This is one of our sample pilgrimage itineraries. These itineraries require a minimum of 10 passengers.
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|Itinerary at a Glance
Footsteps of Pope John Paul II
|Highlights||Divine Mercy, Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Wieliczka Salt Mines, Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Prague Castle, Infant Jesus of Prague|
The papacy of Pope John Paul II left an indelible mark on the Church and inspired hundreds of millions around the world. Gain a deeper understanding of this great man and his life. Visit his birthplace, Wadowice, as well as the shrine that he held dearest to his heart, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Explore Krakow, where he studied, lived, and served for forty years. Discover the wonders of the Wieliczka Salt Mines, the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, and Czestochowa, the spiritual capital of Poland. Get a taste of traditional Czech life in the town of Brno before ending your trip in the “City of a Thousand Spires,” Prague. This is an unforgettable journey at an amazing price, so don’t wait too long to book!
Day 2, Tuesday: Krakow. After going through customs, transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in. After resting from your flight, explore this charming old city on your own. Meet other members of your group in the evening for a welcome dinner. (D)
Day 3, Wednesday: Krakow. A royal capital for 500 years miraculously left intact by World War II, Krakow is a treasure trove of Gothic and Renaissance art and architecture. It was also home to Pope John Paul II for four decades, from his formative years as a student and young priest through his tenure as bishop and archbishop of the city, until he was elevated to the papacy in 1978. Trace this remarkable man’s journey and growth as you explore Krakow’s history and beauty. A morning sightseeing tour includes the city’s most notable landmarks: St. Mary's Basilica, famous for its wooden altar, the largest Gothic art piece in the world; Wawel Castle and Cathedral; the medieval Old Town; the 14th-century buildings of the Jagiellonian University, where the young Karol Józef Wojtyla studied theology; and Kazimierz, the historical center of Krakow’s Jewish social and religious life. In the afternoon, travel to nearby Lagiewniki to visit the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, the resting place of St. Faustina Kowalska. In 1968 Cardinal Karol Wojtyla designated the church as a shrine, and millions of pilgrims from around the world visit it every year. These pilgrims have included both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, whose visits are commemorated by reliefs at the entrance to the chapel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4, Thursday: Krakow, Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska & Krakow. This morning travel to Wadowice, birthplace of Pope John Paul II, and visit the museum located in his family's home. Continue to one of the shrines that was dearest to Pope John Paul II, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Also known as “Polish Jerusalem,” the town is named after a 17th-century governor of Krakow who built a series of chapels on the side of a mountain to resemble shrines and chapels in the Holy Land. Pope John Paul II first visited this shrine as a child, and later brought his own students here to pray, converse, and meditate. In the book where pilgrims write their intentions, he once wrote the following message: “I have come to Our Lady of Kalwaria, to whom I have felt very close, ever since I was very small, with the sole purpose of placing everything in her hands.” Before returning to Krakow for dinner and overnight, visit the Sanctuary of Virgin Mary and the decorative cloisters in the town’s 17th-century Franciscan monastery. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 75 miles and take approximately 2¼ hours.
Day 5, Friday: Krakow & Wieliczka Salt Mines. A working mine from the 13th century until the end of the 20th century, the Wieliczka Salt Mines’ claim to fame are miles of galleries with amazing works of art, life-size statues, altars and entire churches sculpted from the rock salt by miners. As soon as you step foot into the mines, you will understand why they are called “the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland.” In fact, the mines contain several cathedrals where miners would gather together for Sunday Mass and religious services are still performed. You will be simply stunned by the grandeur of the main cathedral, decorated with salt rock chandeliers polished to a glasslike transparency and a series of three-dimensional biblical scenes carved into the walls. After returning to Krakow, the day is yours to explore on your own. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 20 miles and take approximately 1 hour.
Day 6, Saturday: Krakow, Auschwitz & Czestochowa. After breakfast travel to Oswiecim, better known as Auschwitz, one of the most somber reminders of recent history. Observe several camp units, including the largest one at Brzezinka (Birkenau), as well as the cell of the martyred St. Maximilian. Continue to Czestochowa and visit Jasna Gora Monastery, the third-largest pilgrimage site in the world and, for many, the spiritual capital of Poland. Its most sacred treasure is an image of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, to which miraculous powers have been attributed. Dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 115 miles and take approximately 3¼ hours.
Day 7, Sunday: Czestochowa, Brno & Prague. After Sunday Mass, continue your journey into the Czech Republic, stopping first in stately Brno, the capital of Moravia. A sightseeing tour includes brooding Špilberk Castle, the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul and Villa Tugendhat, an exemplary work of modern architecture by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. After savoring a hearty traditional lunch, proceed to Prague for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 345 miles and take approximately 6½ hours.
Day 8, Monday: Prague. Fairy-tale Prague is a feast for the eyes. The city center is a mélange of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neoclassical, art nouveau and Cubist. Start your day with a panoramic bus drive, which will introduce you to landmarks such as the Charles Bridge, the Lesser Town, and the Old Town Square. Then continue exploring by foot, visiting the Prague Castle and, located within it, St. Vitus Cathedral, a magnificent example of Gothic architecture and the most important church in the country. Next visit the Church of Our Lady Victorious, where you will find the world-renowned statue of the Holy Infant Child of Prague (also known as the Infant Jesus), which is said to have protected the city for centuries and inspires the devotion of countless pilgrims each year. Spend the rest of the day exploring Prague’s thrilling history and cultural legacy on your own. Consider a visit to the Jewish Ghetto, where you will find the oldest still existing synagogue in Europe. Breakfast provided.
Day 9, Tuesday: Prague/USA. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Breakfast provided.
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