Traveling is a beautiful way to expand our horizons and marvel at Creation. While we can find spiritual abundance right at home, there is a different level of awe and gratefulness when we encounter cities and natural wonders we have not seen before. So if you are planning a holiday trip, whether as a solo traveler or with your family, consider these destinations that could make you exclaim, "God is amazing!"
Of course, no Christian pilgrimage list would be complete without mentioning the center of Roman Catholicism. Even non-Catholics are in awe of the wealth of art, architecture, and knowledge that are preserved in the Vatican. From the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel to the marble sculptures in Saint Peter's Square, there is no shortage of beautiful details here.
The region around Israel, Jordan, and Palestine is also a top pilgrimage recommendation due to its key role in the Bible. When visiting this region, make sure to make stops at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and the city of Jerusalem.
The natural wonders of Iceland are often described as "otherworldly". Camp under the stars to witness the astounding and humbling aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. Explore its black-sand southern beaches, where you can find naturally-occurring basalt columns. And after a day of trekking, you can relax in its geothermal springs or find beautiful solitude among its vast landscapes, waterfalls, and fjords.
If you would like a more social experience grounded on faith, a Christian music festival may be right for you. Apart from the main sets featuring quality Christian artists, these music fests also typically include other activities such as worship service, sports, and charity. The Creation Festival is dubbed as the largest of this kind in the US, but there are many others that may be closer to your area.
Why include a prestigious university town in this list? It's because this is the hometown of beloved Christian author, C. S. Lewis. As such, Oxford has plenty to offer to any intellectual Christian -- from educational programs to one-man shows. But if your goal is less studying and more sightseeing, this place is still a dream, with its historic castles, lovely gardens, and all-around cultured atmosphere.
Meteora is an area in Greece where massive natural rock cliffs are topped by Greek Orthodox monasteries. There are currently six active monasteries in the area, and each one has a spectacular view of the surrounding topography. But beyond being a sightseeing attraction, each monastery provides a solemn refuge and a place for quiet reflection. Even the uphill hike there could be a test of faith!
Nature, history, and art come together in these chapels in the Göreme district of Turkey. Each 'church' was carved out of soft volcanic rock by settlers in the 4th century, and then adorned with Eastern Orthodox Christian art in the Byzantine era. After visiting these churches, you can then explore the surrounding region of Cappadocia, famous for its unusual rock topography and colorful hot-air balloon rides.
Aren't these places just amazing? Which of these are on your bucket list? You might find more travel ideas in our roundup of the world's most beautiful churches -- check it out!
Happy reading and godspeed on your travels!
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