The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is a religious temple located in the Barri de La Ribera, in the historic center of Barcelona. In addition, it’s one of the best-known basilicas in the Catalan capital, after the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. Built between 1329 and 1384, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the Catalonia region. And if you think the main façade is impressive, wait until you see the grandeur of its interior!
The Convent of Christ in Tomar was one of the first Portuguese monuments declared World Heritage. Founded by the Templars as a symbol of the Reconquista, its construction began in 1160 and lasted more than 500 years! As a result, the Convent of Christ incorporated different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque. With the extinction of the Order of Solomon’s Temple, the castle was handed over to the Order of Christ, adopting its current name!
The Jerónimos Monastery (in Portuguese, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), officially the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém, is a Manueline-style monument that was built by King Manuel I. Situated in Belém, one of the most touristy areas of Lisbon, it’s the most visited cultural space in Portugal. The Jerónimos Monastery was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983 and declared one of the “7 Wonders of Portugal” in 2007. In addition, it gained the status of National Pantheon in 2016!
The Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart (in Catalan, Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor) is a minor basilica located in the Tibidabo mountain, a few kilometers from the center of Barcelona. Constructed in the first half of the 20th century, the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart combines elements of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Romanesque, and Neo-Byzantine architecture. And despite being designed by the Catalan architect Enric Sagnier, this Catholic church was completed by his son Josep Maria Sagnier!
The Pantheon in Rome was designed by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa between 25 and 27 BC, as a temple dedicated to the main gods of Roman mythology. And, since then, it has become one of the most important symbols of the city. Rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD, the Pantheon is the best-preserved monument in Ancient Rome. Unlike current archaeological sites such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, or the Imperial Forums, the Pantheon in Rome has remained almost intact over time!
The Convent of the Capuchos is one of the least visited monuments in the Cultural Landscape of Sintra because it’s not served by public transportation. But if you prefer to discover places with few people, then you really need to explore this former Franciscan convent! Built with low environmental impact and in perfect harmony with the green landscape that surrounds it, the Convent of the Capuchos is the ideal place for outdoor lovers. In fact, it looks like it was sculpted by Mother Nature!
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Peneda is located in Arcos de Valdevez, in the heart of the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was built in the 18th and 19th centuries, inspired by the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, in Braga. If you’re thinking of visiting Portugal’s only national park in the near future, I think you should add the Sanctuary of Peneda to your travel itinerary. After all, its bucolic location in the middle of the mountains makes it a unique sanctuary!
Saint Peter’s Basilica is the largest and most important church in the Catholic religion. Located in Vatican City State (or Holy See, the seat of the Catholic Church), it’s one of the main pilgrimage centers in the world. Besides, it was built between the 16th and 17th centuries in the monumental Saint Peter’s Square and had the collaboration of some of the most renowned artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, such as Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Raffaello Sanzio, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini!
The Sanctuary of Fátima emerged from the request made by Our Lady of the Rosary to the Three Little Shepherds, on the apparition of October 13th, 1917. What started as a small chapel in honor of the Virgin Mary, became a national sanctuary and the most important pilgrimage site in Portugal, with millions of visitors every year! Despite being a religious destination, the Sanctuary of Fátima is the perfect place for a day trip from Lisbon, due to the beautiful architecture of its many monuments!
The Sacré-Coeur Basilica is one of the most visited monuments in Paris, with over 11 million annual visitors. Located in the Montmartre district, it was projected by Paul Abadie and its construction took place between 1875 and 1914. But did you know that the Catholic temple symbolizes a national penance in response to France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War? The French believed that their misfortune had spiritual causes and concluded that only a megalomaniac work could save them!