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Eighty miles (128km) north of Lisbon within the hills of Santarém lies this world famous town of pilgrimage. This humble town with a population of under ten thousand welcomes millions of devotees every year who come to worship at the site of the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary who appeared to three little shepherds – Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta in 1917. To accommodate the faithful who flock here mainly on the 13th day of the months between May and October, which correspond to the dates of the apparitions, a massive white basilica and esplanade were constructed. Completed in 1953 the courtyard outside has twice the volume as St. Peters in the Vatican. For Catholics Fátima is a sacred place one has a calling to and for the non-believers a place of fascination.


Fátima Miricle

The town acquired it's name from a legend of a Moorish princess called Fatima who was kidnapped by a knight, Gonçalo Hermigues, and his companions. Hermigues took her to a small village in the Serra de Aire hills, in the recently created Kingdom of Portugal. According to the Western Catholic narrative, Fatima fell in love with her kidnapper and decided to convert to Christianity in order to marry him. She was baptised and given a Christian name, Oureana. For most of the town's history Fátima remained an unassuming and insignificant sleepy place until the 13th of May 1917 when three shepherd children first witnessed visions of the Virgin Mary in grazing land in Cova da Iria, just outside of town.

The cousins Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta encountered repeated visions on the 13th day of each subsequent month until October. During these visions three secrets of mankind were revealed to them, secrets which were to be considered prophesies regarding such events as The Second World War, the rise and fall of Communism and the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Following criticism and accusations from local people the children asked the "Virgin of the Rosary" for a sign so they would be believed. And so during the final apparition a mysterious event occurred and witnessed by 70, 000 people, a phenomenon later to called "The miracle of the Sun" (O milagre do sol). It's been well documented that during the pouring rain the sun the crowd at Fátima saw the sun suddenly revolve on its axis and throw out multi-coloured rays of light. There were also claims of a number of miraculous cures in the days that followed.


Ever since the prophecies given to the shepherd children have been investigated, debated and scrutinised by church officials and academics alike. For believers the events of October 13th 1917 are proof of the divine, a conviction backed up by official recognition from the vatican in 1930. For the pragmatists the events can be explained by local natural atmospherical phenomena.

Speculation also continues today about the three secrets revealed to the children who were seven, nine and ten at the time. The first two revelations are public knowledge, the first being a description of "Hell", and the second prophesying a speedy end to the First World War, but also foretelling a dreadful war to follow if the world did not cease offending God. The third prophesy was confided in writing to the Vatican in 1941 by Lúcia, who had entered a convent in 1928, but she also stipulated it should not be made public before 1960 and to date no Pope has unveiled the secret. Lúcia outlived her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta who succumb to the Spanish flu pandemic. Lucia lived a devout life as a Carmelite Nun until 2005 and will probably receive the same honour as her cousins and be beatified in due course.


Constructed in various phases over time at or near the area of Cova da Iria, where the three children witnessed the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary (later known as Our Lady of Fátima by parishioners and pilgrims). The sanctuary includes various buildings, shrines and monuments to the religious, political and social consequence of the event dispersed throughout a complex of open panoramas and vistas dominated by the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. Central to the complex is the small Chapel of the Apparitions and its shelter, marking the very spot where legend suggests many of the events of the apparitions took place and where the first pilgrims venerated the Marian apparitions.


During the apparition of October 13 Lucia de Jesus, Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto were requested by "Our Lady of the Rosary" to build a chapel in her honour. The construction started in 1919 on the very same spot of five of the six occurrences. On 6 March 1922 anti-catholic adversaries planted a bomb within the unfinished shrine which caused considerable damaged precipitating a second stage of construction and it re-opened on January 13, 1923. Today the Chapel of the Apparitions is housed inside a glass enclosure opened on one side and was inaugurated during the first visit of John Paul II in 1982. Inside there's a sculpture of Our Lady which marks the site where an oak tree from where the Lady of the Rosary is said to have stood. The work of José Ferreira Thedim, the sculpture carved from Brazilian cedar-wood and measures just over a metre tall. It was solemnly crowned on the 13th of May 1946 by Cardinal Aloisi Masella, pontifical legate. The crown is made of solid gold weighing 1.2 KG and contains 313 pearls and 2679 precious stones. The crown also contains a bullet removed from John Paul II following his assassination attempt in 1981. The statuette only wears her crown on special occasions.

Fátima - Chapel of the Apparitions


Dominating the 150,000 square metre (37 acre) plaza at the Sanctuary is the impressive neo-classical limestone Basilica whose bell tower reaches 65 metres (213 ft) into the heavens and is topped by a bronze crown weighing 7KG. A white marble statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary measuring 4.73 metre tall occupies a niche on the face of the tower. Inside the tower there's a carillon consisting of 62 bells, the largest of which weighs approximately 3,000 kilograms (6,600 lb) and the clapper about 90 kilograms (200 lb). Flanking the tower two long colonnades spread outwards linking it with the extensive conventual and hospital buildings.

Construction of the Basilica began on the 13th of May 1928 and it was finally consecrated in October 1953. Inside it's 15 altars are dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. A painting above the high altar denotes Our Lady passing on her messages to the children. The basilica is the final resting place of all three of the shepherd children, their tombs are located behind the high alter.
Open for mass from 07h30.
360 Rua de Santa Isabel, 2495-424, Fátima, Portugal. | 39º 37' 55.7" N | 08º 40' 18.4" W
+351 249 539 600 | info@fatima.pt |  Website

Fátima - The Basilica


The Big Holmoak is a replacement of the tree where the three Shepard children awaited the operations of Mary. The original was severely damaged by over enthusiastic relic hunters. It's original location lies within the Chapel of the Apparitions. Standing upon a pillar in the centre of the square is the Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which was constructed on the location of a natural spring, it's waters were also considered sacred. At the entrance to the sanctuary there's an enclosure containing a segment of the Berlin Wall brought to Fátima in 1994 to mark the connection between the visions and the fall of Communism. The large circular building opposite the sanctuary is the Paul VI Pastoral Centre, a complex dedicated to the study and contemplation of the message of Fátima and the issues which dominate the modern world.

Close by is the Sacred Way which marks the route the young shepherds would have taken from their homes in Aljustrel to the site in Fátima. Along the way there are 15 small chapels and shrines marking the points of particular interest such as the The Well of Arneiro which was once in the garden of Lucia's house there where a second apparition occurred and the Valinhos monument where the fourth manifestation of Our Lady appeared.

Fátima - The Sacred Way


There is a cafeteria on site and plenty of cafés and restaurants dotted around in close proximity to the sanctuary.

There are toilets on site in various places.

Apart from the 12 and 13 th May and October there's no shortage of parking spaces at the shrine and around. The majority of parking is free.

The whole grounds are easy to access for those with impaired mobility and wheelchairs are available on request.

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Fátima Full-Day Private Personalized Tour

Fátima Full-Day Private Personalised Tour

Spend the day at the Fátima Sanctuary on a private full-day tour from Lisbon and discover one of Europe's most popular pilgrim sites on an itinerary customised to your preferences. Meet your guide by the Hard Rock Café Lisbon (hotel pick-up available on request), and transfer to Fátima in the Centro Region of Portugal. Discover every corner of the Fátima Sanctuary, including the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima where the three shepherds are buried. Go to the Chapel of the Apparitions and the Basilica of Most Holy Trinity to see temporary exhibitions, and attend 11:00 mass at the ecumenical Basilica of Most Holy Trinity.

Visit the impressive "Life of Christ" wax museum (entrance fees not included) and explore the life of Christ in more then 200 wax models. Enjoy some free time for lunch and the opportunity to buy religious and devotional items in the many specialty stores of Fátima. Then, visit the small village of Aljustrel to see the homes of the three shepherd children who witnessed the apparitions in 1917, before your return transfer back to Lisbon.

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Fátima Half-Day Private Tour

Fátima Half-Day Private Tour

Start your day with a convenient pick-up service from your hotel in Lisbon. Here, your driver will be waiting for you. After you exchange a short meet and greet, you will hop aboard your comfortable vehicle and head for Fátima. Whilst here, you will get to visit the spectacular Basilica, where Francisco, Jacinta Marto, and Lúcia are buried.

Whilst in Fátima, you will also get to visit the Igreja da Santíssima Trindade (Church of the Holy Trinity), the largest Catholic sanctuary in Portugal. Continue on your journey to visit the famous Wax Museum that depicts the story of Fátima, with 119 wax figures set appropriately in the ethnography of the time of the apparitions. You will also have time to see the Capela das Aparições (Chapel of Apparitions), a small temple built at the request of Our Lady of Fátima when she appeared to the three shepherd children, and Azinheira Grande, the tree that Jacinta, Lúcia and Francisco passed before seeing the Saint.

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Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré, and Óbidos Tour

Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré, and Óbidos Tour

Benefit from pickup from your accommodation in Lisbon and then relax on the one hour drive to the Sanctuary of Fátima. Pass historical villages on the way to one of the most famous pilgrim sites in the world. Learn about the Marian apparitions on a guided tour of the old and new monuments and enjoy some free time to look inside the Chapel of the Apparitions or other structures. Then, head to the Dominican convent of the Monastery of Batalha. Continue to Alcobaça Monastery, established in the 12th century by the first King of Portugal. Hear a tragic love story from Portuguese history, and then get some free time to try the local food and wine during lunch.

Continue to the charming fishing village of Nazaré to visit a 16th-century shrine and take in the stunning views. Move on to the walled city of Óbidos to stroll the medieval streets and marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage monuments. Taste a traditional ginjinha liquor before the return drive to Lisbon.

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Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos Museum

The homes of the shepherd children have been preserved over time and now are museums open to the public. In the village of Aljustrel a short distance from the Sanctuary is the home of Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
Daily: 09h30 - 17h00.
42 Rua de Aljustrel, Fátima, 2495-301, Portugal.
39º 36' 58.7" N | 08º 39' 48.8" W
+351 249 521 777

Two minutes away is the family home of Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos who lived her adult life as a nun. On February 13, 2017, Sister Lúcia was accorded the title Servant of God, as the first major step toward her canonisation.
Daily: 09h30 - 17h00.
86 Rus dos Pastorinhos, Fátima, 2495-301, Portugal.
39º 36' 56.7" N | 08º 39' 53.7" W
+351 249 781 638


Not all interesting things in the Fátima area are associated with the heavens. For those who seek pleasures of the underworld the largest network of subterranean caverns in Portugal are found in Mira de Aire just over eight miles (13.5km) south of Fátima. The caves themselves extend almost seven miles (11km) into the hills of the Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros, 600 metres of which are open to the public. The Mira de Aire caves are considered one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal. Over several levels the visitor descends 683 steps into the depths where multi-coloured lights show off the amazing array of stalactites, stalagmites and other geological features to great effect. Visits to the caves are organised in groups which are skilfully guided for 45 minutes through the site stopping along the way where explanations of how nature has formed such wonders. Highlights of the tour includes an underground lake and a waterfall. The Mira de Aire caves were stumbled upon by local residents in 1947 however it didn't open to the public until 1974. Above ground there's a small waterpark with swimming pools and bar for adults and water slides to keep the young ones amused.
High Season: Daily 09h30 – 19h00, Low Season: Daily 09h30 – 17h30
Adult: €6.60, Child <12 Yrs: €3.90

470 Av. Dr. Luciano Justo Ramos, Mira de Aire, 2485-001, Portugal. | 39º 32' 39.3" N | 08º 42' 57.6" W
+351 244 440 322 | grutasmiradaire.com |  Website

Mira de Aire Caves


Pegadas dos Dinossáurios

Non-creationists in the Fátima area head straight to the Pegadas dos Dinossáurios just outside the village of Bairro in the Serra de Aire hills six miles (10km) south of Fátima. It was here in 1994 palaeontologists were astonished to discover the oldest and largest collection of preserved Sauropod tracks found anywhere in the world. The footprints of these giant herbivores are believed to be 175 million years old, first trodden in an ancient shallow lagoon since petrified into limestone. Hundreds of giant tracks (pegadas) are easy to see cast along a 150 metre area within a disused quarry floor. Judging by the spacing between the footprints experts believe these sauropods were up to thirty metres in length.
In the park there are full size Sauropod statues and information boards which explain in further detail about the site. Tuesday - Sunday 10h00 – 12h30/14h00 – 18h00

Estrada de Fátima, Ourém, 2490-216, Portugal.
39º 34' 20.5" N | 08º 35' 40.3" W
+351 249 530 160
dinossaurios@hotmail.com |  Website


Suggested Hotels

Hotel Fatima

Hotel Fatima ★ ★ ★ ★

Hotel Fátima is a 4-star hotel within easy walking distance to the Sanctuary of Fátima and the Apparitions Chapel. It features a large lounge area, bar and business centre. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV and a work desk. The hotel restaurant serves regional Portuguese and international cuisine. There are also facilities available for hosting weddings, banquets and conventions.

Rua João Paulo II, 241, 2495-451 Fátima, Portugal.
N 39º 37' 52.3" | W 08º 40' 32.7" | +351 249 530 760 | res@hotelfatima.com

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Essence Inn Marianos

Essence Inn Marianos ★ ★ ★ ★

The Essence Inn Marianos hotel is located in the centre of Fátima, just 50 yards away from the Shrine, in Fatima. Room décor varies depending on the floor and free WiFi is available throughout. The bright refurbished rooms have private bathrooms with a shower, air conditioning and a direct-line telephone. The Essence Inn Marianos also features a restaurant, a chapel and private free parking.

2 Rua de São Paulo, 2495-435 Fátima, Portugal.
N 39º 37' 51.4" | W 08º 40' 35.6" | +351 249 531 572 | promicmarianos@gmail.com

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Hotel Anjo de Portugal

Hotel Anjo de Portugal ★ ★ ★ ★

This design hotel is located less than 200 yards from the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. It features a restaurant, a bar and in-room free Wi-Fi. Hotel Anjo de Portugal's bright rooms feature flat-screen TVs and work desks. All rooms are air-conditioned and have a bathtub in the en suite bathroom. The on-site restaurant combines nouvelle cuisine and minimalist décor. There is an outdoor lounge area, where guests can enjoy a cool drink or a coffee from the hotel's bar.

24 Rua Anjo de Portugal, 2495-415, Fátima, Portugal.
N 39º 38' 02.2" | W 08º 40' 35.3" | +351 249 530 240 | reservas@hotelanjodeportugal.pt

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Tia Alice Restaurante

Tia Alice Restaurante

One of the best restaurants not only in the area but as the country as a whole. Ideally located close to the sanctuary dinner here is the perfect way to round off the day. A flight of wooden stairs guide you down to an intimate dining area with stone walls. Tia Alice (Aunt Alice) first opened it's doors in 1988 and have gained a great reputation for fine dinning and mastery of Portuguese fare. Far from being pretentious the dinning experience here is relaxed and friendly.

Tuesday – Saturday: 19h30 - 21h00, Sunday & Monday: 12h00 - 15h00
152 Av. Irmã Lúcia de Jesus, Fátima, Portugal.
GPS: N 39º 37' 04.1" | W 08º 39' 12.6"
+351 249 531 737

A Cave

A Cave

A small yet homely restaurant which serves beautifully presented Portuguese and international dishes at reasonable prices. The staff are very friendly and always at hand to offer advice and suggestions. If possible keep some room for their tasty selection of desserts. There are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options available here too.

Daily: 12h00 - 14h30/19h00 - 22h00
895 Avenida dos Pastorinhos, Cova da Iria, 2495-408, Fátima, Portugal.
GPS: N 39º 35' 19.3" | W 08º 39' 09.7"
+351 49 153 159/916 300 356
geral@restauranteacave.pt |  Website

Restaurante Manhas

Restaurante Manhas

Manhas serves authentic Portuguese cuisine with a contemporary twist. Quality is constantly very high as is the service. The friendly and attentive staff always making you feel welcome and much appreciated. The atmosphere too is laid back and the prices are reasonable.

Daily: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00
Avenida Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva N0 114B | Nº 114 B, Fatima 2495-402, Portugal.
GPS: N 39º 37' 55.4" | W 08º 40' 51.2"
+351 249 534 327
geral@restauranteacave.pt |  Website

78 miles (126km) North East of Lisbon Portela Airport Website


From Lisbon take the A1 (with tolls) North 78 miles (126 km), exit at Fatima and follow signs to the Santuario..

Latitude - 39º 37' 55.4" | Longitude - 08º 40' 51.5"


Please note the Fátima train station as mentioned on timetables is in fact 19 miles (30 km) east of Fátima town itself. It's suggested to alight the train at Caxarias from Lisboa Santa Apolónia and take a connecting bus from there. Train Timetable | Connecting Bus Timetable

Rede Expressos run services to Fátima from Lisbon Sete Rios coach station and takes about 90 minutes. Website