Karolina & Patryk – On behalf of A Week at the Beach
Fatima is a charming, small town situated in Portugal, approximately 140 km North from Lisbon. It’s famous for its Sanctuary, which is visited annually by millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. If you are looking for a quiet and idyllic place where you can meditate or find inner peace, add Fatima to your travel bucket list. You won’t regret it.
The town, in addition to being picturesque and religious, offers a lot to its visitors, from authentic Portuguese cuisine, spectacular churches and museums to lovely parks and hospitable locals. Here are some tips on how to explore Fatima with a smile on your face:
Getting into Fatima, Portugal
You can easily get into town by bus, train or car. It all depends on your preferences and budget.
The cheapest and quickest way to reach the town is to travel by bus from Lisbon. Head to the central bus station in Sete-Rios, then purchase a ticket at the station for around €10. Buses leave for Fatima almost every hour from 8am to 8pm and the journey lasts about 90 minutes. There is Wi-Fi available on the board so you can surf the internet during the ride. It is awesome because as digital nomads, internet is as necessary as air.
If you want to drive a car, it takes less than one and half hours to get there. The highway is safe and good quality.
If you wish, you can travel to Fatima by train. The closest train station is Caxarias, approximately 10 km away. Twelve trains run daily from Lisbon to Caxarias and the journey takes two and a half hours. Tickets costs €5.70 one way.
Because Fatima is a very small town, you can easily explore it on foot or rent a bike and go cycling (rental fees start around €5 a day). There should be free maps of Fatima available at your hotel reception, so don’t forget to grab one before you start exploring. At night, Fatima offers truly beautiful scenery for romantic walks, so you can take your partner on a date if you’re travelling as a couple.
Top travel attractions on the cheap
See the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.
It’s a holy place built in 1928 at the site of the Marian apparitions reported by three Portuguese children in 1917 (Francisco Marto, Jacinta Marto and Sister Lucia dos Santos). Entrance is free of charge and it’s open 24 hours.
Attend mass at Fatima Sanctuary.
If you are religious, or if you just feel like praying or meditating, you should definitely attend one of the masses at Fatima Sanctuary. Although the mass is in Portuguese, the ceremony is quick and probably similar to what you may experience in your home country.
Explore the story behind Fatima.
Many tourists go to the Fatima Sanctuary (which is free to visit) to explore the story of three children who witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary on May 13, 1917. If you’re interested, grab a free leaflet from the sanctuary and read the story while having a nice Portuguese lunch.
Visit Casa de Lucia (The house of Lucia).
A small house where Lucia grew up has been saved and minimally renovated over the years. You can walk through the house taking in a few pictures and descriptors on display for you to read. It’s not huge, but it’s meant to show you how simply she lived. The whole town is still inhabited around the house, undisturbed and residential. You are allowed to touch some things, but some rooms deny entry so that you can only walk by.
Eating and drinking
Fatima is filled with small, local restaurants, coffee and pastry shops, so finding a nice, affordable place to dine out won’t be a problem here. If you want a cup of tea and a Portuguese dessert, Apollo Caffe is perfect for you. They serve Portuguese cakes and pastries and there is a great variety of hot and cold drinks as well as quick snacks and filling dinners.
Milano Pastelaria and Confeitaria serves the best gelato and egg tarts, while Pingo Doce (located at the Fatima bus station) is a great place for your daily grocery shopping.
Ribeiro Hotel is highly recommended in Fatima. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the Sanctuary of Fatima, offers free Wi-Fi, free pick up, a typical Portuguese breakfast buffet, tours and local activities. It’s a budget hotel that provides a quality worth every cent.
Have you ever been to Fatima? If not, do you fancy going there this summer?