For a fascinating and enlightening excursion from Lisbon, take a day trip to Fátima, around 1 hour and 30 minutes by road north of the Portuguese capital.
Why you should take a day trip to Fátima, Portugal:
The story of Fátima
The story of Fátima is captivating – a century ago in 1917 three local shepherd children (Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta) reported that they’d seen a vision of the Virgin Mary, now referred to as ‘Our Lady of Fátima‘ in the Catholic faith. They were asked to return to the same spot on the same day (the 13th) for five months during which she told them three secrets or ‘prophecies’, the final one was sealed in an envelope and kept a secret by the Vatican until the year 2000.
It was the final month on the 13th October when the ‘Miracle of the Sun‘ occurred in-front of thousands of pilgrims who’s stories tell of storm clouds breaking, the sun ‘dancing’ in the sky, colours filling the landscape and the ground rapidly drying.
Fátima, an important place of pilgrimage
Built on the site is the Sanctuary of Fátima that pilgrims today visit in their thousands to walk on their knees towards the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary where Francisco and Jacinta are now buried.
Even if you are not religious, the story of Fátima gives this place such a unique atmosphere – it’s quiet, peaceful and you feel somewhat humbled by it all. The grand square, curved staircase and tall bell tower looks incredibly beautiful against the deep blue sky, you could argue the architecture alone is worth a day trip to Fátima.
Things to do in Fátima, Portugal:
The small Chapel of Apparitions was built in the spot where the three children had their visions, depicted by a statue of Our Lady of Fátima in a glass case that pilgrims pray to. Nearby you can take a personal moment to reflect or pray by lighting a wax candle.
Related: Surprising things about Vatican City
You can also pick up a free language guide in the square to learn more about the story of Fátima, points of interest and itineraries.
The nearby city gives you insight to life in a more rural Portugal than that of bustling Lisbon – small gift shops selling those classic painted blue tiles, custard tarts (Pasteis de nata) and of course plenty of Religious mementos and souvenirs.
Further reading: Exploring Domitilla Catacombs in Rome
Fátima is a small city of around 12,000 people but visited by millions of tourists every year. Whenever I explore somewhere new I always visit with an open mind and that mindset proved even more important on a day trip to Fátima from Lisbon.
How to get to Fatima from Lisbon or Porto:
If you’re on a city break in Lisbon or Porto, your easiest option is to rent a car or take an intercity bus. I travelled to Fátima from the port of Lisbon on a cruise ship shore excursion that most liners will offer onboard or before you cruise. During my Iberian adventure with P&O Cruises I also did a sponsored Instagram takeover for them and was eager to share my experiences (see below)…
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Hi all its @explorewithed, continuing my adventures onboard Ventura. We visited Fátima from Lisbon, a fascinating place where 3 children had an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917. They were asked for a chapel to be built here — and so, here it is! What a beautiful sight to behold beneath those deep blue skies #ThisIsTheLofe #pandocruises #medcruise #cruiselife #lisbon #Ventura
Have you heard about the story of Fátima before, or have you thought about visiting?
Further reading from this trip: 6 stunning photo spots in Malaga, Spain
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