The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima (or “Santuario de Nossa Senhora De Fatima” in Portuguese) is located in the small city of Fátima. To give some perspective, it's roughly 1h30min north of Lisbon.
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Plan a Day Trip !
Since our Eurail expedition a few years back, we would have loved to travel Portugal by train. However, we couldn't find a train station near or in Fatima. This left us with few options:
1. Guided Tour from Lisbon
There are many guided tours where you can manage to get a Day Trip from Lisbon. This is a good option for those of you who don't want to rent a car. Since Lisbon city is centrally located, all you need is to book a few extra nights and run various day trips nearby cities.
As for visiting Fatima by guided tours, we highly recommend the professional services from 'Get Your Guide'. Simply click the widget above and presto !
2. Rent a car through Auto Europe
Before visiting Portugal, we knew we would be needing wheels! So we reserved our car online, using Auto Europe!
Renting a car is a great option if you like flexibility and plan to travel around Portugal. The train system in Portugal is quite good, however the rails don't reach every city. Since most cities on our itinerary weren't near railways, we opted to rent a car. Which is how we visited Fatima.
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Highly recommended for anyone
If you are catholic, you might have already heard of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima. There's a beautiful story of the Virgin Mary who appeared for three children back in 1917. The three children of this small town were called Lúcia dos Santos and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Francisco and Jacinta Marto died during the international flu pandemic that began in 1918 and swept the world.
Jacinta died at the age of nine in Queen Stephanie's Children's Hospital in Lisbon. They were buried at the Sanctuary of Fátima, beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 May 2000 and canonized by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017.
If you are interested to know more about the sanctuary or history behind of one of the most important event for the Catholic Church, you can start with Wikipedia or many other sites.
Since we were heading to Coimbra, we planned a pit stop in Fatima. So we picked up our car in Lisbon and headed north towards Fatima. The Portuguese highways are in great condition, despite the many tolls. But I guess that's the price you pay for immaculate highways !
Tip: We highly recommend if you rent a car that you ask for the transponder. Because there are quite a few tolls and this will avoid you stoping and searching for change all the time.
We arrived at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima on a beautiful and warm fall day! Surrounded with the faith, peace and good energy is what the Sanctuary brought us.
Personal and Emotional Experience
For some people, it can be an emotional experience to visit Fatima. This was the case for Lia of Discovering Destinations. It was a very special and emotional day that brought her great memories from her childhood.
As a child, she used to watch the movie of Our Lady of Fatima. Also, she remembered when her Portuguese neighbours brought her mother an image from their visit to the Sanctuary. More than 40 years later, her mother still keeps the same image of Our Lady of Fatima in her living room to bless her house.
In and Around the Sanctuary
The town is small and everything around it is moved by faith and devotion to Our Lady Fatima. As for the Sanctuary, our suggestion is to start visiting the main Church of Lady of Fatima. Then, depending on your itinerary you can;
- Visit the Chapel outside, which is surrounded by Glass (it’s also the place where Fatima appeared)
- You can assist the mass and pray the Rosary.
- You can light a candle next to the Chapel.
- Visit the Sanctuary Museum
- Browse the local shops for religious (and non-religious) artifacts
As always, we recommend that you check the official website hours of operation, for Masses and other events.
Quick note about lighting a candle:
- The candles are displayed in different sizes because some people just light one for theirselves or for the loved ones, and there are a huge number of people that made promises to achieve a goal as example: get well from a disease, illness, or find a job, get married, etc ... So they promise if they get what they are expecting they can get a different size of candles to light on.
The Sanctuary Museum
There is a small entrance fee, should you choose to visit (we think it was roughly 1 euro per person). It's a guided tour, so no possibility for a self guided tour. The tour takes roughly 45 minutes.
During the tour, you can see all objects offered by those who previously visited. The offerings come from visitors in search for a miracle or from those who already received one in the name of Lady Fatima.
Additionally, during the tour, you will learn more about the history of Our Lady Fatima and objects that people gave. We weren’t able to visit because we missed the cutoff time.
If time permits during your visit, you should consider the tour as it would be a great addition to your visit.
The Sanctuary is about Faith, pictures are allowed, however it's important to keep quiet and respect the areas where people are praying.
More Elaborate Tips on Fatima
You can plan the visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima on a day trip. Hopefully maximizing your time using the recommendations based on our experience.
How to get there ?
- Personally we think that the best way to visit Fatima is renting a car. We felt the road conditions were great and clearly indicated. Plus, it's nice to drive in a foreign country/city.
As mentioned in our detailed Eurail video, the plus side to renting a car is that you have the flexibility to plan your own schedule ! Plus, it's possible to plan other small trips, which is what we did.
- If you prefer a guided tour, you'll find many companies that offers tour from Lisbon to Fatima. Simply, Google it !
- We saw many motorhome trailers in the Sanctuary parking lot. It never crossed our mind, but this could be a great option for those like to this mode of transportation !
Where to Eat ?
- Outside the Sanctuary, roughly a 5-10 minutes walk distance from main church, you will find a small shopping mall with a spacious and good restaurant. We felt it was expensive however on the positive side it's conveniently located within walking distance from the Sanctuary. It’s called 'Restaurante Internacional Shopping' with a weighed “Per Kilo” style and lots of variety.
- There are many other restaurants in the city, in case you have more time to spend around
- Bring your own lunch. The Sanctuary has many picnic tables beside the parking lot. We wished we knew this option in advance.
- There is a strip mall and indoor shopping mall located in front of the 'Restaurante Internacional Shopping'. We found the prices at strip mall were cheaper and they had just about the same items for sale.
Where to park ?
- The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima has their own parking lot. It was free for our 'October' visit. However we are not sure about the remainder of the year. It looks like the place can be packed during Summer time and weekends.
- We saw many trailers in the parking lot, which should be a great option.
Where to spend the night ?
- We noticed many hotels near the Sanctuary. In case you wanted to plan your trip accordingly !
Go ahead and populate your dates directly below !
Our Fatima Vlog from YouTube
Thanks for Reading !
As always, we're happy to help. We hope you could get a lot out of our Fatima blog and would love to hear your feedback regarding your visit !