The suspension bridge of Portugal was opened to the public in the end of May, and the heroes with nerves of steel have already shared their opinions, having made their first crossings. Аccording to some of them, the Arouca Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most terrifying. It became part of the popular extreme amusement park in Arouca, which is about an hour’s drive from Porto. The landscapes are, of course, picturesque: a panoramic view of a waterfall, a gorge and a fast mountain river.
The bridge claims to be the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. The height of the bridge is 175 meters. It stretches 516 meters above the Paiva River, from the Aguieiras waterfall to the gorge — this landscape is included in the list of natural monuments of UNESCO. Rigid mesh railings protect pedestrians from falling, and the flooring comprises 127 four-meter modules. According to CNN, crossing such a bridge will take about 10 minutes, but this is inaccurate. Here you will either have to speed up and quickly overcome the frightening height or slow down a lot, trying to force yourself to take even a step over the abyss. With each step, the bridge naturally sways, opening the dizzying views of the canyon.
“This bridge is aimed to satisfy the interests of different people: lovers of engineering, connoisseurs of nature, people who love extreme events”— said in a statement by the local council of the municipality of Arouca, published last year.
The project was handled by the Portuguese studio Itecons. The total cost of the work is estimated at 2.3 million euros.
The current Guinness World Record holder for the longest is the Kokonoe Yume Otsuribashi Bridge in Japan, with a length of 1280 feet (390 meters). However, this is not entirely fair: the Charles Kuonen suspension bridge, which opened in Switzerland in 2017, is over 330 feet longer — 494 meters. Arouca stole the title of The Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge from the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland, which is 1,621 feet long and opened in 2017. This bridge offers views of the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn and the Bernese Alps.
According to the mayor of Arouca, Margarita Belem, the new facility is part of a long-term plan to attract more guests and even new residents to the region. The Arouca Bridge is open to all travelers and tickets are available online and cost between 10 and 12 Euros.
Portugal is currently closed to tourists from most countries in the world. An exception is the Portuguese island of Madeira, which announced the opening of its borders. There is no vaccination required to enter, but a negative PCR test.
To compare, the longest suspended footbridge in the United States is the SkyBridge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which stretches 680 feet across the valley into the Great Smoky Mountains. It opened in May 2019 but was briefly closed in June 2020 after a reckless visitor tried to slide baseball-style across glass panels, breaking the floor.
If the height impresses you more than the length, then the world’s tallest glass-bottomed suspension bridge is the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in China, which allows visitors to bungee jump from its 853 feet (260 meters) platform.