Altötting is not your typical tourist destination; oh no, not in the least. Altötting is a place of pilgrimage, a place the pious come (or have for centuries) to pay respects to the divine and all things holy. With a million pious visitors from all over the world coming to Altötting, this place is truly special.
Much of the pilgrim visitor’s time is taken over at the Chapel of the Miraculous Image. The legend tells that in 1489 a distraught mother brought her drowned son to the wood statue of the Virgin Mary. The boy lived and as the story quickly made the rounds, the spot grew with the faithful.
The octagon-shaped chapel is one of the most visited shines in all of Germany. It also houses the heart of Ludwig II (he’s the one who built the Bavarian Neuschwanstein Castle), as well keeping safe the heart of his father and grandfather.
The heart of the town really is the Kapellplatz, or Chapel Square (see webcam!). Don’t expect the same type of center square as in may other towns within Upper Bavaria (or all of Germany really) with lively markets and such. This square is more subdued, more reverent if you will. You’ll find a Pilgrimage and Local History Museum right on the Kapellplatz documenting the history of this glorified and hallowed city.
In addition to the many visitors who wish to see the Black Madonna, they come to see the other churches, too. St. Magdalena’s is a beautiful Baroque Church and the Basilica of St. Anna is equally stunning. In keeping with the religious feel, visitors for sure shouldn’t miss the breathtaking painted Jerusalem Panorama done at the turn of the last century.
Just as countless pilgrims came here to Altötting in its own right, many often went on to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, making Altötting a venerated stop along the way. Perhaps, many of the biking trails that encircle the town today were once traveled by this devout of centuries ago.
Regardless of denomination, or mode of travel in getting to this revered place — no one can say that it isn’t anything short of sacred.