Arouca Journal: Soaring New Footbridge Opens Over Portuguese River

New 516 Arouca suspension bridge in northern Portugal (photo © Arouca Ponte Suspensa)

By Ron Bernthal

Authorities in Portugal will shortly open an adrenaline raising suspension bridge in Arouca, just outside Porto, the country’s second largest city. The bridge, called 516 Arouca, is expected to open in late October, 2020, and will become the latest “must see” attraction for visitors to the northern region of Portugal. 

View of walkway on the 516 Arouca suspension bridge in northern Portugal (photo © Arouca Ponte Suspensa)

Suspended 175 meters (574 feet) above Rio Paiva, and stretching for 516 meters (1,700 feet) across the valley (thus the name “516”), the bridge is designed with a transparent base which mimics the feeling of walking through the air with the river directly below.

Arouca suspension bridge in northern Portugal (photo © Arouca Ponte Suspensa)

The suspension bridge is supported by two V-shaped concrete towers with a unique design, combining 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 bridge connects the escarpment of the Aguieiras Waterfall and the area of the Paiva Gorge, two of the 41 geosites of the Arouca Geopark. 

View from below of new 516 Arouca suspension bridge in northern Portugal (photo © Arouca Ponte Suspensa)

Suspended 175 metres above Rio Paiva and stretching for 516 metres, the bridge is designed with a transparent base which mimics the feeling of walking through the air with the River Paiva right beneath. The giant suspension bridge is supported by two V-shaped concrete towers with a unique design combining 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 village of Cabreiros in Arouca Geopark (photo aroucageopark.pt)

The bridge connects the escarpment of the Aguieiras Waterfall and the area of the Paiva Gorge, two of the 41 geosites of the Arouca Geopark. The park is one hour by car from Porto, about two hours from Lisbon.

The village of Paradinha in Arouca Geopark is one of several small villages in this region just one hour from Porto (photo aroucageopark.pt)

The entire municipality of Arouca, all 126 square-miles, is classified as a UNESCO Global Geopark. This huge, green region has 41 interesting geological sites (geosites), and more than half of them are classified as such by the Natura 2000 network.

The restaurant at “Casa no Campo” (house in the countryside) in Arouca region offers a stunning view over the Moldes valley. (photo aroucageopark.pt)

Visitors to the Arouca Geopark can stay in Porto, established in the 12th-century, and one of Portugal’s most leisure and business destinations, or in the Arouca region itself, where small hotels and restaurants in rural villages offer a friendly and quiet hospitality experience.

Aerial view of historic district ot Porto, Portugal’s second biggest city and just one hour from Arouca Geopark in northern region of the country. (photo Porto Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Arouca Geopark    

Visit Portugal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *