Visiting Fátima from Lisbon

Visiter Fatima depuis Lisbonne

Depart from Lisbon and discover the city of Fatima and its surroundings, a major Catholic pilgrimage site!

Like Paris, Lisbon alone doesn’t represent Portugal’s cultural wealth, and a city like Fatima won’t make us say otherwise.

From Lisbon, you can visit Fátima, in central Portugal. One hundred years after the alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary to three little shepherds, Fátima is one of the world’s most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites. Here you’ll discover grandiose religious monuments, as well as the legendary story of the apparitions…

History(ies) of Fátima: apparitions of the Virgin, miracle of the sun and failed attack

Visiter Fatima

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Located 125 kilometers from Lisbon, in central Portugal, Fátima is best known for the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three young shepherds – Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta – are said to have witnessed six apparitions of a « lady » on the trunk of an oak tree. On October 13, 1917, in front of thousands of people, the sixth apparition ended with a sun dance: the « Miracle of the Sun ».

Following these events, the Chapel of the Apparitions was built in 1919 – on the site of the oak tree where the Virgin is said to have appeared. In 1930, the Catholic Church authorized the cult of Fátima: the little town became one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites. Today, five million pilgrims visit Fátima every year.

But the story doesn’t end there. On May 13, 1981, in Rome, Pope John Paul II miraculously survived a bullet attack. For him, it was Our Lady of Fátima who slightly deflected the shot… To thank her, he had the bullet extracted from his body embedded in the crown of the statue of Our Lady at Fátima.

A visit to Fátima is a journey through centuries of history and grandiose religious monuments… Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a fascinating excursion!

What to visit in Fátima

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima

Visiter Fatima, Sanctuaire

Photo credit: Wikimedia

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima comprises several religious monuments.

  • The Chapel of the Apparitions was built in 1919, on the site of the apparitions. Look closely at the statue of the Virgin Mary: the bullet that could have killed Pope John Paul II was embedded in its crown.
  • The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary is an imposing neo-Gothic monument, completed in 1953. It houses the graves of the Little Shepherds.
  • The Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Fátima is the fourth largest Catholic church in the world. Built in 2004, it was financed entirely by donations from pilgrims.
  • The Fátima Wax Museum features 31 scenes retracing the history of the Fátima apparitions. Tickets cost €7.50 (more info on the wax museum website).

Walk along the Way of the Cross towards Aljustrel

Visiter Fatima, Aljustrel

Photo credit: Flickr – Luis Cap

From Fátima, walk down the Way of the Cross towards the small village of Aljustrel: allow around 30 minutes. The route is dotted with religious monuments, particularly at Valinhos (follow the signs). If you don’t feel like walking, the tourist train runs between Fátima and Aljustrel.

Once you’ve arrived in the village of Aljustrel, visit the Maison-Musée d’Aljustrel. This exhibition gives a good idea of everyday life at the turn of the century: costumes, local professions, customs, tools… Nearby, you’ll find the former homes of Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.

Places to visit near Fatima: Óbidos, Nazaré and the monastery of Batalha

Visiter Fatima, Obidos

Photo credit: Flickr – Andrew3000

On the road between Lisbon and Fátima, there are several stops worth visiting. All are accessible by car or bus with Rede Expressos.

Just 80 kilometers from Lisbon, the first stop is Óbidos. With its narrow streets and white houses, this small medieval village is as picturesque as it is charming. 35 kilometers further on, take a break in Nazaré, an ancient fishing village bordered by beautiful sandy beaches where you can watch surfers ride the mythical giant waves.

Visiter Fatima, Monastère de Bathala

Photo credit: Flickr – Dynamosquito

Twenty kilometers from Fátima, don’t miss the splendid monastery of Batalha, a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to the organization, it is « one of the absolute masterpieces of Gothic art »!

Getting around Fátima

Getting to Fátima from Lisbon

The easiest and cheapest way to visit Fátima from Lisbon is by bus. The Rede Expressos company operates between Lisbon’s Sete Rios station and Fátima’s Terminal Rodoviario (right next to the Sanctuary). Allow 1h30 for the journey. The round trip from Lisbon to Fátima costs €21.20 for adults and €12 for children. To buy your ticket, come a little early to the station: buses fill up fast!

You can also rent a car in Lisbon to enjoy the area around Fátima to the full for several days.

Alternatively, you can book an excursion online in advance (see button below). In just one day, you can visit Óbidos, Nazaré, the Batalha monastery and Fátima.

Getting around Fátima: walk or take the tourist train

To visit the monuments and museums of Fátima and Aljustrel, you can walk: the walks are quite pretty and well laid out. If you don’t want to or can’t walk, you can also take the tourist train, which links the various points of interest.

Main photo credit: Flickr – Roberto Hungria