Visit Fátima Portugal


Getting to Fatima By Bus 

Fátima is a 90minutes RedX bus trip from the Lisbon bus terminal that’s adjoining the Metro station, ‘Jardim Zoológico’, on the Blue Line. There is no direct train service to Fatima. Coaches are comfortable and fitted with a toilet and free Wi-Fi. Cost per adult is around 22€ return. Pre-purchasing bus tickets is not necessary but essential during the busy Summer months and when attending special events at Fatima.

Village of Fatima

Fatima village has a population of about 8,000 with numerous hotels and religious houses offering a total bed capacity of approximately 10,000 visitors. There are several male religious congregations with various seminaries while congregations of Sisters, number just 67. The village today is nothing like it was in 1917. Today, Fatima is equivalent to a 21st century pilgrimage centre with loads of restaurants, hotels, parking lots and countless religious souvenir shops.  


Fatima Sanctuary

Sanctuary of Fatima is a huge complex bookended by two massive churches with an extensive open outdoor area in the centre. The Shrine of Fatima is a place of pilgrimage, which celebrates the memory of its founding event, the apparitions of Our Lady to the three young shepherds – Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto. Each year, the site attracts 4 million pilgrims, believers and curious gawkers from all over the world. Fatima is inundated on the 12th and 13th of each month between May and October.

A gently sloping esplanade faces the impressive Basilica and a natural spring fed fountain of holy water stands in the centre. There is a long, designated, smooth sloping path approximately 500 metres long for pilgrims and believers to approach the Chapel of the Apparitions on their knees.

Chapel of the Apparitions and stone column on which the statue of Our Lady stands to mark the place where the scarlet oak tree once stood and where Our Lady appeared 6 times. This sacred place is where the vision of hell was experienced. On the same side, visitors can purchase an assortment of candles for lighting and take home as a souvenir.

The little Chapel of the Apparitions and Basilica were built to comply with Our Lady’s request to Lúcia – ‘I want a chapel built here in my honour’. The Basilica of the Rosary has 15 altars corresponding to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary because when Our Lady appeared here she declared she was the ‘Lady of the Rosary’. At the top of the 200-foot spire sits a golden crown and crystal cross. The neoclassical basilica was completed in 1953 and its facade features the statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sculpted according to Lucia’s description of the vision of 13th June, 1917.


Under the arches of the colonnade are the Stations of the Cross in mosaic. On top of the colonnade stands in the first section, four large statues of the Portuguese Saints – St John de Brito, St John of God, St Antony and St Nuno. An open air altar sits at the top of the stairs as well as the Bishop’s chair and pulpit. On the 13th of each month, an outdoor mass is held from this altar.

Inside the basilica, across the ceiling above the main altar is the message from Our Lady to the little shepherds. In huge letters is Mary’s request in Latin, ‘Queen of the Holy Rosary of Fatima, pray for us”. Scenes of the apparitions are represented in stained glass, as well in large paintings dedicated to the Stations of the Cross. The Tombs of the Little Shepherds (Lúcia and the now Saints, Francisco and Jacinta) are honoured and remembered inside the basilica.

Berlin War Monument

At the entrance of the Sanctuary, on the south side of the rectory is a concrete section of the Berlin Wall which was inaugurated on the 13th August 1994. The monument was placed here as a grateful memorial of God’s intervention for the fall of communism as promised at Fatima.


Holy Trinity Church

Church of the Holy Trinity is the most recent architectural accomplishment in the Sanctuary of Fatima. The construction took three years to complete and was inaugurated on the 12th October 2007, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Apparitions of Fatima.

The main structure is partially underground representing a bold modern design. The entrance is situated between the suspended ‘White Rosary Beads’, and the Square of John Paul 11. The church is constructed in a circular shape, void of any supporting columns. There are 13 doors which symbolically represent Christ and the 12 apostles.

The main altar houses a stone taken from Saint Peter’s tomb in Rome. The stone was gifted to the Church of the Holy Trinity by Pope John Paul 11 at the inauguration. The church has a seating capacity of 9,000 people, and is illuminated with natural light which enters through panels built into the esplanade.

Fatima Apparitions

Pilgrims and tourists are drawn to Fatima where ‘Our Lady’, appeared to three young children who were tending to their sheep in 1917. Today, Fatima has become a major pilgrimage site for Catholics.

On the 13th May, 1917, Lúcia and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were tending to their sheep when the sky lit up. At first they thought it was lightning and decided to go home. As they were going down a slope, the place lit up and they saw on top of a scarlet oak tree, (“a lady more brilliant than the sun’), from whose hands hung a white rosary.

The lady told the three shepherds that it was necessary to pray a lot and invited them to return to Cova da Iria on the 13th day for the next 5 months. At each apparition, Our Lady requested that the Rosary be prayed every day to obtain peace in the world.

Children of Fatima

The children did so on the 13th June, July, September and October. The children missed their meeting with the lady as they were temporarily incarcerated on the 13th August by the local authorities who tried to debunk their visions, but the children remained convinced of what they’d seen. The lady appeared to them again on the 19th August at Valinhos.

After her apparitions in August and September, Our Lady returned to produce the promised public miracle, along with a warning: “People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more for he is already too much offended.” She told the children to continue to pray the Rosary every day. On the 13th September, 70,000 people gathered in the Cova in driving rain and witnessed the Miracle of the Sun.

The rain suddenly stopped, the clouds disappeared then the sun twirled in the sky, throwing off vivid colours and plunged toward the terrified crowd. Within an instant, soaked clothing was dry and the ankle deep mud covering the ground disappeared. Many of the sick were cured of diseases on the spot, many more converted to the Catholic Faith. Even the atheists who were opposed to the power of the clergy were converted and admitted that the miracle occurred. News reporters present at the miracle helped to spread the news all over the world. Nothing like this miracle, announced in advance, has ever occurred in the history of the world.

Meeting with Our Lady

At the first apparition, 13th May 1917, Our Lady told Francisco and Jacinta that they would have a life of suffering and that she was taking them to heaven soon. Saint Francisco died on the 4th April 1919 aged 10 years and 9 months and Saint Jacinta on 20 February 1920, 20 days before her 10th birthday. The siblings were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic that swept through Europe that year. Their mortal remains were transferred on the 1st May 1951, to the chapel in the transept of the Basilica at Fatima.

Francisco and his sister Jacinta Marto were canonised by Pope Francis at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 May 2017, the first centennial of the first Apparition of Or Lady of Fatima. Their cousin, Lucia de Jesus dos Santos was born 28th March 1907 and died 13th February 2005, aged 97. She too is buried in the basilica with her cousins.

On the 13th June 1917, Lucia was told by Our lady ‘You will stay here for some time longer. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the devotion to my immaculate Heart in the world.’ Lucia left Aljustrel in 1921 on route to Porto, where she adopted the name Mary of Sorrow. In 1925, she moved to Pontevedra in Spain to join the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy. She travelled to Tui Spain in 1926, where she completed her preparation for admission to the religious order undertaking the name, Maria Lucia das Dores (Mary Lucy of Sorrows). Lucia took her temporary vows in 1928 and perpetual vows in 1934.

After a vision from the Holy Trinity in 1929, she commenced writing her memories as it had been suggested to her by the Holy Trinity which she did repeatedly over 8 decades. In 1946, Lucia returned to Portugal having joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy in Portugal. Two years later, (1948), she joined the Carmelo de Coimbra (Carmelites), where she died in 2005.

During her long life, Sister Lucia became on icon of Fatima and continued to spread the word as Our Lady had entrusted in her in 1917. Her memories and writings have carried the true message of Fatima to great distances and contributed to attracting increasing multitudes of pilgrims to the Sanctuary in Cova da Iria in honour of the Mother of God.

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