Andechs Monastery: A Place for Pilgrimage, Praying and Beer Drinking

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Andechs Monastery (Kloster Andechs in German) is not only famous for its pilgrimage and praying, but also for its beer and is home to some of the best beer in Germany.

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Perhaps that it shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that the Benedictine monks have had over 900 years of beer brewing practice.  Monks used to brew the beer and survived on it during the 40 days of fasting during Lent, although the brewery itself just dates back to 1455. It is a great place to visit in Germany.

The forested path and part of the pilgrimage to Andechs.
The forested path and part of the pilgrimage to Andechs.
Inside the elaborate church
Inside the elaborate church

The Relics of Andechs Monastery

Andechs Hill, now home to the Andechs Monastery, has been a pilgrimage since the 10th century where worshipers came to see Christian relics, most notably a piece of Jesus’ crown of thorns, which is still on display today in the church. 

While bus transportation is available, I would recommend following in the footsteps of the pilgrims.  Starting in the Bavarian town of Herrsching and well signed, the path soon leads to a forested path and a little over an hour later we had reached our destination. 

The Church

The Rococo and baroque-style church was our first stop, and very ornate, and worth a visit in itself, but admittedly not the real reason we came to Andechs. The site was once occupied by a castle belonging to Counts, making it politically historic too. After a quick stop at the religious souvenir and beer-filled gift shop, we were off to the 3500 person beer garden.  Proof that not all the beer-drinking action just happens at Oktoberfest.

My friend enjoying a pint of the famous Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel and a Bavarian donut.
My friend enjoying a pint of the famous Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel and a Bavarian donut.

Andechs Monastery’s Beer

Andechs is famous for its beer, especially its Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel, a heavy dark beer that’s sure to put hair on your chest (you’ve been warned) with an alcohol content of 7.1%.  If you’re not a dark beer drinker, may I suggest the Andechser Weißbier Hell?  A light unfiltered beer with a mere 5.5% alcohol content. 

Unfortunately, I’m allergic to beer and was unable to try more than the smallest sip, but my friend from Canada who was celebrating his first day ever in Europe was up to the task.   Besides beer, there is also traditional Bavarian food in hearty portions at reasonable prices.  Especially considering how popular it is with tourists.  Its hilltop location provides a pleasant view overlooking the town of Andechs and the Bavarian countryside.

View from the restaurant
View from the restaurant (the view from the beer garden is even better, but my photo didn’t turn out)

After enjoying just one pint of the Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel, my friend was feeling its effects, but it was with a perma-grin slapped on his face that he headed back to the gift shop to try the Andechser Weißbier Hell, to be consumed later. We had planned to walk down, but as we boarded the bus, the bus driver gave a knowing smile.  Somehow I have a feeling that taking the bus down from the monastery is a common occurrence for many pilgrims.

Logistics of Getting to Andechs:

Andechs is located~40km SW of Munich and the nearby town of Herrsching is easily reached by S-Bahn 8, a 40-minute journey.  From the town of Herrsching, you can either take a public bus (which only come infrequently) or a private bus, which comes more often and only cost us €2.25 each for the one-way ride.  I would recommend walking up (just over an hour and 5km) and then playing it by ear for the return trip.  For more info see the official site of Kloster Andechs (in German only).

Where to Stay Near Andechs

4-Star

Romantik Hotel Chalet am Kiental is located in Hirrshing is housed in a former farmhouse. It is located just a short walk away from the Ammersee. Enjoy a meal at the award-winning restaurant. Each room is different and features unique wooden furniture. The hotel also has a sauna which is free to use for all guests.

The Romantik Villa B&B is located in Andechs near the Monastery. This B&B is located a 10-minute drive from the Ammersee and a short drive away from the Monastery. It offers a great breakfast buffet and charming rooms that are comfortable.

3-Star

Hotel Piushof is a quaint, traditionally decorated hotel in Hirrshing. The hotel offers spacious rooms with a seating area and a full continental breakfast. The property is per friendly and perfectly situated to explore Andechs Monastery.

Hotel zur Post garni is located in the town of Andechs and has an excellent rating. The property is family-run and offers a mixture of modern and traditional fittings. Each room is unique. The hotel is walking distance from the monastery and has many bicycle and hiking paths near it. There is also a large garden that can be enjoyed during the warmer months.

So if your looking for beer, prayer or just sightseeing, visit Andechs Monastery for a great experience.

19 thoughts on “Andechs Monastery: A Place for Pilgrimage, Praying and Beer Drinking”

  1. For some reason monasteries and alcohol seem to go together! A few years ago we visited a monastery in Spain that had made their own wine – they even had trenches built into the ground to transport it (or maybe for another reason, but I can’t quite remember). It was sort of bizarre!

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