In all the cities that are crossed by an important river there is a bridge that stands out above all the others and that is a symbol of that city. In Porto, the Don Luis I Bridge is the one that meets this requirement, but the greatness of Porto is that all the bridges that cross its river have their charm.
In fact, there is a very popular excursion, the Cruise of the 6 Bridges, which takes you to see all of them on a boat to see them up close and to also have the opportunity to get to know the city from another point of view.
Do not stay only with the most famous bridge, enjoy all the others. Here we tell you what they are.
The 6 bridges of Porto
Don Luis I Bridge
The Don Luis I Bridge is undoubtedly the best known bridge in Porto. It is also the most central, so it is crossed daily by thousands of people who go from the city center to neighboring Vilanova de Gaia to see its wineries and also to have great views of Porto, with the Ribeira neighborhood in the foreground. finished.
The Don Luis I Bridge was inaugurated in 1886 and although many people think that it is the work of Gustave Eiffel because of its iron structure, the truth is that it is a disciple of Théophile Seyrig. The great hallmark of it is the great iron arch that crosses from one end to the other.
The bridge is made up of two decks. The Porto Metro runs through the upper floor, while the lower floor is used by road traffic. Pedestrians can use both floors to cross it, and it is very interesting for tourists to cross it from the upper one thanks to the views from it.
The railway bridges. Maria Pia and Sao Joao
The María Pía Bridge is very close to the previous one and its structure is very similar with a large iron arch that joins both ends of the bridge, although in this case there are not two floors, but only an upper one. It is prior to the Don Luis I Bridge, it was inaugurated in 1877, but it is also the work of Seyrig, Eiffel’s disciple.
It is a railway bridge that served until 1991 when another much more modern railway bridge was inaugurated, the Sao Joao Bridge, which was built just a few meters from the previous one and which allowed greater speeds and higher loads to pass through.
In any case, it is wonderful and the best way to admire it is from the river itself, doing the Six Bridges Cruise.
Freixo Bridge and Arrabida Bridge, the largest
Located each one at one end of the city, these are the largest bridges that we can find in Porto today and that support enough traffic to cross the Douro River.
The Freixo Bridge is located upstream, in the easternmost part of the city. Actually there are two bridges separated by 10cm from each other and on them is the A20 motorway, with 4 lanes in each direction of movement, so its traffic is enormous. It has a length of 3km.
At the other end of the city, very close to the mouth of the Douro River, we find the Arrabida Bridge. This has a length of 615 meters and after its construction in 1963 it was for a time the bridge with the largest concrete arch in the world.
The Puente do Infante, dedicated to Enrique el Vegante, is another of the modern bridges that cross the Douro River. It is the closest to the Don Luis I Bridge, serving to decongest the rest of the bridges that link the city of Porto with Vilanova de Gaia.
It was built when the upper deck of the Don Luis I Bridge was closed to road traffic to be used by the Porto Metro. It is a bridge without pillars, also spectacular.
In addition to these 6 bridges in Porto there have been others, already destroyed, such as the Pensil Bridge, of which only two columns and the guardhouse remain and which can be seen next to the Don Luis I Bridge, which was the one that replaced it.