The statue of Christ opens its arms to Lisbon
Inspired by the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Catholic Church in Portugal decided to have its own monument to Christ in Lisbon. Named Cristo Rei (“Christ the King”), the gigantic statue also has its arms opening to the city. The idea came soon after WWII, when Lisbon remained neutral and escaped the bombings that destroyed other European capitals. It was a way for Catholics to thank God for what they interpreted to be a blessing, and after several years of planning and construction, the monument was finally unveiled in 1959. That was seven years before the inauguration of 25 de Abril Bridge, which can be seen right below it.
The terrace by the monument offers one of the best views of 25 de Abril Bridge
Even those of other faiths, or with no religious beliefs at all, will want to visit this monument, as there’s no better view of the bridge. You can almost touch it from the terrace by the pedestal, and will feel like you’re flying above it from the viewing platform by the statue.
The Lisbon skyline, seen from Cristo Rei
The panorama of Lisbon goes from the district of Belém in the west to the Vasco da Gama Bridge in the east. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the coast of Cascais (avoid going on a foggy, cloudy or rainy day).
The chapel inside the monument
The 28-meter (90ft) statue of Christ stands on a 75-meter(246ft)-tall pedestal, and is reached by an elevator. After enjoying the view, the devout pass by the chapel on the ground level.
The garden around the Cristo Rei sanctuary
The monument was visited by Pope Benedict XVI on its 50th anniversary, and to better welcome its growing number of visitors, its surroundings have been landscaped. There are benches to sit and enjoy the views, and new sculptures have been added to the site. A tall cross placed to look like it’s about to rise from the ground, was brought from Fátima.
How to Get to Cristo Rei
To get to Cristo Rei, you have to take the commuter ferry that departs from Cais do Sodré Station in central Lisbon. It crosses the river in just 8 minutes to Cacilhas, and that’s where you may hop on bus 101, which terminates by the entrance to the monument. For complete details, see the guide to getting to Cristo Rei by ferry and bus 101.
Avenida Cristo Rei, Almada
Admission and Tickets to Cristo Rei
It’s free to access the terrace by the pedestal, but for the top there’s a €6.00 charge between the months of July and October. Throughout the rest of the year, it’s €5.00. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 pay €2.50.
Cristo Rei is not included in the Lisboa Card.
Opens every day
From the bus terminal in Cacilhas, you may also catch the bus to the beaches of Costa da Caparica. Combined with a visit to Cristo Rei in the morning, they’re perfect for a memorable day in Lisbon’s southern bank.
Where to Stay by Cristo Rei
Mercure Lisboa Almada
About a 10-minute walk from Crei Rei is this 4-star hotel with modern, spacious rooms and a restaurant. It mostly attracts business travelers, but is also a good choice for those with a car and who want to go to the beaches of Costa da Caparica. The hotel offers free indoor parking.