17 Top Catholic Pilgrimage Sites In Europe
Looking to explore some of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe? If so, this post is for you!
Europe is home to some of the world’s most iconic and significant holy places in Roman Catholicism. From ancient churches to stunning shrines, Europe is a popular destination for religious pilgrimages from pilgrims around the world.
Whether you’re a devout Catholic looking for spiritual growth or just curious about the history and religious significance of these religious sites, a visit to one of the top Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe is surely a memorable experience.
What Are The Top Catholic Pilgrimage Sites In Europe?
So, if you’re looking to explore some of the most important Catholic pilgrimage destinations in Europe, then read on to discover the best places to visit:
1. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain
Visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain is a must for any religious traveler. This stunning cathedral is the final resting place of the remains of the Apostle Saint James and is considered one of the holiest sites in Spain.
Built in the 11th century, the cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and a beautiful example of the Romanesque-Gothic style. Inside, visitors can admire the intricate stonework and intricate stained glass window depicting the life and death of Saint James.
The cathedral is also home to a beautiful cloister, and the adjoining Pilgrim’s Office offers a wealth of information on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Visiting this sacred destination is sure to be a spiritual and awe-inspiring experience, especially if you visit it for the first time as the final destination of the famous Way of St. James (commonly known as Camino de Santiago).
Definitely, a must-see when visiting Northern Spain.
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Book A Santiago de Compostela Cathedral Tour
2. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France (Notre-Dame de Paris which means Our Lady of Paris in English) is another must-visit for any traveler looking to explore the history and culture of the Catholic Church.
This iconic cathedral is the most visited monument in the city and has been standing for over eight centuries. Visitors can admire the stunning Gothic architecture, and intricate stained-glass windows, and explore the tombs of famous French kings, as well as the famous bell towers containing the bells of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is also home to many important religious and historical artifacts, including the Crown of Thorns, which is said to have been worn by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion.
A visit to Notre Dame is a spiritual experience that will stay with you forever, and it is a great way to learn more about the Catholic faith.
Book Your Notre-Dame Cathedral and Paris Tour Here
3. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy – a very popular pilgrimage destination, is an absolute must for anyone looking to explore and learn more about the Catholic faith.
This iconic basilica is the home of the Holy Father – the head of the Catholic Church, and one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. It is also home to some of the most significant religious artifacts and relics. From the stunning marble facade to Michelangelo’s breathtaking frescoes inside, St. Peter’s Basilica is a work of art in its own right.
Additionally, the basilica holds important religious relics such as a fragment of the True Cross, pieces of the crown of thorns, and the famous Pieta. A visit to this incredible pilgrimage site is sure to leave you in awe and appreciation of the rich Catholic history and culture of Rome.
Book Your St. Peter’s Basilica and Rome Tour Here
4. Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France
One of the most awe-inspiring pieces of architecture in France is Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France.
Built in the 12th century, this magnificent structure has stood the test of time and still retains its original form. Its impressive stained glass windows, intricately carved statues, and soaring spires have inspired generations and continue to draw tourists from around the world.
Chartres Cathedral is also home to some of the most important artifacts in French history, including the Sancta Camisa, which is believed to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary during the birth of Christ.
Additionally, some of Chartres Cathedral’s stained glass windows are part of the original set created in the 12th century. Its beautiful architecture and incredible history make Chartres Cathedral a must-see destination for anyone visiting France.
5. Basilica of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Visiting the Basilica of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain should be at the top of your list when it comes to Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe.
This magnificent basilica, designed by the world-renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, is an architectural masterpiece and a beautiful example of the Catalan modernism style. Inside, visitors can admire the stunning stained-glass windows, intricate stonework, and towering spires.
The basilica also offers stunning views of the city of Barcelona and its surrounding mountains, making it a great place to visit for any traveler looking to explore Europe’s Catholic culture.
Book Your Sagrada Familia Basilica & Barcelona Tour Here
6. Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal
Visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (also known as Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima) in Fatima, Portugal is another must-visit for any religious traveler looking to explore and learn more about the Catholic faith.
This shrine is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics all over the world. Visitors can explore the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, as well as the Chapel of Apparitions, which is said to be the place where Mary appeared to three shepherd children in 1917.
Additionally, the shrine is home to a number of religious artifacts, including the Miracle of the Sun, and the famous statue of Our Lady of Fatima. A visit to this holy shrine is sure to be a spiritual and moving experience, especially when you see people praying the Holy Rosary while kneeling on the floor until they arrive at the Capelinha.
Book Your Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima and Portugal Tour Here
7. Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy
The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy is an absolute must-visit for any devout traveler who wishes to delve deeper into the Catholic faith, as this awe-inspiring edifice sits atop the cave where it is said that Saint Francis prayed fervently during his lifetime. Its striking aesthetic design displays a breathtaking example of Italian architecture and makes for an unforgettable experience!
The basilica is made up of two churches that are connected by a large courtyard and contain numerous works of art and artifacts from the life of St. Francis. Visitors can explore the crypt where St. Francis is buried and the library where he wrote his famous works.
A visit to this basilica is sure to be a spiritual experience that will stay with you forever, and it is a great way to learn more about the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi.
Book Your St. Francis of Assisi Basilica tour Here
8. Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Catholic faith and is visited by millions of pilgrims each year and another site of a Marian apparition.
This incredible sanctuary is home to the miraculous healing spring and grotto where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. Visitors can explore the various chapels, basilicas, and pilgrimage sites that have been built in honor of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
Visitors can participate in spiritual activities such as the Rosary, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession, and Masses.
RELATED POST: Top 19 Most Visited Catholic Shrines In The World
Book Your Sanctuary to Our Lady of Lourdes Tour Here
9. St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria
St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria is an iconic symbol of the city and a must-see destination for any Catholic traveler visiting the beautiful country.
The Gothic-style cathedral was built in the 12th century and stands 136 meters tall, making it one of the tallest churches in Europe. Inside, visitors can admire its stunning stained glass windows, its magnificent high altar, and the many works of art and sculptures that decorate the building.
The cathedral is also the home of the Archbishop of Vienna and the site of many important Catholic events in the country, including the wedding and funeral of the famous composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Book Your St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Vienna Tour Here
10. Oviedo Cathedral in Asturias, Spain
The Cathedral of Oviedo (also known as Cathedral of San Salvador) in Asturias, Spain holds a special place in the hearts of Catholics, as it is home to The Holy Shroud of Oviedo, also known as Sudarium Of Oviedo, which is believed to be the cloth that was wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after his death. The relic is kept in the cathedral and is brought out for special occasions, such as Good Friday.
It is a Romanesque and Gothic-style building that features an impressive Baroque facade, a beautiful cloister, and a bell tower that stands at over 90 meters. Inside the cathedral, visitors can admire its impressive architecture, as well as its many works of art.
Oviedo Cathedral is also one of the main destinations for pilgrims who are doing the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). There’s a saying (that I learned while reading more about Oviedo Cathedral) that goes:
“Who goes to Santiago but not to Salvador, visits the servant but not the Lord.”
If you’ll be doing the Camino de Santiago, soon or in the future, you already know that skipping the Cathedral of Oviedo is not a good idea.
Even if my family was not making the Camino de Santiago in 2021, we made sure to visit the Cathedral of Oviedo on our way to Santiago de Compostela.
11. Shrine of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
The Shrine of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy is built in honor of the beloved Italian priest and saint, Padre Pio, and is home to the tomb of St. Padre Pio, where visitors can pay their respects and seek his intercession.
The shrine also contains several chapels, a museum, and a library dedicated to his life and works. It is a beautiful place of pilgrimage, and those who visit can sense the strong spiritual presence of St. Padre Pio.
It is a place of prayer, reflection, and hope, and many visitors experience a deep sense of peace and joy. The shrine is a true testament to the power of faith, and it is sure to be an unforgettable experience for any Catholic traveler.
Book Your Padre Pio Shrine Tour Here
12. Valencia Cathedral in Valencia, Spain
Valencia Cathedral in Valencia, Spain is a must-see destination for any devout Catholic traveler visiting Spain. This beautiful cathedral is said to be the final resting place of the Holy Grail that Jesus’ used in the Last Supper.
Built in the 15th century, this Gothic-style cathedral is home to many works of art, including a beautiful rose window, a Baroque chancel, and a treasury filled with ancient artifacts. Visitors can also explore the relics of Saint Vicent Ferrer and the tombs of past kings and queens, as well as admire the impressive architecture of the building.
This cathedral is a great place to explore the footsteps of Jesus and pay your respects to the relics of the past.
I had been to this Cathedral when I was still single but didn’t have any idea that it was where the Holy Grail is, so, I didn’t pay much attention. I will definitely come back to Valencia Cathedral with my family one day (luckily, it’s a 3-hour drive from home) and I will read about it more before going, so, I’ll be more mindful and knowledgeable.
Book Your Valencia Cathedral & Valencia City Tour Here
13. Basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris, France
One of the famous churches in France is the Basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris, France – a must-see destination for any devout Catholic traveler.
This stunning basilica is often referred to as the first example of modern western European architecture and is the burial place of many French kings and queens. The basilica is also home to the tomb of Saint-Denis, the patron saint of France and the first bishop of Paris.
Book Your Basilica of Saint-Denis Tour
14. Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy
The Milan Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Milano, is one of the most iconic Catholic shrines of Italy and a must-see destination for anyone taking part in Catholic shrines of Italy tour.
This magnificent Gothic-style cathedral is the 5th largest Catholic church in the world and is home to over 3,500 statues and 135 spires and pinnacles.
The Milan Cathedral is a site of great religious significance, and it is the home of the Archbishop of Milan. The cathedral is also a popular tourist destination, and it is a great place to explore the history and culture of this beautiful city.
Book Your Milan Cathedral & Milan City Tour
15. Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England is an iconic Catholic shrine and a must-see destination for those taking part in a Catholic shrine of Europe tour.
This stunning Gothic cathedral is one of the oldest and most important religious sites in the world and was the original destination of the famous medieval pilgrimage. The cathedral is home to the tomb of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170, and the shrine is a site of great religious significance for both Catholics and Anglicans.
Visitors can explore the beautiful architecture of the cathedral, admire the ancient artifacts, and pay their respects to the martyr who lost his life in the pursuit of justice.
Book your Canterbury Cathedral & London Tour Here
16. Jasna Gora Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland
Jasna Gora Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland is home to a miraculous painting of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa (also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa) and one of Jasna Góra’s most precious treasures.
The monastery is also home to a library full of ancient manuscripts and relics, and a museum that houses religious artifacts from around the world. Every year, throngs of pilgrims flock to the monastery to pay their respects and seek healing.
Book your Jasna Gora Monastery & Częstochowa Tour Here
17. Pontifical Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague in Prague, Czech Republic
The Pontifical Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague (also known as The Church of Our Lady of Victories) in Prague, Czech Republic is one of the most famous Catholic shrines in Europe.
This shrine is dedicated to the miraculous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague, a wooden statue of the baby Jesus that dates back to the 16th century.
The shrine is also well-known for its ornate Baroque architecture and the beautiful gardens that surround it. Visitors can also explore the many chapels and visit the museum, which features art and artifacts related to the life of the Infant Jesus.
Book your Prague City Tour Here
Final Thoughts on The Top Catholic Pilgrimage Sites in Europe
The top Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe offer the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and reconnect with our spiritual roots.
These sites provide a chance to reconnect with our faith and revisit pilgrimage traditions that have been in place for centuries. From the awe-inspiring architecture of the great cathedrals, major basilicas, and different monasteries, to the mysterious and powerful relics of the past, these sites provide unique and intriguing life-changing experiences that are sure to stay with us every step of the way on our spiritual journey.
For those looking for a more intimate and immersive experience, walking pilgrimages are an excellent way to explore these holy sites and deepen one’s faith. During a walking pilgrimage, pilgrims can visit different churches, monasteries, and shrines, engaging in prayer, contemplation, and other spiritual practices.
Such pilgrimages are not only a great way to deepen one’s spiritual life, but also provide a unique opportunity to connect with the local Catholic community and explore the traditions and culture of the countries visited.
Have you been to any of the sacred sites mentioned above? How was the experience? Or are you planning to go on a pilgrimage soon? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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