Step by step, your mind becomes quieter. You forget the world around you and focus on what’s within. A pilgrimage is something you can do entirely for yourself. Take as much time as you want and get rid of any expectations. This way, you can open yourself up a little more with every meter – perhaps for a dialogue with God and Crescentia, or simply with yourself.
The 90-kilometre (55 mile) Crescentia Pilgrimage Route connects four locations that were important in the life of St. Crescentia: Kaufbeuren, Irsee, Ottobeuren and Mindelheim. Here, in the Allgäu, the picturesque foothills of the Alps, Crescentia herself once travelled to visit friends and acquaintances in neighbouring monasteries. Follow in her footsteps and hike past churches, chapels, and wayside crosses. You may also encounter other pilgrims on the way which can be an enriching part of your journey too.
Along the way, there are 10 points that tell you about the life of St. Crescentia. Born in 1682 in Kaufbeuren as Anna Höß, she had divine visions as a child. At the age of 20, she joined the local convent of Franciscan nuns where she was given the name Crescentia, the Growing One, before later becoming superior. She lived for her faith, but also loved music, art and nature. During her lifetime, many people sought and received her help. Countless people have made pilgrimages to her grave every year since her death in 1744. The process of her beatification was started as early as 1775, but not completed until 1900. The monastery in Kaufbeuern, which is constantly visited by pilgrims and known to have experienced many answers to prayers, was a driving force behind Crescentia’s canonisation in 1998.
To allow enough time to visit the Crescentia Monastery in Kaufbeuren at the start and end of the pilgrimage route, it’s best to arrive a day before the start of your hike or to extend your stay at the end. This is all the more worthwhile as there is a lot to discover in the medieval town centre. The monastery has an exhibition on the life of Crescentia and a shrine is dedicated to her in the church.
The pilgrimage can be completed in four days or over a long weekend. The stages are quite long, but the elevation gain is moderate. At just under 30 kilometres (18.6 miles), the last stage is the longest. The paths are well-maintained and easy to walk.
You can catch the train to reach the start of the journey in Kaufbeuren and return home. In each of the stage destination towns, you can easily stay overnight. Bear in mind that the choice at the end of the first stage in Oberegg is very limited. However, there are hosts in Kaufbeuren who offer accommodation and transport to the stages. The tourist information in Kaufbeuren will be happy to arrange spiritual guidance for you on your way.
At the southern end of Oberegg, the second stage begins on a field path to the west, which takes you with a small curve through a forest to Wineden. On the main street you can make a detour to the left to the St. Wendelin chapel. Via still picturesque paths you will reach a steeper forest with huge Nagelfluhfelsen. The pilgrim path leads directly through it, a staircase helps.Shortly afterwards you have already completed the first third of the route. Conveniently, a Kneipp pool is available right here, in which you can motivate your feet and legs for the further journey. Afterwards you will meet in Markt Rettenbach on the Bavarian-Swabian Jakobusweg and the local parish church. At the western exit of the village you will pass the Maria Schnee pilgrimage church. Crescentia knew the last hermit who lived here.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.