Pilgrimage sites exist all over Europe, from ancient and modern times. Follow these fascinating roads to majestic churches, cathedrals, monasteries, abbeys and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Beyond their spiritual aspects, sacred destinations of Europe hold great artistic and cultural value. Explore these religious sites and consider faith’s effects on history, trade and culture.

Day 1-5
Distance: 870km / 540mi

Paris to Lourdes

  • Admire the stained glass, rose windows, the towers and steeple of Cathedral Notre-Dame in the historic centre of the île de la Cité in Paris.
  • Marvel at the Sainte-Chapelle Chapel whose upper chapel is covered with stained-glass windows, of which two-thirds are original.
  • Ride the funicular at the Butte Montmartre to visit Sacré-Coeur, one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Paris.
  • In the evening, walk the Seine River promenade or enjoy a bateau mouche river cruise.
  • One hour away from Paris in the Loire Valley, explore the Chartres Cathedral, one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Fly to Lourdes and tour The Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes. Ride the funicular to the Pic du Jer mountain for breathtaking panoramic views of the Pyrenees.
  • Taste savory Pyrenees lamb, garbure (soup with ham and beans), Gascon black pig, or a variety of duck dishes.
  • Treat yourself to traditional gâteau à la broche (pancake batter cake), or cailloux du gave (boiled sweets).

Day 6-10
Distance: 900km / 560mi

Lourdes to Santiago de Compostela

  • Follow the Way of Saint James on a modern-day pilgrimage through Spain.
  • Stop in Burgos for one of the finest examples of Spanish Gothic art in the Burgos Cathedral.
  • Explore the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos and the generously decorated lower cloister.
  • In Leon, stand beneath the towers of the Great Gothic Cathedral where the stained glass dates from the 13th through 20th centuries.
  • Along the remains of the old wall that once surrounded León, walk back in time to the Roman era.
  • Arrive in Santiago de Compostela and tour the old town’s streets and squares before entering its Cathedral. Attend the pilgrim mass and witness the botafumeiro. This giant censer flies above the transept naves and is a rite only performed here.
  • Savor the tastes of Galician-style octopus, Galician pie, razor clams, pilchards, zorza (marinated pork), Padrón peppers, and tarta de Santiago (almond cake) for dessert.

Day 11-14
Distance: 550km / 340mi

Santiago de Compostela to Lisbon

  • Arrive in Lisbon and seek out the village feel of each historic neighbourhood.
  • Start in Baixa Chiado by taking the Santa Justa Elevator to the ruins of the Carmo Convent, the only remaining early Gothic architecture in Lisbon.
  • Close to the mouth of the Tagus River, visit Belém with its tower and monastery, now UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the iconic Monument to the Discoveries.
  • Stop for lunch, or a bica (small cup of aromatic black coffee), in the 200-year-old Café Martinho d’Arcada, a favorite hangout of the poet Fernando Pessoa.
  • At night, listen for fado, a historic Portuguese music genre awarded World Heritage status, in a fado house or in a traditional neighborhood.
  • Join in the gathering of devotees at Fatima in October for the Candlelight Procession and the Adeus (Farewell) Procession, or explore the Fatima Chapel in the heart of the current Fátima Sanctuary.

Before you go

  1. Choose your own personal pilgrimage. A pilgrimage can be a life-changing experience.
  2. Bring very comfortable walking shoes. Sneakers or tennis shoes are the suggested shoes to wear.
  3. Bring a hat to protect you from the sun, a bottle of water and of course, a camera and a small diary to remember every moment of this unforgettable experience.
  4. Make sure that you are well informed before you travel.
  5. Open your mind. You will have the possibility to meet a lot of people and share with them this spiritual trip.

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