In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Lourdes, France( Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times )
Six million people visit Lourdes every year, including 100,000 volunteers and 80,000 ill and disabled pilgrims seeking cures for their afflictions or the strength to endure them. Since 1858, about 6,800 people have reported being cured at St. Bernadette's grotto, though the Roman Catholic Church has proclaimed only 67 of these to be miracles and hasn't recorded the number of spiritual healings said to have occurred at Lourdes.
Other people come just to witness the sociological phenomenon that daily unfolds; some are cynical or mystified or simply curious, in the way of travelers drawn to other holy sites around the world.
-- Susan Spano
Read more: Lourdes celebrates 150th anniversary of Bernadette's visions
Pictured: The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes.