The best independent guide to Central Portugal
The best independent guide to Central Portugal
Fatima is where the Virgin Mary appeared to three child shepherds during 1917.
Since then, the town has become an important pilgrimage destination, which today welcomes over six million visitors per year.
Fatima is 125km north of Lisbon, and there is excellent public transport between the two cities. This guide will detail how to travel from Lisbon to Fatima by car and by public transport.
Advice: It is possible to visit Fatima as a day trip from Lisbon, but it will involve a lot of driving or two long bus journeys.
Related articles: Our tourist guide to Fatima
Fatima is situated next to the main A1 expressway, and driving is the quickest option, with a journey time of 1hour15min.
The A1 is a toll expressway, and the toll is surprisingly high at €8.20 (so €16.40 for a return trip), but the road is empty, and the route is fast. There are three service stations along the A1, and though most of the journey is nondescript, the final section climbs the steep hills of the Serra de Aire.
Junction 8 is the turn off for Fatima, and 1km after the toll booths are the massive car parks that surround Fatima. Depending on when you visit Fatima, these car parks will be empty or completely full. Try to avoid the weekends when Fatima is filled with Portuguese day-trippers or the 13th of each month (this is the date when Mary appeared to the shepherds and is a popular day for pilgrims). The car parking is free.
The car parks named “Parque 11” “Parque 12” and “Parque 13” are the largest and closest to the expressway – we recommend using these as your endpoint for any navigation. Parque 4 is for motor homes and is close to a shower/toilet block.
With a car, do not miss visiting the shepherd’s houses in the village of Aljustrel, 3km to the south-east.
Insight: There are many other interesting tourist destinations close to Fatima including, the historic city of Tomar, the hill fort at Ourém or the monasteries at Batalha and Alcobaça. Along the coast is the charming beach town of Nazare or São Martinho do Porto with its unique sheltered bay.
Related articles: Tomar – Batalha – Nazare
Tickets can be purchased from the Sete Rios bus station or from Rede Expressos website:
Note: When choosing a departure location in Lisbon, select Sete Rios as this is the bus station hub for Rede Expressos.
Warning: Always check the journey times before purchasing tickets, one route from Lisbon to Fatima takes a tedious 1h50
Advice: There are many third-party booking websites for bus and train tickets in Portugal, but it makes sense to purchase directly from Rede Expressos. This avoids booking fees, and makes any travel alterations easier to progress.
Each ticket is allocated a seat number, and you are expected to sit there, also all seats have seat belts.
It is possible to travel along this bus route with luggage, as large or bulky items are stored in the luggage compartments beneath the bus.
The bus service to Fatima departs from the Sete Rios bus station, which is the largest and busiest bus station in Lisbon. Sete Rios is connected to the blue metro line by Jardim Zoológico metro station, and the bus station is well signed from the metro which is close to the main entrance.
In Sete Rios, there is a large ticket office, a selection of cafes and snack stalls, along with clean toilet facilities (0.50€).
The bus station handles over 500 daily departures and being so busy it is advisable to get to the bus station at least 15 minutes before the departure time. The departure bay for the bus is displayed on the screens, but is only shown 10minutes before the departure time.
Advice: The screens only display the final destination of the route, which may not be Fatima. If there is a bus leaving at exactly the same time as your bus to Fatima, it is more than likely your service – go and chat to the driver!
Fatima bus station (Terminal Rodoviário de Fátima - GPS 39.631278, -8.680497) is to the east of the town and just a 300m walk to the Santuário de Fátima
An organised tour eliminates the hassle of public transport and provides an opportunity to see much more of the central Portugal region.
The standard of tours in Portugal has significantly improved, with knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides catering for worldly and modern tourists.
We have worked with GetYourGuide for the previous five years, and some of their best tours which include Fatima are:
The train is not a viable option to travel from Lisbon to Fatima.
The train station referred to as Fatima is actual in the small village of Chão de Maçãs, 20km to the east of Fatima. From the station there is no reliable public transport, so an expensive taxi must be hired (€25-30).
If you do want to take the train (not advisable), there is a wide range of services from intercity services (€19.90 1h4min) through to slow regional trains (€9.85 3hours!). Tickets and timetables can be seen on the Comboios de Portugal (CP) website:
Advice: Oriente is the main train station of Lisbon and provides the most options. Oriente station is connected to the red metro line and is to the northeast of the city.
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