Portugal Inaugurated the Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge in the World
Portugal inaugurated on April 29, 2021, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world and residents of the nearby city hope that the new tourist attraction will help revive the tourism industry in the region whose economy was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hidden between the mountains, inside the Arouca Geopark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 516-meter-long bridge is suspended 175 meters above the Paiva River. The closest big city near this amazing bridge is Porto.
Before the official opening ceremony on Sunday 2nd of May, citizens of the nearby town of Arouca were allowed to cross first the bridge, built of metal and glass.
Hugo Xavier was the first person to ever climb the bridge. "I was a little scared, but it was worth it," said Xavier, relieved after crossing. "It was extraordinary, a unique experience and full of adrenaline."
Another local, Rui Brandao, said that he avoided looking down, but still recommends the experience: “I strongly advise you to come, even if, like me, you have vertigo. I must say that I did not ever feel something similar".
The structure, named "516 Arouca", crosses the steep gorge of the river Paiva, which is crossed in several areas of 8 km by wooden walkways.
"I live nearby and when I first heard about the bridge project, I didn't really believe it," said Macio Soares. "But today I am very proud to be here, it is a unique experience," he added.
"Even if the construction of the bridge was completed earlier, this inauguration is important because it allows us to resume our tourist activity," Arouca Mayor Margarida Belem told AFPTV, welcoming the opening of a "fundamental attraction" for the region.
Arouca 516 breaks the record for the llongest pedestrian suspension bridge, held since 2017 by the Charles Kuonen Bridge in Randa, in the Swiss Alps.