CATHEDRALS, ABBEYS AND MONASTERIES
The history of Europe was heavily influenced by the Church, and particularly the Catholic Church. All over the continent its influence is noticeable through the many edifices left behind. During almost everyone of our trips we see at least one church or abbey. Some of our trips’ main destination is a cathedral or abbey, the most notable of course being Mont Saint-Michel on the border of Normandy and Brittany. Here are a few additional examples of some great Cathedrals and abbeys that we visit during one of our many trips. Btw, we have an entire blog post on all the Cathedrals we have seen so far and with all the new destinations still coming up, we are going to add many more in the future.
MONT SAINT-MICHEL, NORMANDY (FRANCE)
One of the top tourist attractions in France speaks justifiably to the imagination. Built on a mountain in a bay of the Atlantic Ocean, this church and abbey has attracted tourists and pilgrims for many centuries. Surrounded fully by water a few times per year, it is one of Expat Club’s favorite weekend destinations. A guided tour in the abbey and on the dry sea-bed are the highlights of a perfect getaway.
SAINT PETER CATHEDRAL, TRIER (GERMANY)
A visit to Germany’s oldest city is not only a must to see the impressive UNESCO-protected Roman Cathedral of Saint Peter, but especially because it is surrounded by eight other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We travel at least once to Trier for its lovely Christmas markets in front of the Cathedral and on the main square.
ABBEY OF SANKT GALL, SANKT GALLEN (SWITZERLAND)
This UNESCO combination of an Abbey with a Cathedral is a must-see when visiting Easter Switzerland. In particular the spectacular library cannot be skipped when in Sankt Gallen. We travel by there on our Stunning Switzerland tour.
ARCTIC CATHEDRAL, TROMSØ (NORWAY)
Not really a Cathedral, but it might very well be one. Located on the opposite side of the bridge across the fjord that surrounds Tromsø city. Tromsø has its own Cathedral, but most tourists definitely would like to see this architectural masterpiece.
AACHENER DOM, AACHEN (GERMANY)
One of the most special Cathedrals you will ever visit. Not only is it built in three distinct parts, it is also the final resting place of one of Europe’s most powerful man who ever lived, Charlemagne. Expat Club visits Aachen, or Aix-en-Chapelle in French, for its lovely Christmas market.
ST AUGUSTINE ABBEY, CANTERBURY (ENGLAND)
Sometimes Expat Club plans trips a few centuries too late and misses the glory of one of Europe’s most important abbeys. Luckily the remains are still there for us to enjoy. This UNESCO site is a stop during our Christmas trip Canterbury.
LUXEMBOURG ABBEY, LUXEMBOURG
At the end of each summer holiday we travel for one day to one of Europe’s smallest but also loveliest capitals, Luxembourg. During a 2 hours guided tour through the city we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site the casemates. From one of the openings in the rocks of this underground defense networks you have a perfect view on the Luxembourg abbey. It is not really a place to visit, but the panoramic view over the lower city is great.
ABBEYE DE LA CAMBRE, BRUSSELS
No need to travel for our next abbey. Although decommissioned and currently offices and a school, just jump into tram 7, 8 or 93 to visit possibly one of the cities most special places. The gardens are a delight for spending some time in the summer months. There is even a pop-up bar where you can get a nice coffee.
REIMS CATHEDRAL, REIMS (FRANCE)
After a long day between the vineyards and wine cellars of the Champagne, we always end up parking our bus behind one of France’s most important Cathedrals, namely the one from Reims. This was the site of the coronations of the French kings. Nowadays it attracts visitors from all around the world, with the stained window panes from Chagall being the major attraction. What a perfect way to end our cultural visit to the region before finding some food and returning to Brussels.
STRASBOURG CATHEDRAL, STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
After the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which we didn’t visit yet, the Strasbourg Cathedral is probably the most impressive “unfinished Cathedral” in the world. Looking at the picture it’s not hard to know what part is missing. Surrounded by a magnificent fully UNESCO protected World Heritage Site downtown area, Strasbourg is one of Europe’s most beautiful towns.