With his trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis completed 40 apostolic trips abroad since his accession to the throne of Peter in March 2013. This amounts to 60 countries visited and 176 days traveling. In addition, he has visited around 30 places on the Italian peninsula. Keep scrolling to see some maps and graphs of the first South American pope’s travels!
On average, the Argentinian pope has made 4 trips abroad per year. However, it must be mentioned that he was not able to travel in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, in 2013, when he was elected, he only traveled to one place: Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for World Youth Day.
This average puts him on the same level as John Paul II, who in his 27-year pontificate made 104 pastoral visits abroad, resulting in nearly four per year on average as well. In contrast, Pope Benedict XVI only had an average of around 3 trips per year, as he made 24 visits in a little under 8 years of pontificate.
The year in which Pope Francis traveled the most was 2019. He went on 7 apostolic trips that took him to Panama, the United Arab Emirates, Madagascar, Japan, and more. Pope Francis has spent 176 days traveling outside Italy, meaning nearly 6 months.
Pope Francis’ longest trip was to Cuba and the United States in 2015, as it lasted from September 19-28, 10 days. Looking at the map, the 266th pope has traveled throughout North America and much of South America, except notably his home country of Argentina.
He has still not set foot in Oceania. A trip to Southeast Asia/Oceania was scheduled for September 2020 but it had to be canceled due to the pandemic. The pontiff was supposed to visit East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
Francis went to six countries that had never before been visited by a pope: Myanmar, North Macedonia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Bahrain and South Sudan.
Where will he go next?
In 2023, Pope Francis is expected in Lisbon in early August to participate in the 37th World Youth Day.
The pope is also supposed to travel to Marseille in September for the Meeting of Mayors and Bishops of the Mediterranean. He has underlined that this would not be a trip to France, but only to Marseille. In December 2022 Pope Francis told the Spanish media outlet ABC that he had not visited “any large country in Europe,” preferring to visit the “smaller countries” of the continent. Unlike his two predecessors, he has not gone to Spain, France or Germany.
On the flight back from his trip to the DRC and South Sudan, the pope also mentioned he could go to Mongolia after Marseille. He also mentioned a possible visit to India next year.
A papal trip to Hungary could also occur in 2023, although the Holy See has not announced anything for the time being. The pontiff visited the Hungarian capital, Budapest, in September 2021 to celebrate the closing mass of the International Eucharistic Congress. However, this was not a state visit, so he promised to return to Hungary in the future.
Pope Francis has traveled extensively throughout Italy
Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy, has also traveled extensively throughout the Italian peninsula during his 10-year pontificate.
The pontiff’s first visit was to the island of Lampedusa in the south-east on July 8, 2013. Faced with the issue of migration in the Mediterranean, he had denounced the “globalization of indifference.”
The pope has made more than 30 trips across Italy, visiting some cities several times. He has visited Assisi, the city of St. Francis, the “Poverello” whose name he chose the day of his election as successor of Peter, six times.
It took him 10 years, though, to make a private visit. On November 19, 2022, he went to Asti in northern Italy to celebrate his cousin’s 90th birthday, and met with many members of his family.