Pilgrims have travelled across Europe and the world for many centuries, visiting sacred relics and the resting place of saints. Today we introduce you to some of the most beautiful shrines of Europe to inspire your next pilgrimage.
These places of devotion have remained important destinations for devout pilgrims for hundreds of years, in some cases.
Known as “The City of Stones and Saints” Ávila is one of prettiest medieval cities in Spain and a UNESCO site since 1985 for its rich cultural and religious heritage.
Ávila is the home of Saint Teresa and has one of the highest numbers of Romanesque and Gothic churches in the country. The Convent of the Incarnation and the Museum dedicated to St Teresa are two must-sees for pilgrims in Ávila.
The city’s impressive medieval wall wrapped around the Old Town is a magnificent sight with its gates, 88 watchtowers and more than 2500 turrets.
Burgos, former capital of the Crown of Castile in Spain, is home to another wonderful Old Town and Spain’s most impressive Gothic Cathedral which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Burgos Cathedral is an important stop on the Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James; and also an unmissable part of our Shrines of Europe pilgrimage tours.
In addition to its spectacular Cathedral, there are many other churches, palaces and shrines worth visiting in Burgos dating back to medieval times. Pilgrims shouldn’t miss Las Huelgas Reales Monastery and Miraflores Charterhouse.
Padua / Padova, Italy
Padua is one of the prettiest cities in Italy and the resting place of much-loved Franciscan monk Saint Anthony.
The Basilica of Saint Anthony was built in 1232 to honour Saint Anthony and has been an important pilgrimage destination for many centuries with pilgrims writing and placing prayers and petitions on the Saint’s tomb still today.
Overlooking the unique Prato della Valle elliptical square flanked with sculptures, another important shrine for pilgrims is the Basilica di Santa Giustina.
The Basilica houses the tombs of several saints and the relics of Saint Luke the Evangelist and Saint Mathias, also known as the Twelfth Apostle.
Santa Madonna della Corona, Italy
The Sanctuary of Santa Madonna della Corona, built in the 1600s into the cliff face of Monte Baldo in Northern Italy is one of the most breathtaking shrines in Europe.
The sanctuary’s secluded location has made it a very special place of prayer and meditation, between heaven and earth.
Wonderful Assisi, home of Saint Francis and his disciple Saint Claire, is an unmissable place of pilgrimage in Italy and Europe. Both the Franciscan and the Poor Clares orders were founded in Assisi.
Assisi is a unique city-sanctuary with many important chapels and places of devotion for pilgrims to visit, the three most important ones are: the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Basilica of Saint Clare and the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels where pilgrims can visit the Porziuncola, the small chapel where Saint Francis lived and where he founded the Franciscan Order.
Perched on a clifftop over the gorge of the river Alzou, the monastic city of Rocamadour is one of the country’s most spectacular villages and pilgrims travel far and wide to visit the Church of the Black Madonna and the Miraculous Bell, as well as the tomb of Saint Amadour.
Rocamadour monastic city has been a pilgrimage destination for over 900 years and home to some of the most beautiful and dramatic shrines of France.
In 1166, the miraculously preserved body of Saint Amadour was discovered close to a little chapel which inspired the daring construction of seven churches and a monastery clinging to the cliff just above the town.
Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain
Destination of the Camino de Santiago, the city of Saint James and its iconic cathedral have been welcoming pilgrims since the Middle Ages.
Pilgrims have made their way to Santiago Cathedral on foot, horseback, by boat and nowadays by bike from all corners of the world. In the Cathedral, pilgrims can attend a special pilgrim mass and maybe even see the spectacular swing of the Botafumeiro giant thurible in motion.
Beyond the Cathedral, the city of Santiago de Compostela, which is named after the Apostle, has a stunning medieval old town to explore.
St Michael’s Cave, Italy
Monte Sant’ Angelo in Apulia, Italy, is the location of the cave shrine where the Archangel Michael appeared to a Bishop back in the 5th century.
The shrine, consecrated by the Archangel, has been an important pilgrimage destination since then, attracting many saints and popes, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Padre Pio among the most illustrious pilgrims.
We hope you enjoy our selection of beautiful shrines of Europe, you can visit some of them as part of our pilgrimage tours:
Contact our pilgrimage travel experts for more details or to book your next pilgrimage tour.Contact Us