Fatima, Portugal – One of the Most Visited Holy Sites in Europe

If only Jacinta, one of the three humble shepherds that first saw the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima on the 13th of May, 1917, could know that what was then a deserted field where goats roamed free would become one of the leading pilgrimage sites in Europe, she would have been marveled.

Fatima today is a small town that was elevated to a city in 1997, located just north of Lisbon in the center of Portugal, totally built around the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima and one of the most visited sites of Religious Tourism in the world. With a population of under 12 thousand people, the town is visited by over 6 million tourists each year.

Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

The highest representatives of the Catholic Church have visited Fatima and every decade a papal visit has taken place – the next one being of the popular Pope Francis, in celebration of the 100 years of the apparitions.

It is undeniable that the spirituality of the place leaves anyone (religious, agnostic, atheistic or simply curious) with an inner peace. The immense pine tree forests that surround the city and its long hiking trails blessed with divine breezes, the chant of a variety of birds breaking the silence of the fields and the occasional herd of goats still chumming away on the ever-present verdant green vegetation will guarantee to regenerate your senses.

In the city, you can find many museums, most of them religious. But in the outskirts, there are beautiful grottos and even the remains of a long-distant past where dinosaurs used to roam on the same pastures.

Mosaic of the Passion of the Christ – Fatima, Portugal

The people are hospitable and totally accustomed to visitors from around the world and, of course, great local gastronomy and wines are present everywhere. Out of the many alternatives we recommend that after your apotheotic visit to the heights of Fatima you descend to the earthly pleasures of the meat and enjoy a sinful meal at the infamous “Tromba Rija”, a restaurant in Leiria (29 km away) that has entered the into history of the region by offering the most sumptuous banquet you could ever aspire to eat. There is no specific translation for its name as it has become an idiomatic expression that can be interpreted by anything ranging from “Pig’s head” to “food overload”…

It is appropriate to say that in this region, the fulfillment of the mind can be well paired with the filling of the stomach. We wish you happy trails.

Miguel Carvalho

Miguel Neves de Carvalho is Portuguese, from the southern region of Portugal, Alentejo. But, he considers himself a citizen of the world, having lived in Portugal, Mozambique, USA, Hong Kong, Macau, Dubai, and now, Mexico. For Miguel, the world seems a relatively easy place to get around as he speaks fluent Portuguese, English, Spanish and French and has a good understanding of Italian. His passion is to travel in order to eat and drink! Offer him the most unusual local dishes anywhere in the world and he is curious to try it and he will want to know what drink is typically served with it. Other passions include polo, horse riding, rugby, cigars and most recently ... golf.