The district of Santarém lies in the central part of Portugal. It is an agricultural area lying in the Tagus valley. Its main city is Santarém with a nice old town, but Tomar with the Knights Templar castle and the famous Fatima shrine are much more famous.
Santarém's history dates back to Roman times, when it was an important city on the trade route, Lusitania. However, the Gothic and Baroque buildings with elements drawn from Arabic culture have survived to our times. In October, the city hosts one of the largest culinary festivals in Portugal.
In the northern part of the region there are its two biggest attractions. The first is Fatima, a small town that has become famous all over the world thanks to the Marian apparitions of 1918. Today, millions of pilgrims from all over the world come here every year.
Not far from Fatima is Tomar, a charming city with low, azulejos-covered buildings. It is famous for the huge castle-monastery erected on the hill towering over the city. The former seat of the Templars is inscribed on the UNESCO list.
Santarém can also boast of natural attractions. Near the village of Arripiado on the Tagus stretch Ribatejana marshes, which are the habitat of many species of water and marsh birds. On the other hand, hiking and climbing enthusiasts can go to the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Nature Park, where kilometers of hiking trails have been marked out, over which rock walls tower.