The Churches in Europe Wish You Were Here

With Easter Sunday just days away, I am reminded of all of the houses of worship I have seen. In Europe, one church after another starts to blend together, especially if you are on some whirlwind tour. Regardless, these spaces evoke a silence and calm away from the rest of the world. Even if you aren’t a religious person, you can appreciate the architecture, history and peace that comes while sitting in a pew.


St. Kevin’s Church, Glendalough, Ireland

St. Kevin’s Church in Glendalough Ireland has that rugged appeal. The saint set up a monastic site here around 570 A.D. In the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, a mist hangs over the air, as the simple stone structure stands somewhat altered from its deep origins.

Jelling Church, Jelling, Denmark

The burial mounds and runic stones at Jelling are considered to be Denmark’s birth certificates. Housing the story of Denmark’s beginnings is the Jelling churchyard. I couldn’t enter the church for it was locked. However, I could imagine the last pagan king of Denmark converging with the first Christian king of the country on these grounds.

Capela Dos Ossos, Évora, Portugal

Perhaps the most chilling church I have entered is the Capela Dos Ossos, literally translating to the Chapel of Bones, in Évora, Portugal. Around 5,000 people make up the walls of this chapel. From one skull to the next, you can tell the differences in person. At the chapels entrance a sign reads, “our bones await yours”, spine tingling to say the least.

Fulda Cathedral, Fulda, Germany

A distant grandmother was baptized here; perhaps that is why I felt pulled in the cathedral’s direction. Then again, it could be its size. Fulda’s Cathedral dominates the town. On Sunday mornings, little old ladies scramble to get inside before the bells cease their chimes. The tomb of Saint Boniface also lies within the Cathedral.

Duomo di Santa Lucia, Ortigia, Sicily

The Duomo in Ortigia is by far my favorite church in Europe that I have seen. Along its sides you can see the columns to the Greek temple to Athena. The grand architecture is a symbol of changing of faith, going from the belief in several higher powers to just one with its baroque façade. It faces a blindingly white square as it tells just what religion can be throughout time. The faiths may change but the structures are still the same.

Do you have a favorite church, mosque or temple from your travels?


  1. says

    I’m not much of a church person, but have one cathedral that I always recommend anyon visiting Madrid to check – that is the Basilica de El Escorial. It’s so majestic and impressive!

  2. says

    I always loved seeing and visiting different churches throughout Europe. I feel like that really give you a great impression of a civilization and time gone by.. obviously ruins are my favorite!

  3. says

    Wow, I can see why the Duomo in Ortigia is your favorite. I have always been fascinated by the Hagia Sophia for the same reason– that it has been a place of worship for different religions over the centuries.
    I love Gothic cathedrals, so Salisbury Cathedral and St. Vitus in Prague are a couple of my favorites, along with a funky one with a tent roof in Kutna Hora, the Czech Republic.

  4. says

    I came to appreciate Notre Dame de Paris after taking a guided architectural tour. I never knew there could be so much meaning behind every arch, statue, and stained glass window. It definitely gave this world-renowned cathedral new meaning!

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