There are many places to learn meditation techniques, find balance, or experience the bond between body and spirit: the best destinations for spiritual journeys.
In “Eat, Pray, Love” a busy Julia Roberts gives up everything to find the pleasure of life between India and Indonesia, ending up finding love in Bali. Aside from the dream ending, what is true in the film is the description of the stress the protagonist experiences, divided between work and inadequate love life, and the need to find peace by retreating into meditation.
We recommend six places in the world that, regardless of one’s faith, invite you to reconnect with what is invisible to the eyes through contemplation, rest, and prayer. Six destinations to undertake a true spiritual journey in search of oneself.
- OMF, Assisi
The Convent of the Friars Minor of Umbria organizes spiritual retreats, pilgrimages, and spiritual exercises for laypeople.
Among the most evocative places it manages, there is the Eremo delle Carceri, an ancient hermitage located on the slopes of Mount Subasio, 800 meters above sea level. Here St. Francis lived and retired in contemplation, surrounded by magnificent nature and blessed solitude.
- Koyasan, Japan
The Buddhist complex of Mount Koya is one of the most famous in the country and allows visitors to stay overnight in one of the temples, sharing their austere lifestyle with the monks.
Wake up at six o’clock, meals based on vegetables, prayers and fire ceremony, this is, in summary, the program, which takes place in the beautiful structures almost entirely made of wood, in an atmosphere of peace favored by the presence of forests nearby.
- Rishikesh, India
On the slopes of the Himalayas, near the banks of the Ganges, in the north of the country, there are many centers and Ashrams (places of meditation and hermitage) inspired by Hindu philosophy, where you learn to practice yoga for the balance of mind and body.
You meditate in the Vashishta Guha, the cave that has been home to saints and sages for 5000 years, on the banks of the river, and also in nearby Haridwar, a city called the “Gate of the Gods”.
- Mount Athos, Greece
The Autonomous Monastic Republic has always prohibited the entry of women, who could disturb the tranquility of the inhabitants, but men are welcome.
The residence permits the last four days, in which the prayers alternate with walks along the road leading to one of the twenty monasteries, often overlooking the sea, inhabited by 1500 monks in all.
The rugged beauty of the landscape and the simple goodness of loukoumades and raki, with which you are welcomed, make this experience unforgettable.
The monastery of Esphigmenou, in the Republic of Mount Athos, where only men have access.
- Monastery of the Visitation, S. Maria di Baggiovara, Modena
If you are a young woman in vocational search, or you need to clarify your spirituality, this monastery offers you the possibility to share the cloistered life of the nuns or to retire to the guesthouse.
- Hermitage San Giorgio in Bardolino, Lake Garda, Verona
The Benedictine community hosts from Monday to Friday those who are willing to share the rhythms of the motto “Ora et labora”. Upon reasoned request, you can access the very rich library, consisting of over 30,000 volumes on religious sciences, history, and sociology.