Whether you’re looking for a step back in history, just looking for sightseeing pleasure, needing to find spiritual enrichment or all of the above, you can visit these Christian destinations for a different type of vacation.
If you love big old antique buildings and have a particular penchant for churches and their history, visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is a must. Located in the heart of Zaragoza (Saragossa), Spain, it is the shrine built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary for her miraculous appearance to the apostle St. James, while he was praying on the banks of the Ebro River. This minor basilica is one of the two major cathedrals in Zaragoza and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world.
There are exquisite artworks throughout the inside and around the church, including the Cupola Fresco by the legendary Spanish artist Goya. But of course, the most famous attraction is the statue of Our Lady of Pillar. There is an opening just at the back of the statue where pilgrims are permitted to kiss it.
When you think of Orlando, you think of Disneyland which is a secular theme park. But it is also in Orlando where you can find the more spiritual “Disneyland” — the Holy Land Experience, a Christian theme park opened in 2001.
There are several exhibits and attractions in the park, including the WordSpring Discovery Center where you can explore the history of the Bible, the Calvary’s Garden Tomb which is a replica of Jesus’ resting place, and a Living Word Prayer Garden where you can rest, pray and reflect. There’s the Oasis Palms Cafe which reminds you a bit of old Israel. Shop at the Biblical-themed marketplace where you can interact with the staff who act and dress like ancient Middle Eastern street merchants. Tourists are able to re-enact the last supper with Jesus Christ and the apostles at the Last Supper Communion. There are a lot of things you can do at the Holy Land Experience, where it provides not only fun but also (and most importantly) spiritual enlightenment to its visitors.
For those on the lookout for great but affordable vacation packages, going on a Christian cruise will be a possible option for you. Since most cruises are all-inclusive, it takes the burden off you in terms of packing and choosing travel destinations and adds diversity to your traveling experience.
Aside from the usual cruise activities, a Christian cruise will include conventions, inspirational speakers, and other forms of entertainment which are designed to inspire you spiritually. It’s your choice whether you want to see the stunning ice-capped mountains and floating icebergs while cruising to Alaska, or turquoise sea waters and sunshine in the Caribbean. You enjoy all those beautiful tourist spots plus you get this great chance to re-assess your spiritual side.
You can choose any one of these types of Christian cruises: singles, couples, family, senior and retreat cruises.
Discover the lives of the key figures of the European Reformation which gave birth to Protestantism. Discover the life of Martin Luther as you visit his birthplace, the monastery where he discovered the revelation about the gospel and his eventual critical view of the Catholic Church, and where he also nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door. Take a tour of the castle where Luther did a laborious translation of the New Testament into German. Also, visit the university which Luther and his family made; it now functions as a museum dedicated to his honor.
Learn about the Scottish, French, and Swiss Reformers who also helped spread the Reformation throughout Europe. A tour to John Calvin’s church in Geneva, Switzerland will make the highlight of your European Reformation trip. A travel agent can help you plan your itinerary or you may choose the locations you would like to visit.
If you’re really into Christian history, you definitely won’t want to miss booking a trip to the town of Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity is one of the major pilgrimage sites for Christians because it is the place where Jesus Christ was born, as tradition has established. This is one of the oldest existing churches in the world, having been built during the time of Constantine.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal is reputed to be one of the most famous shrines for any Marian devotee. Every year, about four million pilgrims and tourists visit the shrine, whose origins began when three local shepherd’s children were visited by the apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
You will be amazed by the basilica’s wide open plaza, its grand white building which was built in the Neo-Baroque style. The church itself is flanked by the huge colonnades. You will also discover the 15 alters (dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the rosary), tombs of two of the three children who witnessed the apparition of Mary (they died young), visit the open-air Chapel of Apparitions, and even get to see the part of the torn-down Berlin Wall.
Located in La Salette-Fallavaux, a small town in France, the Sanctuary of our Lady of La Salette originated from an event where two children witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1846. This shrine, built in 1852, is located in a high alpine pasture with an altitude of 6,000 feet, so it’s a plus if you like hiking in high places. Fortunately, the place is accessible by several vehicles and can be reached by a network of walking trails. Once you’re in the basilica, you will be met by a rather austere-looking church. Another walking path will lead you to the site where the apparition took place.
Fans of C.S. Lewis and his works won’t pass up the chance of a lifetime to explore the hometown of the famed Irish-British author and poet in Oxford, England. Tour around Oxford, Cambridge, as well as London. You may even want to sign up for the summer seminar of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. C.S. Lewis is known for his spirituality as evidenced by many of his works, so in this program, you will have the chance to explore intellectual and creative opportunities to expand your learning horizons and experience, while absorbing a cultural and spiritual adventure.
One of the surviving remains of ancient Greece, the Ruins of the Temple of Apollo lies 48 miles west of the Greek capital of Athens. This city played a significant role in the Apostle Paul’s missionary work during the 1st century A.D. where he also converted many Jews and pagans to Christianity as well as built a church there. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, which he wrote in Ephesus, depicted his struggles in maintaining a Christian life in Corinth, a worldly city. The Temple of Apollo itself is surely worthy to be seen, bearing witness to history and spirituality.
The Short-Term Mission Trip will surely make a strong impact on your spiritual quest. This particular adventure will most certainly change your life as no other spiritual adventure can. Spend your time, wealth, as well as skills, talents, and gifts to reach those not as fortunate. Connect with other people of different cultures and backgrounds and form friendships that will likely last a lifetime – or into eternity. Taking a Short-Term Mission Trip will make you as one of God’s good instruments.
A major basilica in Vatican City, the heart of Rome, Italy, St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world and the most visited Christian (Catholic) pilgrimage site. The spot where the church currently stands is where St. Peter the Apostle met his martyrdom and was buried, as tradition dictates. St. Peter is considered by many Catholics as the first pope. The basilica itself was founded during Constantine’s reign, and it was rebuilt during the Renaissance period with the famed works from Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Renaissance architect Donato Bramate.
Art lovers, in particular, will find a paradise particularly inside the basilica’s vast plaza and interiors. You can find various artworks there such as Bernini’s Baldacchino, the sculptures (most famous is the Pieta), the dome mosaics by Michelangelo, and many others.
St. Peter’s tomb is situated beneath the main altar, and there are also many other popes who are interred in the basilica as well.
The Dome of the Rock was built in 691 AD and considered one of the oldest examples of Islamic architecture. Located in the old city of Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is not a mosque as some believe, but an Islamic shrine. It was built from a sacred stone or rock, similar to the Ka’aba in Mecca. You can’t help being amazed by the intricately-painted tiles, the cupola, columns, and ceilings.
The Dome’s significance comes from the sacred rock, which is venerated by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. Be aware, however, before planning a trip as the Dome of the Rock is only open to non-Muslims during specific times.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is another important pilgrimage site in Jerusalem, Israel. It was built in the 4th century AD. The church is revered by Christians as the traditional site of Golgotha (Calvary), where Jesus Christ was crucified, and of the sepulcher itself where he was buried. As you visit the church, you will find yourself being absorbed in ancient Christian history. At the same time, a visit to the traditional spot where Christ died for our sins will help strengthen your faith like the faith that the ancient Christians tenaciously upheld.