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Portugal: The nail-biting new see-through '516 Arouca' footbridge that hangs 575ft above a river


Would YOU dare cross it? The nail-biting new see-through footbridge in Portugal that hangs 575ft above a river

  • The new 516 Arouca bridge, located an hour’s drive from Porto in Portugal, is set to open later this month 
  • The bridge’s walkway is 516 metres (1,692ft) long and made from a see-through ‘open grid’ metal mesh 
  • Its designers say the experience of walking along it ‘mimics the feeling of walking through the air’

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For some, it may be a bridge too far.

A spectacular new ‘sagging’ footbridge that hangs 175 metres (575 feet) above a river will open in Portugal this month.

And to make things even more interesting for visitors, the 516-metre-long (1,692ft) structure has a see-through metal-mesh base. 

Visitors to the 516 Arouca bridge will be treated to panoramic views of the Aguieiras Waterfall (pictured) as well as views of the Paiva River below

Visitors to the 516 Arouca bridge will be treated to panoramic views of the Aguieiras Waterfall (pictured) as well as views of the Paiva River below

The 516 Arouca hangs 175 metres (575 feet) above Portugal's Paiva River. It's 516 metres (1,692 feet) long and takes between five and 10 minutes to cross, depending on whether you have a head for heights or not

The 516 Arouca hangs 175 metres (575 feet) above Portugal’s Paiva River. It’s 516 metres (1,692 feet) long and takes between five and 10 minutes to cross, depending on whether you have a head for heights or not

On the construction front, 516 Arouca is supported by two V-shaped concrete towers, which its architects say 'combine elements of a pure Tibet-style footbridge with no towers and a sagging deck with a more conventional tower-supported span with a flat deck'

On the construction front, 516 Arouca is supported by two V-shaped concrete towers, which its architects say ‘combine elements of a pure Tibet-style footbridge with no towers and a sagging deck with a more conventional tower-supported span with a flat deck’

Named the 516 Arouca, the vertigo-inducing visitor attraction connects the two sides of the Paiva Gorge – near Porto – and its designers have described the experience of walking along the bridge as ‘mimicking the feeling of walking on air’.      

Visitors to the bridge will be treated to panoramic views of the Aguieiras Waterfall. 

It’s estimated that the average person will take five to 10 minutes to complete the walk across the bridge, although those without a head for heights may take a little longer.  

On the construction front, the giant suspension bridge is supported by two V-shaped concrete towers, which its architects say ‘combine elements of a pure Tibet-style footbridge with no towers and a sagging deck with a more conventional tower-supported span with a flat deck’. 

The Paiva Gorge is part of the Arouca Geopark, a 328-square-kilometre (126-square-mile) area of geological interest that's recognised by Unesco

The Paiva Gorge is part of the Arouca Geopark, a 328-square-kilometre (126-square-mile) area of geological interest that’s recognised by Unesco

In the Arouca Geopark visitors can kayak, hike, raft and tackle 25 different mountaineering routes

In the Arouca Geopark visitors can kayak, hike, raft and tackle 25 different mountaineering routes 

The Paiva Gorge is part of the Arouca Geopark, a 328-square-kilometre (126-square-mile) area of geological interest that’s recognised by Unesco.

Within the park, visitors can kayak, hike, raft and tackle 25 different mountaineering routes. They can also experience the Paiva Walkways, an eight-kilometre (4.9-mile) trail of wooden walkways and stairways that meander through the geopark.

The entire area is just an hour’s drive south from Porto, which is famous for its port wine production. 

Visitors who cross the bridge may wish to avail themselves of a stiff drink there afterwards. 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel to Portugal. 

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