Catholic tours are an alternative to the pilgrimages of old, updating the age-old journey for the modern traveler. These tours could be as simple as visits to places rich in religious culture, or they could be elaborate spiritual retreats.
There are various sites around the world that are perfect for such a trip, given the number of saints, popes and religiously significant historical events in the Catholic faith. There are some tour sites more popular than others, the most famous being the Holy Land itself. Usually, the other popular sites for pilgrims to visit are the sites of Marian apparitions such as Lourdes, France and Fatima, Portugal.
Lourdes, France is well-known not only for the appearance of Mary to Bernadette Soubirous, but also for the celebrated “Lourdes Water”. Found at the spring revealed by the apparition, the water is known the world over for its curative properties which draw thousands of pilgrims. Aside from the famous grotto, travelers may visit the Rosary Basilica, adorned with its Neo-Byzantine architecture.
In Portugal, the site of the Marian apparition to three siblings in 1917 is also home to the fourth largest Catholic church in the world: the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. As a site to one of the most notable appearances of the Virgin Mary, pilgrims constantly make the journey to Fatima to pray at the shrine.
With the right guidance, Catholic tours can be very enlightening and uplifting. Nonetheless, these travels are best experienced with an open heart and mind.