Learn How to Find The World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
A bridge not too far
The 516 Arouca bridge is the world's largest suspension pedestrian bridge located in the Arouca municipality, Aveiro district, Portugal.
In 2016 the City Council of Arouca had the insight to connect the two banks of the Paiva river in the Alvarenga area to complement the network of built-in walkways, hence facilitating access to them from Alvarenga and allow the elevated view of the neighboring Aguieira waterfall.
After the location was defined, the shape of the deck was idealized. In terms of longitudinal profile, the engineering design forms a concave line inspired by the archetype concept of suspension bridges popularized by ancient civilizations like the South American Incas.
Considered a modern engineering feat, the new crossing of the Paiva River surpasses the former titleholder, the Charles Kuonen Bridge, Switzerland, by 20 meters. The bridge opened for the first time on April 29, 2021, to residents of the municipality.
The inauguration took place on Sunday, May 2, Arouca's municipal holiday, and was attended by the Portuguese Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa.
Thus, with this article, I plan to introduce one of the most exciting experiences Portugal has to offer. Learn how you can visit the largest pedestrian bridge in the world and, at the same time, enjoy the Paiva Walkways.
With 516 meters long, and an elevation of 175 meters, 516 Arouca makes the connection between the banks of the Paiva River. The official page explains how visitors enjoy a breathtaking view of the Paiva Gorge and the Aguieiras Waterfall while walking across the bridge. The mentioned natural landscapes are geosites of the UNESCO Arouca Geopark territory.
The sidewalk is made of a metal grid. This type of sidewalk also has the great advantage of not offering great wind resistance, making the structure more stable in strong wind conditions.
- Span: 516 meters (1 693 ft)
- Height over the Paiva river: 175 meters (574.1 ft)
- Length of the railing: 4 meters (13.12 ft)
- Floor: metal grid type
- Width: 1.20 meters (3.937 ft)
- Tower height: 35.5 meters (116.5 ft)
- Tower width: 32 meters (105.0 ft)
- Material: Steel cables
- Total length of the main cables: 1300 m (4265 ft)
- Micropiles: 42 un
- Reinforced concrete structures: 1060 m3
- Metallic structure of the deck: 70 ton
- Minimum breaking load of each main cable: 987 tonf
- Maximum simultaneous number of people on the bridge: 1825
As mentioned, the 516 Arouca Bridge is located in Arouca, district of Aveiro, and is very close to one of the ends of the Paiva Walkways (Areinho). You can start the visit to 516 Arouca either by Canelas or by the opposite side, in Alvarenga.
Starting the visit in Canelas via the Paiva walkways, you should leave your car near the river beach of Areinho, 1200 meters from the bridge, and head to the 516 Arouca through the Paiva walkways.
If you choose to start in Alvarenga, you must park your car in Albisqueiros, 1000 meters from the bridge, and go to the 516 Arouca through the route marked for this purpose.
Flying in from abroad?
Book your flight to Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, Porto, Portugal. From there you can rent a car and drive to Arouca in the Aveiro district. Just follow the roadmap I've planned for you here.
Prices for visiting the 516 Arouca Bridge:
- Adult (18 to 65 years old) - 12 Euros
- Youngster or Student (10 to 17 years old) - 10 Euros
- Child (6 to 9 years old) - 10 Euros
- Senior (+65 years) - 10 Euros
- 2 Adults + 1 Child - 30 Euros
- 2 Adults + 2 Children - 40 Euros
- 2 Adults + 3 or more children/youth - 45 Euros (+5 Euros for each additional child/youth)
- Citizens with proven residence in Arouca
- Resident card - 5 Euros (valid for 3 years)
- April and October: 09:00h-19:00h
- May to September: 08:00h-20:00h
- November to March:09:00h-17:00h
Don't forget to book in advance, as access to the bridge is restricted to visitants with tickets. The visit to 516 Arouca is always accompanied by an interpreter/guide. Children under 6 years old are not allowed. Visitors between the ages of 6 and 17 (inclusive) must be accompanied by adults for safety reasons.
The 516 Arouca Bridge tickets entitle you to ride the eight kilometers of the Paiva Walkways. Visitors with a resident card are required to book, in advance, a visit to the bridge.
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