Everything you Need to Know About Fatima, the Blessed Town of Portugal
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Everything you Need to Know About Fatima, the Blessed Town of Portugal

Everything you Need to Know About Fatima, the Blessed Town of Portugal

February 28, 2024

Discover the rise of Fátima from rural town to pilgrimage site. Plan your trip to this historic destination now!

From a simple little town, Fátima is now one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Europe. Discover its mystic aura and you will find an incredible place of History, Culture and – of course – Religion!

Get to Know a Little Bit More About Fátima

One hundred years ago, Fátima was an isolated agricultural town in the center of the country. Today, the town of Fatima is home to a vast sanctuary complex, which includes a basilica, a chapel, and a museum. The increase in popularity is related to the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917 – “Três Pastorinhos”, which means “Three Little Shepherds” if translated.

The "Three Little Shepherds" claimed to have seen Virgin Mary

These three children claimed to have seen Virgin Mary when they were going home with a flock of sheep, but only the oldest child – Lúcia – was able to talk to the Virgin, who told her that she would reappear to everybody on the 13th in the next six months. October 13 was Virgin’s last appearance. Over 70.000 people went to see the Virgin, but only the children saw her. According to the reports, she predicted the end of the First World War and asked Lúcia to tell the people to build a chapel in her honour on that exact place. After this, she vanished.

Why is the town in Portugal called Fátima?

The origin of Fatima's name is steeped in legend and religious lore. It is believed to have been named after a young Moorish girl who converted to Christianity and was baptized with the name Fatima. Over time, the town came to be associated with the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, further cementing its place as a sacred pilgrimage site.

Where is Fatima Portugal?

Situated in the central region of Portugal, in the district of Santarém, the town of Fatima is located approximately 88 miles north of Lisbon, the capital city. Tucked away amidst the picturesque landscape of the Estremadura province, Fatima captivates visitors with its serene ambiance and profound spiritual significance.

Is Fátima closer to Lisbon or Porto?

Fátima is closer to Lisbon than Porto. The distance from Lisbon to Fátima is about 120 kilometers, while the distance from Porto to Fátima is about 200 kilometers.

Whether traveling by car, bus, or train, visitors can embark on a seamless journey to Fatima from either Lisbon or Porto, with travel times varying between one to two hours.
Let's explore transportation options from both cities to Fatima, ensuring easy access for pilgrims and travelers alike.

From Lisbon to Fátima

Traveling from Lisbon to Fatima is a straightforward journey, offering several convenient transportation options.

  • Train

One of the most popular ways to reach Fatima from Lisbon is by train. Regular train services operate from Lisbon's Oriente Station to Caxarias, the nearest train station to Fatima. From Caxarias, travelers can take a short bus or taxi ride to reach Fatima town center.

  • Bus

Several bus companies operate direct services from Lisbon to Fatima, providing a convenient and affordable travel option. The journey typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

  • Car

For those preferring the flexibility of a private vehicle, driving from Lisbon to Fatima is also an option. The journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours via the A1 motorway, offering scenic views along the way.

From Porto to Fátima

Similarly, travelers from Porto have various transportation choices to reach Fatima.

  • Train

Direct train services operate from Porto's São Bento Station to Caxarias, with connections available to Fatima. While the journey by train may take slightly longer than from Lisbon, it offers a comfortable and scenic route through the Portuguese countryside.

  • Bus

Several bus companies offer direct routes from Porto to Fatima, with travel times ranging from 2.5 to 3 hours. Buses depart from Porto's main bus terminal, providing a hassle-free option for reaching Fatima.

  • Car

Traveling by car from Porto to Fatima is another convenient option, particularly for those wishing to explore the surrounding regions at their own pace. The journey takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours via the A1 motorway, offering the flexibility to stop and sightsee along the way.

Things to do in Fatima Portugal

You can make your visit to Fatima even more interesting and culturally rich by visiting other close interesting sites. In Aljustrel, for example, two kilometers away from the Sanctuary, there are the houses of the three little shepherds and - yes - you can go inside. Inside Jacinta and Francisco’s house, the furniture and everyday objects are still the same. Lúcia ‘s house is just 150m away.

Plus, 15 km away there’s also another interesting place you can visit – Gruta da Moeda (The Coin Grave) –, which was discovered in 1917. And 15 km away from the Sanctuary there’s also Mira de Aire Caves, which was voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal in 2010. Found in 1947, you can visit 600 meters and climb down 683 steps, but at the end there’s an elevator that is going to take you back to the surface.

The Coin Grave was discovered in 1917 and its worth the visit!

When is the best time to visit Fatima Portugal?

The ideal time to visit the town of Fatima largely depends on personal preferences and interests. However, during the spring (April-May) or fall (September-October) months the weather is mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities. The summer months (June-August) can be quite hot and crowded, while the winter months (November-March) can be cold and wet.

The months of May and October witness a surge in pilgrims, as they coincide with the anniversaries of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. During these times, the atmosphere is infused with fervent devotion and religious ceremonies, offering a unique insight into the town's cultural heritage. Alternatively, for those seeking a quieter retreat, visiting during the offseason months of November to March ensures a more tranquil experience amidst the peaceful surroundings.

Things to do in Fatima: The procession of Our Lady of Fatima Portugal

What time does Fatima Portugal open?

The Sanctuary of Fátima is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, the basilica and other buildings within the complex have specific opening hours. The basilica is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, while the museum is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Sanctuary of Fatima

The Sanctuary is the place where it all happened and its touristic interest has been growing and growing. And why do people visit it?

The Fátima Sanctuary is famous worldwide

For religious purposes or not, any tourist can feel the magnitude of this sanctuary and appreciate the architectural lines that are all around. Here you can find a set of Catholic structures, with 15 churches, which are dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the rosary. Inside the Fatima Shrine there is a splendid organ with over 120,000 pipes that was made in 1952. Every year, on May 13 and October 13, the pilgrims hit the Portuguese roads and peregrinate until Fátima.

Chapel of the Apparitions

Built in 1919, this Chapel was built on the site where the Virgin appeared to the three little shepherds. However, strangers destroyed the Chapel in 1922, but it was rebuilt after that. Inside this building there’s an original statue of the Virgin Mary from 1920 and in the crown there’s the bullet that almost killed the Pope John Paul II in 1981.

This Chapel was built on the site where the Virgin appeared to the three little shepherds

Basilica Lady of Fatima Portugal

Between 1928 and 1953, this Basilica was built in a neo-baroque style. Inside this building there are the tombs of the three little shepherds. Jacinta died in 1919, and Francisco in 1920. Lúcia, the oldest shepherd, died in 2005 and she was also laid to rest in a tomb in the middle of her cousins. 

Basilica of the Holy Trinity

The fourth biggest Catholic Church in the entire world, this Basilica was built between 2004 and 2007.

The Basilica of the Holy Trinity is fourth biggest Catholic Church in the entire world

Is Fátima in Portugal Worth Visiting?

Without a doubt, a visit to the town of Fatima is an experience unlike any other. Whether you are a devout pilgrim or a curious traveler, the town's profound spiritual aura and historical significance make it a compelling destination. From exploring the revered Sanctuary of Fátima to witnessing the awe-inspiring Fatima Church Portugal, there is no shortage of captivating sights to behold and immerse oneself in the town's rich religious heritage.

There are also a number of other things to see and do in the area, including hiking, biking, and wine tasting.

Embracing the Spiritual Essence of Fatima

The town of Fatima is a special place that offers something for everyone. Whether you are a religious pilgrim, a history buff, or simply looking for a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, Fátima is sure to impress.

Join our Fátima Tours from Lisbon or from Porto and experience the best of this important Portuguese site! Whether you choose a private or group tour, departing from Lisbon or Porto, our knowledgeable guides and comfortable transport ensure a memorable and enriching experience. Book your Fátima tour and embark on a journey of discovery, spirituality, and wonder in this iconic Portuguese destination.