5 Best Bridges to see in Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal! Lisbon is the largest city in the country and also the country’s capital. It is surrounded by hills and the port of Lisbon was the most important port in the world, somewhere around the 16th Century. What some people may not know, is that Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe and the world, and with its sunny weather, beautiful architecture, sports, food, and culture, the city attracts millions of tourists every year.
Did you also know that the Raven is the symbol of Lisbon? Legend says that in the past, there was a cult for ravens in the city and the city even kept them. But over time, the ravens left the city, and now it was adopted and incorporated in the coat of arms!
When you hear Portugal you must think about football, right? You do not have to visit Lisbon, Portugal just to enjoy football. The architecture in the city is charming, it is a picturesque city that also has bridges which will blow your mind.
Not all bridges cross rivers and lakes, in the District of Lisbon, there is a bridge, a spectacular piece of architecture. Because Lisbon is a city surrounded by hills, there are depressions between places where people need to cross to and ridges in these areas are very important. This bridge has decks and spans of 140 meters long and a height of 70 meters. The bridge crosses a deep valley. The bridge is situated in the municipality of Marfa in the district of Lisbon!
Let us look at some of the five best bridges the city has to offer!
1. Ponte 25 de Abril
Lisbon is home to the world’s longest suspension bridge in Europe and the 20th in the world! The bridge crosses River Tagus to connect the south and north part of Portugal.it connects the city of Lisbon to the municipality of Almada. What I find fascinating about the bridge is, it has the motorway for cars on the top part and a train track on the bottom part of the bridge, which was added in 1999! The number of lanes was also added from 4 to the current six.
The bridge was designed by the American Bridge Company, the same company which designed the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, and the two look similar! The bridge is made of steel suspension, with a central span of about 1,000 meters. The two spans on the ends of the bridge are about 483 meters high. The northern side has two end spans while the southern part has one end span. The bridge was opened for use in 1966 and was called the Salazar Bridge, but on 25th April 1974 when the dictator whom the bridge was named after wad defeated, the bridge got the name 25th of April! Interesting! The bridge was built 70 meters above the river and the river is about 2.5 kilometers long. There is a toll of 1.50 Euros for cars traveling north and an estimated 150, 000 vehicles every day.
2. Vasco da Gama Bridge
The Vasco da Gama Bridge is a 17.2 KM long bridge, connecting the north and south Portugal. It is fascinating in its architecture and the views one gets from the bridge. Because of its length, one cannot see the other end of the bridge on a cloudy day! The bridge was named after one of the most important Portuguese Vasco da Gama, who was the first Portuguese to reach India by the sea! The bridge was commissioned in 1998, on Vasco da Gama’s anniversary of his arrival from India way back in 1498. The bridge was necessary for easing traffic which got congested on the existing Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge.
The bridge is flanked by viaducts and range views; the river crosses the Tagus River. The bridge was built by Lusoponte a conglomerate of Portuguese, British and French companies; which completed the bridge in time for the Expo’ 98, the 500th anniversary of the commemoration of Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route from Europe to India.
The bridge is a suspension cable-stayed bridge and the deck from the water is about 47 meters; the central span of the bridge is about 420 meters, and the side spans are 2013 meters. The bridge was also built to withstand an earthquake 4.5 times greater than the resistance for most buildings in Lisbon!
3. Leziria Bridge
This bridge, even though it is not as grand as the 25th April and Vasco da Gama bridges, the bridge is still one of the most important in Lisbon. The box girder bridge crosses the Tagus River and the Sorraia River between Carregado and Benavente.
The bridge is 12 kilometers long and is the second-longest in Europe; it is the ninth longest in the world. The bridge, opened in 2007 incorporates the balanced cantilever method, has six lanes, and is flanked by viaducts and range views and the bridge took 23 months to construct. The bridge has a 1.5 KM north viaduct, the 970-meter bridge, and the south viaduct which is 9.2 kilometers.
4. The Aqueduto das Águas Livres
This is a spectacular bridge is an amazing illustration of the 18th Century Portuguese engineering. The bridge was initially built to the city of Lisbon and the surrounding areas. The bridge does not cross a river. It crosses the valley of Alcantara and from its main source
Caneças to the end at Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras, it measures a whole 14 kilometers, though the whole network is 59 kilometers since it connects to other subsidiary contributors. The facility was constructed in 1748, but was use was discontinued in 1973 and nowadays, people go there for visits. The bridge was designed by Antonio Canevari, Manuel de Maiya, and Carlos Madel, it has a whopping 35 arches, it is 63 meters high and 32 meters wide! It also has the world’s highest stone arch!
5. The Roman Bridge of Catribana
This bridge is unique; not as modern as the other bridges. The bridge is located in the parish of São João das Lampas in the municipality of
Sintra in the district of Lisbon. The bridge is old; made of limestone rocks and crosses the Bolelas stream. It is believed that the bridge connected two important Roman villas at the time of its construction since archeologists discovered a Roman-era cemetery in the vicinity! The bridge seems to have had some modifications over the centuries but no major construction has been done on it, except for restoration in 2019.
The beautiful little village of Catribana is located near the bridge; this is where the bridge gets its name, and the one arch bridge and Lisbon central business district is about 45 minutes by car and if you are in Lisbon and you would like a road trip, this one would be good for you!