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Stop At: Nazaret, Praca Manuel Arriaga 20, Nazare 2450-160 Portugal
Nazaré is a colorful fishing village in central Portugal, located almost 80mi north of Lisbon. With a beautiful sandy beach and the rhythm of the pounding waves, Nazaré is a perfect place for undisturbed walks along the shore, surfing, tanning and, of course, fishing.
The town gets its name after a statue of the Virgin Mary, which was brought from Nazareth by a monk in the 4th century. Nazare has three districts: the beach; Sitio, high above the main town and Pederneira. So, it has some interesting site-seeing spots. On the town square, the 17th century Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Church is located and the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth rests there. Another attraction is on Rua Sousa Lobo and its the Casa Museo do Pescador or a fisherman’s house museum. This traditional cottage is a typical home of a fisherman and his family.
The most popular things to do in Nazaré is to ride the funicular to Sitio. It is located 360 feet above the main town and offers panoramic views. Sitio has a chapel Capela da Memoria. It was built in the 12th century to commemorate a miracle. A nobleman was saved from falling over a cliff, while hunting. It is believed, that the Virgin Mary stopped his horse just in time. Also, there is a pillar inscribed to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s visit, after his voyage to India. He was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea.
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Obidos Village, Obidos Portugal
The Wedding Town” was the traditional bridal gift of the kings of Portugal to their queens, a custom begun in 1282 by Dom Dinis. The town has hardly changed in appearance since then: its cobbled streets and steep staircases wind up to the ramparts, from where you can gaze across a countryside of windmills and vineyards. The parish church, Igreja de Santa Maria (in the central Praça), was chosen for the wedding of the ten-year-old child-king Afonso V and his eight-year-old cousin, Isabel, in 1444. It dates mainly from the Renaissance, though the interior is lined with seventeenth-century blue azulejos (or painted tiles) in a homely manner typical of Portuguese churches. The retable in a side chapel on the right-hand side was painted by Josefa de Obidos, one of the finest Portuguese painters and one of the few female artists afforded any reputation by art historians. One corner of the triangular fortifications is occupied by a massively towered Castle built by Dom Dinis which has been converted into a Pousada.
Also worth mentioning is the Casa d’Óbidos, built in 1889 and located about 1km south of the town walls, it has beautiful gardens and an air of faded grandeur. It’s worth staying around since, as is so often the case, the town reverts to its own life after the daytime tourists disperse. One of the better budget places to eat is the Café 1 de Dezembro, next to the church of São Pedro.
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Av. de Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva, Fatima Portugal
Fatima is a town and Parish located 142 km (88 miles) North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Fatima’s fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. Between May and October of 1917, the three children witnessed several apparitions. The last one, on October 13th, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 60,000 people known in the catholic world as “the day the sun danced”.
Fatima now attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, particularly on the pilgrimage days in May and October. The large torch-light processions in the evening are particularly impressive, often lead by Cardinals and Bishops. The pilgrims gather in Cova de Iria an enormous plaza where a little chapel was built and where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to the children. Around the plaza are a considerable number of shops and stalls selling various religious articles. On the far side of the plaza rises the great basilica, built in the in neo-classical style, with a central tower 65 meters high, the construction of which was begun on 13 of May 1928. It is flanked by colonnades linking it with the extensive convent and hospital buildings. In the basilica are the tombs of two of the three visionaries, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died in 1919 and 1920 respectively, and were beatified in 1970. The third seer, Lucia dos Santos, died in 2005.
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Palacio Nacional de Mafra, Terreiro Dom Joao v, Mafra 2640-492 Portugal
Built in the 18th century by order of King João V (1689-1750) in fulfilment of a vow he made, to be blessed with an heir from his marriage to Maria Ana of Austria, or be cured of a serious illness, the Royal Convent and Palace of Mafra is the most important baroque monument in Portugal. All in limestone and marble from this region (Pêro Pinheiro and Sintra), the building covers an area of almost four hectares (37.790 m2), including 1.200 rooms, more than 4.700 doors and windows, 156 stairways and 29 inner yards and courtyards. Such magnificence was only possible due to the Brazilian gold that poured into the country, allowing the King to carry out his patronage of the arts and the strengthening of royal authority.
Duration: 40 minutes