The statue of Jesus that overlooks Lisboa is a smaller version of the famous Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. It was built in 1959 under the Salazar regime to celebrate Portugal’s avoidance of the effects of World War II.
Cristo Rei stands high on the southern bank of the Rio Tejo facing Lisbon with his arms spread open. As you can imagine, the views from this side of the river are worth the trek, which is why tourists flock over there in sometimes overwhelming numbers. As with any major monument or landmark, during the summer peak tourism season particularly, it gets pretty busy.
There are many websites and travel books that go into the nitty-gritty of getting to Cristo Rei, but none seem to adequately capture the public transportation pilgrimage itself. Here’s a little guide to getting there and back by metro, ferry, and bus to make it a bit easier, breezier, and, of course, more stylish.
1) Check opening times here to avoid Murphy’s law which, as two Irish lads, we inevitably encountered (see video below).
2) Hop on the metro from wherever you are to Cais do Sodré, the final stop on the river front of the green line. I would personally recommend getting a Viva Viagem card that has “zapping,” an option where you can top the card up with set amounts from 3€ to 30€, which saves you the hassle of paying different fare prices on tickets.
3) Follow the signs to Cais do Sodré’s terminal fluvial (ferry terminal) and hop on the ferry going to Cacilhas. There are three ports so make sure you don’t make my mistake and sit at the wrong ferry gate waiting for half an hour. The trip to Cacilhas takes under 10 minutes.
4) Once on the far side, you can hop on the 101 TST bus which will bring you to Senhor Cristo’s doorstep for about 1€. This is the only separate ticket you will have to buy, but you can buy it onboard.
If you decide to skip the TST bus, you can walk along the waterfront ogling the graffiti and listening to the lapping of the Tejo onto the more or less abandoned docks now only used for fishing. You’ll pass two restaurants at the very end of your walk and see the doors for an elevator to take you to the feet of Christ. If it’s working, take it! If not…you’ve got to go back the way you came, but hey — there’s food at Ponto Finale, and it’s pretty decent.
5) Enjoy your trip around, follow your tracks to come back, and make sure you pop into one of the fine, Atlas-recommended establishments for a pint upon return to Cais Do Sodré.