Portugal has set travel goals for post-COVID-19 by opening the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, which takes about 10 minutes to cross. It’s a Tibetan-style hanging bridge, held up by steel cables and two huge V-shaped towers, and is 1,692 feet.
Called the 516 Arouca because its 516 meters long and is in the town of Arouca, an hour south of Porto, it connects Aguieiras Waterfall and Paiva Gorge and is said to be the latest adventure offering in the Arouca Geopark, well known for its extreme sports. The River Paiva flows 176 meters below the pathway’s three-foot-wide open metal grid. The railings are rigid netting and the deck is constructed of 127 four-meter long modules.
The suspension bridge took three years to build, with construction having reached completion in July 2020. The Arouca Municipality, in an official statement, said this bridge aims at targeting the interest of different types of people – engineering lovers, nature connoisseurs, people who are fond of extreme experiences.
Before Sunday’s official opening ceremony, people from the nearby town of Arouca were on Thursday allowed to walk over the megastructure’s see-through metal grids. Hugo Xavier, the first person to muster the courage to make the crossing, told The Guardian that he was a little afraid. “But it was so worth it,” a relieved Xavier said on the other side. “It was extraordinary, a unique experience, an adrenaline rush.” Rui Brando said he avoided looking down but still recommended the experience. “I strongly advice you to come even if, like me, you have vertigo,” he said. “I have to say I haven’t felt it at all.”
A local tour guide said it is a breath of fresh air for the land because it will attract more investment, and more people. He said the region’s population was rapidly ageing as many young people moved to big cities. “It will bring a new dynamic to Arouca.”