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Divine Inspiration

Europe holds many impressive cathedrals, synagogues and mosques. These houses of worship hold important cultural, historic and religious significance. Many of these great buildings took centuries to build with ornate design and unique architecture.

 

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is home to beautiful stained glass windows along with other unique features
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is home to beautiful stained glass windows along with other unique features

 

Roman Catholics flock to Rome to see the seat of the Church. Catholic pilgrims and tourists come from across the globe to see the tombs of St. Peter and Saint John Paul the Great. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Pieta. For another Michelangelo masterpiece, visit the Sistine Chapel to see The Last Judgment above the altar. Don’t miss a papal blessing in St. Peter’s Square, weather permitting. Another Catholic heritage site is still under construction. La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain, is a modern marvel, thanks to the vision of the famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. Although parts of the outside of the church remain unfinished, visit the surreal nave inside with pillars inspired by tree trunks and view the completed façade scenes.

 

The grand exterior of the Great Synagogue in Budapest is matched only by its majestic sanctuary
The grand exterior of the Great Synagogue in Budapest is matched only by its majestic sanctuary

 

Westminster is the heart of the British Empire housing both Parliament and a famous church, Westminster Abbey. This monumental building is the home to various Royal ceremonies. See where William and Kate were married, where Elizabeth was crowned and where many famous Brits are buried. From the 10th-century monks to the Choir of Westminster Abbey, music is an important part of the church’s history. Check the schedule to catch an Evensong service when you visit.

 

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, was once a great cathedral. Today, it is one of the most famous mosques. To enter, tourists are asked to slip off their shoes and women are asked to borrow a headscarf. Marvel at the Byzantine and Ottoman design blending together to create one of the most unique religious monuments in the world.

 

The legendary Hagia Sophia continues to be one of Turkey’s most popular destinations amongst locals and tourists

 

Santa Maria La Blanca is the oldest synagogue in Europe. Moorish architects in Toledo, Spain, built the synagogue for Jews. The Christians took over the synagogue and renamed it Santa Maria La Blanca. Today, the building is a museum of architecture and Jewish culture in the city of the three cultures. In Budapest, Hungary, the Great Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe.

Orthodox churches populate the country of Latvia including the St. Nicholas Maritime Cathedral, the Riga St. Trinity-Sergiev Nunnery, and the Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral, to name a few. More awe-inspiring churches include Bulgaria’s Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, which was founded in 1083. Walk among the monastery’s courtyard and feast your eyes on a Paradise apple tree and a Chinese fir for a spiritual experience unlike any other.

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Mountains of Fun

The snow-white scenery of the Dolomites is an ideal destination for those who love skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, climbing, snowshoeing and trekking. Internationally famous for its ski resorts, it’s a magic realm offering numerous slopes in one track for hundreds of kilometers while being surrounded by magnificent heights and enchanting landscapes. There are so many sports to practice on Mount Rosa and its valleys; the three valleys of Ayas, Gressoney and Valsesia have some of Italy’s biggest ski resorts.

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Best European Summer Getaways

If you’re looking to spend your summer vacation in Europe, look no further. The weather in and around the Mediterranean and the Iberian Peninsula is perfect in summer; it’s just warm enough to remind you what season it is without roasting you. The Douro valley in Portugal is famous for its wines, and what better time to sample it than summer? Mild temperatures make for ideal for sipping outside or on a cruise ship. Port wine was once shipped on the Douro River, from the steep wine valleys inland, to Porto. Difficult to navigate in the past, the river is now a smooth ride for cruise boats that offer breathtaking views of the Douro Valley, topped with visits to regional monuments, folk music and, of course, wine.

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Catch Some Waves, Sun and Sand

Searching for the perfect beach can be a difficult task, especially in an area you are not familiar with. However, in Europe, you’ll know you’ve found the ideal surf and sand thanks to an iconic marker – a blue flag. Europe’s Blue Flag Beaches meet strict standards for water quality, safety and eco-friendliness, making them the ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and playing. Luckily for travelers, there are over 4,000 beaches that have achieved Blue Flag status in the world – and Europe has a large majority of them.