Pilgrimage city Altötting

The Heart of Bavaria

Your local contact

Pilgrimage and Tourist Office

Kapellplatz 2a

84503  Altötting

E-Mail: touristinfo (at) altoetting.de

Phone: +49 (0)8671 5062-19


For more than 1250 years, this town has been the spiritual centre of Bavaria and for more than 500 years the most significant place of pilgrimage in Germany in veneration of the Virgin Mary. More than 1 million pilgrims and visitors per year seek the “Black Madonna”, a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary.

Opposite the altar the hearts of the Bavarian Dukes, Kings and Electors are stored in richly decorated silver urns as a special sign of the deep and loyal ties to the Bavarian national Shrine. Among them also the heart of the fairy tale king Ludwig II: Due to the strong feelings which the Bavarian people and their sovereigns have for the sanctuary of “Our Lady of Altötting”, Altötting was given the surname “Heart of Bavaria”.

Preceded by Pope Pius VI in 1782 and Pope John Paul II in 1980, more recently Pope Benedict XVI visited what he referred to as his “spiritual homeland”. Two years later, as a token of his great esteem for the Marian shrine, he conferred the town with the Golden Rose.

A visit in Altoetting should include a visit to the Jerusalem Panorama – a monumental cyclorama showing the Crucifixion of Christ as well as the Treasury and Pilgrimage museum which houses the bridal wreath of the famous Austrian Empress “Sissi” which she donated to the Madonna of Altoetting. The St. Mary´s Association – “Exhibition of dioramas” shows 22 dioramas which are representing the history of pilgrimage in Altötting.

The pilgrimage town Altoetting is located in the lovely Upper-Bavarian Alpine region between Munich, Passau and Salzburg and at just a short distance to lake Chiemsee with the famous fairy tale castle Herrenchiemsee.

The region around Altoetting can be explored by foot on one of the numerous pilgrimage routes like the St. James’s way or by bicycle on the Benedict trail, connecting the places where Pope em. Benedict XVI spent his childhood and youth.

Shrine of Altötting

The origins of the Chapel of Grace date back to the 7th century. Pilgrims seek the statue of the Madonna which originates from Burgundy and came to Altoetting at about 1330. Over the centuries the wooden statue with a height of 66 cm darkened by the smoke of candles and thus became known as “Black Madonna”.

Pilgrimage history

The reports of two healing miracles in the year 1489 mark the rise of pilgrimage to Altoetting. Two small children were saved by the intercession of Mother Mary. In the following years further miraculous healings and fulfilled requests were reported. The votive pictures around the Chapel tell stories of all those miracles.

Holy Brother Konrad

A capucin monk called Brother Konrad lived for 41 years during the 19th century as porter in the capucin monastery. 1934 he has been canonizised and his reliquary shrine can be visited in the Brother Konrad Church.

Popes visiting Altötting

Preceded by Pope Pius VI in 1782 and Pope John Paul II in 1980, more recently Pope Benedict XVI, who was born just a stone's throw away from Altoetting in Markt, visited what he referred to as his “spiritual homeland”. Two years later, as a token of his great esteem for the Marian shrine, he conferred the town with the Golden Rose.

Top 10 events
  1. Holy Week and Easter with many festive masses and the blessing of food and traditional feet washing
  2. 1st May: Beginning of the pilgrimage season with a festive mass with the bishop
  3. Whitsun weekend with the arrival of ten thousand pilgrims by foot
  4. Traditional Court Fair with beer tents, funfair rides in May/ June. In this week is also the Corpus Christi procession.
  5. Altötting´s Abbey Market in July with exhibitors from all around Europe
  6. Great Procession of Lights at 14th August, traditionally at the evening before the Solemnity of Assumption
  7. Votive Pilgrimage of the Motorcyclists at the Chapel Square at the end of September with blessing of the participants
  8. Altötting´s Christkindl market with a comprehensive musical program, always three weeks during the advent season
  9. Big Advent Concert at the last Sunday of the Christkindl market
  10. Altötting´s Advent Singing in alpine style every Wednesday and Saturday during the advent season
Top 5 sights in Altötting

What to visit

  1. Chapel of Grace with the sanctuary, the Black Madonna
  2. Basilica of St. Anne
  3. Collegiate Parish Church
  4. Church of St. Konrad
  5. Museums: Jerusalem Panorama crucifixion of Christ, Treasury and Pilgrimage Museum, diorama exhibit at the Altöttinger Marienwerk
Top 5 Excursions from Altötting

Up to 2 hours driving time

  1. Burghausen castle, the world’s longest medieval castle
  2. Herrenchiemsee Castle and the lake Chiemsee
  3. Munich, the capital of the German state of Bavaria
  4. Passau at the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz, famous with river cruises
  5. Salzburg, town of the famous musician W.A. Mozart

Excursion to the Passion Play village Oberammergau and the fairy tale castles of Ludwig II Neuschwanstein and Linderhof as well as the “Wieskirche” -church in the meadows (about 3 hours driving time)

Travelling to Altötting

The most important connections

Getting here by plane





Getting here by train

good connection between Munich airport and Altötting


Getting here by bus

Flix bus from Munich to Prague with stop in Altoetting