Stretching out across the grey, crumbling rocks of the Grabengufer ravine in southern Switzerland, the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge was unveiled last weekend, with eager hikers traversing the newly-inaugurated 949m-long crossing between Grächen and Zermatt on Saturday.
Dangling as high as 85m in the air, the Europabrücke (Europe Bridge) replaces the old crossing which had been closed in 2010 after it had been damaged by unstable terrain and falling rocks. The new bridge is located around 200m down from the original, but it will save walkers the 1km roundtrip that headed down into the valley and back up along the trail above Randa.
The Europabrücke has also been engineered in such a way that its eight tonnes of cable prevent the bridge from swaying. It also completes the famed Europaweg long distance hiking trail. The two-day walk, which officially opened in 1997, passes through the villages of St. Niklaus, Grächen, Randa, Täsch and Zermatt. The hike also circumnavigates Switzerland’s highest mountain, the Dom (4,545 m), and passes the country’s celebrated Matterhorn peak.
Over the border in Austria, there stands another impressive pedestrian bridge. Highline179 connects the Ehrenberg Castle Ensemble with the small town of Reutte in the Tyrol region. It stands at 405m long and at a vertigo-inducing 110m high.
This article was first published on Lonely Planet Travel News