View of Lisbon from Cacilhas
It's worth making the 10-minute ferry journey from Cais do Sodré station in Lisbon to Cacilhas across the river. This waterfront district on the southern bank of the Tagus offers one of the most beautiful views of Lisbon and has several restaurants known for their fresh fish. That journey is made on a "cacilheiro," a single-hull ferry that does the public transportation service between the two sides of the river.
Restaurants and tourist information outside the ferry station in Cacilhas
As soon as you arrive in Cacilhas, you can smell the fish being grilled, inviting you to take a break for a meal before visiting the Cristo Rei monument nearby or before an afternoon at the beach. In Rua Cândido dos Reis alone (a pedestrian street found a few feet from the ferry station), you have around 20 restaurants to choose from, most serving traditional Portuguese cuisine. On this street, you may visit the Church of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming, built in 1759 with a beautiful gilded interior and decorative tile panels.
Restaurants and the Church of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming on Rua Cândido dos Reis
Across the road you find a large vessel (the "D. Fernando II e Glória"), which may be visited daily except Mondays. It dates from 1843 and connected Lisbon to the Portuguese colonies in India.
The "D. Fernando II e Glória" vessel in Cacilhas
In addition to the fish restaurants, the panoramic view of Lisbon, and the Cristo Rei, the reason many people cross the river is for the bus to the beaches of Costa da Caparica. Cacilhas is a major transportation hub, with buses that go to the suburbs south of Lisbon and an overland metro that goes through the city of Almada.
The bus ticket office and terminal outside the Cacilhas ferry station
The buses depart from a terminal found to the left as you walk out of the ferry station. The bus route numbers are displayed at each stop, which also show the bus schedules.
Lisbon seen from Cacilhas
Here are the main transportation services in Cacilhas:
There's a panoramic view of Lisbon from Cacilhas' ferry station
The ferry from and back to Lisbon offers a panoramic view of the city, so for tourists it’s an inexpensive sightseeing activity. There are departures in both directions around every 20 minutes, until quite late at night (until 1:40am from Lisbon and until 1:20am from Cacilhas). A single ticket is €1.30 and is charged to the reusable magnetic Viva Viagem card (€0.50). Try to get a window seat and avoid the rush hours.
See the complete guide to Lisbon ferries.
You may buy ferry tickets at the ticket office or from the ticket machines
Bus 3001 to Cristo Rei
Bus 3001 is the most popular service used by tourists. It’s operated by the Carris Metropolitana company and departs once per hour in the summer and every 30 minutes at other times of the year, seven days a week. You may buy your ticket from the driver or in advance at the ticket office (most drivers don’t speak English, but usually the agents at the ticket office do). For more details, see the Cristo Rei transportation guide.
Bus 3011 to Costa da Caparica
There’s a bus departing from Lisbon to the beaches of Costa da Caparica, but bus 3011 from Cacilhas is a better option, as it involves taking the scenic ferry ride (and the total ferry+bus cost is the same as just the bus from Lisbon). It departs around every hour and takes about 35 minutes to reach Costa da Caparica.
Bus 3012 to Fonte da Telha
Fonte da Telha is the most southern beach of the Caparica coastline, and is less crowded and within walking distance of nearly-deserted stretches of sand. It’s a short walk from an official nude beach and the “gay beach,” Praia 19. Bus 3012 departs once per hour from Cacilhas and terminates by the beach of Fonte da Telha about 50 minutes later.
The metro in Cacilhas
The overland metro doesn’t go through tourist areas, so it’s mostly used by commuters. One line goes through residential streets to Corroios, and the other heads west via the train station in Pragal, which connects to regional trains to the city of Setúbal. From Cacilhas, there are departures around every 7 or 8 minutes, until 1am. Tickets are bought from machines or the ticket office.