Eine kleine Pilgergruppe geht vor dem Stadtpanorama von Altötting.
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Pilgrimages to Altötting

Take the most beautiful pilgrimage routes on your pilgrimage to Altötting. Learn more about the routes and guided pilgrimage tours and avail yourself of useful tips for your pilgrimage!

Pilgrimage Routes in Bavaria and Europe

Pilgrims have been drawn to Altötting for more than 500 years. The most important Marian pilgrimage site in German-speaking countries is located in the centre of an extensive European network of pilgrimage routes: explore the most beautiful pilgrimage routes in Bavaria and Austria, learn more about "guided pilgrimages" and get tips for your personal pilgrimage to Altötting.

Why have so many people been going to Altötting for centuries? Why is it that have they taken all their wishes, longings and requests to this particular place in the centre of Bavaria? Join us on a journey through the history of this extraordinary pilgrimage site in the heart of Europe and learn more about the people who have been going on a pilgrimage to Altötting for centuries and to this day still.

Eine kleine Pilgergruppe, die über den Altöttinger Kapellplatz zur Gnadenkapelle gehen.

Pilgrimage Routes to Altötting

It is hard to believe that a widespread long-distance route network already spanned that region up to the Danube river as far back as in the days of the Imperium Romanum. After the decline of the Roman Empire, this network continued to be extensively used. Soldiers, merchants, couriers and eventually also the first pilgrims to Rome travelled those roads.  Altötting was a central crossroads, both on the North-South route to Rome as well as on the East-West axis to Santiago di Compostela.  "Autingas", later known as "Alt-Oetting", thus gradually became an important administrative and Christian pilgrimage centre.

Eine kleine Pilgergruppe, die auf einem Pilgerweg Richtung Altötting pilgern.
Eine kleine Pilgergruppe auf dem Wolfgangweg nach Altötting.

Pilgrimage Destination Altötting

The fact that the Agilolfings and Carolingians already established Altötting as the centre of their power before the year 1000 is due to the town’s location in the heart of the ancient Bavarian Stem Duchy. However, in those days secular power went hand in hand with religious power. As a consequence, Karlmann, the great-grandson of Charlemagne, founded a monastery when moving the seat of his government from Regensburg to Altötting and built a basilica dedicated to Mary the Mother of God there. Thanks to Karlman’s donation of the arm relic of the Holy Apostle Philip, Altötting not only joined the ranks of the most important medieval centres of power, but also became one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in the world as it was known at the time.

All Roads Lead to Altötting

When Pope Bonifatius VIII proclaimed the "Holy Year" in the year 1300, the flow of pilgrims to Rome also resulted in a significant increase in pilgrims in Bavaria for the first time. On the occasion of the Holy Year of 1500, a clever printer from Nuremberg, Master Erhard Etzlaub, introduced the first pilgrimage map to travellers. One of the pilgrimage routes towards the Alps led from the Baltic Sea and the North Sea to the South passing through the Marian pilgrimage site of Altötting. This was an ingenious advertising campaign, as the main pilgrimage route to Rome has continued to be via Altötting, Salzburg and the Tauern Pass in the centuries since.

Eine Rötelzeichnung, die in der Michaelikirche in Altötting zu finden ist.