Hidden Wonders: Discovering the World’s Most Extraordinary Churches You Never Knew Existed


Some of the world’s most beautiful churches stand around the globe, nestled within bustling cities and serene landscapes. 

Venture beyond the beaten path and uncover a hidden world of architectural splendor with our guide to the most extraordinary churches you’ve likely never heard of.

These hidden gems, scattered across the globe, ranging from ancient basilicas to modern cathedrals, are not just places of worship but also repositories of history, art, and culture. 

From secluded sanctuaries to avant-garde structures, each church tells a story of faith, resilience, and artistic innovation.

Prepare to be captivated by the beauty and mystery of these remarkable places of worship, each with a unique story waiting to be discovered.

Here are a few beautiful churches to add to your itinerary that will fascinate you with their incredibly rich history.

They will wow you with their magnificent architecture, which is borderline art and a symbol of faith and culture. 

So, without getting too much into the details, let’s take a brief look at the list of the most extraordinary churches in the world. 

Santa Maria Del Fiore, Florence, Italy 

Popularly known as the Florence Duomo, the Santa Maria del Fiore took over 140 years to complete.

The beautiful colored marble in the exterior facade compliments the huge brick dome at the top. 

The interiors are equally elegant and the views from the cathedral dome and Giotto’s Campanile make the visit even more worth it.

Catedral Basilica Del Pilar, Zaragoza, Spain 

Said to be the first church to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Catedral Basilica Del Pilar has fascinating origins. 

Visitors can see ample use of the regional Mudejar style in the elegant exterior as well as the colorful tiled roof. 

The interior feels rich and grand as it carries Baroque elements to compliment the exterior facade. 

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is known for its unbound natural beauty. The Hallgrimskirkja is a modern church whose shape is inspired by elements of Iceland’s landscape. 

Sitting on a hilltop overlooking the Icelandic capital, the church completely contrasts conventional architecture with minimalist interiors. 

It blends beautifully in its surroundings and is a fine example of modern architecture that can be seen as an evolutionary in the context of churches. 

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czechia

St. Vitus Cathedral, which sits within the Prague Castle, is a 14th-century Gothic landmark known for its ornate Gothic facade. 

Just as the beautiful outer face, the interior features a beautiful use of stained glass windows. 

St. Alexander  Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

Featuring several gold-plated domes, the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia is a fine example of Neo-Byzantine architecture.

Completed in 1912, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox Cathedrals in the world. 

Apart from its awe-inspiring exterior, the interiors feature lavish mosaics and murals that match it. 

Westminster Abbey, London, UK

Westminster Abbey needs no introduction as it has to be one of the most popular attractions in the UK and the world.

The Palace of Westminster was built in 1055 in a Gothic Style, where many find the memorials and tombs of famous people, such as Chroaea Dickens and T.S. Elliot. 

Sipped in so much history, Westminster Abbey is not just a piece of beautiful architecture but an inseparable part of British history. 

Mont- Saint-Michel Abbey, France 

Visitors can see the dominating presence and the peak of its awe-inspiring tower from miles away due to nothing between sweeping grassland in the vicinity. 

Constructed in the 10th century, the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey will transport you back to the Middle Ages as you go through the halls of the abbey. 

Borgund Stave Church, Borgund, Norway

Borgund Stave Church is a 12th-century wooden church that survives to this day, encapsulating its makers’ undeniable vision and skill. 

Though not as elaborate, it is still a rare church that will capture your imagination with its woodwork. 

There are four dragon heads carved into the gables of the roof and carvings around the archways inside. 

Cathedral of Brasilia, Brazil 

A champion of Modernist architecture, the Cathedral of Brasilia is far away from the conventional architecture of a church. 

It was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and finished in 1970. 16 concrete columns vend into the cathedral’s center, leaving space for a glass roof decorated with stained glass patterns. 

The result of this is the flood of light that creates a soothing and tranquil ambiance. Another highlight is the three angel sculptures suspended in the air. 

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal, Canada

The Notre-Dame Basilica is a Gothic Revival church completed in 1829. The outer facade features two towers at the entrance, each reaching 69 meters (227 ft). 

While the exterior is elegant, the interior features a vaulted ceiling and hundreds of wood carvings within its halls. 

The striking part is the use of vividly colored decor full of deep blue, red, and gold, making it stunning. 

Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi Island, Russia

Part of the Kizhi Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Church of Transfiguration is an 18th-century church believed to have been built entirely with just an ax and nails. 

It is unlike anything you have seen. 22 separate domes give the church a distinctive look and outline, making it stand out. 

Church of Assumption, Lake Bled, Slovenia

Located in the middle of Lake Bled with a backdrop of mountains, not many churches in the world can claim to be as scenic as the Church of Assumption in Slovenia

It is a 17th-century church that is said to grant wishes! According to local superstition, visitors who ring the church bell three times are able to make a single wish come true. 

Accessible by small traditional wooden boats, a baroque staircase connects the island’s dock with the Church of Assumption. 

Church of St. George, Lalibela, Ethiopia

The Church of St. George in Lalibela is a rare church with a portion of it below the ground level. 

It was carved out of the volcanic soil that stretches 12 meters (39 ft) down from the surface and has a leading around it. 

It is believed to be a 13th-century structure. Another highlight is that it is not a single church; eleven rock churches are found around Lalibela. 

Wieskirch, Steingaden, Germany 

Located in the foothills of the scenic Bavarian Apps, Weiskirch of Steingaden is one of the hidden Gems, unlikely to be stumbled upon by unknowing tourists. 

Built in the exuberant and ornate Rococo style, the extensive use of wood for the interiors gives it a glamorous and rich feel. 

It is full of Stuccowork and frescos across the ceiling. Almost the entire interior of the church is either white or gold. 

Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia 

Built inside a canyon on the Guaitara River, Las Lajas Sanctuary looks like something straight out of a fiction or a fairytale. 

The origins of Las Lajas Sanctuary are fascinating. A deaf-mute girl was cured of her impairment on this site as they took shelter in a storm. 

It was built in 1949 and is an exemplary embodiment of the Gothic Revival, which only becomes more dramatic in its landscape context. 

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem 

Home to the place where Christ is said to be born, the Church of Nativity looks like a dream, an angelic vision from the biblical scenes.

The interior features red limestone columns and mosaics on the wall. Everything is either white, cream-color, or off-white to keep it pristine and exude a sacred feel. 

Get a guided tour of the Church Of Nativity and Jerusalem to understand its significance. It is one of the oldest churches in the world. 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, USA

Located in Midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the best churches in the USA. 

It is located opposite another famous attraction of the city, Rockefeller Center. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was completed in 1878 in a grandiose Neo-Gothic style. 

The contrast of modern buildings surrounding this architectural marvel only accentuates its appeal and allure. 

Plenty of more churches in New York are worth your time. Read our detailed list of the Best Churches in New York to add to your itinerary. 

St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy 

The opulent and bold example of Italian Byzantine architecture, St. Mark’s Basilica sits on the famous piazza San Marco. 

Nicknamed “The Church of Gold,” a huge amount of gold went into the making of St. Mark’s Basilica in the 11th century, proving the enormous wealth of Venice. 

From golden-winged Lions to extensive golden mosaics, it is a spectacle and downright mesmerizing to witness the opulent interiors made entirely of gold. 

Sacré-Cœur, Paris, France 

Located in the popular neighborhood of Montmartre, the popularity of Scaré-Cœur is evident as it is the second most visited monument in the city. 

Built in 1914, it is one of the best catholic churches in the world dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Scaré-Cœur. 

Built with white stones, Scaré-Cœur Basilica Paris is home to the world’s largest mosaic, which covers the basilica’s apse. 

Gergeti Trinity Church, Georgia 

The 14th Century Gergeti Trinity Church is a must-stop spot on your trek in the scenic Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. 

It sits on an elevation of 2164 meters (7100 ft), located an hour or two from the base town of Stepantsminda. 

Get a Gregeti Trinity Church guided tour that includes exploring the nearby region to make it convenient and smooth. 

A candlelit mass above the cloud line at the Gergeti Trinity Church will leave you speechless due to its exquisite scenery and the ethereal ambiance infused with spirituality and tranquility.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona

Conceived by the ace sculptor Marguerite Brunswick Staude in 1932, it was completed in 1957 in Sedona’s Red Rocks.

Assimilating into its environment but unlike any church in its features, such as the forward-facing 90-foot cross overlooking the surrounding Arizona landscape. 

Due to its remote location in the middle of nowhere, it is particularly difficult to reach. Get the Chapel of the Holy Cross Sedona Arizona guided tour for your visit to make things simple and hassle-free. 

Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

Located at nearly inaccessible sandstone peaks in central Greece, the Monastery of Meteora is a brave traveler’s destination.

One of the six monasteries that are still standing via a 140-step staircase cut into the side of the cliff. 

Get a Full-Day Meteora Tour that includes a delicious Greek Lunch to visit this gorgeous church,

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