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Top 7 Spiritual Journey Destinations

man looking up at a temple wearing a hat and a backpack

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Many people in recovery constantly search for a deeper understanding. They look to find their spiritual center and enhance their time here on earth and thereafter. For those of us that have or wish to have a religious or spiritual way of life, our quality of recovery greatly depends upon putting our faith into something greater than ourselves. Aligning ourselves with that higher power of our understanding often allows us to live more fulfilled lives.

While much of this spiritual journey happens internally, there exist locations around the globe that have the potential to enrich this experience. Planning a spiritual vacation to one of these locations can help you discover new ways to connect with a higher power.

These spiritual journey destinations include:

Arunachaleshwarar temple, India
a view from below of Arunachaleshwarar temple in Tiruvannamalai, India

Photo by: CC BY 2.0 Nithi Anand

Known as a Hindu pilgrimage town, Tiruvannamalai is a Saivite shrine located in Tamil Nadu. The Arunachaleshwarar temple sits on a vast, twenty-four-acre site. Hundreds of thousands of people make the journey to Tiruvannamalai every full moon for a worship practice called Girivalam. Visitors are actually allowed to visit the inner sanctums of the temple, unlike many other sites.

Newgrange, Ireland
front of newgrange temple in Ireland

Located in County Meath, Ireland, Newgrange is considered the “Jewel in the Crown” of Ireland’s Ancient East. Newgrange celebrates the rebirth of Celtic heroes. It was built approximately 5,200 years ago making it at least 1,000 years older than the pyramids in Egypt. The draw to venture inside the main chamber during the Winter Solstice proves so great that they use a lottery system to choose lucky guests.

Sedona, Arizona

Looking for a spiritual vacation a little closer to home? Sedona, located in the iconic Red Rocks of Arizona, offers countless activities from hiking, spiritual counseling, and Reiki. Many travel to this spiritual mecca in search of enlightenment and a reprieve from the hustle of everyday life. If you’re up for hiking at night, stargazing on the trails of Sedona is said to be second-to-none.

Plum Village, France
Buddhist monk walking down a wooded path

Plum village started out as a farming community in 1982. Today it is the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe. The community has over 200 monks and nuns currently residing there. If you are looking to experience mindfulness and communal living, Plum Village is the place for you.

Spirit Rock, Woodacre, California

If you’re visiting the San Francisco area, Spirit Rock is an absolute must for anyone looking to unplug. Spirit Rock offers spiritual programs ranging from one day to two months in length. The retreat is visited by more than 40,000 people annually. The teachings at Spirit Rock focus on Vipassana, which is the Buddhist insight into the true nature of reality. Here you can begin or continue your journey into meditation and learn how these practices can alter the way you interact with the world for the better.

Tham Khao Luang Cave, Thailand
a view into Tham Khao Luang Cave showing a large buddha statues and various other relics

Photo By: Manoonp CC BY-SA 4.0 

Thailand is thought to be one of the utmost spiritual places in the world. A number of people have traveled to Thailand to visit Tham Khao Luang Cave, located in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, to view its giant Buddha statues. Three chambers make up the cave originally used as a temple for the Royal Rattanakosin Dynasty, each with their own collection of relics. Although guided tours are available for purchase, the experience is completely free, but they do ask for donations if possible.

Shikoku, Japan
a plant covered bridge above a waterfall along the Shikoku Henro pilgrimage route in Japan

Shikoku is located in the southwest region of Japan. Known as a holy land in Japan, Shikoku boasts 88 sacred sites among the island. O-Shikoku is a pilgrimage route that is about 1,200 kilometers long and visits each of the 88 temples and sacred sites. The journey can take 30-60 days to complete if traveling by foot. One of the stops along this journey is Forest Therapy Pass which is best known to have stress relieving abilities. The serene landscapes and breathtaking views can help you connect with nature and align your energies. Shikoku certainly offers an array of spiritual journey destinations to check off your list!

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