Explore Europe’s wealth of religious sights

Every year, millions of tourists visit Europe’s wealth of impressive religious buildings and sacred sites as part of their historical and cultural discovery…

Here, we’ve highlighted some of Europe’s most popular places of worship and pilgrimage:

  1. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy

Awe-inspiring Saint Peter’s is the largest basilica in Europe and can accommodate up to 20,000 people. As one of Roman Catholicism’s holiest sites, Saint Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City are a must-see for visitors to Rome.

Tourists can also explore the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums, Grottos and Gardens, and Saint Paul’s Basilica which is situated just outside Vatican City’s walls.

Annual visitor numbers: 10 million

Suggested itinerary: our Classical Italy tour

  1. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, France

The town of Lourdes gained religious notoriety in 1858 when a young local girl repeatedly witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary in a grotto. Pilgrims subsequently began visiting the town to bathe in the grotto’s spring, due to the reported healing properties of the water.

Annual visitor numbers: 6 million

Suggested itinerary: our 9-day Pilgrim Tour of Portugal, Spain & France

  1. Sanctuary of Fátima, Portugal

The Fátima complex – consisting of basilicas, chapels, monuments and other shrine-like structures – developed at the site where the Virgin Mary appeared in succession to three peasant children in 1917 and has since become one of the most important sites of Catholic pilgrimage.

Annual visitor numbers: 5 million

Suggested itinerary: our 9-day Pilgrim Tour of Portugal, Spain & France

  1. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

Despite still being under construction, the UNESCO site is one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. Once complete, the spires of the Gaudí-designed art nouveau and gothic basilica will make it the tallest church in the world.

Annual visitor numbers: 4.5 million

Suggested itinerary: our Barcelona City Break

  1. Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, UK

A cathedral has stood in this location for more than 1,400 years, however, the original Saint Paul’s was destroyed by the Great Fire of London. The current cathedral was completed in 1710 and its dome has become an iconic feature of London’s skyline.

Annual visitor numbers: 1.7 million

Suggested itinerary: our Christmas in London itinerary

  1. Cologne Cathedral, Germany

Once Europe’s tallest cathedral, the impressive Gothic architecture and panoramic views over Cologne make this UNESCO World Heritage site a must-see.

Annual visitor numbers: 6 million

Suggested itinerary: our Romantic Germany tour

  1. Great or Central Synagogue, Budapest, Hungary

The Great Synagogue – also known as Dohány Street Synagogue – seats 3,000 people, making it the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world.

Visitors to the complex can also view the Hungarian Jewish Museum, the Heroes’ Temple, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Jewish Cemetery – a burial site for those who died during World War II.

Please get in touch to speak to one of our European travel experts about a tailor-made itinerary for your clients.


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