The Benedictine monastery Andechs, one of southern Bavaria's most famous pilgrimage sites, lies 5 km (3 miles) south of Herrsching. You can reach it on Bus 951 from the S-bahn station (the bus also connects Ammersee and Starnberger See), but you can easily walk there too, as most people do. This extraordinary ensemble, surmounted by an octagonal tower and onion dome with a pointed helmet, has a busy history going back more than 1,000 years. The church, originally built in the 15th century, was entirely redone in baroque style in the early 18th century. The Heilige Kapelle contains the remains of the old treasure of the Benedictines in Andechs, including Charlemagne's "Victory Cross" and a monstrance containing the three sacred hosts brought back from the crusades by the original rulers of the area, the Counts of Diessen-Andechs. One of the attached chapels contains the remains of composer Carl Orff, and one of the buildings on the grounds has been refurbished as a concert stage
for the performance of his works.
Admittedly, however, the crowds of pilgrims are drawn not just by the beauty of the hilltop monastery but primarily by the beer brewed here and the stunning views. The monastery makes its own cheese as well, and serves hearty Bavarian food, an excellent accompaniment to the rich, almost black beer. You can enjoy both at large wooden tables in the monastery tavern or on the terrace outside.