Historic Bartholomew
Pilgrimage in Maria Alm

Tradition and customs play an important role in the region. Numerous events at and around the peak of emotions deal with traditional customs in a wide variety of forms. The Bartholomä pilgrimage has become much more popular in recent years. Depending on the weather, up to 2,500 participants venture on this pilgrimage from Maria Alm to St. Bartholomä am Königssee in neighbouring Bavaria on a challenging as well as attractive hiking tour whose roots go back to the 17th century.

How the Bartholomä pilgrimage came about

It all began in 1635 when, according to tradition, the people of Saalfelden wanted to express their gratitude for having survived several plague epidemics and started the Almer pilgrimage. Originally, the chapel of St. Bartholomä on the Hirschau peninsula was only a stopover on the way to Bad Dürrnberg near Hallein. In 1668, one of the boats carrying pilgrims across Lake Königssee capsized and 71 people drowned. Since then, the Bartholomä pilgrimage has ended in St. Bartholomä, and a wreath is laid at the Falkensteiner Wand every year. The custom, which had fallen into oblivion in the meantime, was rediscovered in 1951. Since then, the Pinzgau Trachtenmusikkapelle Maria Alm has organised the pilgrimage.

The pilgrims' path from Maria Alm

The actual pilgrimage always takes place on the Saturday after St. Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). With a walking time of nine to ten hours, endurance and sure-footedness are required, because this is not just a leisurely hike to and around the Königssee. The way to the Berchtesgadener Land involves countless meters of altitude and so the tour begins early in the morning from the Sandten car park. The pilgrimage route runs over stony plateaus on an alpine trail that requires a head for heights.

After about four hours, the first break takes place at the Riemannhaus with the Alm music band playing. The so-called “Saugasse” leads downhill over more than 30 hairpin bends to the Hirschau peninsula in Königssee, interrupted by honor marches. The final prayer takes place in the pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä, before a concert by the traditional band closes the day. The way back is usually by bus transfer.

Pilgrims and long-distance hikers appreciate the long-lasting Bartholomä pilgrimage, which connects the Salzburg Pinzgau with the Berchtesgadener Land. Our Sonnenhof is the perfect base camp for this unique hiking experience. Secure your hiking accommodation now and request a non-binding holiday offer on!