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8 Top pilgrimage walking tours

There are countless pilgrimage walks across the world that are not only sacred to the devoted pilgrims who follow them, but they also offer breathtaking views, enchanting stories and fascinating insights into the local culture. Here are our top pilgrimage walking tours.
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Camino de Santiago, Spain

Walk this famous Christian pilgrimage along the Camino-Frances trail from Leon to the magnificent cathedral of Santiago, home to the shrine of the apostle Saint James. The Camino de Santiago takes you across undulating ridges, past rural farmland and up into the mountains for breathtaking panoramic views across Spain's rustic countryside.
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Kumano Kodo, Japan

Hike through dense forests and along ancient paths on Japan’s Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walking trail. Dappled rays of light beam down through centuries-old cedar trees - known to the Japanese as ‘komorebi’ - and the route takes you past three Buddhist shrines: Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha, and Hayatama Taisha - known collectively as the Kumano Sanzan. Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004, the sacred pathways of this Buddhist pilgrimage have been well-trodden for over 1000 years. 
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Inca Trail, Peru

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru is believed to have been a pilgrimage for the Sapo Inca people honouring the holy Andes peaks in the 15th century. Trek through dewy cloud forest, along bubbling white rivers and over elevated mountain passes. As you approach the final destination of this monumental pilgrimage, the ancient temples of Machu Picchu, feel your skin tingle and savour the emerald-green terraces of this sacred Lost City that stretch out before you.
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Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada), Sri Lanka

High above the forested landscape below, Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka soars into the heavens. Under the soft light of a full moon, join dedicated pilgrims on a spiritual walk up a steep stone staircase of over 5000 steps that leads to a large crater, believed to be the sacred footprint of Buddha, Hanuman or Shiva, dependent on one’s religion. As the sun slowly rises, we reach the summit, and our efforts are rewarded with panoramic views over the mighty mountain peaks and tree-covered valleys. 
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Via Francigena, Italy

Wander along wide gravel tracks, past lush vineyards and through old rural settlements on the San Gimignano section of the Via Francigena pilgrimage walk that runs from Canterbury in England to the Holy city of Rome in Italy. This is more than just a religious walk, it’s a route full of interesting sights and culinary delights; medieval stone towers rise up from the Tuscan town of San Gimignano where you can enjoy a relaxing alfresco lunch of delicious cured meats, slow-cooked beef ragu, and refreshing gelato treats.
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Buddhist Kora, Ladakh, India

Journey through the high mountain passes of Tibet, India, to visit Buddhist monasteries and witness the act of Kora. Kora takes pilgrims on a circumambulation around a sacred site and is considered to be both a type of pilgrimage and meditative practice. Join local pilgrims for a once-in-a-lifetime experience as they walk anti-clockwise around Tibetian-Buddhist monasteries set upon the ‘Roof of the World’ in the northern Himalayas. 
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Chimi Lhakhang, Bhutan

For a pilgrimage walking tour with a difference, head to Bhutan to witness the Chimi Lhakhang fertility ritual. Starting in Sposokha, adorned with phallus murals, pilgrims wishing to conceive are encouraged to walk to the Chimi Lhakhang temple, famed for its fertility-enhancing virtues. Women are blessed by the resident lama who taps them on the head with a wooden phallus, and pregnant women come here to acquire the name of their unborn child. 
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Muktinath Temple, Nepal

Join a walking tour along Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit to meet devout pilgrims trekking the Himalaya towards the sacred temple of Muktinath. Special to Hindus and Buddhists, Muktinath is one of the world’s highest temples, set high above the clouds amongst jagged snow-capped peaks. It is said to be the only place on earth where the five elements of the universe can be found together, and pilgrims seek salvation by bathing in the freezing sacred waters and undertaking puja rituals. 
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