Leiria grew upon the slopes around the castle and was the home of many civilisations including the Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. With the Christian faith firmly implanted and the expansion of the kingdom, King Afonso Henriques took the castle from the Moors in 1135. The last attack on the Moors happened in 1195, but the town continued to live within the castle walls until the thirteenth century, with the exception of São Pedro’s Church, built in Roman style, founded in 1176 near the castle's gates. It was in the king Dinis' reign that the town spread down the slopes of the hill to the banks of the River Lis, through squares and fifteenth century streets, made famous for its Medieval fairs and the age-old energy of local inhabitants. At night, the Cândido dos Reis Square (old part of the town) filles up with people that come to the well-known Terreiro, to enjoy themselves in local pubs that give life to the old part of town.

From the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, the visitor has a beautiful view over the town's centre and the surroundings, and can also try to see the famous Monte Real, with it's Spa, and Leiria Pine Forest, the most important pine forest of Iberian Peninsula.

About six kilometres from Leiria, we can visit the Sanctuary of Nosso Senhor dos Milagres and in Cortes the João Soares House-Museum.

On the way to the coast we have the magnificent spa and former royal town - Monte Real. King Dinis used to came here to hunt or to observe the planting of the Leiria’s Pine Forest. The therapeutic qualities of the Spa’s Waters were already known and used by the Romans. Monte Real is a resort for relaxation and tourism, very popular during the Thermal Season beginning in May it also has a complemetary calendar of events.

The Ervideira’s Lake is situated in the Northern part of the pine forest and it is a refreshing place within the National Woods, not far from Leiria's only beach - Pedrógão. Old fishing tradition can be remembered trought the presence of typical boats, the fishermen's nets on discovering the regional flavours and the local dancing and singing festivities.



In this shrine is perpetuated the Apparition of Our Lady to Jacinta, Francisco and Lúcia _ the three shepherd children of Fátima. On the 13th May 1917, while they were watching a small flock of sheep graze in Cova da Iria, the children saw a strong flash of light, out of which came an even brighter light that rested in a small oak. The Virgin was illuminated in the light, and she asked the children to pray and invited them to return in the following months. The local of the apparitions was marked with a wooden arch and with a cross. The little tree was vanished, bit by bit, took by the pilgrims. On the 6th August 1918, the construction of a little chapel began with the help of people’s charity. This chapel, a homage to Our Lady, was built with stone and chalk, covered with tile. It was the first construction in the actual site of prayers, measuring 3,30 metres long, 2,80 metres large and 2,85 metres high.

The Sanctuary of Fátima receives many millions of believers on pilgrimage and praying, from all over the world. The most important date of the year is the 13th May, the Annual Pilgrimage, and all the 13th of each month from May to October.

"Nowadays, the Sanctuary has not only a large set of buildings, but also a wide open air area, covering around 86400 m2 that can comport 300000 pilgrims. The centre of activities, besides the Chapel of Apparitions, is the Basilica in which its first stone was blessed on the 13th May of 1928 by the Évora’s archbishop, D.Manuel da Conceição Santos, the work is from the Dutch architect G. Van Kristen. The Basilica of the Sanctuary of Fátima was built with local limestone and the high altars are made of marble from Estremoz. It measures 70, 50 metres long and 37 metres large. It has 15 altars celebrating the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary. At the left lateral chapel rest the mortal remains of Jacinta, and at the right lateral chapel rest the mortal remains of Francisco."

In the area of the Sanctuary we can also see the big Hole Oak, under which the shepherd children and the first pilgrims used to wait and to pray the rosary before the arrival of Our Lady, the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that rises in the centre of the Sanctuary, the High Cross at the southern top of the Sanctuary; the monument to the Pope Pio XII, the monument to D.JoséAlves Correia de Silva, first bishop, the Pope Paulo VI Pastoral's Centre. In Fátima (Parish's Centre) we can visit the Parish's Church where the children were baptised and the cemitery where Francisco and Jacinta were buried.

Besides the Sanctuary you can visit the Pope Paul VI Pastoral Centre; the homes of the shepherd children and the Aljustrel Ethnographic’s Museum; the Via Sacra and Calvary; the Valinhos, Our Lady Monument; the Angel Site; the Fátima Wax Museum; the Sacred Art and Ethnology’s Museum; the 1917 Apparitions’ Museum and you can also see the multimedia show, "Fantastic Fátima".