Sacred places have been drawing pilgrims since the dawn of time. And Your vacation, or part of your vacation, can include opportunities for inspiration and spiritual growth as well as dramatic photographs.

6 Sacred Places |

We have all heard of Mecca and its spiritual importance to Islam. Assisi, Italy, draws Christians because of its importance in St. Francis’s message of peace. Many sacred places are not bound by the beliefs of a particular religion but appeal to a longing for the sacred many of us share.

So whether you prefer a faith based tour, or something more esoteric, you should consider experiencing these sacred places in your travels. Here are 6 lesser known destinations you’ll want to add to your list:

Benares, India

Benares has been at the heart of an unbroken spiritual tradition for more than three thousand years. The death rituals along the Ganges give visitors a new perspective. Mourning is considered bad luck for the dead. So the funeral rites are joyous with pipers and drummers, dancing and chanting around flower-covered biers. As the riverbank is crowded and chaotic, it is best viewed from a boat. Best times to visit are October and November for the Ramilla Festival and the Durga Goddess Festival.

Glastonbury, England

Home to the Druids, Glastonbury has drawn people for centuries and inspired countless tales. It is hailed as “The epicenter of the New Age in England.” The 14th Century Tor and ruined Abbey rise from a flat plain on the outskirts of town. The annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury is in late June or early July and offers prayers, silent devotion, and even healings. Non-Christian celebrations include the summer and winter solstices and the May 1st spring festival of Beltane.

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Once the economic, spiritual, and political center of the Anasazi culture, a thriving city of 6,000 called Chaco Canyon home. The natural beauty of the area is also replete with historical ruins. Together, they create a space for spiritual reflection, growth, and healing. The area is remote. But one of the USA’s newest national parks runs along 12 miles of the canyon. Spring and fall are best times to visit. Winters are harsh.

Chartes Cathedral, France

A destination for sacred pilgrimages for over 2,000 years. In ancient times, a stone dolmen marked the point where they believed invigorating energy flowed from earth. Home to both Druidic and Christian traditions, this area plays deeply into local lore. The Cathedral’s interior proportions and symbolism are reputedly so powerful they can realign your spine. A labyrinth in the nave’s center represents a pilgrim’s path to salvation. If you are drawn to the cathedral’s Christian heritage, the festivals of the Virgin, March 25 and August 15, are prime times to visit. For a more cosmic experience, visit on Midsummer Day.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Formed after a massive eruption 8,000 years ago and plunging nearly 2,000 feet underground, Crater lake is the deepest lake in the United States. The site is sacred to the Native American Klamath Tribe. And historians believe the Klamath people may have witnessed the volcanic eruption that formed the lake. The lake continues to be a site for vision quests and is part of Crater Lake National Park.

Sedona, Arizona

So much more than its red-rock beauty. Sedona is known for its vortexes, powerful centers of kinetic energy. If you’re into mysticism, spirituality, metaphysics, or healing, Sedona is a must. Many visitors report feeling “recharged.” And some even report having visions. The vortex in Boynton Canyon is the most popular. However, the other three are an easy walk or hike from the city.  The ancient Native American Yavapais celebrated this energy with petroglyph paintings and sacred dwellings.

Let us know if we can make your pilgrimage to one of these sacred places (or another) a reality!