Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto, Portugal

If we were to pinpoint one symbol of Porto, it’d be the Ponte Dom Luís I. The construction connecting the two sides of the Douro river, bonds the Vila Nova de Gaia city, famed for the production of Porto wine, with the Ribeira district, which is best known for the fact, that Prince Henry the Navigator was born there. The Porto bridge became the city’s emblem. How much does it cost to visit the Dom Luís I Bridge? When was it built and how tall is it?

The Dom Luís Bridge – history

Luis I bridge in Porto

The history of the bridge is somewhat connected with the famous designer, Gustave Eiffel, who has previously been responsible for the Maria Pia railway bridge in Porto. In 1879, he was ordered to design a simple bridge, but as the city progressed, it was scrapped, and replaced with a two storey construction instead.

A contest was held, for bridge design that’d replace the current passage. The work chosen was the Theophile Seyrig’s plan, who was, in fact, Eiffel’s apprentice. The bridge entered the proper works in 1881, and after 5 years, on October 31th, 1886, the upper part of the bridge was opened, and in 1888, the lower one.

Luis 1 bridge in Porto

There’s a legend surrounding the bridge, that it was supposed to be named a “gift” for King Luís, but since he was absent, the name was changed, although there are no facts supporting that theory.

At the time, the bridge in Porto was the biggest of its kind in the world. It’s 385,25 metres (upper level) and 172 metres (lower level) long and 44,6 metres tall. The bridge used gas lighting, and wasn’t initially free to cross. In 1905, the bridge got its own rails. In 1994, it was opened for everyone, charge-free, and has remained so to this day.

The Dom Luís Bridge – visiting

Luis I bridge in Porto

Nowadays, we consider the Porto bridge to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Porto, and one of the main symbols of the city (maybe even of Portugal as a whole). On June 27th, 2003, the upper level of the bridge was closed off for cars and became a part of the tourist infrastructure for Porto. The modifications of the bridge got finished on September 18th, 2005, and ever since that, the bridge got even more fame than before.

Swarms of tourists come to the upper level of the bridge everyday, to take a selfie on the famed bridge, with the beautiful view in the background. Even crossing the bridge by public transport can be considered an attraction, thanks to the sights it offers. Visiting the bridge is available all day long and there are no tickets required. The Dom Luís is especially beautiful in the evenings, when all the lights are turned on.

It’s not just the upper level of the bridge that we consider to be a tourist attraction, the lower level applies too. With a bit of luck, we can be witnesses to daredevils presenting bridge diving from the lower level of the bridge. If you’re not lucky enough to witness them for yourself, we’ve included a video above.

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