Travel | Updated May 7, 2021 3:54 pm
Originally Published May 4, 2021 8:54 am

World’s Longest Suspension Footbridge Opens in Portugal

The record-holding pedestrian bridge is 1,692 feet long, suspended over the Paiva River and ... it wobbles

An aerial view shows the 516 Arouca Bridge, the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge with a length of 516 meters and a height of 175 meters, in Arouca in northern Portugal on April 29, 2021.
An aerial view shows the 516 Arouca Bridge, the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge with a length of 516 meters and a height of 175 meters.
AFP via Getty Images

Update May 7: It has been brought to our attention that the Baglung Parbat Footbridge in Nepal is actually the longest suspended footbridge in the world, measuring 576 meters long. The discrepancy seems to be over the definition of a suspension bridge — the Baglung Parbat being a “simple suspension bridge” and the 516 Arouca a “modern suspension bridge.” You can read a more thorough explanation here.

As of this week, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world is officially open to the public.

The 516 Arouca is 516 meters (or roughly 1,692 feet) long and is suspended 175 meters (174 feet) above the Paiva river in the Arouca Geopark, located in the Portuguese town of Arouca. The bridge, according to a release dated March 10, has been under construction since May of 2018 and was inspired by the Inca bridges that span the Andes Mountains. Equipped to handle 30 people simultaneously, the bridge has previously been described by the municipality of Arouca as “frighteningly beautiful.”

Needless to say: the 516 Arouca is not for the faint of heart — although it does state as much on its website. It’s about a 10-minute walk across, and the bridge is comprised entirely of a see-through metal grid hanging from steel cables threaded between two V-shaped towers, providing a virtually entirely unhindered view of the gorge below. Oh, and it wobbles.

“It is very well built,” Arouca resident Rui Brandao, who was among the first to make the trip across, told EuroNews (in spite of the wobbling). “I strongly advise you to come even if, like me, you are afraid of heights. I must admit that I did not suffer from it at all while crossing.”

While the Arouca Geopark actually has quite a bit more to offer than just the world’s longest pedestrian bridge, town officials hope that the 516 Arouca will help boost tourism to the area by appealing to a new segment of adventure seekers.

So if you aren’t perturbed by the prospect of a suspension bridge almost five football fields long dangling over a river gorge that shakes when the wind blows, consider heading over to Portugal for some good old-fashioned fun. Tickets are just €12 (roughly $14), and according to Portugal News, the country officially moved into its final phase of lockdown this past weekend, transitioning from “state of emergency” to merely “state of calamity.”