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Cristo Rei statue is the magnificent statue of Christ that stands on the southern bank of the Rio Tejo and overlooks Lisbon. From the top of the 80m monument are some of the finest views over Lisbon, the Tejo Estuary and the 25 de Abril suspension bridge.
The Cristo Rei statue is popular and highly recommended excursion from Lisbon, and it is relatively easy to travel there by public transport. This article will provide an in-depth guide of how to travel from Lisbon to Cristo Rei and includes other interesting sights along the journey.
The recommended means of travel to the Cristo Rei statue is to cross the estuary by ferry to Cacilhas, and then catch a bus to the monument. The route takes less than one hour (depending on connections) and the return trip costs around €5. An alternative is to walk from the Cacilhas ferry terminal to Cristo Rei via the Boca do Vento Elevator. Both of these routes are explained in detail later in this article.
The Cristo Rei monument
It is possible to drive to Cristo Rei and there is plenty of car parking in the grounds of the monument, but driving in Lisbon is demanding and never an enjoyable experience. Lisbon suffers from horrendous traffic and the 25 de Abril suspension bridge is one of the major bottlenecks of the city. We never recommended a rental car for visitors who have a short holiday in Lisbon, as the city has excellent and inexpensive public transport.
Excursions to the Cristo Rei Statue are offered by tour companies and the Hop-on/Hop-off bus companies, but these tours are significantly more expensive than public transport and offer little more than visiting independently. The ferry ride is an enjoyable activity, Cacilhas is a great location for a seafood meal, and the bus is very simple to catch.
The excursion to Cristo Rei makes for a pleasant half-day activity, but as the main attraction is the fabulous view, always plan to go on a clear, bright day.
The first stage of the journey to Cristo Rei is to cross the Tejo Estuary. There is a regular and inexpensive ferry that departs from the Cais do Sodré ferry terminal in Lisbon and crosses to the town of Cacilhas. The Cais do Sodré ferry terminal is part of the Cais do Sodré railway station, the main terminus for trains to Cascais and the beaches west of Lisbon. Cais do Sodré is the final stop on the green metro line, and the actual ferry terminal is just outside of the train station (GPS 38.70514, -9.14511).
The ferry to Cacilhas with the Cristo Rei statue in the back ground
The Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas ferry is an important commuter route, and there are numerous services during the day, starting early in the morning and continuing late into the night. It is suggested to avoid the busy rush hour when the ferries will be crowded with commuters. The latest timetable can be seen on the Transtejo website:
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The ferry fare is €1.25 and is charged to the Viva Viagem card, the public transport ticket used throughout Lisbon. The initial purchase of this ticket costs €0.50. Annoyingly, the Viva Viagem card can only store one type of fare, so a new card must be purchased if there are unused tram, bus or metro fares still on the card. Ferry fares can be purchased from the ticket offices, but the ticket machines are very simple to use and have instructions in English.
The ferry to Cacilhas takes around 15 minutes and passes close to the suspension bridge. The ferry is an older orange style and unfortunately there are no outside viewing decks.
The second stage of the journey to Cristo Rei, is the bus service that departs from Cacilhas bus station. The bus to Cristo Rei is the number 101 route and is operated by Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST). There are 2-3 departures per hour, and the latest timetable can be seen on the TST website:
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The single bus fare is €1.50, and the ticket is purchased from the driver - this fare is not charged to the Viva Viagem card. Cacilhas bus station (GPS: 38.68795, -9.14665) is connected to the ferry terminal and is on the opposite side of the tram station, just a short walk from the ferry mooring. In the bus station, each of the bus stands is clearly labelled with the services that depart from them. If you have a long wait for the bus, visit the Dom Fernando II e Glória, the last sailing ship commissioned by the Portuguese navy, which is to the rear of the bus station.
The 101 bus to Cristo Rei
The bus journey from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei passes through the residential and shopping streets of Almada and takes around 15 minutes. The entire route is uphill and not really recommended for walking. The 101 bus terminates in front of the administrative building of the Cristo Rei complex (GPS 38.67670, -9.17077) and it is a flat walk to the statue.
The Cristo Rei Statue is an important pilgrimage destination and is managed by the diocese of Setubal (not Lisbon). It is free to enter the grounds of the Cristo Rei complex and the only admission fee (€8.00) is to ride the elevator to the top of the pedestal (80m), on which the Christ statue stands. The top of the monument provides the best panoramic views but there are still very good views from the viewpoint on the edge of the cliffs. Within the Cristo Rei complex is a café, serving simple meals, drinks and snacks. At the base of the monument is the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Paz. The opening hours of the Cristo Rei statue are seasonal dependant, and can be seen of the Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei website:
The Christ statue
Cacilhas is a residential suburb of Lisbon but is famed for its seafood restaurants and Cervejarias (beer houses) that line the water front. The water front is a dilapidated mish-mash of abandoned wharfs, lively restaurants and graffitied covered buildings; it certainly isn’t Lisbon’s most scenic areas but it certainly has character.
Further along the water front is the Elevador Boca do Vento (GPS 38.68479, -9.15877), a lift which transport visitors up the 50m sheer cliff (€1.50 single ride) to the Miradouro Boca do Vento view point. At the top of the Miradouro Boca do Vento cliff is the Castelo de Almada, (closed to the public as used by the GNR police) and the Casa da Cerca, a free museum and arts centre with fantastic views over Lisbon. From the top of the Elevador Boca do Vento it is possible to walk to the Cristo Rei Statue, but the 1 hour walk, which is mainly uphill, only passes through non-descript streets.