Portugal, Fátima – A Journey for Miracle
Fatima is undoubtedly one of the most famous Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world, but it does not mean anything to most Czechs. The Virgin Mary appeared to three children here, and so millions of people come here every year to ask for a miracle.
Legend has it that Fátima (Arabic Fāţimah, فاطمة) was called the Moorish princess, in which the knight Gonçalo Hermingues fell in love. She returned his love and became a Christian.
Thanks to the apparition of the Virgin Mary, this town gradually grew (today it has about 12,000 inhabitants) until it became part of the Ourém region.
For Christians, this place is a spiritual path, for non-believers, the visit is also interesting. But don't expect big sights or glimpses of avant-garde architecture. After all, a hundred years ago there were only pastures. However, you can visit the homes of the children to whom the Virgin Mary communicated her prophecy. And just watching the incoming pilgrims is an experience. They all have one destination, the basilica, to which a marble walkway leads. Believers kneel on it and pray quietly. Most people come here in May and October. Several services are held daily in the chapel and basilica, most of them in Portuguese and English.
It is a miraculous place, but one day is enough to visit. You can take a trip from Lisbon, which is less than 130 km away. Within 30 km is the monastery of Jesus Christ in Tomar, almost a thousand years old and inscribed on the UNESCO list. But don't miss other charming places in this western part of the Iberian Peninsula. We also recommend Porto, Coimbra, beaches in the Algarve region or in the city of Nazare, which is also known for its wines.
Portugal is a country of many faces and this is one of them. And what about you? Do you believe in miracles?
GPS: 39°37'53.4"N 8°40'20.0"W
Text: Daniel Fernández Cantalapiedra
Photos: Daniel Fernández Cantalapiedra, unsplash.com, Wikimedia Commons: dynamosquito, Concierge.2C, Jacek Halicki, Matouš Vinš
Today we have the Way of St. James, “Camino de St. James ", which is an unforgettable experience. For now, however, let's just look at where you can go on this pilgrimage and why you should go on it.
Knight of Templars are still veiled in mystery. And a lot has been written about the order, both fiction and non-fiction. Yet seldomly do we meet any Templar knight. Well, I don't mean face to face as the order was abolished by the pope in the year 1312 but its structures and art.
Incredibly, it is still possible to travel. One of the European countries that can be easily reached without tests from Prague, but also very cheaply from Vienna, is Portugal. Low-cost airlines fly from Vienna to the Portuguese city of Faro, which lies in the beautiful Algarve region. The sandy beaches are lined with beautiful cliffs, the water is crystal clear. From Fara, the train leads to the city of Lagos, which is one of the most beautiful in the Algarve. Then you can continue by bus to the very southern tip to the picturesque town of Sagres.
Portugal's southernmost region is one of the most attractive destinations in Europe. It offers beautiful beaches, majestic cliffs, picturesque towns and fresh fish and great wine. Let's go there.
Not far from Portimão on the south coast of Portugal lies the small town of Carvoeiro. At the same time, it offers beautiful scenery and small beaches protected by majestic cliffs, where you can enjoy some peace and privacy even in the greatest season.
Coimbra, a student town of 150 thousand is situated somewhere in the middle between Porto and Lisbon. There is one of the oldest unviersities in Europe sitting on the hill above the Mondego river. The university, which is the oldest in Portual, was founded in 1290 – 60 years before the famous Charles University in Prague was founded. Tens of thousands of students at this university make this town great including the nightlife there.
Bright white plaster, color-framed windows and doors, narrow, cobbled streets, screaming seagulls and beautiful atmosphere. Portuguese fishing villages are among my favorites and Ferragudo is one of the most famous. Let's have a look there together.
"The birthplace of Portuguese nation" is how this city is dubbed or as "the cradle of Portugal". they believe that the first Portuguese king was born here. Close to here, a decisive battle on country's future was fought. Every Portuguese patriot must visit Guimarães. Yet what can a foreign visitor, e.g. from the Czech Republic, get from visiting this place?
Lisboa is righteously one of the most visited cities in Europe. Yellow trams, hills, cable cars... You can easily get lost in its colorful streets for hours. Washed laundry waves in the wind, you can drink coffee with locals at one of many great cafes and taste local sweet pastry. You can also just set off to the grandiose Ponte 25 de Abril, a red bridge which looks like Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Everybody knows port wine. Perhaps you also link Porto the a high steel bridge and its majestic arch crossing the Douro river. Perhaps you would think of wooden boats carrying wine barrels from the inland wineyards. Porto is, however, a diverse city. There is great history, culture, cuisine, and beaches along the Atlantic coast. Every year, an increasing number of visitors visit this city.
Just 45 minutes by train from the center of Lisbon there is the city of Sintra. It became famous for its castle, palaces, and many beautiful buildings. Moreover, there is a beautiful nature park Sintra-Cascais, unusual mountains which will lure you to make a trip. Let’s see Sintra together.
If you are going to visit the Algarve in southern Portugal, you will probably be at least passing through Faro. For his sights alone, it would be a shame not to stop for a while.
We have already presented the Algarve region in our series in great detail. We end it with the city of Lagos, which is one of the most popular tourist and serves as a perfect base for exploring. Thanks to the surfers, it also maintained a very relaxing atmosphere.
There is another lighthouse near Sagres. Its current appearance dates back to 1908 and its optical devices are among the 10 largest in the world. The lighthouse can be reached around beautiful cliffs in probably Portugal's most scenic area.
There is a lot to see at the westernmost tip of southern Portugal. Among other things, a large national park, which protects the best preserved part of the coast, as well as the important fortress of Santo António de Belix in Sagres, to which we will now go.
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