There are each year thousands of pilgrims walking to the Shrine of Fatima, but we are expecting a lot more people on the 12th and 13th of May on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit and the celebration of the Centennial of the Apparitions.
Consequently, the risks and difficulties for those who want to come walking are much bigger, that is why we advise to pay even more attention to essential cares and precautions.
The Shrine of Fatima’s website provides a set of good advices for pilgrims, just follow here.
To better localize your destination, the Shrine of Fatima is located in the central part of Portugal, 30 kilometres south east of Leiria (which is the closest city), with the following GPS coordinates: Latitude: 39º37'52.06"N | Longitude: 8º40'23.47"W.
Basically, we strongly advise pilgrims, before starting their journey and after choosing their path, to prepare physically and train with shorter walks and to regularly soak their feet in salted water.
It is essential to wear a pair of comfortable well-worn shoes to walk, never choosing new ones, and to wear seamless white cotton socks and loose clear-coloured cotton clothing with long sleeves, always take along a warm outer garment to wear at night and sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and umbrella, among other things.
Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics.
Do not forget to put in your lunch box a lot of water, dry fruits and sugar.
Walk only on secondary roads, avoiding main roads [Itinerários Principais (IP)] and complementary roads [Itinerários Complementares (IC)], walk in a single file on the roadside, we do recommend to wear reflective vests that make pilgrims more visible from the distance, nights and days.
Pilgrim groups’ meetings should always take place off the roads and not on roadsides.
Avoid drinking alcohol before and during the walks, avoid heavy meals opting for lighter but more frequent ones.
When stopping for a rest, we recommend to stay in a position allowing to have the head lower than the feet. Among other advices, you should sleep at least 6 hours per night and keep a basic hygiene.
Road assistance units
Along the pilgrim paths, you will find assistance units identified by the flag of the pilgrims on foot, to which you can ask for support. In the units, wash your feet and wear clean socks and prepare next step of your path.
These units, the number of which will be increased in order to attend the likely high number of pilgrims, are under the responsibilities of entities like the Movement of Message of Fatima, the Red Cross, or the Order of Malta, among others.
On the whole, there are thousands of volunteers, doctors, nurses and other professionals who will be working in the units. And you will always find also in each unit a spiritual assistance.
Extended time at the reception desk in Fátima
Within the Shrine, the reception desk to welcome pilgrims on foot will be open from 3 pm on the 9th of May.
There, pilgrims will be received in order of arrival and can enjoy free sleeping and meals on the following conditions:
Pilgrims will sleep in rooms or military tents, mattresses on the floor (with pillow, sheet and blanket);