World’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge set for opening

The structure at Arouca Geopark, Portugal spans 516 metres and hangs 175 metres above the river Paiva

Photo: EPA

The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge will be officially opened on Sunday in northern Portugal, inside the Unesco-recognised Arouca Geopark, news wires reported. Hidden between rock-strewn mountains covered with lush greenery and yellow flowers, the 516 metres long bridge hangs 175 metres above the fast-flowing River Paiva.

Before official opening ceremony, people from the nearby town of Arouca were last Thursday allowed to walk over the megastructure. Locals hope the new tourist attraction will help revive a region whose economy was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hugo Xavier was the first person to make the crossing. “I was a little afraid, but it was so worth it,” he said on the other side. “It was extraordinary, a unique experience, an adrenaline rush.” Rui Brandao said he avoided looking down, but still recommended the experience.

“The inauguration is important because it will enable us to resume our tourist activities,” Arouca’s mayor, Margarida Belem, told AFPTV. The bridge, which took around two years to build, was a “fundamental attraction” for the region, she added.

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