Pilgrimage Town of 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 center of Bavaria and for over 500 years the most significant pilgrimage site in Germany in the veneration of the Virgin Mary. Each year over 1 million pilgrims and visitors are drawn to 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 their deep and loyal ties to the Bavarian National Shrine. Among them is the heart of the "fairy tale king" Ludwig II. Due to the strong sentiments which the Bavarian people and their sovereigns have for the sanctuary of “Our Lady of Altötting”, the town was dubbed the “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 to Altoetting should include a visit to the Jerusalem Panorama – a monumental cyclorama showing the Crucifixion of Christ. One should not miss the Treasury and Pilgrimage Museum which houses the bridal wreath of the famous Austrian Empress “Sissi” that she donated to the Madonna of Altötting. The St. Mary´s Association's “Exhibition of Dioramas” shows 22 dioramas which represent the history of pilgrimage in Altötting.

The pilgrimage town of Altötting is located in the lovely Upper-Bavarian Alpine region between Munich, Passau and Salzburg and just a short distance from lake Chiemsee with the famous fairytale castle, Herrenchiemsee.

The region around Altötting can be explored on foot on the numerous pilgrimage routes like 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 out the statue of the Madonna which originates from Burgundy and came to Altötting around 1330. Over the centuries the wooden statue, measuring 66 cm in height, was darkened by the smoke of candles and thus became known as the “Black Madonna”.

Pilgrimage history

The reports of two healing miraculous healings in the year 1489 mark the rise of pilgrimages to Altötting: two young 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

In the 19th century a capuchin monk called Brother Konrad lived for 41 years as gatekeeper in the capuchin monastery. He was canonized in 1943 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 in Marktl, just a stone's throw away from Altötting, 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 foot washing
  2. May 1st: Beginning of the pilgrimage season with a festive mass with the bishop
  3. Whitsun weekend with the arrival of ten thousand pilgrims on foot
  4. Traditional Town Fair with beer tents, funfair rides in May/ June. Also the Corpus Christi procession takes place during this week.
  5. Altötting´s Abbey Market in July with exhibitors from all around Europe
  6. Great Procession of Lights on 14th August, traditionally on the evening before the Solemnity of Assumption
  7. Votive Pilgrimage of the Motorcyclists at Chapel Square at the end of September with a blessing of the participants
  8. Altötting´s Christkindl Market with a comprehensive music program, always three weeks during the Advent season
  9. Big Advent Concert on 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 lake Chiemsee
  3. Munich, the capital of the German State of Bavaria
  4. Passau at the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz, popular with river cruises
  5. Salzburg, hometown 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