A place of pilgrimage for people from all over the world, Fátima attracts thousands of visitors every year.
It is in the Cova da Iria that you will find the Sanctuary of Fatima, the largest pilgrimage center in Portugal, where Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three shepherd children.
In 1916, an angel appeared before Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta three times. These three children were chosen to convey a message of peace, and they were invited to utter. A year later, on May 13, 1917, the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima took place. The apparitions continued during the following months, always on the same day, and at the same time, although in different places. The last apparition was recorded on 13 October, this time in the presence of more than 70,000 people.
Cova da Iria was about to become a pilgrimage spot for all Catholics. And it was in this place that the Sanctuary of Fatima was built, which today incorporates different infrastructures – the Basilica, consecrated in 1954; A Prayer area; The Chapel of the Apparitions; Retirement House of Our Lady of Sorrows, Retirement House of Our Lady of Carmo and the Paul VI Pastoral Center.
About 6 million people from around the world visit the sanctuary annually. The 13 of May and 13 of October are particularly important dates, in which the first and last apparition of Our Lady is celebrated.
During these periods, pilgrims flock to Fatima and take the opportunity to visit other attractions in the region. Examples of these attractions are: the Mira de Aire Caves, the largest in Portugal and elected as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the country in 2010; The Natural Reserve of the Mountains of Aire and Candeeiros, where you can see original fossils and footprints of dinosaurs with 175 million years.
The vast natural, historical and religious heritage of Fátima has made this region a top tourist destination.