If you’re a thrill-seeker who loves adventure and doesn’t mind heights, you need to travel to Portugal as soon as it’s safe to travel again.
That’s because the world’s longest pedestrian bridge just opened near Arouca, in northern Portugal. The see-through 516 Arouca Bridge — named after its length and location — is 516 meters (1,693 feet) long and hangs 175 meters (574 feet) above a river.
“It was extraordinary, a unique experience, an adrenaline rush,” Hugo Xavier, one of the first people to cross the bridge, said in a Reuters article. “I was a little afraid, but it was so worth it.”
The 516 Arouca Bridge isn’t the only bridge of its kind in the world. For example, Japan’s Kokonoe Yume Bridge is 1,280-feet long, and the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland is 1,621-feet long, an Associated Press article explains.
The U.S. is even home to a remarkable pedestrian bridge. However, even though the Gatlinburg SkyBridge in Tennessee has a transparent glass floor at its highest point, it “only” stretches 680 feet across a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains, an NPR article notes.
The 516 Arouca Bridge
The bridge, which is in the UNESCO-recognized Arouca Geopark, is 186 miles north of Lisbon — Portugal’s capital. It spans Paiva Gorge and overlooks the Paiva River — while providing amazing views of the Aguieiras Waterfall, according to a news release.
The bridge, which is made of steel cables that narrow slightly in the middle, hangs between two immense concrete pillars. What’s more, the bottom is transparent so people crossing it can look directly down into the gorge. You can even see through the sides, meaning the bridge appears to be open, the article notes.
Construction of the 516 Arouca Bridge cost approximately $2.8 million and took a little over two years to complete. Locals hope that the bridge will eventually draw large numbers of tourists and provide a boost for the tourism industry, which was hit hard by COVID-19 tourism restrictions.
Know Before You Go
The U.S. State Department notes that Portugal is currently under a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory, while the U.S. Embassy in Portugal explains that the country is “in a country-wide State of Calamity.” Consequently, U.S. citizens cannot travel directly from the U.S. to Portugal for non-essential travel.
That said, when Portugal is able to re-open to tourists, you’ll need to purchase tickets in advance — either on the bridge’s website or in the Interactive Tourism Store. More information may be found here.
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