The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon extends along the banks of the Tejo Estuary, and the commuter ferries are an integral part of the city’s public transport network.
The ferries provide an inexpensive means of travel from the residential districts on the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary to central Lisbon on the north. These ferries also avoid the horrendous rush hour traffic on Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge
As a visitor to Lisbon, the commuter ferries provide an enjoyable boat ride, which are a fraction of the price of the expensive tourist cruises.
The most popular ferry for visitors crosses from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas, and is the first stage of the journey to the Cristo Rei statue, with its amazing views over Lisbon. The Cacilhas ferry route is very scenic as it passes close to the suspension bridge, but sadly the ferries are designed for commuters and have no outside viewing deck.
The ferry from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas
There are five ferry routes, with three terminals in Lisbon and four terminals on the southern banks. The ferry routes are:
• Terreiro do Paço to Barreiro
• Cais do Sodré to Montijo
• Cais do Sodré to Seixal
• Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas (recommended tourist route)
• Belem to Porto Brandão and Trafaria (recommended tourist route)
In Lisbon, Terreiro do Paço and Cais do Sodré are major ferry terminals close to the city centre, while Belem is a lesser terminal to the west of the city. The busiest route is Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas.
The interactive map below displays the routes in relation to the city.
Orange) Belem to Trafaria Yellow) Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas Green) Cais do Sodré to Seixal Red) Cais do Sodré to Seixal Blue) Terreiro do Paço to Barreiro
There are few tourist attractions on the southern side of the Tejo Estuary, apart from the Cristo Rei statue and the beaches of the Costa da Caparica coastline. The main attraction of the ferry ride, is the journey itself.
The two most scenic routes are Belem to Trafaria (orange route) and Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas (yellow route).
The Belem ferry provides views over the Belem district and of the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas offers views over the Baixa district and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
The Cais do Sodré to Seixal has views over Baixa and Alfama, but the journey is much longer, so not recommended.
The catamaran to Barreiro
There is not much to see or do around the terminals on the southern side of the Tejo estuary.
The only slightly interesting terminal is Cacilhas, which is famed for its seafood restaurants and the final mooring of the Dom Fernando II e Glória, the last sailing ship constructed by the Portuguese navy. Cacilhas is also the departure location for the 101 bus service to the Cristo Rei statue (details later on).
All of the other southern ferry terminals (Cacilha, Montijo and Seixal) are transport hubs for residential districts, and have little appeal for visitors.
Advice: Always avoid crossing by ferry at rush hour (heading into Lisbon between 8-10am or leaving the city 5-6pm).
Ponte 25 de Abril bridge
The following list provides the cost of a single crossing; there are no return tickets and two single tickets must be purchased.
• Terreiro do Paço to Barreiro - €2.65
• Cais do Sodré to Montijo - €3.00
• Cais do Sodré to Seixal - €2.65
• Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas - €1.40
• Belem to Porto Brandão and Trafaria - €1.30
The ferry fares are charged to the Navegante reusable card, which is used by the entire public transport network of Lisbon. The initial purchase of the Navegante card is €0.50.
The card can only hold one type of ticket at a time, for example, if it is charged with a metro ticket you cannot add a ferry ticket to it.
The Cacilhas ferry unfortunately does not have a viewing deck
Lisbon ferries are an important means of transport for commuters and workers, so there are many departures with services starting early in the day and continuing late into the night. There are more departures during the working week and less at the weekend.
The Terreiro do Paço to Barreiro and Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas are the busiest routes, while the Belem route only has one boat and departures are infrequent.
The ferries of Lisbon are operated by Transtejo Soflusa (known as TTSL), and the latest timetables can be seen on their website:
• Terreiro do Paço - Barreiro
• Cais do Sodré - Cacilhas
• Cais do Sodré - Montijo
• Cais do Sodré - Seixal
• Belém - Trafaria - Porto Brandão
(please note links open new tabs)
A tour boat just about to pass beneath the suspension bridge
Cais do Sodré ferry terminal is connected to the green metro line and is also a major railway station, with trains to Cascais and the Estoril coastline. The actual ferry terminal is in a separate building, which is to the south of the train station.
From Cais do Sodré there are three routes, to Cacilhas, Montijo and Seixal. The ferries to Montijo and Seixal use the modern catamarans, while the older, orange ferries cross to Cacilhas.
Unfortunately, neither style of ferry has open-air viewing decks. Cacilhas is the better tourist route, as it passes close to the suspension bridge and only takes 15 minutes to cross the river.
At Cacilhas there are many excellent seafood restaurants. The other notable attraction at Cacilhas is the Dom Fernando II e Glória, the last sailing ship constructed by the Portuguese navy.
The catamaran ferry to Seixal
One of the main reasons for crossing to Cacilhas is to visit the Cristo Rei statue and the amazing viewpoint at the top of the monument. At Cacilhas there are two possible routes to Cristo Rei, either by bus or the Boca do Vento Elevator and walking.
The bus is the better option and is a must in the hot summer months. The 101 bus route, operated by Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST), departs from Cacilhas bus station and stops in front of the Cristo Rei complex.
The alternative route to Cristo Rei is to walk along the waterfront to the Boca do Vento Elevator, which passes lively Cervejarias (beer houses) and abandoned wharfs.
The Boca do Vento Elevator ascends 50m and costs €1.50, but the final 2km walk to Cristo Rei is not very scenic, passing through dilapidated residential streets.
The Terreiro do Paço ferry terminal is on the southern edge of the Praça do Comércio and is served to the blue metro line. The Paço to Barreiro is the longest ferry route and uses the faster catamarans. This route provides the best views over Alfama and the eastern side of Lisbon, but Barreiro is simply a ferry terminal and a non-descript town.
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