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The best independent guide to Lisbon

Lisbon to Cristo Rei (Christ Statue) by ferry and bus in 2024

The Cristo Rei is the magnificent statue of Christ that stands on the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary. This is an important Portuguese pilgrimage destination, but for the majority of tourists the main attraction is the wonderful, panoramic view over Lisbon from the top of its 82-metre-high viewing platform.

Cristo Rei is a popular half-day excursion from Lisbon, which is often combined with a visit to the town of Cacilhas.

There are many ways to travel from Lisbon to Cristo Rei, but the recommended route crosses the Tejo River by ferry, before catching a bus from Cacilhas up to the statue.

This article will detail all of the different methods of travel from Lisbon to Cristo Rei, helping you choose the best option for you.
Related articles: Lisbon day trips3 days in Lisbon

Cristo Rei Tejo River Lisbon

The Cristo Rei statue standing high above the Tejo River and Ponte 25 de Abril bridge

Travel to Cristo Rei - the options

The recommended means of travel to the Cristo Rei is to take the ferry from Cais do Sodré (in Lisbon) to Cacilhas, and then catch the bus from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei (service 3001). The entire route takes less than one hour (depending on connections), and the return trip costs less than €5 (full details of this journey are included later in the article).

An alternative is to catch the ferry and then walk from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei. The route follows the banks of the Tejo estuary, rides up the Boca do Vento Elevator and continues along the top of the cliffs. Sadly this is not a very scenic walk, as the riverside passes abandoned warehouses and docks, while the upper section is through bland residential areas.

At the top of the Boca do Vento Elevator

At the top of the Boca do Vento Elevator

3001 bus in Cacilhas bus station

The Carris Metropolitana bus waiting in Cacilhas bus station

If you have car, it is very easy to drive to Cristo Rei, and there is lots of free parking at the complex. The drive to Cristo Rei crosses the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, however, at rush hours, the bridge is a major bottleneck, with traffic jams heading north into the city at the toll stations.

There is no direct bus service from Lisbon to Cristo Rei, and the closest services stop on the A2 expressway just after the 25 de Abril bridge (GPS: 38.673789, -9.173988). From here, it is a 15-minute (850m) uphill walk to Cristo Rei.

The bus is useful when you want to return to Lisbon, as the walk is quicker and shorter (it's downhill, and you do not have to cross the A2). There are also many departures, as every bus heading into Lisbon stops here.

It is possible to catch a taxi or Uber/Bolt from Lisbon to Cristo Rei, but the journey is surprisingly long. It is around 14km from the Baixa or Alfama districts, and a traffic-free journey takes around 20 minutes. For Lisbon's taxis, Cacilhas is outside of the city fare zone, so a higher rate will be charged. Both taxis and Ubers must pay the toll for the 25 de Abril bridge (€ 1.80) when heading back into the city.

Our opinion: Of all the options, the ferry and bus route is the best way to travel to Cristo Rei. This route provides a more enjoyable tourist activity, as it includes a ride on a ferry and the chance to visit the town of Cacilhas.

The following sections will explain in detail the journey from Lisbon to Cristo Rei via Cacilhas.

Cristo Rei Lisbon

The 25m statue of Christ the King stands atop an 82m pedestal, which is where the viewing platform is situated.

The ferry from Lisbon to Cacilhas

The first stage of the journey to Cristo Rei is to cross the River Tejo. There is a regular and inexpensive ferry operated by TransTejo, that departs from the Cais do Sodré ferry terminal and crosses the Tejo to Cacilhas.

The Cais do Sodré ferry terminal is part of the Cais do Sodré railway station complex, which is the departure station for all trains heading westwards along the Estoril coastline to Cascais. Cais do Sodré train station is the final stop on the green metro line, and the ferry terminal is a separate building just outside of the train station.

The ferry to Cacilhas

The ferry to Cacilhas

The Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas ferry is an important commuter route, and the number of departures reflects this. At peak hours, there are up to seven departures per hour, with services starting early in the morning and continuing late into the night. There are fewer services at the weekends (two or three departures per hour), and the latest timetable can be seen on the TransTejo website:
https://ttsl.pt/passageiros/horarios-de-ligacoes-fluviais/ligacao-cacilhas-cais-do-sodre/

(The link opens a new tab)

Advice: It is best to avoid using the ferry at rush hour, when it will be crowded with commuters.

A single ferry ticket costs €1.40 and is charged to the Navegante card, the public transport card used throughout Lisbon. The initial purchase of this card costs €0.50. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office or ticket machines. These machines have instructions in all major European languages and are easy to use. It is only a short ferry ride, with the crossing taking just 10 minutes.

Insight: Sadly, the ferry has no outside viewing area, but head to the upper deck for better views.

When departing from Lisbon, the right side (starboard side) will have views of the 25 de Abril bridge, while the left side (port) has better views of Lisbon's waterfront.

How about a small group tour?

One of the best ways to discover Lisbon and to meet fellow travellers is to join a guided tour. We have worked with Getyourguide.com for the last six years, and some of the best tours of Lisbon include:

Cacilhas

From the ferry terminal, it is a very short walk (150m) to the bus station, where the bus to Cristo Rei departs from. Before catching the bus, it is suggested to have a wander around Cacilhas.

Insight: The timetable for the 3001 bus (details in the next section) is seasonal, and there is the possibility of a wait of up to 1 hour. It is best to check the exact departure times, so you know how long you have to see Cacilhas.

Cacilhas is known for its inexpensive seafood restaurants and Cervejarias (beer houses), which line the main plaza and the Rua Cândido dos Reis. These are great for a quick lunch and will be much cheaper than in central Lisbon.

Insight: The region's best restaurant is the Ponto Final, which is an 800m walk along the waterfront and close to the Elevator of Boca do Vento lift.

The main sight of Cacilhas is the Dom Fernando II e Glóiria ship, the last sailing ship of the Portuguese navy. This grand frigate has been lovingly restored and can be visited for €4. Also included in the entrance fee is the NRP Barracuda, a 1960s submarine that was retired from service in 2010 and had a crew of 56 personnel.

The restaurants and Cervejarias of Cacilhas

The restaurants and Cervejarias of Cacilhas

Dom Fernando II e Glóiria, Cacilhas

The Dom Fernando II e Glóiria

NRP Barracuda submarine Cacilhas

The NRP Barracuda submarine

The 3001 bus service from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei

The bus from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei is the number 3001 route, which is operated by Carris Metropolitana. This changed from TST buses in 2022, and TST may still be referenced in other tourist literature.

A single bus fare is €1.25, but the ticket has to be purchased using cash. The 3001 bus is a seasonal bus service that has 2 to 3 departures per hour in summer, dropping down to hourly in the winter. The latest timetable can be seen on the Carris Metropolitana website:
3001 service: https://www.carrismetropolitana.pt/horarios/?linha=3001
Carris Metropolitan home page: https://www.carrismetropolitana.pt
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Cacilhas bus station

The 3001 bus waiting in Cacilhas bus station

Cacilhas bus station is just a short walk from the ferry terminal, with the whole complex being a massive public transport interchange with tram, ferry and bus terminals. In the bus station, each of the bus stands is clearly labelled with the services that depart from them.

The bus journey from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei passes through the residential and shopping streets of Cacilhas and Almada and takes 10 minutes. The 3001 bus terminates in front of the administrative building of the Cristo Rei complex, and it is a short walk to the statue.

Insight: If there is a long wait for the 3001 bus, you may wish to hire an Uber or Bolt (€4), or take a taxi (€6). There may be tuk-tuks or other tourist vehicles, which charge €5 per person.

The bus stop at Cristo Rei

The bus stop at Cristo Rei

Cristo Rei tourist information

The Cristo Rei complex is free to enter, and the €8 admission fee is only paid if you wish to ride to the top of the tower and visit the 80-metre-high viewing platform.

Tourist insight: The viewing platform provides amazing panoramic views, but the clifftop viewpoint provides better photo opportunities. The viewing platform is surrounded by a high fence, and this ruins the background for any photos.

Within the Cristo Rei complex is a café serving simple meals, drinks and snacks. The opening hours of the Cristo Rei statue are seasonal and can be found on the Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei website:
https://cristorei.pt/pt/horarios

Cristo Rei viewing platform

The viewpoint at the top of Cristo Rei

Cristo Rei cliff view

The viewpoint at the top of the cliffs is better for selfies or group photos

The return back to Lisbon

After visiting Cristo Rei you could return to Lisbon by the same means you arrived, but a faster method is to catch the bus from the edge of A2 expressway.

This is a scenic route back into Lisbon, as it crosses the 25 de Abril bridge. There are many departures from this bus stop, as every bus service from south of the Tejo river stops here (such as buses from Sesimbra, Costa da Caparica, Setubal and Almada). Generally, all of the bus routes into Lisbon terminate at the Sete Rois bus station or at the Marquês de Pombal plaza, and both stops are connected to the metro.

The bus fare is €2.30, but annoyingly it has to be paid with cash. When riding the bus back into Lisbon, try to sit on the same side as the door, as this will provide the best views of the Tejo river and Lisbon.

The bus stop for services into Lisbon is situated on the eastern side of the A2 (GPS: 38.674272, -9.173334) and there is no need to cross the road to reach it. There is a path that leads down to the A2 from the Cristo Rei, which is accessed by taking the right-hand road from the roundabout in front of the Cristo Rei.

A2 bus stop Lisbon

The bus stop on the side of the A2 expressway, when heading back into Lisbon

The walk from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei

It is possible to walk from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei. This route follows the base of the cliffs for 1km to the Elevador Boca do Vento, which then connects you to the top of the cliffs. At the top of the cliffs, it is a 2km walk through residential streets to the Cristo Rei entrance.

This should be a very scenic route, but sadly isn't in its current state. The lower riverside section passes abandoned warehouses and there is a general feeling of neglect about the area. Within the run-down waterfront, there is some cool street art and graffiti (known as the Rua do Ginjal Street Art), but for most visitors, the area is a disappointment.

Things improve around the Elevador Boca do Vento, a 50m lift that has a pretty park at its base and has a selection of good restaurants (Ponto Final and Atira-te ao Rio). The final section of the walk is surprisingly long (2km) and passes through non-descript residential areas, with little interest for tourists.

 Cacilhas riverside

The waterside section is very shabby and just waiting for re-development

Elevator da Boca do Vento

The Elevator da Boca do Vento saves a steep walk up a cliff

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