Over 85% of Poles are Catholics. There are many saints that were Poles, including the pope John Paul 2, Sister Faustina, and more. You will be surprised how many destinations there are for the pilgrimage to Poland!
This in-depth article is covering all the important Poland pilgrimage sites. I am a native Pole, being born and raised in this country, so I’ve visited most of these places myself.
My goal is to help travelers and pilgrims to get the most of their trip to my homeland, that’s why I started a Facebook group that connects people visiting and living in Poland. Be sure to join us if you are looking for Poland travel advice and tips.
Let’s get back to Poland catholic pilgrimage sites though. Here’s the map of all the Polish pilgrimage spots that you can find it this article:
It’s easy to notice that most of the Poland pilgrimage sites are located in the south of the country, pretty close to Krakow. It’s strictly correlated with the religiosity of the Poles.
South is considered as more traditional, conservative, and involved in religious life, whereas North is more liberal.
The sanctuary in Jasna Gora is considered as the holiest place in Poland. It’s where you can see the famous painting of Black Madonna with two scars on Her cheek.
Hundreds of people claim to be healed after praying to the Black Madonna. The painting is so holy, that it’s hidden in the altar most of the time. It’s being unveiled a few times a day, the last time at 9 PM with the solemn apel jasnogórski (evening prayers to the Viring Mary).
People from all over the world are choosing Jasna Gora for their Poland pilgrimage destination. Recently, a 95-year old woman from Italy has arrived to Czestochowa, after walking for 3 months. She wanted to thank the Holy Mother of God for her miraculous recovery from the deadly illness.
When you think of the holy places in Krakow, 2 names should pop into your head: the pope John Paul II and Sister Faustina Kowalska. They both have been living in the city for a long time and they are both saints that become one of the most important in the Catholic religion.
There are many places you should visit during your Krakow pilgrimage, here are those you cannot miss:
Divine Mercy Shrine
Pilgrimage to Divine Mercy Shrine in Poland is a must for every Catholic. It’s where sister Faustina Kowalska has died.
Have you seen the painting of Merciful Jesus with two rays streaming from His heart? Or have you heard the words: “Jesus, I trust you”. It’s both taken from sister Faustina’s visions.
Located in the outskirts of Krakow, Lagiewniki is a big complex with the Divine Mercy Shrine being the most important one. You can find there the original Jesus I Trust You painting and the tomb of Sister Faustina.
John Paul II Center
Located a short walk from Divine Mercy Shrine, John Paul II Center is a newly-built complex. The huge church that is in the center of it has relics of the Polish pope.
John Paul II Center as a bit less formal than the Divine Mercy Shrine- it’s also a pretty interesting place for non-Catholics. There is a view tower within the complex and an outdoor playground for the kids.
Located in the heart of the Krakow’s Old Town, the Papal Window may be easily overlooked. It’s a place worth seeing though!
John Paul II was famous for having great relations with the youth. Every time he was traveling to Krakow, he was staying in the window in the evenings after all the official masses and meetings ended up. He was simply talking with students, laughing, and praying.
The Papal Window is located across the Franciscan church.
It’s one of the oldest churches in Poland. A place where many famous Poles are buried, and where Polish kings have been crowned throughout the ages.
There are over 180 (!) churches and chapels in Krakow, most of them located in the Old Town area, so be sure to take a stroll around to see at least a few of them.
Pope John Paul II was born and raised in Wadowice. What’s interesting, he has been living right next to the basilica, so you can visit all the important places in the town in one go.
The museum of John Paul II has probably the biggest collection of things connected with Karol Wojtyla that includes the letters that were left on his tomb, the gun he got shot, and many, many more.
When you are in Wadowice, be sure to try the famous Papal Cream Cake, John Paul’s favorite pastry. The best you can buy is at “u Lenia”. It’s the small bakery located right behind the church.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Pilgrimage
This UNESCO World Heritage site is located a short ride from Wadowice. It’s was a favorite place Polish pilgrimage site for John Paul II.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is one of the places you cannot miss during your pilgrimage to Poland. A huge complex is famous for dróżki – a 5km (3 miles) long route with 42 chapels dedicated to Jesus and His Holy Mother.
In the center of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, there is a Bernardine monastery, where you can attend a mass.
The Basilica in Lichen is one of the top 10 largest churches in the world. Even though it was built recently, it quickly became one of the best destinations for the pilgrimage to Poland.
Even though the church is new, the history of Marian apparition in Lichen dates back to the 19th century. Virgin Mary has been appearing in the old forest, talking with the shepherd Mikołaj Sikatka. She was asking him to convince the people to pray the rosary.
There are many documented miracles that happen after praying to the Virgin Mary in Lichen. Even my own grandmother claims to be healed after putting holy water from Lichen on her sick leg.
For me, the huge Basilica in Lichen is quite overwhelming. I absolutely love visiting the old forest though, where Holy Mother of Jesus originally appeared. It’s located just a few steps away from the main church.
Kalwaria Pacławska Pilgrimage
The miraculous presence of the Virgin Mary in the sanctuary dates back to the 17th century. Just as in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, you can walk through dróżki in Kalwaria Paclawska.
People call Wambierzyce a “Silesian Jerusalem” for a reason. The beautiful baroque basilica that was built there in the 18th century is one of the best Poland pilgrimage sites.
What’s interesting, the miracles in Wambierzyce started hundreds of years before this majestic church was built. The first documented case of miraculous healing dates back to the 13th century when the blind man started seeing again after praying before the figure of the Virgin Mary.
Święta Lipka Pilgrimage
It’s one of the few Poland pilgrimage sites that are located in northern Poland.
According to the legend, the prisoner that has been captivated in the Kętrzyn’s church was inspired by the Virgin Mary to carve the figure of Her and Her Holy Son.
He has been set free after the sculpture was done. He placed it on the lipa (linden) tree on the way back home. Since that time, many people were miraculously healed after praying before this sculpture.
Right now, there is a beautiful, baroque basilica in the place where the figure was originally placed.
Święty Krzyż Pilgrimage
It’s the oldest sanctuary in Poland, thus one of the first Polish pilgrimage sites.
Święty Krzyż is a religious place that Polish kings have been visiting throughout the ages.
It’s believed that the old cross that is hidden in the church tabernacle has the relics of the actual cross of Jesus.
A hodegetria painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus that is located in Gietrzwald’s Basilica has been a place of worship since the Middle Ages.
Gietrzwald has become one of the top Polish pilgrimage sites since the Marian apparitions in the 19th century. Virgin Mary asked two little girls to pray the rosary every day. They did so. One of them became a nun and a missionary. She died in Guatemala in 1950.
While you must have heard of Christ the Redeemer of Rio De Janeiro, I bet you haven’t heard of the huge statue of Jesus in Swiebodzin.
What’s interesting is the Christ in Swiebodzin is actually taller than the one in Brasil, which makes it the biggest statue of Jesus in the world!
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