How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

You will be entering Portugal via air at Lisbon`s Humberto Delgado Airport (called Portela Airport by locals, IATA code LIS). Lisbon`s airport is 75 miles southwest of Fatima.

Some of you will be self-driving to Fatima, in order to explore areas such as Batalha, Tomar and Leiria in an easy and timely manner. Consult your reservation information and keep in mind the name of the company from which you have rented. The rental car companies are based in Terminal T1, in and around the P3 parking lot.

Driving directions to Fatima: Get on the A1 (also known as European Route E01) from Avenida Berlim. Drive for approximately 73 miles and take Exit 8 for Fatima. You will exit onto Avenida Papa Joao XXIII and drive to the Rotunda dos Pastorinhos (Rotunda Sul). Exit the roundabout on Rua Francisco Marto, which will take you to the Sanctuary.

For those who are not reserving a car: Take the Lisbon Metro from Aeroporto station (inside the airport) to Sao Sebastiao station (the end of the Red Line). Change trains and pick up the Blue Line train going in the direction of Reboleira (NOT Santa Apolonia). Two stops after leaving Sao Sebastiao station, get off the Metro at Jardim Zoologico station. A 24-hour Metro pass (which will cover the transfer to another line and can be used throughout the day of purchase) will cost under €10, including the €1 for the Viva Viagem card needed to ride the Lisbon Metro. You can purchase it from an automated machine inside the airport station and instructions on how to buy and pay can be displayed in English. Keep in mind that you need to swipe the Viva Viagem card in the turnstiles as you enter AND exit the Lisbon Metro.

Sete Rios bus station (at Praca Marechal Humberto Delgado and Rua das Laranjeiras) is across the street. Bus tickets for Fatima are sold by Rede Expressos (www.rede-expressos.pt) and leave roughly every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Tickets for adults should cost no more than €20 before taxes and fees, and children should be able to ride for under €15. The bus ride will take 90 minutes. Note that Fatima bus station might be listed on timetables as `Fatima (Cova da Iria)`. Taxis will be waiting as you leave the bus station in Fatima.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis are easy to hail from the street; if there is one around, simply wave your hand in the air and if it isn`t occupied, they will usually stop for you. There are four taxi companies that serve Fatima. Note that booking by telephone will incur a small charge, usually €1, paid when you exit the cab at your destination. Here are telephone numbers for the companies that serve Fatima:

-Taxis Fatima - Costa and Pereira (+351 249 533 816)
-Taxis Central de Boleiros (+351 249 532 192)
-Taxi Goncalves and Gameiro (+351 249 531 990)
-Taxis Fatima (+351 912 534 700)

Should I rent a car in Fatima?

If you are interested in seeing the sights of Fatima and Aljustrel, a car is not necessary to see the landmarks recommended by TripMasters. If you want to see sights further afield, such as the ones recommended by TripMasters in Leiria, Batalha and Tomar, a car is recommended. You can arrange for car rental when you book your vacation with us. If you are taking advantage of self-drive portions of your trip, you will be picking up your car at the airport upon entering Portugal, not in Fatima.

I`d like to read the full, detailed story of the apparitions of Fatima. How can I do that?

Many Catholics know the story of the apparitions of Fatima very well. With that said, did you know that Lucia Santos`s apparitions began before 1917? You can read the entire story of the Fatima apparitions, including the 1916 sightings and the Virgin Mary`s visit to Lucia in 1920 here.

Is Fatima a walking city?

Fatima is easily walkable for most people in satisfactory physical shape or higher. There are certain sights (such as the Via Sacra) that must be experienced on foot. If you cannot walk for extended periods, there are other transportation options available for pilgrims who wish to see such sights as the shepherd children`s houses and Grutas da Moeda.

Is Fatima a dangerous city? Are there any areas I should avoid?

Fatima is a fairly safe city for tourists and pilgrims. Between the bus station and the Sanctuary, the street is lined with shops and booths that sell religious-themed items such as Virgin Mary statues and rosary beads. Expect to pay about €5 for rosaries. If you are told to pay more, shop around and find a cheaper price.

Which areas are the best for shopping?

In addition to the street aforementioned which separates the Sanctuary from the bus station (Avenida de Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva), there is another place you should see if you are in the mood to purchase gifts. Take Avenida de Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva or Avenida Beato Nuno to the Rotunda Norte and exit on the Estrada de Leiria. On the right-hand side after the supermarket, there is a shopping center called the Centro Comercial Fatima (www.fatimashoppingcenter.com, website in Portuguese, English and Spanish). You will find the most exhaustive collection of religious memorabilia relating to Fatima. You will also find more traditional Portuguese souvenirs such as beautiful porcelain pieces.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Portugal is the Euro and US dollars are not accepted for payment. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks and ATMs can be found at your arrival airport and at many hotels and banks throughout the city.

I do not speak Portuguese. Do many people speak English?

It is more common to find English speakers in Portugal than it is in other southern European countries, such as Spain. A recent European Union language survey found that 32% of Portuguese people over the age of 18 can speak English on a conversational level or better.

With that said, you may encounter some difficulty finding an English speaker away from tourist areas. It is recommended to brush up on basic Portuguese phrases before arriving, like basic pleasantries and numbers from 1 to 10. To ask someone if they speak English, say `Fala ingles?`

Note: Do not speak in Spanish to a Portuguese person, thinking they will understand you when you do so. Responses will range from stunned silence to outright hostility; the Portuguese people are proud of their culture and heritage, and such an act will cause nearly everyone to take personal offense. On another note, the vocabulary and pronunciation in Portuguese differs from Spanish more than you may realize.

What are the drinking laws in Portugal?

The legal drinking age in Portugal is 18, whether you find yourself in a pub or a nightclub. Asking for proof of age upon ordering an alcoholic beverage or entering a nightclub is becoming more commonplace, especially if you appear younger. Keep your passport with you as it doubles as proof of age and identification.

If you are renting a car, do not drive after consuming alcohol. A blood alcohol content level of 0.05 is considered the legal limit; penalties can range from fines to a jail sentence of up to one year. Save yourself the potential trouble and heartache.