The hill overlooking the small Bavarian municipality of Andechs originally held a medieval castle, razed in 1208. By that time, however, several relics had already been transferred to the site, making it a popular pilgrimage location. Consequently Duke Albert III of Bavaria turned the site into a Benedictine monastery in 1455, raised to the status of abbey in 1458. The monks of course immediately opened a brewery, and today Klosterbrauerei Andechs is known for its excellent dark Doppelbock (7% alcohol).
Andechs lies close to Herrsching at the shore of lake Ammersee. These are basically little siblings of the more glamorous Starnberg and its eponymous lake. Like Starnberg, Herrsching is the terminus of a Munich S-Bahn line and serves mostly as a holiday resort for tourists and rich Munich residents. There is a bus to the abbey, but also a direct footpath of about 5 km, climbing along the side of a deepening ravine that protects the western side of the abbey, looking towards Herrsching and Ammersee.
So on a sunny but deep-frozen (–5°C at most) Sunday I rode out to Herrsching and climbed up to Andechs abbey. One important tip if you want to make this trip: do it in summer! There is no winter service whatsoever on the steepest parts of the ascent, partly covered in sheer ice. So myself and the other hikers (it’s a popular trip) were merrily slipping and sliding all over the place. It’s quite possible to drop to your death from the sections near the top of the ravine. (Needless to say I took the bus for the return trip…)
Herrsching and Ascent
The first gallery shows the Ammersee and a bit of Herrsching, followed by impressions from the climb along the picturesque ravine up to the outer walls of Andechs abbey. The actual steepness and depth of the ravine doesn’t quite come across here, as the view is usually obstructed by masses of trees. Besides, on the most difficult parts I was too busy trying not to slip to take pictures.
Photography Notes: I took all pictures with a Sony Alpha 7R II and Sony SEL-24240 lens, plus a polarizing filter when outside and post-processing in Adobe Lightroom to correct brightness and saturation. Click on any picture to enter a full-screen view with description and Exif data.
The second gallery shows the abbey church and the gastronomical attractions of Andechs. The latter are popular mostly for the excellent beer and unique location. The Bräustüberl offers simple beergarden fare, and the Klostergasthof is amazingly pricey for a village location. Don’t miss the Doppelbock while you’re there, though!
I’m sorry to say there is just one picture of the church interior, and no close-up of the magnificient sundial on its tower. My brain was basically frozen at this point, and I was rather eager to get back to the train station before darkness.