PORTO PORTUGAL: THE CITY OF BRIDGES
Porto is the second largest city of Portugal and at the same time is famous for its history, for its cultural richness, and for its bridges as well.
The Portuguese people are very proud of the bridges of Porto, and there is no wonder about that. One bridge after another, Porto acquired true landmarks that mark this city´s history.
Porto counts with six different bridges that you can run down or you can maybe choose to run across half of them when you are here. Either way, only the Arrábida bridge can offer you the experience of walking up a bridge in Porto by its elegant reinforced concrete arch. In fact, this is the only bridge from Europe where you can climb by foot legally.
Photo: Maria Pia Railway Bridge. Porto, Portugal.
Bridge climb in Porto, Portugal
Porto is famous for being “the city of six bridges”, so Portugal’s second extensive city is dotted with arches across the Douro River. But what most visitors that get here don’t know is that you can climb to the top of the Porto’s westerly bridge: the Arrábida Bridge.
The bridges in Porto count with their very own distinctive styles. Let´s see some characteristics of each one:
the emblematic Luis I bridge has a spectacular arch,
the Arrábida bridge used to be the longest reinforced bridge in the world,
the Infante D. Henrique bridge is one of the most stylish bridges of its type,
the Maria Pia bridge is Gustavo Eiffel’s first triumph
the São João bridge has a span of 250m which is a new world record among bridges in “portico”
the Freixo “double” bridge is today the busiest one in Porto
Porto beats its eternal rival Lisbon for its bridges
Arch bridge in Porto Portugal
When the Arrábida Bridge was finished in 1963, it was the longest concrete arch bridge in the world. Nowadays it no longer holds that record, but its 885-foot arch is still one of the world’s largest, and at the same time is the only structure of its kind in Europe open to the public.
Only a few bridges from Australia and New Zealand offer a similar experience.
Here in Porto travelers are in a harness that is connected to a cable. That cable runs all the length of the bridge’s arch. So, the visitors that want to try this experience of climbing the bridge will be led by a guide up the stairs along the arch and will have a handrail they can hold on to all along the way.
Photo: Ponte da Arrábida. Porto, Portugal. António Amen. Adapted under license (CC BY-SA 3.0)