With all there is to see in Fatima, Portugal, there are 5 awe-inspiring places you shouldn’t miss if you want to encounter the message and love of Our Lady of Fatima. With Glimmer Tours: Catholic Pilgrimages, you’ll have the opportunity to visit each of these magnificent locations.
Table of Contents
- The Little Chapel of Apparitions
- Our Lady of the Rosary Basilica
- Holy Trinity Basilica
- The Sacred Way (Via Sacra)
The Significance of Fatima
The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, are considered the most significant apparitions of the 20th century, if not all of history.
The message of Fatima has inspired a greater devotion to the rosary and a heightened awareness of the need for conversion.
Top 5 Places to Visit in Fatima, Portugal
The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is an expansive complex built at the Cova de Iria - the site of the apparitions. The sites to see are located at or near the open square called the Enclosure of Prayer.
The Little Chapel of Apparitions
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima enshrined within the Chapel of the Apparitions
This little whitewashed chapel with a clay tile roof is considered the heart of the Shrine of Fatima. It was originally built in 1919 upon the very site of the apparitions.
In front of the chapel is a humble statue of Our Lady of Fatima on a marble pillar. It denotes the location of the Holm oak tree where Our Lady would appear during her visits.
This pilgrimage site is the place to visit and ask for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession. Only here can you kneel where the shepherd children once knelt.
Our Lady of the Rosary Basilica
Daytime photograph of the Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal
Towering above the Enclosure of Prayer is the 200-foot neo-baroque tower of Our Lady of the Rosary Basilica (or the Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário). It is named after the title Mary gave herself during her October 13th apparition.
Inside the Basilica, you will see:
- 14 side altars, one for each of the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary (the 15th Mystery is painted on the ceiling of the sanctuary)
- Stained glass depicting scenes of the Fatima apparitions
- The tombs of the Fatima visionaries: Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and Sister Lucia
Holy Trinity Basilica
The Basilica of the Holy Trinity - a minor basilica in the Sanctuary of Fatima
Opposite Our Lady of the Rosary Basilica is the stout, circular Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. Completed in 2007, this basilica has nearly 9,000 seats to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims.
Everything about this structure is extravagant. Outside, you will be welcomed by:
- Steel nets draped above the entrance, evoking the message of the Angel of Peace
- Towering bronze doors dedicated to Christ and the Twelve Apostles
- Golden panels on the facade containing the twenty Mysteries of the Rosary (including the Luminous Mysteries)
Stepping inside you will see:
- The expansive and bright open nave without any interior supports
- A 165-foot-tall golden mosaic depicting a scene from the Book of Revelation
- The 25-foot-tall crucifix superimposed on the mosaic of the Lamb of God
A Glimmer Tours group photo at Valinhos
Valinhos is located just outside the square. This beautiful countryside contains three major sites that are worth visiting:
- The location of Our Lady’s fourth apparition on August 19,1917: A small monument containing a statue of Our Lady marks the spot of the only Fatima apparition outside the Cova de Iria.
- The site of the 1st and 3rd apparitions of the Angel of Peace: This is where the Angel of Peace, also known as the Guardian Angel of Portugal, appeared to the three shepherd children in 1916. The spot is commemorated with a statue depicting his last visitation.
- The Sacred Way (Via Sacra): A cobble stone path that follows the steps of the shepherd children as they made their way to see Mary.
The Sacred Way (Via Sacra)
A chapel in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra in Portugal
The best way to navigate Valinhos and its multiple pilgrimage sites is to use The Sacred Way, or, Via Sacra.
This prayerful walk is lined with 15 small chapels that each mark a different moment of Jesus’ Passion, with the 15th dedicated to His Resurrection. It’s the perfect place to pray the Stations of the Cross.
Recognizing the Legitimacy of the Apparitions of Fatima
The Catholic Church has an extensive process for ensuring that Marian apparitions are authentic. In the case of Fatima, the process took many years and included interviews, investigations, and examinations by Church officials.
The process for affirming the legitimacy of the apparitions at Fatima included:
- Testimonies from the visionaries and others involved
- Theological analysis of the message given by the Marian apparition (in other words, does the message contradict the Catholic Faith?)
- Psychological and spiritual review of the visionaries
Once the apparitions were approved by the Church, construction on the shrine began in 1919. It was finally completed in 2007.
If you are looking for inspiration for a deeper prayer life, then a visit to Fatima, Portugal is perfect for you. From the stunning basilicas to the gentle countryside, there are plenty of opportunities for prayer and reflection.
With Glimmer Tours: Catholic Pilgrimages, you will have the chance to make a prayerful visit without worrying about any of the fine details. See what your future itinerary has in store: Fatima, Lourdes, & Barcelona Pilgrimage.