The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
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 most tourists are drawn by the wonderful views of Lisbon from the top of the 80m high viewing platform.
Tourist insight: As the main attraction of the Cristo Rei is the viewpoint, make sure you plan the visit on a clear and bright day.
Related articles: Lisbon day trips
The recommended means of travel to the Cristo Rei statue is to cross the estuary by ferry to Cacilhas, and then catch a bus from Cacilhas to the Cristo Rei. The route takes less than one hour (depending on connections) and the return trip costs €5.50. (Full details later on in the article).
An alternative is to catch the ferry to Cacilhas and then walk from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei via the Boca do Vento Elevator.
It is possible to drive to Cristo Rei and there is plenty of car parking in the grounds of the monument. Be warned though, Lisbon suffers from horrendous traffic and the 25 de Abril suspension bridge (the only road to Cristo Rei) is one of the major bottlenecks of the city.
Advice: We never recommend a rental car for a city break to Lisbon, as the city has excellent and inexpensive public transport.
It is possible to catch a taxi or Uber, but the journey is surprisingly long; from the Baixa district it is 14km and a traffic-free journey takes 25 minutes. For Lisbon’s taxis, Cacilhas is outside of the city fare zone, so a higher rate will be partially charged. Both taxis and Ubers must pay 25 de Abril bridge toll (€ 1.80) when heading into the city.
The hop-on/hop-off tour bus companies offer routes which include Cristo Rei. These tours are significantly more expensive than public transport or taxis, and offer little more than if you visit independently.
There is just a single bus service from Lisbon which stops near the statue. The 753 route connects the Praça Marquês de Pombal (Lisbon) and the Centro Sul (Almada) and stops just after the bridge, but from this bus stop it is a steep uphill 1km walk to the statue. This 753 bus service is detailed later on, but the ferry/bus route is a much better option.
Our opinion: The ferry ride is an enjoyable tourist activity, and Cacilhas is a great location for a seafood lunch.
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:
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Advice: It is best to avoid using the ferry at rush hour when the it will be crowded with commuters.
A single ferry ticket costs €1.30 and is charged to the Viva Viagem card, the public transport card used throughout Lisbon. The initial purchase of this card 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 all major European languages.
The ferry ride takes 15 minutes and passes close to the suspension bridge but unfortunately, there are no outside viewing decks.
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:
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: https://www.tsuldotejo.pt/
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Tourist insight: While at Cacilhas, visit the Dom Fernando II e Glória (€4.00), the last sailing ship of the Portuguese navy, which has been lovingly restored.
There is a walking route from Cacilhas harbour to Cristo Rei. This route follows the base of the cliffs to the Elevador Boca do Vento, which then transport visitors to the top of the cliffs, and the final section, meanders through residential streets to the Cristo Rei entrance.
This should be a very scenic route, but sadly not in its current state. The lower riverside section passes abandoned warehouses and wharfs, and there is a general feel of neglect about the area.
Things improve around the Elevador Boca do Vento, a 50m lift, with a pretty park and cliff top cafes. The final section of the walk is surprisingly long (2km) and passes through non-descript residential areas, with little of interest for tourists.
The 753 bus service is the only route which departs from Lisbon and stops close to the Cristo Rei Statue. The bus departs from the Praca Jose Fontana, but the second stop at the Praça Marquês de Pombal, is more convenient for visitors, as it is served by the blue and yellow metro lines.
The Cristo Rei bus stop (called Portagem (Cristo-Rei)) is immediately after crossing the 25 de Abril bridge, and is on the edge of the A2 expressway. From the bus stop, it is a 1km walk to up to the statue.
Advice: The return bus stop is on the opposite side of the 12-lane expressway (the side closest to Cristo Rei).
A single ticket costs €2.00 and the bus service is operated by Carris, the public bus company of Lisbon. The latest timetable can be seen on their website:
The Cristo Rei complex is free to enter; the €8.00 admission fee is only paid if you wish to visit the 80m viewing platform.
Tourist insight: The viewing platform provides amazing panoramic views, but the clifftop viewpoint provides better photo opportunities, especially for selfies or Instagram posts. The viewing platform is surrounded in protective mesh 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 dependant, and can be seen of the Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei website:
Cacilhas is a residential suburb of Lisbon but is famed for its seafood restaurants and Cervejarias (beer houses) that line the waterfront. The waterfront is a dilapidated mishmash of abandoned wharfs, lively restaurants and graffitied covered buildings; it certainly isn’t Lisbon’s most scenic areas, but has authentic character.
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