Religious Tours

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Traveling to holy sites can be an incredibly moving experience. From beautiful cathedrals in Italy to majestic temples in India, the world is filled with holy places that are important to the religions of the world. Taking a religious trip is an excellent way of making sure that you’re able to experience religious sites in all their glory, absorbing their history and significance, and taking time for both sightseeing and contemplation.

Whether you are traveling because you have a personal religious connection to your destination, or because you are interested in the historical and cultural impact of these sites, the world is full of moving, religiously-significant experiences. You may even be surprised by the opportunities available to travel and learn about the great religions of the world.

Italy and the Vatican

The Vatican is the seat of the global Catholic Church, and it’s an essential place to visit for devout Catholics and Christians of all denominations. Outside of the Vatican, Italy feature some of the most incredible churches and reliquaries in all of Europe. A religious tour of Italy can show you the highlights of the major religious sites, as well as the treasures of art history that reside in the country’s many churches and museums. The Vatican is also a popular destination for travelers of all faiths due to the stunning architecture and museums which house some of the world's most well-known artworks, like the Sistine Chapel.

Israel

Israel is filled with sites that are holy to three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. From Bethlehem to Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, taking a religious tour of Israel (self-guided or in a group) will bring you a wealth of information about the history and significance of the different holy sites. In addition, tours guarantee an ease of transportation between holy sites that could be difficult to achieve on your own.

India

India is a huge country, and it features numerous holy sites important to Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and Buddhists. A religious tour of India can help you navigate the sites that are most important to your faith while also helping you learn about the country’s rich and complex religious history.

Spain

The Camino de Santiago in Spain is one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic Catholic pilgrimage routes—so much so that the entire route is recognized by UNESCO for its importance for cultural heritage. Typically, people hike or bicycle for most of the route. The great advantage of taking a religious tour for this route is that, in addition to providing you with a wealth of local and historical information, a guide can arrange for your bags travel ahead by car to your stopping point for the evening, so that you don’t have to carry all your gear along the trail.

It's worth noting that there are markers across Europe which indicate a network of pilgrimage routes that originally comprised the Camino de Santiago. You can find these markers across France and Germany.

Japan

Japan features numerous Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, as well as incredible Buddhist pilgrimage routes. Taking a religious tour through Japan can help you make the most of these beautiful sites. Some walking tours give you the opportunity to hike between major pilgrimage sites, and many tours also offer the opportunity to stay in Buddhist temples and experience the monastic life for a few days.

What to Look for in a Religious Tour

When planning a religious trip, as with any organized tour, you should start by looking at the itinerary and make sure that it incorporates the religious sites or monuments that are most important to you. You should also look for a tour that has an established track record and knowledgeable guides.

If you’re planning on taking a walking tour or pilgrimage, you may wish to look for a tour that gives the option of sending your bags on a courtesy shuttle, so that you’re only walking with a day pack rather than with all of your gear.

Average Religious Trip Length & Cost

Most organized religious trips are about a week in duration, though you can also find shorter trips as well as multiweek tours. Pricing can vary quite a bit based on the destination and the length of the trip, but on average you should expect to spend $1,000-$2,000 for a one week tour.

Packing Tips & Gear Rental

The main thing to keep in mind when packing for a religious tour is that many holy sites have strict dress codes. Check with your tour operator ahead of time for the specifics of the sites that you’ll be visiting, but in general you should expect to cover shoulders, knees, and everything between. Some sites require arms and legs to be completely covered, and some require head coverings, so make sure that you pack options for whatever your holy sites require.

If you’re planning on a walking trip, you should invest in a good pair of broken-in hiking boots and a comfortable day pack to carry snacks, spare socks, and a bottle of water while you hike.

Other Tips

As with any other type of travel, make sure when preparing for a religious trip that you check the visa and immunization requirements for your destination. For religious tours in particular, you may also wish to brush up on the local etiquette, both for religious sites and activities and for day-to-day life.

Qualifications & Training

You don’t need any particular qualifications or training to take a religious trip. That said, a basic knowledge of and sensitivity toward the religion whose holy sites you’re visiting is a good foundation, particularly if you’re visiting holy sites of a religion not your own. For example, if you’re planning on visiting Shinto shrines while in Japan but don’t yet know anything about Shintoism, it’s a good idea to do a bit of advance reading and make sure that you know the dress code and etiquette for visiting the sites.

If you’re planning on taking a walking tour of religious sites, you may wish to do some physical training ahead of time to prepare. Check with your tour operator to determine the intensity of the walks/ hikes, and what level of physical fitness is needed.

Activity Risks

For walking tours of religious sites, the risks are the same as for any hiking vacation. Blisters, sunburn, and insect bites can be common annoyances on most trails, and there are always the minor risks of slips and falls on rocky or uneven terrain.

Safety Tips

You may wish to bring basic first-aid supplies with you on a walking trip, particularly if your religious tour is self-guided. Otherwise, following the instructions of your guide, practicing basic etiquette, and being mindful of your surroundings are pretty much the only safety tips you’ll need.

Showing 17 Programs

Israel

Encounters Travel
This 8-day trip through Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is the perfect Holy Land tour for faithful travelers...

Greece

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Pilgrim Tours
Are you ready to embark on a journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history? Join others in fulfilling the d...

Germany

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Dancing Spirit Tours
If you are called, come… The veils are thin in Bavaria and Austria; it feels like you are entering into a long forgotten, mag...

United States of America

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Pilgrim Tours
Year-round for groups of 20 or more.

Israel

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Pilgrim Tours
Tour Packages for the Protestant Evangelical. Prepare yourself for a life changing journey to the Holy Land. Walk where Jesus...

France

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Dancing Spirit Tours
Journey with us to Mystical France, where legends of Mary Magdalene, Joan of Arc, Knights Templar, The Holy Grail, Black Mado...

Egypt

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Pilgrim Tours
Are you ready to travel to the land of the Pharaohs, Jacob, Joseph, and Israel during the famine? Look no further. Each of ou...

Italy

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Pilgrim Tours
Are you ready to explore the history and modern day marvels of Italy? Join others in seeing sites of significant church histo...

Peru

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Outer Travels Inner Journeys
The Peru Pilgrimage tour is perfect if you’re looking to see the main highlights of Peru but don’t have bags of time. This on...

United Kingdom

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Pilgrim Tours
Enjoy the friendship and encouragement that you gain when traveling with people of like mind and faith.

India

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Pilgrim Tours
Join David and Wanda Nyce on a first class exotic tour package with an optional ministry time. The tour includes special comm...

Czech Republic

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Pilgrim Tours
This fascinating journey takes you along one of the most beautiful stretches of the Danube right in the heart of the once bri...

Turkey

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Pilgrim Tours
Prepare yourself for a journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history. Join others in fulfilling the dream o...

Ireland

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Pilgrim Tours
Enjoy the friendship and encouragement that you gain when traveling with people of like mind and faith.

United States of America

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Pilgrim Tours
Featuring Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Anchorage Seven Day, Six Night Escorted Tour.