Top 10 Monasteries

Top 10 Monasteries

Looking for a place that would combine culture and nature? Consider visiting a monastery. The spiritual retreats are usually built in the most stunning places as if the nature alone would take one closer to God. Take a look at these beautiful ten sites. Which one would you like to visit?

10. Cappadocia, Turkey

The iconic site is the most popular tourist attraction in Cappadocia. Among houses, churches and other buildings carved into the soft pillars between the 4th and 13th centuries, some monasteries also were established here.

Why to go there?

The site is the most recognizable in the country.

How to get there?

The cave monasteries in Uchisar are the most impressive. Get there by bus or train from various cities. Tours take off from Göreme.

Read more: Cappadocia – the Best Place to Go Hot Air Ballooning

Top 10 Monasteries-Cappadocia-Photo by Coolbiere. A.

Photo by Coolbiere. A.

Top 10 Monasteries-Cappadocia-Photo by Birukov Yury

Photo by Birukov Yury

9. Thikse Gompa, Ladakh, India

Although situated in India the monastery is a Tibetan one and represents beautiful Buddhist architecture. Posited high in the mountains monastery is an impressive 12 story complex. Thikse Gompa resembles Potala Palace in Tibet.

Why to go there?

Wonderful landscapes and historic architecture.

How to get there?

The tours take off from Ladakh, which is 18 km (11 mi) from the monastery.

Read more: Beautiful Thikse Monastery – the Spiritual Retreat in India

Top 10 Monasteries-India-Photo by Palash K

Photo by Palash K

Top 10 Monasteries-India-Photo by Manish Gajria

Photo by Manish Gajria

8. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

Also known as Tiger’s Nest, the monastery is a sacred Himalayan Buddhist site and an icon of Bhutan. Located on the cliff side in the Paro valley, the monastery was built after the Second Buddha had meditated in the caves here.

Why to go there?

The most beautiful and popular landmark in Bhutan.

How to get there?

By plane to Paro Airport. Hike to the monastery or get there on a horse. It is available to hire a guide.

Top 10 Monasteries-Bhutan-Photo by Csilla Zelko

Photo by Csilla Zelko

Top 10 Monasteries-Bhutan-Photo by Jun Mei

Photo by Jun Mei

7. Bagan, Mandalay Region, Myanmar

Once a political, economical and religious center, today Bagan is the main tourist attraction in the country. The ancient city is filled with thousands of very well preserved monuments, built between the 7th and 19th centuries.

Why to go there?

Impressive historic architecture.

How to get there?

By plane, bus or train from Yangon and Mandalay.

Read more: Bagan – a Strikingly Beautiful Ancient City in Myanmar

Top 10 Monasteries-Bagan-Photo yara GB

Photo yara GB

Top 10 Monasteries-Bagan-Photo by Csilla Zelko

Photo by Csilla Zelko

6. Sumela Monastery, Trabzon, Turkey

Carved into the Melá Mountain, the monastery looks like the most inaccessible building in the world. However, visitors reach it by taking a path through the forest. Dedicated to Virgin Mary, a Greek Orthodox monastery has both – Greek and Turkish influences in its architecture and design.

Why to go there?

Wonderful scenery and architecture.

How to get there?

Tours take off from Trabzon.

Top 10 Monasteries-Turkey-Photo by Ayhan Duran

Photo by Ayhan Duran

5. Key Gompa, Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India

The monastery is believed to be founded in the 11th century and served as a training center for Lamas. Key Gompa has a big collection of ancient murals, Buddha images and books. And the nature of course is breathtaking.

Why to go there?

Spiti Valley is a remote, but beautiful place to visit.

How to get there?

By bus from Kibber or Kaza.

Top 10 Monasteries-Ki-Photo by OaKy Isra

Photo by OaKy Isra

Top 10 Monasteries-Ki-Photo by OaKy Isra2

Photo by OaKy Isra

4. Mont-Saint Michel, France

The stunning complex defines the Medieval feudal society: the monastery and the monks are on top, since they are closest to God, while aristocrats, servers, fishermen and farmers are set below respectively.

Why to go there?

One of the most favorite and famous landmarks in France.

How to get there?

By car or bus. The only way to the monastery is by the causeway. Do not attempt any other way, since you can drown in the mud.

Read more: A Pilgrimage to Mont Saint-Michel

Top 10 Monasteries-France-Photo by Jibstudios

Photo by Jibstudios

Top 10 Monasteries-France-Photo by wim denijs

Photo by wim denijs

3. Lion Rock, Sri Lanka

Also known as Sigiriya, the huge rock is a relict of hardened magma from an extinct volcano. It used to serve as the capital in the 5th century. However later it was turned into a Buddhist monastery. UNESCO protects this natural-architectural site, that is visible for miles in a plain landscape.

Why to go there?

One of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka.

How to get there?

Easy access by bus or tuk-tuk from Dambulla.

Read more: Ancient City on Lion Rock in Sri Lanka

Top 10 Monasteries-Sri Lanka

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Monasteries-Sri Lanka-Photo by Vinaya Mohan

Photo by Vinaya Mohan

2. Santa Maria de Montserrat, Spain

The Benedictine abbey is built high in the Montserrat mountains. Besides the beautiful views the abbey houses a huge collection of art, including works by El Greco, Dalí and Picasso. The complex also has a very nice garden and performances by Montserrat’s Boys’ Choir.

Why to go there?

See the amazing sites, architecture, exhibition and listen to the divine choir.

How to get there?

By bus or car – it is only 48 km from Barcelona.

1. Meteora, Greece

Built on the sandstone rock pillars, the complex of six Eastern Orthodox monasteries is the largest and the most important in the country. Protected by UNESCO, Meteora fascinates with a striking landscape.

When to go there?

The weather is extreme here – very hot in summer, cold in winter. Go there in spring and autumn.

How to get there?

By car, bus or train from Volos to Kalampaka.

Read more: The Breathtaking Heights of Meteora

Top 10 Monasteries-Meteora-Photo by Jaume Martí

Photo by Jaume Martí

Top 10 Monasteries-Meteora-Photo by Jaume Martí2

Photo by Jaume Martí