The home of former Pope Benedict XVI is known as "terra benedictina" (Benedictine land). Although it would be wrong to assume that the region was named after him. In actual fact, the name is derived from the Benedictine monks who imparted their Christian values here. Nevertheless, the pilgrim cycle route does follow in the footsteps of the "Bavarian Pope".
The bishop's mitre and the word "Benediktweg" (Benedict Trail) show pilgrims the way through the "Benedictine land", another name for the Inn-Salzach region. This is a spiritual environment with a very special pilgrimage route for cyclists that leads them through the past and the present all at once. The journey through Chiemgau and along Chiemsee lake, through ancient farmland with fields, forests and meadows, is therapeutic. The abbeys and monasteries along the route, including the former Raitenhaslach Monastery – the oldest Cistercian monastery in Upper Bavaria – are spectacular, as are Seeon Abbey, a former Benedictine establishment, and Frauenwörth Abbey, an active Benedictine monastery, Gars Abbey and Au am Inn Convent. The stops devoted to the childhood and youth of the former "Bavarian Pope" Benedict XVI, who was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, are touching. The region between Inn, Salzach and the Alps, which is known for its devotion to and adoration of the Virgin Mary, is where he calls home. He was born in Marktl am Inn, and lived in Tittmoning, Aschau am Inn and Traunstein. The circular cycle path starts by the lime tree planted by the Pope in Altötting, which has been a famous place of pilgrimage devoted to the Virgin Mary for more than 500 years. As it happens, the tree wasn't planted by Pope Benedict XVI, but his predecessor Pope John Paul II. It's all in the past and yet it feels so vibrant.
Total length of route: approx. 250 km circular cycle path
Pilgrim hostels along the route?: Yes
Arrival/departure options: change at Munich Central Station for regional trains
About the route: moderate; fairly busy forest paths, farm lanes and cycle paths, quiet roads
To order a map and view the "Benedict Cycle Trail" package deals (in German), visit:
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