Rome is the Eternal City, the center of the Christian world, home to the Popes, and the place where many early Christians were martyred.
Top tips: For something different, do some window shopping at Gammerelli’s, the papal tailor! Via S. Chiara, 34.
What You Should Know: Westminster Cathedral has a copy of the bronze statue of St Peter whose foot pilgrims have traditionally rubbed on their journey. The Archbishop’s throne is also a copy of the one in St John Lateran, one of the major basilica
The Holy Land and Jerusalem
Truly on the bucket list of every Christian, to walk in the steps of Jesus is an unforgettable experience.
Top Tips: Remember to dress suitably due to the many religions co-existing in the city. To show respect both women and men must be prepared to cover/uncover their heads (hat or a headscarf) and legs (long skirts or trousers) at some sites.
What You Should Know: The Dead Sea is, in fact, a lake with a content of salt almost ten times as much as seawater, making it hard for living things to survive in it. It was one of the world’s first health resorts in the reign of Herod the Great, and its salt is popular in modern cosmetic
Fatima is the site of the important Marian apparitions, approved by the Catholic Church. The recent popes have all shown great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
Top Tips: Fatima is easily accessible by bus from Lisbon, so not hard to get to.
What You Should Know: 2017 was the 100 year centenary of the first apparitions.
Santiago de Compostela
pilgrims can still walk the way from France to Santiago to venerate the relics of St James the Apostle.
Top Tips: Take some safety pins to pin wet washing to your rucksack so it dries during the walk. Don’t forget your blister plasters.
What You Should Know: The Santiago de Compostela Botafumeiro is one of the largest centers in the world, weighing 80 kg and measuring 1.60 m in height! It makes a lot of smoke.
This is a place of healing for over a century. Catholics visit this place to seek healing for themselves, family and friends.
Top Tips: don’t stay in the Grotto after midnight, or you will get locked in and have to stay all night!
What You Should Know: Around 8 million people a year visit Lourdes.
Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times, Our Lady of Walsingham is one of the patrons of England.
Top Tips: Norfolk is a beautiful county, so while you are there, why not visit a lavender farm, the sea at Cromer or Norwich Cathedral?
What You Should Know: The Slipper Chapel in Walsingham is so-called because “it was the last station where pilgrims stopped to remove their shoes before walking barefoot along the “Holy Mile” to the shrine.” Stated David Baldwin in Why Pilgrimage?, CTS 2016.
In 1879 several witnesses watched the Apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated, not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision. Subsequently Knock has become one of the most major pilgrimage sites in Europe.
Top Tips: The tradition of collecting holy water is still strongly practiced as many pilgrims like to bring the Holy Water home with them or pass it on to a loved one.
What You Should Know: There are more than 80 confession booths at Knock. The apparition was in total silence and silence is powerful in reigniting spirituality, which is why there is a need for so many confessionals and strong confessors.
Go to explore and marvel in the spread of Christianity in the British Isles. St Cuthbert was the inspiration behind the Lindisfarne Gospels, which you can see in the British Library, London.
Top Tips: While you are the North East, why not visit Durham Cathedral, where you can venerate the relics of St Bede.
What You Should Know: St Cuthbert is associated with Eider ducks, known in Northumberland as Cuddy’s ducks and, as a colony nest on the Farne Islands, where Cuthbert had his hermitage.
Avila is a place connected with two great saints, Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. There have been many other saints who have lived there and passed through.
Top Tips: The festival Fiestas de Santa Teresa takes place in October. While you are there, why not try the local specialty, Yemas de Santa Teresa, named after the saint.
What You Should Know: St Teresa planted a walnut tree that still flourishes and booms with its nut fruit!
Poland is an easy-to-reach destination for pilgrims in the UK, full of beautiful churches, historic town centers and tasty food, and birthplace of St John Paul II and Częstochowa, Poland’s biggest pilgrimage site.
Top Tips: Learn a few words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – a little goes a long way.
What You Should Know: Whilst in Krakow, you can also visit the salt mines at where people built chapels out of the salt.