Kloster Andechs

Top choice monastery in Starnberger Fünf-Seen-Land

Founded in the 10th century, the gorgeous hilltop monastery of Andechs has long been a place of pilgrimage, though today more visitors come to slurp the Benedictines' fabled ales.

The church owns two relics of enormous importance: branches that are thought to come from Christ’s crown of thorns, and a victory cross belonging to Charlemagne, whose army overran much of Western Europe in the 9th century. In the Holy Chapel, the votive candles, some of them over 1m tall, are among Germany’s oldest. The remains of Carl Orff, the composer of Carmina Burana, are interred here as well.

Outside, soak up the magnificent views of the purple-grey Alps and forested hills before plunging into the nearby Bräustüberl, the monks’ beer hall and garden. There are seven varieties of beer on offer, from the rich and velvety Doppelbock dark to the fruity unfiltered Weissbier (wheat beer). The place is incredibly popular, and on summer weekends you may have to join a queue of day trippers at the door to get in.

The easiest way to reach Andechs from Munich is to take a train to Tutzing (27 minutes), then change to bus 958. Alternatively, it’s a pleasant 4km hike south from Herrsching through the protected woodland of the Kiental.