Everyone has a bucket list, so do I. What you might not know though is that I have another list of sacred sites and religious spots I want to visit before I die. One of them is world’s famous Sanctuary of Fatima.
Whether you are a religious person or not, Fatima is absolutely worth being added to your Portugal itinerary. It’s a small town located in the North of Lisbon with a small population of people famous for its religious tourism and pilgrimages. This charming and picturesque town is visited by hundreds of tourists during in May, but smaller pilgrimages are held on the 12th and 13th of every month.
There are many things you can do in Fatima, apart from visiting its Sanctuary. The town can be easily explored on foot so you can walk across the Hungarian Stations of the Cross which consists of 14 chapels built along a 3 kilometer stone walkway leading uphill to a marble monument of Christ on the cross. You can also visit the Homes of the Children and see what a typical Portugal life in a small town looks like. Fatima is an excellent place to get some spiritual inspiration, relax and charge your battery before visiting other busy and hectic places in Portugal.
Sanctuary of Fatima
Long story short, on the 13th of May in 1917, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in a flash of light to three shepherd children near Fatima and she returned to the same spot on the 13th of each month. She revealed the three “Secrets of Fatima” to one of the children, relating to peace and world events. Locals and tourists visit the Sanctuary on 13th of each month to pray.
The Sanctuary is built in neo-classical style with a tall central tower and it’s construction began on May 13th, 1928. It’s free to visit and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Flying to Portugal to visit the Sanctuary of Fatima was a surprise gift from me to my mom who has been extremely supportive and understanding during my last year of travels across Asia. I knew that words could not describe how grateful I was for everything she did for me, so I planned our journey to Lisbon and Fatima. Her face expression was priceless when she saw the flight tickets. As I explored Fatima with my mom, I also learn how to travel with my mom.
Exploring the Santuário de Fátima was a huge thing for me – emotionally and spiritually. I finally visited the place I was told many stories about when I was a little girl. It’s an extremely powerful place which makes you appreciate small things and feel grateful for everything you have received in your life – the good things and the bad things. During my stay in Fatima I completely disconnected myself from virtual world. I charged my batteries for upcoming trips and prepared myself mentally for a hard-working year at the university. If you feel like having a break and going somewhere to seek some inspiration and spiritual power, add Fatima to your list.