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Don’t look now: New bridge in Portugal not for the faint-hearted

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The Arouca Bridge offers a nearly 1,700-foot walk across its span, with its metal walkway suspended from cables and wide enough for two people.

It’s probably best if you prepare yourself before you look down while on the Arouca Bridge.

The narrow footbridge suspended across a river canyon in northern Portugal claims to be the world’s longest pedestrian bridge and was officially inaugurated Sunday.

The Arouca Bridge offers a half-kilometer (almost 1,700-foot) walk across its span, along a metal walkway suspended from cables. Some 175 meters (574 feet) below, the Paiva River flows through a waterfall.

Arouca lies 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Local residents got a first walk on the bridge last week. Many were thrilled — even as some admitted it was a little unnerving to feel so high up and exposed.

Guinness World Records says on its website that the world’s longest suspension bridge for pedestrians is Japan’s Kokonoe Yume Bridge, which opened in 2006 and spans 390 meters (1,280 feet). But the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, which opened in the Swiss Alps in 2017, challenges that mark at 494 meters (1,621 feet).

The Arouca Bridge cost 2.3 million euros ($2.8 million) to build. Children under age 6 are not allowed on it and all visits will be accompanied by guides. 

HOW TO GET THERE: Open to the public beginning Monday, bridge access costs between 10 and 12 euros ($12-14) and must be booked through a local website.

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