Getting from Lisbon to Fatima, Portugal
Located in the central region of Portugal, Fátima is one of the most significant religious pilgrimage sites found globally. Catholics from around the world travel to Fatima to visit the site where it is believed that Mary, in 1917 appeared to three Shepard children. This, was said to be followed by several more apparitions, which was later officially recognised by the church in 1930.
Thereafter the development of the site took on a new life of its own. Several Popes have visited Fatima, including John Paul II in 1982, which has really catapulted Fatima onto the global stage.
Today, Catholic devotees travel from far and wide to visit Fatima and the imposing and grand Fatima Sanctuary, one of the many major landmarks you’ll find in Portugal, as well as the various other religious sights to be found here.
The first apparition was recorded as having taken place on the 13th of May. Every year around this date especially, Fatima becomes an extremely busy destination. Of course, over Easter and other Christian religious periods, it’s just as popular.
In my personal opinion, the town of Fatima itself is not the prettiest of Portuguese towns to visit. But if you are interested in the history or want to visit for religious reasons, then naturally speaking, Fátima is a must visit.
If you’re wondering how to get to Fatima from Lisbon, look no further because in this post I will outline exactly how to get to Fatima.
Fatima is located about an hour and a half outside of Lisbon (with the distance from Lisbon to Fatima being around 130kms). So, it makes sense to plan it as a trip from Lisbon. A trip from Porto would take around 2 hours at approximately 200km’s if travelling by car on the A1 highway.
There are several options available to travel from Lisbon to Fatima including by train, by bus, by car or through an organised day trip tour / excursion.
If I had to recommend the best way to travel to Fatima then I would suggest either by car on your own accord, or, if you prefer to rely on public transport, then travelling from Lisbon to Fatima by bus would be your best bet.
My choices are based on several reasons that I will breakdown in much more detail below.
Lisbon to Fatima bus:
If you decide to make use of the Lisbon to Fatima bus route, then you would be travelling on the Rede Expressos bus / coach service that departs from the Sete Rios bus terminal in Lisbon.
Bus services in Portugal are of a fairly good standard. Having made use of Rede Expressos on several occasions myself, I can certainly recommend their service. It’s a comfortable and inexpensive option to travel throughout Portugal without having to stress about driving yourself.
The fastest route to Fatima takes around 1h30 mins with frequent scheduled departures (almost every hour and even more frequently during peak travel times).
Lisbon Bus Terminals
As already stated, the bus will depart from Lisbon’s Sete Rios bus terminal, one of Lisbon’s transport hubs. This is a major hub for Rede Expressos buses departing from Lisbon. This means that the bus terminal itself does get quite busy. Allow yourself enough time to get to the station and to locate the correct bus departure point.
The Sete Rios bus terminal (or if you search on Google Maps you can search for “Terminal Rodoviário Sete Rios” which is found at the address – Rua Professor Lima Basto, Lisbon), is situated right opposite the Jardim Zoológico metro station. This is on Lisbon’s blue metro line. It’s literally 300 meters walk across the road from the metro station (approx. 5 mins walking time).
Costing & How to Book:
For my bus bookings I usually book through Omio, a great all-in-one comparative site that allows you to view & book all available departures. The site is fairly straightforward and easy to use and also showcases all available options pertaining to your route, including by car, by train or air if applicable.
It is well worth booking online as the ticket lines at Sete Rios station can get quite long. Thus, it’s best to book ahead of time to avoid any delays at the station itself.
Do note though that you cannot book this service very far in advance. In fact, you are only able to book about a month ahead of your travel date. So, don’t get a fright if you don’t see availability online. Just check back closer to your planned travel dates.
Also take note that on this service they operate a pre-seating basis, so you will be allocated an actual seat number on the bus that you need to adhere to.
Lisbon to Fatima Train:
One of the main reasons I recommend travelling using the Lisbon Fatima Bus versus getting from Lisbon to Fatima by train is simply because the Fatima train station is not located right in the centre of town. It is actually located just over 20km’s outside, meaning an additional 20 – 25 mins drive into the city centre is required.
Compared to the Fatima bus station which is located only about 600 meters (about 10 mins walk) from the main Sanctuary of Our Lady Fátima sight.
As such, the bus service is a far more direct route that takes you into the heart of Fatima, whereas the train service will require some additional travel time from the station (and at additional expense to get a taxi in!).
Either way, if you prefer to travel by train and don’t mind the additional detour, then you can certainly do so. The train service is operated by Comboios de Portugal, the national rail service provider of Portugal.
The train journey on the faster and direct Intercidades trains takes around 1h15 mins and departs from either Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia or Lisbon’s Oriente train stations.
Travelling on the direct Intercidades option will cost around €13,60 in 2nd class and €19,80 in first.
There is also a Regional train service departing from the same train stations, with a journey time of just over two hours. These are slightly cheaper too at €10,15 (on these trains there is only one class of travel).
Booking your tickets for these trains are also fairly easy to do, and can be done directly on the CP (Comboios de Portugal) website. Once booked, the tickets are emailed to you electronically and you can keep these on your phone to present to the ticket conductor onboard (they may also ask you to present a form of identity such as your passport or identity document).
Similar to the bus services, you cannot pre-book train services through CP too far in advance. Generally speaking, you should be able to book up to two months ahead of your expected travel dates.
Also be sure to double check the option that you are booking. Both the Intercidades and Regional train services are clearly marked with an R for Regional and IC for Intercidades.
Beware – there are also certain services which require a connection and with a journey time closer to the 3 hours mark. Thus, make sure that the option you are selecting and booking is in fact the correct one.
Top Tip: Try to book in advance when nearing your travel dates (keeping in mind you can book only 2 months ahead). Booking these tickets ahead of time will allow you to secure some discounted / promotional fares on the Intercidades options. A 2nd class ticket price goes down to €6.50 one-way and the 1st class €12.00 one-way. If your travel plans are firm and unlikely to change, then this is a great way to save.
I’ve also written a post on the top money savings tips whilst travelling in Portugal. Go have a look through this article for some more tips and suggestions on how to save on train ticket costs, especially if you are travelling as part of a group (5 or more) on certain days.
Travelling from Lisbon to Fatima by car:
I think it goes without saying that travelling by car provides for much greater autonomy and ability to really get to explore the hidden gems across Portugal.
With the distance from Lisbon to Fatima being around 125km – 130kms, the average driving time should be around 1h30 mins on the A1 motorway. This is the same highway that connects upward towards Coimbra and further north to Porto.
If your plan is to travel through Portugal and really get to explore the length and breadth of the country, then I would suggest renting a car as your easiest and most convenient option.
Do keep in mind though that most of the highways in Portugal are tolled roads and additional toll fees will apply. Be sure to take this into account if you are on a tight budget.
In the past we’ve used RentalCars.com as a great option for booking car hire in Portugal. Booking online through their site is fairly straight forward and they compare and offer a wide range of car hire providers to choose from.
Top Tip: Pertaining to the toll fees mentioned earlier, many of the car rental providers in Portugal do offer you the option of adding on an electronic toll tag to your rental (at an additional cost).
These tags will automatically deduct the toll fees off your credit card that you lodge with the car hire company and is a much easier option than having to worry about how and where to pay the toll fees. In my opinion, and having used this service before, it is well worth the extra cost levied by the car rental agencies. Ask your rental company to explain this service and costs to you in more detail.
Fatima Tours & Activities:
If you are after a more structured or guided tour then why not look at booking a day trip from Lisbon to Fatima. Many travellers decide to combine a trip to other nearby towns and cities, such as a tour combining Obidos, Fatima, Batalha, and Nazare who all boast incredible monasteries / churches too.
Have a look at the below tours & activities. Click to view availability and pricing or to search for other tour options.
Where to stay in Fatima:
If you’re planning a pilgrimage to Fatima or wanting to spend some more time in the area over the religious or festive periods, then why not search for and book accommodation in the city.
There are some great options available that are both good quality and centrally located to all the major sights and attractions.
A few of the top rated suggestions include Hotel Santa Maria – only a 2 minute from the sanctuary, the Aurea Fatima Hotel Congress & Spa – 1 km away, the Hotel Santa Isabel – only 120m from the Basilica, and the Hotel Estrela De Fatima – in the centre of Fatima.
Click here to search and compare accommodation options in Fatima.
Alternatively, you may also want to search & compare Fatima Airbnb options too.
Fatima is no doubt probably the most important city when it comes to Portugal religious tours! If you are wanting to visit for religious reasons, planning a Fatima pilgrimage or simply for exploring the city, then a it is highly recommended that you add Fatima onto your travel plans.
If you’ve visited Fatima before then I’d love to hear your feedback, tips and suggestions.
Please feel free to comment and share your personal experiences in the comments section below!