Your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Lisbon/Sintra/Cascais and take you on your journey to learn about Portuguese faith and history. We stop at Fátima, the world-famous pilgrimage site. Here you will learn all about the appearance of “Our Holy Lady of Fátima”, who appeared to three Sheppard Children in 1917. It is home of the basilica where all three are buried today.

Upon arrival we'll take around the Holy City, explaining each and every monument as well as the ins and outs of the pilgrimage site. This includes a tour around the main basilica.

At 11am you get to participate in the morning mass that happens every day in the main basilica. Afterwards you may  choose to return to Lisbon or have lunch in Fátima before going home. Should you choose the afternoon option, after dinner, you get to see/participate in the Fátima Candle Procession. It happens only between March and October, from 9pm-11pm.


SUMMARY: Fatima is a town and Parish located 142 km (88 miles) North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Fatima’s fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. Between May and October of 1917, the three children witnessed several apparitions. The last one, on October 13th, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 60,000 people known in the catholic world as “the day the sun danced”.

Fatima now attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, particularly on the pilgrimage days in May and October. The large torch-light processions in the evening are particularly impressive, often lead by Cardinals and Bishops. The pilgrims gather in Cova de Iria an enormous plaza where a little chapel was built and where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to the children. Around the plaza are a considerable number of shops and stalls selling various religious articles. On the far side of the plaza rises the great basilica, built in the in neo-classical style, with a central tower 65 meters high, the construction of which was begun on 13 of May 1928. It is flanked by colonnades linking it with the extensive convent and hospital buildings. In the basilica are the tombs of two of the three visionaries, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died in 1919 and 1920 respectively, and were beatified in 1970. The third seer, Lucia dos Santos, died in 2005.

FULL STORY – 3 Sheppard Children

1916 and 1917, Fatima, a small town in central Portugal, was the site of a set of apparitions of the Virgin Mary that have become among the most heralded in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The apparitions appeared to three shepherd children—Lucia Dos Santos (age nine), Francisco Marto (age eight), and Jacinta Marto (age six). None of the three had had schooling enough to have learned to read and write. Their adventure began one spring day when out on a hillside with the sheep, they each shared a vision of a young man who described himself as the Angel of Peace. He visited them on two subsequent occasions and the last time shared with them the Eucharist, which Roman Catholics believe to be the body and blood of Jesus.

After the angel 's visits, nothing more occurred for almost a year. Then on May 13, 1917, a brilliant flash of light caught their attention and a beautiful young Lady, described as dressed in white and shining with light, appeared before them. The Lady said that she had come from heaven and wanted the children to come to their present location on the 13th of every month for the next five months. In October she would reveal her name and purpose. She also posed a question to the children, "Do you wish to offer yourselves to God in order to accept all the sufferings he wishes to send you, in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners?" They answered in the affirmative.

Once the story got out as to what the children claimed to see, they were questioned and ridiculed; even the local priest was hostile to the children. Only the father of Francisco and Jacinta believed. The children kept their appointment on June 13, along with some 60 spectators. When the apparition occurred, only the children saw the Lady. There was a brief message to pray the Rosary and return in July, and that Lucia would be used to spread devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart. As the Lady departed, the people witnessed the bending of a branch of the tree near the place where she supposedly stood, as if under a weight, and then the movement of the uppermost branches as if her clothes were sweeping over them.

On July 13, the crowd numbered 5,000. The Lady made two important statements. First, she noted that on October 13, the last of the planned appearances, she would work a miracle. As occurred at La Salette, she also imparted a secret message to the three children. When word of what had occurred circulated, representatives of the Freethought community began a campaign to discredit the children. In fact, the magistrate at Fatima, himself a Freethinker, imprisoned the children so they could not go to the place of the apparition on August 13. However, 18,000 people did go. They reported that at noon they saw a cloud form suddenly around the tree that remained briefly and then dissolved away. They interpreted what they saw as the Virgin having come as she promised. The children were released two days later and Mary appeared privately to them on August 19.

On September 13 some 30,000 people, including for the first time a group of priests, witnessed the apparition. Around noon, according to reports, the sky darkened, a globe of light appeared in the east and descended to the tree, and small white flakes, some described them as petals, began to fall, but dissolved before hitting the ground. After speaking to the children briefly, the Lady again said that she would perform a miracle on October 13 and departed. The people saw the globe of light depart to the east.

In spite of rain, a crowd numbered between 70,000 and 100,000 crowded the place of the apparitions on October 13. Included was the editor of Lisbon's leading Freethought newspaper. The skies were cloudy, but Mary appeared as promised to the children. She called for a chapel to be built on the spot in her honor. As she finished her message, the children saw a ray of light go from her in the direction of the sun. Lucia cried out to the people, "Look at the sun!" As they turned their heads, the clouds parted and a large brilliant silver disk appeared and began to twirl around, shooting out lights in different colors. The phenomenon of the dancing sun lasted for almost a half hour and was seen by people up to 30 miles away. Meanwhile, the children saw St. Joseph appear and Jesus arrive to bless the people.


The twirling disk came to a stop and then seemed to plunge toward Earth, bringing with it a great deal of heat. As it neared the crowd, it suddenly stopped and shot upward. The people who had been soaked by the rain earlier found that their clothes were suddenly dry. The next day newspapers all over the country carried reports of the event.

The apparitions at Fatima joined those at Lourdes as the most spectacular occurrences relative to the reported modern appearances of the Virgin Mary. The Catholics who witnessed it were transformed into devout practitioners of their faith and firm believers that the Virgin Mary had indeed appeared. Fatima has since become one of the most important shrines in Roman Catholicism. Pope Paul VI put his stamp of authority on it by mentioning it during Vatican II and with a papal visit and meeting with Lucia on the 50th anniversary of the apparitions in 1957. In 1982, Pope John Paul II also visited Fatima, and two years later in Rome again consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Pope John Paul's faith in the Fatima revelations appears to be partially tied to the assassination attempt that occurred on May 13, 1981 (the anniversary of the first apparition). Just as the gunman pulled the trigger, he bent over to bless someone carrying a picture of the Virgin. Had he not bent over, the bullets would have hit him squarely in the head.

Two of the children, Francisco and Jacinta, died shortly after the apparitions, in 1919 and 1920 respectively, the Lady having predicted that she would return not long after the apparitions and take them to heaven. In 1921 Lucia was sent to a school in Porto, Portugal, run by the Sisters of St. Dorothe, and she entered holy orders four years later. She devoted the next decade to promoting the devotion to the Immaculate Heart and then in 1934 retired to a Carmelite monastery, for the rest of her life. Once there, between 1935 and 1941, at the suggestion of ecclesiastical superiors, she wrote four manuscripts detailing what she could remember of her life.

The secrets of Fatima revealed to the children on July 13, 1917, became a topic of interest throughout the Roman Catholic world. All three parts of the secret were revealed as of 2000. The first was a vision of hell and the consequences if people did not cease their offensive acts. The second concerned the promotion of devotion to the Immaculate Heart. The third part of the secret was written down and placed in the hands of the Bishop of Leiria, Portugal. Rather than assume the responsibility of knowing the "secrets of heaven," the bishop decided to send it to the Vatican. In 2000, Pope John Paul II revealed the content of the third secret. The third secret dealt with an assassination attempt on "bishop in white" by an atheist system against the Catholic Church and Christians in the twentieth century. This was considered to be the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II in 1981.

The miraculous occurrences at Fatima on October 13, 1917, have also been evaluated in light of the post-World War II UFO phenomenon, and many ufologists view it as a classic appearance of a UFO. They note that the "sun" that danced in the sky at Fatima bears a remarkable likeness to UFOs. The white substance that fell resembles what has come to be known as angel's hair, a phenomenon accompanying a number of UFO reports. Roman Catholic authors, more interested in the religious and miraculous aspects of Fatima, have as a whole refrained from even commenting on such speculations.

The church, after careful study, has given its approval of the devotion to Mary as related to the Fatima events, and devotion to Fatima has spread worldwide. A large church has been built close to the site of the apparitions to accommodate the many pilgrims. While a matter of devotion to Catholics, it remains an enigmatic occurrence to non-Catholics.



The Sanctuary

fatima map


  1. Chapel of Apparitions

The very heart of the Sanctuary. It was the first edifice constructed in the Cova da Iria, at the place of Our Lady’s Apparitions. 
The exact spot is marked by a marble pillar on which the Statue of Our Lady is placed. Here converge the four million pilgrims who visit the Sanctuary each year.

  1. The Recint

On the colonnade in front of the Basilica, statues of four Portuguese Saints can be seen: St. John of God, St. John of Brito, St. Anthony and Bl. Nuno of Santa Maria. From one side to the other, from left to right, are the following saints: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis de Sales, Bl. Marcelino de Champagnat, St. John Baptist de la Salle, St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri, St. Jonh Bosco with St. Dominic Savio, St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Simon Stock, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Paul of the Cross and St. Beatrice da Silva. The white marble statue in the niche above the entrance to the Basilica, sculptored by Fr. Thomas McGlynn, OR, shows Our Lady in one of her apparitions when she urged devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

  1. Basilica

Begun in 1928 and consecrated on 7 October 1953, its 15 altars are dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. The painting above the high altar depicts the Message of Our Lady to the little shepherds, prepared by the Angel of Portugal, through their encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. The Bishop of the diocese is shown kneeling on the left side, and the figures of Pope Pius XII (who consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, and whose Legate crowned the Statue of Our Lady in 1946), of Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. Scenes of the apparitions are represented in stained glass, as well as invocations from the Litany of Our Lady. In the four corners of the Basilica interior are placed the statues of the great apostles of the Rosary and of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: St. Anthony Claret, St. Dominic of Gusman, St. John Eudes and St. Stephen, King of Hungary. The tombs of Francisco and Jacinta are in the Basilica, and, in the chancel, are the mortal remains of D. José Alves Correia da Silva, first Bishop of Leiria after its restoration in 1920. The monumental organ, mounted in 1952, has about 12 thousand pipes.

  1. Perpetual Adoration Chapel

Placed at the end of the colonnade, on the eastern side, this chapel for perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed, is a place of silent prayer and adoration

  1. The Big Holmoak

Under which the little shepherds and the early pilgrims awaited Our Lady’s coming, and prayed the Rosary.

  1. Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Which stands in the center of the square, over a spring found there, its waters being the instrument of many graces.

  1. House of Our Lady Dolours

Situated behind the Chapel of Apparitions, it is destined to receive the Sick during the great pilgrimages, and also for retreats and accommodation for pilgrims in general.

  1. Rectory

A building on the right side of the esplanade, in the House of Our Lady of Carmel.

  1. House of Our Lady of Carmel

Which is above and behind the Rectory, with accommodation for 250

  1. Berlin Wall

At the entrance of the Sanctuary, on the south side of the Rectory, one may visit a monument of the Berlin Wall’s, consisting of a concrete segment that was part of it. (The Walls construction started during the night between the 12th. and 13th. of August, 1961 and its demolition began the 9th. of November, 1989) This segment was offered by means of Virgilio Casimiro Ferreira, a Portuguese emigrant to Germany and is here placed as a grateful memorial of God’s intervention for the fall of Communism as promised at Fatima. The segment weighs 2,600 kilos (5,732 lbs.) and measures 3.60 meters (11 ft. 9 in.) high by 1.20 meters (3 ft. in.) wide. The present monument was designed by the architect J. Carlos Loureiro and was inaugurated on the 13th. of August, 1994.

  1. Via Sacre

The Holy Way is composed of 14 little chapels in memory of the Passion of Our Lord. and a 15th corresponding to the Resurrection Beneath the Calvary there is a Chapel dedicated to St Stephen of Hungary. The first 14 Stations were offered by Catholic Hungarian refugees in western countries, and were inaugurated on 12 May 1964: the 15th on 13 October 1992, in the presence of the Ambassador of Hungary, the country now liberated from Communism The Holly Way begins at the south Rotunda of Saint Teresa, and follows the path which the little shepherds took when going from Aljustrel to the Cova da Iria.

  1. High Cross

At the extreme south of the esplanade, it commemorates the closing of the Holy Year in 1951.

  1. Monument to Pope Paul VI

Marking his pilgrimage to Fatima, on 13 May 1967.

  1. Monument to Pope Pius XII

Erected as gift from German Catholics (1961).

  1. Paul VI Pastoral Center

Inaugurated on 13 May 1982, by Pope John Paul 11, as a center for study and reflection on the Message of Fatima, and of the problems of the modern world, in the light of the Gospel. The two auditoriums have seating for 2.124 and 700, and accommodation for 400 pilgrims.

  1. Valinhos

(400 meters from Aljustrel): the site of Our Lady´s 4th apparition, on 19 August 1917, marked by a monument.

  1. Loco do Anjo

Where the children received the first and third visit of the “Angel of Peace” (Spring end autumn of 1916).

  1. The Homes of the Little Shepherds

At the bottom of the garden of Lucia’s home is the well, where the “Angel of Peace”, the “Angel of Portugal”, appeared for the second time.

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