"Shrines of Europe" is an association of the seven most important Marian pilgrimage sites in Europe. These comprise the famous major shrines of Fátima, Lourdes, Loreto and Czestochowa, as well as the German-speaking sites of Altötting, Maria Zell and Einsiedeln.
The need to go on a pilgrimage to major shrines existed long before the effort to unite Europe economically and politically, and also long before the advent of tourism as we know it today. Pilgrims leave home for more than mere wanderlust. They hope to feel the depth of their faith in the holy places. Even before they get there, the hardships and difficulties they experience on the way form an important part of the pilgrimage. Their experiences provide renewed strength and energy, because the narrative of the shrine, the rites practised there and the people at prayer create a climate in which pilgrims find peace.
Europe is rich in pilgrimage sites. They include large famous sites such as Fátima and Lourdes, to which millions make their way. But there are also many regional shrines, such as Altötting, Maria Zell and Einsiedeln, to which many pilgrims turn. These sites all have one thing in common: they offer religious consolation and renewed strength for life.