Ruta Mariana - Shrines of the Pyrenees and beaches of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea

Our group began the pilgrimage at one of the most famous shrines in the world in the town of Lourdes, located at the foot of the majestic High Pyrenees on the picturesque French side. After visiting the sanctuary and the town, the group took part in a spiritual evening procession of light with torches.


The next day, we headed towards the Principality of Andorra in the heart of the Pyrenees. On the way, we drove through some postcard-perfect villages of this region, and passed by the castle in Foix, whose lords once ruled the country of Andorra. We spent the evening in a lovely high-mountain resort.


After breakfast, we drove from the scenic town to the capital of the Principality of Andorra. The historic sites of downtown Andorra la Vella, included the former parliament house and Romanic architecture from XI-XII centuries, a panoramic tour through the green Andorran valleys and the beautiful mountain villages built from stone and wood. We also visited the Sanctuary of Meritxell – the national Andorran shrine, which is part of the Ruta Mariana – The Marian Route.


After duty free shopping, we left Andorra to discover another Marian Sanctuary, beautifully located on a lakeside rock in Torreciudad, Aragon. We spend the night in the capital of the Aragón Region, the picturesque Zaragoza, with the famous Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. We dined on a very tasty, traditional dish of this region: ternasco (young lamb). After buying some souvenirs and local Aragon fruit delicacies, we crossed the Castile border.


For the next few days, our route went along the French Road, the most important of several trails of St. Jacob, which connects the whole Europe since the Middle Ages to the burial place of St. Jacob – Santiago de Compostela.


In Burgos we had the chance to see the amazing Gothic cathedral and stroll through the streets of the city - in the footsteps of the heroic Cyd.


The next day took us to the medieval city of Leon, which we toured with our guide. In addition to the Cathedral (as beautiful and as Gothic as the one in Burgos), the participants had the chance to visit one of the dozens of original bars of the old town to try Castilian wine and Spanish delicacies.


The next step of our pilgrimage tour was the region of Galicia. On the way to A Coruña, we enjoyed the heather landscapes and we tried typical chestnut biscuits. Upon arrival in the city located on the Atlantic Ocean, we visited the beautiful city beach, the oldest still active lighthouse in the world, and the charming streets of the downtown.


The next day, after leaving A Coruña, we headed towards one of the most important pilgrimage centers – Santiago de Compostela. During our stay we thoroughly explored the squares and narrow streets of the granite city. We saw the world's most famous incense in the cathedral, and we travelled to the nearby Death Coast, which features granite rocks, green cliffs, white lighthouses, small cottages and landscapes full of yellow bushes. We relaxed with a pleasant swim in the ocean.


But we could not leave this area without visiting the Portuguese sanctuary in Fatima. In the neighboring town of Aljustrel we learned the history of the apparitions, and in Fatima we had the opportunity to participate in a unique evening service.


The following day, after buying local delicacies and souvenirs, accompanied by numerous cork oaks, we left Portugal to reach Spain's capital, the royal Madrid. After visiting the historic and monumental city-center and the Real Madrid stadium, we had a delicious dinner and the opportunity to try Pacharan, the well-known Spanish blueberry liqueur.


After a night in cosmopolitan Madrid, we left the city in the early morning heading towards the Mediterranean Sea. Of course we could not miss, a visit to the last shrine, the Montserrat with la Moreneta.


The final destination of our journey was a picturesque medieval town on the coast, of the Mediterranean Sea, where we spent some few relaxing days.

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