516 Arouca: the world’s second-longest pedestrian suspension bridge (updated)

Update: there is a new “world’s longest suspension bridge” and it’s called Sky Bridge 721. The article has been amended to reflect this.

I’m not afraid of heights but even the phrase “the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge” gives me chills.

516 Arouca was exactly that, hanging 175m (574ft) over the Paiva river in Portugal. Its 516m (1693ft) length bridges the gap between the Aguieiras Waterfall and a part of the Paiva Gorge, both part of the Arouca Geopark. The bridge did a “soft” launch in October 2020 but now it’s open to everyone.

As with the the Paiva Walkways, the Arouca municipality hopes the the new bridge, co-financed by European Funds, will draw visitors and further enhance the economic activity of this region, while at the same time helping to promote the preservation of Paiva river and safeguard of the biodiversity of the area.

The bridge is designed as a hybrid between a Tibet-style footbridge with a sagging deck, and a traditional suspension bridge with support towers. For those of a nervous disposition, the steel deck is a transparent mesh.

Would you walk across this? Let me know in the comments and stream footage of 516 Arouca below.

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