Closer to God

Some say that religion is a thing of the past, a set of beliefs and dogmas acknowledging a divine being that have no place in the modern world. Nevertheless, more and more people enjoy visiting spiritual centres, following in the footsteps of mystics, viewing works of sacred art or celebrating ritual feasts. Are you one of them? Well, you’re in luck! Religious tourism in the regions of Barcelona offers a whole host of enriching experiences.

Sacred places

The regions of Barcelona are home to a vast array of sacred places. Scattered across the province, you can find cathedrals, churches, monasteries, sanctuaries, shrines, convents and chapels that over time have become very important places of worship. Examples include the Abbey of Santa Maria of Montserrat, considered the most important spiritual and cultural centre in Catalonia, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Queralt and the cave in Manresa where Saint Ignatius of Loyola composed his famous spiritual exercises.

Pilgrimage routes

There is in fact a pilgrimage route dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the order of the Jesuits. Following in his footsteps, it takes you from his home town of Loyola to Manresa. But this is not the only spiritually powerful route! The Catalan stretch of the Way of Saint James has recently been restored, which in the regions of Barcelona consists of 9 stages. Meanwhile, the Camí dels Bons Homes (Route of the Cathars) in Berguedà follows the route along which the Occitan Cathars fled in order to be able to continue to practice their gnostic Christianity.

Sacred art

Another way of enjoying religious tourism is to visit museums that house collections of sacred art. If you’re keen on this kind of art, one of the must-see attractions in the area is the Episcopal Museum of Vic, home to masterpieces of religious painting and sculpture, especially from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Make sure you pay a visit to Montserrat Museum as well: you’ll be amazed by the artistic and archaeological heritage of the Benedictine abbey!

Feasts, shows and rituals

There’s a packed religious calendar in the regions of Barcelona, especially over Christmas and Easter. The theatrical performances of the Passion of Christ in Olesa and Esparreguera, the floral carpets of the Feast of Corpus Christi in Sitges and La Garriga, La Patum de Berga, the Pastorets (Little Shepherds) theatrical performances in Calaf and L’Ametlla de Merola, and the living nativity scenes of Prats de Rei and Corbera are just some of the highlights of a long list of unique celebrations.

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