The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima in Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal
, is one of the largest pilgrimage sites (Marian shrine) in the world.
Fátima is a worldwide famous city in the district of Santarém, in the Beira Litoral province, Central region of Portugal.
Fátima is a place of Christian pilgrimage for millions of Catholics in commemoration of the 1917 apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in Cova da Iria. On the 13th of every month (and more so on 13 May and 13 October), thousands of people go to Fátima to pray and to pay their devoted promises.
There are buses to and from Lisbon every hour between approximately 7am-7:30pm from Lisbon's central bus station in Sete Rios (see Rede Expressos online at www.rede-expressos.pt). A round trip costs 25 Euros and takes 90 minutes each way. From Fatima bus station, it is a short walk (less than half mile) along the streets with shops and hotels to the Sanctuary (Marian Shrine).
Do not go to Fatima train station; the name misleads you because it is not in Fatima. Inside the city there is an electric mini train.
It is a short walk (less than half mile) from Fatima's bus station to the Basilicas and the Chapel of the Apparitions. It is also possible go walking to the Way of the Cross in Valinhos and to the Aljustrel village, the birthplace of the little seers of Our Lady.
- Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary (Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário), Apartado 31, Cova da Iria, 2496-908 Fátima, . Contains the tombs of two of the little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta Marto (who died in 1919-1920), and the tomb of Sister Lucia (who died in 2005). The precious crown (made of gold and diamonds) of the Virgin Mary's original image (located in the Chapel of the Apparitions) contains the bullet that was removed from Pope John Paul II after a failed assassination attempt. edit
- Chapel of the Apparitions (Capelinha das Aparições), Apartado 31, Cova da Iria, 2496-908 Fátima, . This is a small chapel located in Cova da Iria that was constructed in the 1920s to mark the exact location where three little shepherd children reported having received the famous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal. edit
- Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity (Basílica da Santíssima Trindade), Apartado 31, Cova da Iria, 2496-908 Fátima, . This is the newest Roman Catholic church and minor basilica in the Sanctuary of Fátima (Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima). edit
- Wax Museum of Fatima (Museu de Cera de Fátima), Rua Jacinta Marto, Cova da Iria, 2495-450 Fátima, . It depicts the whole history of Fátima in 31 scenes with 112 wax figures, set in the décor and ethnography of the apparitions’ period that took place in the year 1917. edit
- Monument of the Three Little Shepherds (Monumento aos Três Pastorinhos), Rotunda dos Pastorinhos, 2495-413 Fátima. Statues dedicated to the three little shepherds of Fatima. edit
- Way of the Cross and Calvary in Valinhos (Via-Sacra dos Valinhos), Caminho dos Pastorinhos, Valinhos, 2495-301 Fátima. The Stations of the Cross and the Hungarian Calvary are an obligatory visit for all of the pilgrims of Fátima. edit
- Monument of Our Lady and of the Angel of Peace in Valinhos (Monumento a Nossa Senhora e ao Anjo da Paz nos Valinhos), Caminho dos Pastorinhos, 2495-301 Fátima. The statue dedicated to the 19th August 1917 apparition of Our Lady which occurred exceptionally in Valinhos, near Fátima, Portugal, and also the statue of the Angel of Peace where occurred his apparitions in 1916. edit
- Houses of the Three Little Shepherds in Aljustrel (Casas dos Três Pastorinhos em Aljustrel), Rua dos Pastorinhos, Aljustrel, 2495-301 Fátima. In Aljustrel village is possible to visit the late 19th century family houses of the three seers of Our Lady of Fátima: the house of Lucia dos Santos and the house of Francisco and Jacinta Marto. edit
- Parish Church of Fatima (Igreja Paroquial de Fátima), Rua do Adro / Avenida Irmã Lúcia de Jesus, 2495-557 Fátima, . The Parish Church of Fatima is where the three shepherd children were baptized. edit
- Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ortiga (Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Ortiga), Estrada de Nossa Senhora da Ortiga, 2495 Fátima. Marian shrine that memorializes an old apparition of the Virgin Mary to a little shepherd girl. Pope Pius VII granted a special indulgence to pilgrims who visit this important Catholic temple with religious piety. edit
Visit at least the Chapel of the Apparitions, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary (both in Sanctuary of Fatima), the Way of the Cross with the Hungarian Calvary and the place of apparitions of the Angel of Peace and the Virgin Mary (both in Valinhos), and the family houses of the three little shepherds seers of Our Lady (in Aljustrel village). For Catholics visiting Fatima as a pilgrimage, there are several masses daily at the Basilicas or at the Chapel of the Apparitions.
Do a tour to the places surrounding the Sanctuary of Fatima or to the Medieval Castle of Ourém, where you can drink a special morello cherry liqueur called "Ginjinha". There are great things to do and visit in this region and near Fatima. Do not forget to taste the pastries of Fatima (Pastéis de Fátima).
Before you travel to Fatima it is recommended to visit online the Fatima Tourism Office (www.fatimatourism.com) and schedule a guided tour to the Marian Shrine and to the surrounding sites related to the Angel of Peace and Virgin Mary apparitions. Usually they schedule cheap guided tours and offer all the necessary materials: maps, prayer cards, etc.
The street between the bus station and the church are lined with shops that sell church-related items (rosaries, statues of Virgin Mary, etc). The Basilica itself has a shop as well. Some items of note are rosaries with little bit of earth of Fatima (€3.50-€5.00). With several masses each day at the Basilica and at the Chapel, there shouldn't be a problem finding a priest to bless the rosaries after you purchase them.
- Restaurant Tia Alice (Restaurante Tia Alice), Avenida Irmã Lúcia de Jesus, 152, 2495-557 Fátima, . Rustic-chic environment with great traditional Portuguese food. edit
- Restaurant A Cave (Restaurante A Cave), Avenida dos Pastorinhos, 895, Cova da Iria, 2495-408 Fátima, . Restaurant with great traditional Portuguese food. edit
- Restaurant O Alentejano (Restaurante O Alentejano), Avenida dos Pastorinhos, 795, Cova da Iria, 2495-408 Fátima, . Restaurant with Portuguese food from the Alentejo region. edit
- Anta Bar (Anta Bar), Rua dos Pastorinhos, 70, Aljustrel, 2495-301 Fátima. Terrace bar with background music. edit
- I Love Beer Collection Bar (Bar I Love Beer), Rua do Biqueiral 67, 2495-350 Fátima, . Great bar with music and several collections. edit
Fátima is a city of hotels and guesthouses, so it's not difficult to find a place to sleep. Budget accommodation with breakfast starts at €30 for a twin room. If you want to book in advance via hotel booking web sites, the time for best prices is approximately one to two weeks before your stay.
Around town, there are lodging alternatives for those who want to get away from the conventional hotels. Here are some examples:
- Fátima Lounge Guesthouse, Avenida dos Pastorinhos, 887, Cova da Iria, 2495-408 Fátima (next to the Valinhos), . This lounge residence allow guests to cook their own meals and feel as if they were in their own home. edit
- Luz Houses, Rua Principal, 78, Moimento, 2495-650 Fátima, . Accommodation in a rural setting. edit
- O Casal House, Estrada Coelho Prazeres, 49, Casal Farto, 2495 Fátima, . Residence of rural tourism with historic chapel. edit