Begin with a drive through the scenic countryside of central Portugal to the region of Leiria approximately 68 miles north of the city of Lisbon. En route, to the rugged hillside village of Fatima, your guide will describe the legendary story behind the region's fame. Now known as the "Lourdes of Portugal" it is one of the most visited Marian Shrines in the world today, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Unlike many of Europe's great Marian pilgrimage sites, the sanctuary of Fatima dates not from the Middle ages, but only from early in the 20th century.
The atmosphere of intense spirituality and the importance of Fatima have been attested to by the visits of two Popes: Paul VI and John Paul II. The fame of this place is the result of the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to three shepherd children, Lúcia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, whom between May and October of 1917 witnessed successive apparitions. The last one, on October 13, 1917, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 70,000 people "on the day the sun danced". A short guided walk will take you from the parking area to the actual site where you will receive an orientation and be introduced to this sanctuary which welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.
From here, enjoy free time to explore the Sanctuary and Basilica at your leisure. The gigantic Basilica located on the far side of the esplanade is decorated in neo-classical style, with a central tower 213 ft. high, the construction of which was begun on May 13, 1928. The Chapel of Apparitions is at the very heart of the Basilica and the exact location of the apparitions is marked by a marble pillar which holds a statue of the Virgin Mary. The entrance to the Fátima Sanctuary, to the south of the rectory, is a segment of the Berlin Wall intended to emphasize the belief that the Rosary prayers influenced the fall of the Berlin Wall related to the Consecration of Russia based on the Our Lady of Fátima messages.
After your visit, rejoin your guide and coach for the journey back to Lisbon.
Please note: The drive between Lisbon to Fatima is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes in each direction. This tour includes approximately 30-minutes of walking, at times over uneven or cobblestone surfaces, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. The tour is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. When visiting inside the Basilica (optional), knees and shoulders must be covered. Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted.