Here is a guide to Lisbon’s most famous bridges, the two bridges that cross the Tejo River and link the northern and southern parts of Portugal together, the 25 of April Bridge and the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
Prior to 1966, when the first bridge was built, the only way to cross the Tejo River or pass between northern and southern Portugal was by ferry.
The 25th of April Bridge – Ponte 25 de Abril
25 of April Bridge
GPS Coordinates: 38.689167, -9.176944
The 25 of April bridge is on the west side of Lisbon. It is the longest Suspension bridge in Europe. With a total length of 7470 ft (2277 meters) it is currently the 43rd longest suspension bridge in the world.
The bridge connects Lisbon to the town of Almada on the south side of the Tagus River.
The bridge has two levels. The top level is for cars, and the bottom level carries trains.
There are six lanes for cars and two tracks for trains. The bridge clears the water by 70 meters.
Each day 150,000 cars pass and 157 trains use the bridge. Traffic jams are frequent during rush hour.
There is a toll of €1.90 for northbound traffic coming into Lisbon. There is no toll for traffic leaving the city.
The 25 April Bridge was inaugurated in August 1966, and was originally known as the Salazar Bridge.
It was first named after António de Oliveira Salazar, who was Prime Minister from 1932 until 1968.
Following the Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974, when the dictatorship was overthrown, it was renamed Ponte 25 de Abril.
Ponte 25 de Abril has been in seven movies, including James Bond’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Pedestrians are not allowed on the bridge, but it does close down each year for the half-marathon that starts south of the river and finishes in Belém on the north side of the river.
Also known as the Tagus River Bridge / Ponte Sobre o Tejo, the 25 of April Bridge is often said to resemble the Golden Gate Bridge.
The bridge in Lisbon was built by US Steel and Morrison-Knudsen of Portugal, a firm that had worked on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Construction of the bridge took almost four years, from November 5, 1962 until August 6, 1966.
In 2017 an observation deck was added to the bridge.
Attractions near the April 25 Bridge:
- Pilar 7 Center – April 25 Bridge’s Visitor Center
- LX Factory – A repurposed industrial neighborhood that has been transformed into urban art, boutique shopping, bars, restaurants, coworking space, and artists’ studios. LxFactory | Restaurants, Bars, Shops & Offices in Alcantara
- Cristo Rei Statue – The noticeable 330 foot-tall concrete statue of Christ that opened to the public in 1959. An elevator takes visitors to the top for a panoramic view. Admission is €5. Home – . (cristorei.pt)
- TimeOut Market – A beautiful modern food hall that shares space with Lisbon’s oldest fish market and farmer’s market – Mercado da Ribeira. Time Out Market Lisbon offers live performances and currently has 26 restaurants, eight bars, and a dozen shops.
- Docks for various sunset cruises and fishing expeditions – For information on sunset cruises, see my article, Old and new friends on Lisbon’s Booze cruises and party boats
Pilar 7 Bridge Visitor Center
The Pilar 7 Center offers visitors a chance to explore the 25 of April Bridge up close, tour historical exhibits, and access the bridge’s viewing platform for some of the most stunning views of Lisbon.
Avenida da Índia, Pilar 7, Ponte 25 de Abril
Hours: Every day 10 am – 6 pm Last entry is at 5 pm.
Admission: €5. Free with the Lisboa Card. Children ages 6 -15 pay €3.50, children under 6 have free admission.
Vasco da Gama Bridge – Ponte Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama Bridge
GPS coordinates: 38.762, -9.043
The other major bridge in Lisbon is the Vasco da Gama Bridge (Ponte Vasco da Gama). The Vasco da Gama Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge.
It was named after Portugal’s most famous explorer – Vasco da Gama, who discovered a sea route to India. His discovery allowed Portugal to become a major importer of spices to Europe and become one of the richest countries in the world.
The bridge connects Sacavém, north of Lisbon (north bank) with Alcochete and Montijo on the south bank.
It is the second-longest bridge in Europe, after the Crimean Bridge, and the longest bridge in the European Union.
The bridge is 7.61 miles long (12.345 km). On cloudy days you cannot see the other side.
The bridge was opened in March 1998 after three years of construction.
The Ponte Vasco da Gama is located on the northwest side of the city. This bridge also requires cars going northbound into the city to pay a toll of €2.85. Those leaving the city do not pay a toll.
The bridge was inaugurated in 1998 for the Lisbon World Expo. It opened to the public in March, 1998.
Attractions located near the Vasco da Gama Bridge:
- Parque do Tejo – Parque do Tejo is next to the Vasco da Gama Bridge and offers fantastic views of the bridge. There is a riverside promenade as well as a boardwalk where you can take pictures of the bridge. The park also features a skatepark. Also, check out the 33 foot tall bronze sculpture of Queen Katherine of Bragança, designed by American sculptor Audrey Flack.
- Parque das Nações – Here you will find some of the best Modern and contemporary architecture in the old city of Lisbon
- Lisbon Oceanarium – For more information on the Oceanarium, see my article, Lisbon Oceanarium | Plan Your Visit to the Oceanário de Lisboa
I am not affiliated with any business mentioned in this article.