views across the Pavia Gorge and toward the nearby Aguieiras Waterfall. It is located next to the Paiva Walkways, an eight-kilometre-long trail that winds through the Arouca hills. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
It's a Tibetan-style hanging bridge, held up by steel cables and two huge V-shaped towers. The railings are rigid netting, while the deck is constructed of 127 four-metre long modules. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
Designed by Portuguese studio Itecons, it took three years to build, with construction completed in July 2020. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
The structure is now Europe's longest pedestrian suspension bridge, surpassing Switzerland's 494-metre Charles Kuonen Bridge, which was completed in 2017. The developers believe that the bridge is also the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge, although the 567-metre Baglung Parbat Footbridge in Nepal also claims the title. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
The project costs ran north of 2.3 million euros and took exactly three years to complete, opening at a perfect time to revitalise a region whose economy has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
“Going through it will certainly be a remarkable and memorable experience,” Arouca’s Mayor Margarida Belem said in a statement. "There were many challenges that we had to overcome, but we did it," Belem told Reuters. "There's no other bridge like this one in the world." Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
The bridge will remain open throughout the year, except on Christmas Day (though in windy weather it may close too). Depending on how long you want to linger, it should take around ten minutes to cross. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
Tickets to the death-defying walkway run around €12 and can be purchased ahead of time for the approximately 10-minute trek across the 127 panels leading visitors from end to end overlooking a wooden pathway situated directly beneath it that had to close last year owing to pandemic-related restrictions. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
"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. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters