(Weltenburg Abbey) is a Benedictine monastery at the shore of the river Danube
near the city of Kelheim
in the German
federal state of Bavaria
. The monastery, founded by Irish or Scottish monks in about 620 A.D., is considered to be the oldest monastery in Bavaria. It is also famous for its brewery (Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei
). The brewery, in operation since 1050 and famous for its dark beer, is the oldest monasterial brewery in the world.
- Cruise from Kelheim through the scenic part of Danube called "Weltenburg Narrows" or "Danube Gorge".
Walking around on foot is by far the easiest method of getting about, and given its size, unless you intend to do some serious hiking or rock-climbing, is the most practical method as well.
Should you feel adventurous, several distinct 12-person wooden boats with outboard motors operate a for-hire ferry service, and can take you across the Danube to the hiking path (allowing you to walk, bike, or hike), or can even take you all the way back to the nearby village (though you may want to compare the price to the ferry).
- The baroque-style St. George Church. While most visitors arrive for the beer, this church is not to be missed for its amazing architecture, beautiful frescos, and marble and gilded gold walls. Of particular interest is the fresco on the ceiling of the inner building. While it may appear domed and artificially lit, it is in fact an ingenious sleight-of-hand trick by the Brothers Asam (commissioned by a priest). The light radiates inwards from several windows concealed behind a ledge, and the ceiling is in fact completely flat. Notice especially the statue of the grinning man in the red-shirt leaning over the ledge down at the ground, he is in fact modeled after one of the Brothers Asam, immortalised in plaster.
- Sit in the monastery pub and have a Dunkel beer or two.
- Cruise through the beautiful Danube Gorge on the way to or from Kelheim. Alternatively, cruise upwards from Kelheim to the monastery and afterwards cross the river and walk your way back. The hike is by no means strenuous for most healthy people, saves a bit of cash, and allows you to see the scenery truly at your leisure.
- Spend some time by the watershore along the Danube! Skip a rock or two along the river - there are plenty of flat stones to be found all along the shoreline in front of the monastery, and on good days people tend to relax and even sunbathe along the shores.
The pub in the abbey serves not only beer, but also Bavarian cuisine.
The monastery has a brewery (oldest monastery brewery in the world) and a pub. Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel, the local dark beer, was decorated with the World Beer Award in 2004 as the best Dunkel beer in the world.
The beer is strictly brewed in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law (Bayrisches Reinheitsgebot). It can only be made of four ingredients: hops, water, grain, and sometimes yeast. This particular beer has a slightly sweet taste, with a pleaseant aftertaste and a deep, dark colour.