s are a fast-growing phenomenon.
In Europe and beyond, shrines associated with healing, beauty, peace and prayer are attracting record numbers of visitors, and people are increasingly taking time out of their busy lives for a journey of enlightenment.
Over 2 million people are expected to visit the Turin Shroud this year, and the Spanish pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela is celebrating a Holy Year with over 250,000 expected on July 25th.
Katie Derham travels to Santiago where she talks to the pilgrims, shares their stories, and touches the cloak of St James, as so many have done before.
She also gets advice on sustaining the pilgrim's appetite from Rick Stein, and meets the man who runs Santiago's pilgrims website.
We hear from listeners Duncan and Christopher Neil as they take a very special father and son pilgrimage to Iona.
And we also consider what is involved in the modern pilgrimage and how secular pilgrimages can in their own way be just as fulfilling.
Katie Derham visited the state run Parador in Santiago de Compostela situated in the old hospital, which is called Hotel Hostal dos Reis Catolicos.
The Office of the Pilgrims (Oficina De Peregrinos) is situated in Casa del Dean, opposite the front entrance of the Cathedral.
Katie followed the Procesian de la Ultima cena del Salvador from Iglesia de San Francisco.
Other processions will take place around the Holy Day on July 25th this year.
Details of events around Holy Day this year can be obtained from the Main Tourist Office, via their website which is called Santiago Turismo.
Rick Stein talked about the pork dish of Fabada.
Clare Catford, the author of Addicted to Love", talked about how pilgrimages have developed over the years and mentioned pilgrimages to one of Japan's three Holy Mountains, Mount Fuji.
Ivar Rekve is from the Xacobeo office (the official body that is responsible for all aspects of the Way of St James), and runs the Camino de Santiago website for pilgrims to share advice.
Fred Dove mentioned the Oberammergau passion play in Bavaria in Germany.
Details of British tour operators who arrange packages there are on the official Oberammergau website.
Other passion plays take place in many countries around the world, one of the largest being at the New Jerusalem Theatre in Brazil in the city of Brejo da Madre de Deus.
He also mentioned the passion play held every four years in Leominster in Herefordshire.
The next production will be in 2012.
Other religious events similar to passion play include the Taziya.
This is a re-enactment of the Battle of Karbala and takes place in Iran.
Fred also talked about Purim Spiel, the comic dramatization of the story of the Book of Esther.
Father Christopher Neill and his son Duncan went on a retreat run by Ignatious Bacon who runs organised Orthodox pilgrimages to Iona every year.
They stayed in Clachanach Cottage.
Bishop's House is a retreat house offering quiet holidays in a Christian environment with daily services in St Columba's Chapel.
The whole house can be rented exclusively for use by a group.
Iona Hostel is a single storey building that sleeps twenty-one people.
There are five bedrooms sleeping between two to six people in bunks or single beds.
They don't provide food, so you have to take your own and cook it in their kitchen.
Producer: David Prest
A Just Radio and Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.
Katie Derham examines the pilgrimage phenomenon taking the travel industry by storm."