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Terreiro do Paço is a major ferry terminal that provides regular services across the River Tejo to the south eastern side of the estuary. The ferry terminal is located on the southern side of the Praça do Comércio in the Baixa (downtown) district of Lisbon.
For tourists a ferry ride is an enjoyable alternative activity that provides a wonderful shoreline view over the city and the routes from Terreiro do Paço offer some of the best views. This guide will provide an overview of the Terreiro do Paço terminal and details about the ferry services that depart from there.
The fast catamaran crossing the Tejo
The ferry terminal is located on the blue metro line and is served by the Terreiro do Paço metro station, the second station along the line. The terminal is positioned on the edge of the Praça do Comércio square and for most visitors based within the downtown area of Lisbon it is easier to walk than to catch the metro.
There are two ferry routes that depart from Terreiro do Paço: the service to Montijo and the ferry to Barreiro. Both moorings are on the south eastern side of the Tejo estuary and are surrounded by residential areas with minimal interest for tourists so, the main attraction of the ferry is the ride itself.
The exterior of the Terreiro do Paço Ferry Terminal
The ferry from Lisbon to Barreiro is the more important commuting route, with multiple departures per hour that continue late into the night, it's best to avoid the rush hour. The Lisbon to Barreiro ferry uses the fast catamaran, which makes the 12km journey in less than 30 minutes. A single ticket costs €2.75 and is charged to the Viva Viagem card (€0.50 for the initial purchase). Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office or ticket machines, which have English instructions.
The older ferry to Cacilhas from Lisbon
The Lisbon to Montijo ferry route has less frequent departures, as most commuters catch the direct bus services that cross the Vasco Da Gama Bridge. The fast catamaran ferries operate along this route, and the journey time is 30 minutes with a distance of 15km.
Both ferry routes provide wonderful shoreline views of the Baixa and Alfama districts and the return journey makes for a relaxing activity. The commuter ferries from Terreiro do Paço are inexpensive when compared to the specialist tourist boats. The second ferry terminal of Lisbon is at Cais do Sodré, which also the ferry route to cross to the Christ statue, for information about Cais do Sodré please click here.
Terreiro do Paço translated into English means the "palace grounds" and this name originates from the position of the ferry terminal, where once stood gardens of the Ribeira Palace. The palace was completely destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, and the Praça do Comércio was constructed in its place.
The Terreiro do Paço was part of a 19th century vision to have train and ocean liners service that would connect Europe to the Americas. The original suggestion was that trains from Western Europe would terminate at the Santa Apolonia station and passengers would board boats to the Americas.