Just south of Oberammergau, the vast Benedictine monastery of Ettal sits at the heart of the same-named village in a high, narrow alpine valley. It’s a surprisingly grandiose church to be standing in such a relatively isolated spot. Founded in 1330 by Emperor Ludwig IV of Bavaria, it became an immensely popular place of pilgrimage, a magnet for the faithful who hiked through the valley to honor the Virgin Mary, the patroness of heavily Catholic Bavaria. The elaborate facade and dome of the Lady Chapel that you see today were part of an exuberant 18th-century makeover by Enrico Zucalli, an 18th-century Swiss architect with a passion for the Italian Baroque. A statue of the Virgin is by the sculptor Giovanni Pisano (1250–c. 1315), whose works grace so many churches throughout Tuscany. Early visitors were shown hospitality with the cloister’s much-loved liqueur and beer, both named Ettaler for a nearby peak, and you may have some, too, in the adjoining Braustuberl.
Our Rating Neighborhood 3km (2 miles) south of Oberammergau (on the road to Garmisch-Partenkirchen) Hours Daily 7am–8pm Transportation Hourly buses run from Oberammergau’s Rathaus and Bahnhof in daytime Phone 08822/740 Prices Free admission Web site Kloster Ettal
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.