Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal: What to see in one day. And why should you stay longer.

Make the best of one day stay in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal – What you absolutely have to see and attend!

In July and August 2016 we have been volunteering in Fatima Portugal. Yes, we were in the info center from 9.00 am until 6.00 pm helping pilgrims find their way around.

A typical question that we got: »Hi, this is my first-time visit, what do you suggest to me? «

So here it goes your 7 places to see and when you are in Fatima Portugal. We will not go here into the history of Fatima apparitions; you have it all here if you are interested in our Fatima Pilgrimage site. However, just to recap.

On 13. May 1917, three children were pasturing their little flock in the Cova the Iria, parish of Fatima, They were called, Lucia de Jesus, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

About Midday, after praying the Rosary, they saw a brilliant light, and thinking it to be lightning, they decided to go home. But as they went down the slope another flash lit up the place and they saw on the top of the Holm oak 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 much and she invited them to return to the Cova de Iria for five consecutive months on the 13th day of that hour.

1 – Capelinha – The chapel of the Apparitions

The very heart of the Apparitions. It was the first edifice constructed in the Cova de Iria at the place of Our Lady of Fatima Apparitions, The exact spot is marked by a marble pillar on which the Our Lady of Fatima statue is placed. Here is an article about Our Lady’s statue. Here come over 5 million pilgrims who visit the Sanctuary every year.

What you absolutely have to see and do at Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal,

2 – The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima – Basilica de Nossa Senhora do Rosario de Fatima

Consecrated in 7. October 1953 with its 15 altars which are dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the rosary.

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There are scenes of apparitions represented in stained glass. Here are the tombs of Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. Go to the mass here if you have not gone to Capelinha.

What you absolutely have to see and do at Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal,

3 – Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity – Basilica da Santissima Trindade

Which was dedicated in 2007 and has a circular form with a diameter of 125 m and a volume of almost 130.000 m2. The basilica has 8633 seats, the main door dedicated to Christ from 4 parts 8 m high and weighing 3 tons each. Into the basilica, lead 12 side doors dedicated to 12 apostles. Go to the mass here if you haven’t gone to Capelinha or Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima.

What you absolutely have to see and do at Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal,

4 – The Museum of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

Build to gather a collection of historical, artistic items that could protect the memory of international pilgrimages of the Pilgrim Virgin statue and the relics related to the history of the apparitions. They have also the crown with the bullet from the assassination of John Paul II. The entrance fee is just 1 or 2 €, and you get a tour by one of the nuns there. There is also one video presentation and different chambers of donated objects. Must see, go.

 5 – Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration at the Shrine of Fatima since January 1, 1960.

Now it is in the new Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, located below in the complex of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. The entrance is on the right if you are going towards the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, you continue under until you get to the Chapel. Beautiful place, stunning, peaceful, and quiet.

6 – Chapels of the Reconciliation

Go to the confession – there is The Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They have 16 and 12 confessionals. Inside there is a nun who will guide you to the free confession booths.

On the wall, there is a digital panel, like in the airport. In addition, you can see which languages it is possible to confess. The majority is in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English. But depends if there are some other groups attending you see also different languages French, German…

And finally Nr. 7 – Rosary and the Candlelight Procession

There is at 21.30 local time –  the Rosary in the Chapel of Apparitions, from Easter to Advent and Saturdays from Advent to Lent time. See here online transmission of the chapel and attend the rosary online

What you absolutely have to see and do at Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal,

Followed by a candlelight procession. It absolutely beautiful, when the rosary begins, the first priest lights a candle and lights the candles of other priests. They proceed it to all the pilgrims in the chapel.

We have also checked hotels near the sanctuary to give insights on what to look for We have taken into consideration the distance, price and guest reviews.

And in 2,3 minutes you see usually more than 2 to 3000 thousand candles burning. You can apply to recite the rosary, well, one decade and you can go in front of the altar to participate.

We did it  – yeeeey – it was amazing. You can apply in the rectory; which is on the left of the museum that I previously mentioned. You go there say you want to apply for the recitation, and you will get a form, fill it up, just regular data, nothing special. You have to be at least 15 minutes prior to the Rosary behind the Capelinha. They will give you the final order of the recital and also give you the candle with the cup holder. The feeling of standing in front of 3000 crowds, you saying in your own language the first part of Hail Mary, and then the crowd the second part. I get the chills right now when I’m writing this! 🙂

After the rosary, they usually bring the statue of Our Lady and all the pilgrims go one small circle around the prayer area in silence or singing Ave, Ave Maria.

Click play to hear the bells from the Basilica of Our Lady of of Fatima

What you absolutely have to see and do at Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal,

In conclusion, if you come to Fatima Portugal, take at least one day to experience the greatness, beauty, and prayer of this sacred place. For the pilgrims that come for just like an hour, we’ve just said, got to the Capelinha. Rest and pray in front of the Our lady of Fatima statue. So if you decide to come, then come for at least a day or better 2, 3 days.  It’s a lot more to see and experience. Like the:

  • Village Aljustrel – where the seers were born. 2 km outside of Cova de iria.
  • Valinhos – where Our Lady of Fatima appeared for the 4th time on 19th of August 1917.
  • Loca de Anjo – place where the Angel of Portugal appeared in 1916.
  • The Archives – with 1000s of photographs from history. You can also see the site of Fatima Sanctuary they have I wide collection there.
  • The big manufacture in Fatima of sacred objects.
  • Stations of the Cross. From Cova de Iria to the Aljustrel.
  • Parish church, where the seers were baptized.
  • The two Wax museums, one of the life of Jesus Christ is just awesome.
  • Night Eucharist Adoration.
  • Big Mass outside in the Prayer area.
  • Hidden chapels in the House of Our Lady of Dolours. Well not so hidden, but people just don’t know about them, and they are just stunning.
  • And you get to know the people working there in the info office, the guards, the nuns. All beautiful people, willing to help you. We had a few laughs on the topic, of most funny questions the pilgrims asked regarding Our Lady of Fatima. Maybe that’s the topic for another post. 🙂

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If you are interested in other Catholic shrines, we have written about them. Also, see more shrines in Portugal. We keep adding new ones. 🙂

Just a remark at the Fatima Sanctuary they don’t have any water for pilgrims as do they have in Lourdes. You can read it here on How to get Lourdes water the quickest and the cheapest way!

We can’t recommend enough going to a Catholic pilgrimage or site of Marian pilgrimages. It’s a life changer, we were there for 15 days. No team bulling, personal development course, or similar can even compare to the massive power of prayer concentrated in a such holy place. If you are still a little bit scared, join a group, call an experienced organizer. We especially like ones who go with a priest, like 206 Tours, so you have also spiritual guidance also.

Have friends interested in going to Fatima, let them know about this article.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!