Portugal Just Opened the World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
The 516 Arouca bridge dangles nearly 600 feet over a gorge.
If you're planning a dreamy post-pandemic vacation to Europe, you might want to squeeze Portugal into the itinerary. We've long known that Spain's once-underrated neighbor houses several gems—superior beaches, charming cityscapes, and public art among them—but Portugal now has another case for making your bucket list: the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge.
The 516 Arouca bridge is a newly opened world treasure that measures 516 meters, or 1,693 feet, long. Built atop a gorge near the small town of Arouca, it offers panoramic nature views that include the Paiva River and Aguieiras Waterfall.
While anyone can appreciate 516 Arouca's scenery, some may not appreciate its height. As visitors traverse the 1/3-mile walkway, they'll be suspended almost 600 feet in the air. For context, that means you could fit a full Washington Monument below the bridge, or nearly two Statues of Liberty stacked on top of each other.
Even before the bridge was constructed, people flocked to Arouca Geopark to see nature from a number of perspectives, be it in a kayak, on a raft, while riding a bike, or climbing the side of a mountain. The Paiva Walkways are one of the park's most notable attractions, providing visitors a 5-mile wooden pathway through the gorge's terrain.
After three years of construction, 516 Arouca will fully round out Arouca Geopark.
"Going through it will certainly be a remarkable and memorable experience," said Arouca Mayor Margarida Belém in a 2019 statement. "For those who have already done the Walkways, the bridge will be an excellent reason to return. Those who have not yet had the opportunity to travel, now have an additional reason to do so."
516 Arouca drew inspiration from Inca bridges that spanned valleys in the Andes mountains. It's held up by two V-shaped structures on either end, and the walkway is comprised of metal grating for the floor and siding.