The small town of Fatima is still a relative newcomer in the world of pilgrimages and home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, built on the site where a vision of Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children and gave them what has since become known as the three secrets of Fatima.
In this post, I want to share with you how to get to Fatima from Lisbon to help you make the best choice for your visit. If you would like to know more about Fatima and the story behind the creation of this massive religious complex, you can read all about the site and what you can see there in my other post, Fatima Pilgrimage: The Story of the Sanctuary.
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Where is Fatima?
Fatima is a town in central Portugal located 88 miles (142 km) north of Lisbon and 105 miles (170 km) south of Porto.
How to get to Fatima from Lisbon
With Fatima being such an important religious site in Portugal, it is very well connected to the major cities and bus routes. I recently visited Fatima from Lisbon, so the information in this post will be focussing on how to get to Fatima from Lisbon, however, all of the information would be the same if you were visiting Fatima from Porto as well and can be applied if visiting from the North.
So that said, here are your best options for getting to Fatima.
1. Fatima Tours from Lisbon
This is always the easiest way to get Fatima. An organised day tour means you can just turn up at the pickup point and let the tour professionals take care of the rest.
As Fatima isn’t a huge town, most tours will also include some other stops along the way so it turns into a great way to discover some other great spots in this area of Portugal.
Here are a few of the best Fatima private tours from Lisbon on Get Your Guide, my go-to tour site when exploring somewhere new.
If you want to see some more options for tours of Fatima, check out the wide selection of Fatima tours on Get Your Guide.
2. Drive to Fatima
If you don’t want to do an organised Fatima tour, then hiring a car and driving yourself is the best way to get to Fatima and discover this modern religious wonder. The obvious benefit to driving is that it’s the quickest way to get there and the flexibility it offers, you can plan your own stops on the way there and on the way back.
It can easily be reached in a day trip, or if you would like to spend some more time in the region, there are plenty of reasonably priced hotels. It is also an amazing stop if you are driving between Porto and Lisbon.
If you decide to drive just follow the A1 motorway and exit when signposted Fatima and follow signs to the Santuario. It takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive the distance from Lisbon to Fatima which is 128kms.
Something to be careful of is that Portugal has a pretty expansive toll network, some of which are automated and you will need to be set up to pay them.
My best recommendation would be to ask your car rental company about how you can get set up to pay the tolls. The last thing you want is a fat fine waiting for you when you get home.
You can find more information about how to get set up for Portuguese motorway tolls on this information website.
There is a large car park next door to the complex and when we visited there were plenty of spaces. However, this is not always the case. Others have suggested that it is a nightmare to park during special events.
If you are not attending a specific event or mass, I would recommend taking a look at the Fatima Sanctuary schedule for mass and events to be sure it won’t be too crowded when you visit.
If you do park there, there is a cafe on the corner of the car park, close to the sanctuary that does a rather good custard tart.
3. Bus from Lisbon to Fatima
If you don’t fancy tackling the Portuguese roads yourself and a private tour is out of your budget, the bus will more than likely be the best option for you.
Busses in Portugal are safe, reliable and pretty cheap, making it a great choice for getting from Lisbon to Fatima.
The main operator of intercity bus travel in Portugal is Rede Expressos who have loads of departures to Fatima throughout the day from the Sete Rios bus station in Lisbon and the Oriente station. It takes around 90 minutes to make the journey.
Tickets should be bought before boarding the bus. You can do this at the station or on their website before travelling.
Bus tickets go on sale 30 days before the date of travel and while there are more than 20 departures per day, on busy days and festivals, these can still sell out, so be sure to try and book early if possible.
Lisbon to Fatima bus prices
Please note these are a rough guide from the Rede Expressos Lisbon to Fatima route so you can expect what to pay, they may vary slightly when booking.
Adult – €12.20
Child – €6
Senior – €9.60
Adult – €21.80
Child – €12
Senior – €18
4. Lisbon to Fatima train
While it is possible to get the train from Lisbon to Fatima, we would not say it is a good idea when compared to the bus, and this is coming from someone who would always recommend taking a train instead of a bus.
The reason is the Fatima train station isn’t really in Fatima, it’s located about 20kms away from the town. Once you have arrived at Fatima train station, it requires a taxi that will cost around €25, or a regional bus ride.
If this has not put you off and you still fancy the challenge, the train is operated by the national rail service provider of Portugal, Comboios de Portugal, and departs from Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia or Lisbon’s Oriente train stations.
They have regular departures throughout the day and journey time ranges from a little over 1 hour to 2 and a half hours depending on what train you book and the price is around €14 one way.
If you would like to know more information, you can check out the Lisbon to Fatima train schedule on the Comboios de Portugal website.
Yep, you read that right Walking. The 13th of May and the 13th October are the two main days of pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima and many of the people making the pilgrimage walk the full distance from Lisbon to the Sanctuary.
Depending on the route you choose, you can expect it to take around 27 hours to walk from Lisbon to Fatima.
I wouldn’t recommend this as an option if you’re a little tight on time, but it would be a wonderful way to enjoy the wonderful Portuguese countryside on the way to Fatima.
How to get to Fatima from Lisbon Airport
Lisbon airport is located very centrally to the city, so it is quite easy to get to Fatima from the airport. The quickest and easiest way would be to just jump in a taxi but this is likely to set you back between €80 – €100. It is about 120kms from the airport to Fatima.
The cheapest option to get from Lisbon airport to Fatima would be to catch the Metro to Lisboa Oriente station and catch the bus directly from there to Fatima.
You would need to catch the red line, in the direction of San Sebastiao, for just three stops and get off at Oriente. It should take about 5 minutes on the Metro and cost around €2.
I have more detail about the bus from Lisbon to Fatima above in option number three.
Alternatively, for ease, a taxi from Lisbon airport to Oriente won’t be much at all, you could get a cab to Oriente station and the bus to Fatima from there to save you having to faff around with the Metro.
Where to stay in Fatima
Given that it’s a 90-minute journey to the town of Fatima, many people decide to stay overnight and return the following day. If you do decide to stay, there are plenty of great value options for places to stay in Fatima.
Reminder: If you book accommodation after clicking to the website from one of my links, I do make a commission at no cost for yourself. If you would like to know more about my affiliate partners and why I choose them, please read my affiliate information page.
A brief overview of Fatima
Once just a small Portuguese town in the middle of the countryside, in the last 100 years, Fatima has shot to fame and become one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Catholicism as a centre of religious celebration and tourism in Portugal.
The town itself is nothing too much to shout about, just a pretty average town with close to 10,000 year-round inhabitants. However, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is what people come for and it is certainly a sight to behold.
It is a huge religious complex made up of many buildings and statues, but before we take a close look at the parts you can visit that make up the site, let’s start with a little background about what happened to make this place so special.
The Our Lady of Fatima Story
The sanctuary at Fatima is built on the site that three children saw multiple visions of the Virgin Mary. It is said that the Virgin told the children three secrets that they would later share with the world, they became known as the Secrets of Fatima.
After much scrutiny by the Catholic religion, it was decided that this miracle did happen and very quickly it became of huge interest to Catholics around the world.
It wasn’t long before followers started making a pilgrimage to the site and The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima was born.
The most recent addition to the site was the huge Basilica of the Holy Trinity which was completed in 2007. In my eyes, from the outside, it looks more like a football stadium than a church, but on the inside it is everything you would expect, just bigger, seating nearly 9000 people.
At the opposite end of the site is the more traditional looking Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, built between 1928 to 1953 and has the tombs of the three shepherd children that had the original visions.
Final thoughts on how to get to Fatima from Lisbon
Fatima is one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon due to its massive cultural and religious importance. If you get the opportunity to visit, even if you are not a religious person, I believe you will find the site interesting and something unique to visit in this well-trodden world that we live in.
If you have visited I would love to hear how you did it and if you have any tips to share with our readers. If you do, I invite you to drop them in the comments so everyone can benefit.
Thanks for reading and happy travels.
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