Did you know Canada, Italy and India are some of the most spiritual countries you can visit? According to Wayfairer Travel’s Global Spirituality Index, these countries boast high religious diversity and many faith-related sites to see.

If you’re wanting to make a pilgrimage, learn a nation’s faith-based ancestral stories, or find some physical or spiritual healing, consider visiting one of these countries and some of their famous spiritual sites.

What makes a country spiritual?

According to Wayfairer Travel, spirituality is a difficult concept to describe.

The University of Minnesota describes spirituality as ”a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, (involving) a search for meaning in life.”

It’s worth noting that being spiritual does not necessarily mean being religious.

Countries that had high spirituality in the Wayfairer Travel study were deemed to have religious diversity, freedom, tolerance and a large religious population.

Is America a spiritual country?

Wayfairer Travel ranked the United States as one of the top spiritual countries in the world. (It tied with other countries for third place.)

But how do Americans rate themselves?

A recent Pew Research Center study found that 70% of U.S. adults consider themselves spiritual.

Here are some of the other findings from that Pew report:

  • Adults who believe people have a soul or spirit: 83%.
  • Adults who say there is something spiritual beyond the natural world: 81%.
  • Adults who believe there are things science cannot explain: 74%.
  • Adults who had a sudden feeling of connection with something from beyond this world: 45%.
  • Adults who had a strong feeling that someone who has died was communicating with them: 38%.
  • Adults who have encountered a spirit or unseen spiritual force: 30%.
‘Spiritual’ or ‘religious’ — what’s in a name?

Top 10 most spiritual countries

According to Wayfairer Travel’s Global Spirituality Index, these countries, besides the U.S., have high religious diversity, freedom, sites, tolerance and population numbers.

1. Canada

Canada came out on top with high religious diversity, religious freedom, religious tolerance and quality of life, per Wayfairer Travel.

If you’re interested in a spiritual road trip, consider doing the Lac Sainte Anne pilgrimage. This year, the main pilgrimage is set for July 20 to July 25.

Years ago, thousands would walk to Lac Sainte Anne, a large lake in search of healing and spiritual renewal, and to make new friends. This is the largest annual Indigenous religious and Catholic gathering in western Canada, according to Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage.

2. Italy

Italy follows Canada, scoring similar numbers for religious diversity, per Wayfairer Travel.

One spot to visit in Italy is the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Assisi, Italy, is a place where individuals go to connect with the teachings of Saint Francis, who “embraced a life of poverty, simplicity and compassion,” according to Sacred Wanderings.

3. India

India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States are all tied for third place. Out of these countries, India has the highest religious diversity and the highest number of spiritual sites to visit, per Wayfairer Travel.

If in India, stop by Varanasi, the oldest city in the country. This site is sacred to Hindus.

Varanasi’s legends go back over 10,000 years, with stories of deities, the beginning of time and war. One includes the belief that if cremated in Varanasi, your soul will then be released from the cycle of Samsara, or reincarnation, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

4. Japan

Out of the four countries tied for third, Japan had the highest religious freedom and tolerance, per Wayfairer Travel.

The Ise Grand Shrine, which honors Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, and Toyouke Omikami, the guardian deity of food and industry, is a beautiful place to visit.

Known as the “birthplace of Japanese spirit,” you can find shops selling candy, bags and other goods while walking along its streets, according to Hotels.com.

5. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has high religious diversity, per Wayfairer Travel.

One spiritual and popular location to visit is Stonehenge in Amesbury, Salisbury. The reason why the stone circle is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun at the solstices may be unknown, but the surrounding landscape has a lot of history.

You can find ancient burial sites and other ancient spiritual significant areas nearby, according to Historic England.

6. Mexico

Though ranked lower than seven other countries, Mexico has high religious diversity and tolerance, per Wayfairer Travel.

Mexico has multiple historical, spiritual sites to visit. For example, you could see Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins Palenque or the Aztek pyramid in the Tepoztlán mountains. You can go on tours and to churches to hear more about the rich history, rituals or ghost sitings, according to Where Wonder Waits.

7. Australia

Australia has high religious diversity, religious freedom and quality of life for spiritual individuals, per Wayfairer Travel.

In Australia, you can visit the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. This place is significant to the Anangu of the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara groups. These groups tell stories of how ancestral beings shaped the land. The beings’ anger and sorrow hardened to the sandstone we see today, according to YHA Australia.

8. Philippines

The Philippines, tying in rank with Australia, have high religious diversity, freedom and tolerance, per Wayfairer Travel.

If you need some healing, physically or mentally, try heading to Mount Banahaw in Quezon. The old volcano is said to restore health, be a place to see visions and show other miracles, according to Atlas Obscura.

9. Germany

The last two countries, Germany and Switzerland, are tied. Germany has high religious diversity, wellness and quality of life for spiritual individuals, per Wayfairer Travel.

You can go on a tour or visit the Aachen Cathedral, which is over 1,000 years old. Emperor Charlemagne, who started the construction in 796 A.D., is buried in the Cathedral. This cathedral is inspired by the Holy Roman Empire and is full of columns, shrines and altars. Furthermore, many kings and queens were coronated inside the church until after 1500, per Rough Guides.

10. Switzerland

Switzerland has high religious diversity, religious tolerance and quality of life for spiritual individuals, per Wayfairer Travel.

When in Switzerland, consider visiting Einsideln. Many individuals make a pilgrimage through the city to the Benedictine monastery to see the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, according to Mark’s Travel Notes.

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