Reflections Enroute

Epic Boat Ride to Weltenburg Abbey and Some Tasty Beer

By: Author Corinne Vail

Posted on Published: 13 November 18  - Last updated: 1 January 24

Home » DIY Travel » Germany » Epic Boat Ride to Weltenburg Abbey and Some Tasty Beer

Do you love beer or old monasteries? How about old monasteries that have been making beer for over 1000 years? Take a boat down to the Weltenburg Abbey, and enjoy one of these centuries-old brews. You’ll love it!

Don’t you just love a good boat ride? One with spectacular scenery and great snacks on board? We do, and we’ve taken many, like when we sailed out of Stockhom , took a tall ship vacation , boated into Taman Negara in Malaysia.

We’ve taken boats and ferries all over the world from Istanbul to Russia. We’ve enjoyed short cruises from the Galapagos to the Baltics.

Boat travel is just one perfect way to relax while you are sightseeing or just to get from one point to another without having the stress of driving, or figuring out which stop to get off at since there are usually not that many.

However the Weltenburg boat ride, a must-see in Germany , was a bit shorter; but it did take us to lunch at the renowned Weltenburg Abbey (Kloster Weltenburg) where they have been brewing their own beer for 1,000 years, so it’s got a pretty good hold on its claim of being the oldest monastic brewery in the world.

Weltenburg Abbey and Monastery from the Danube River.

In this article, we’ll tell you all about a fantastic way to spend a day a little north of Munich in Kelheim, Germany. You’ll find out:

  • Where Weltenburg Abbey is
  • The boat ride through the Danube Gorge
  • The incredible beer that’s brewed there
  • How to get to Kelheim

Danube Gorge Boat Ride

On a whim and a crisp, fall day, we headed down to Kelheim , where you catch the 45 minute boat ride to the abbey. We hadn’t really done much research, but we figured it would all work out.

Travel is like that. If you are calm and patient, and maybe not expecting too much, it will all work out. At least that’s what we hoped as we pulled up to a rather full parking lot. It seems we weren’t the only ones that wanted to take advantage of this gorgeous day, especially since we knew that winter was sure to come in the not-too-distant future.

weltenburg abbey tour

However, the boat launches are frequent, and even though we had a tough time finding a parking space, tickets were not a problem. We were on the next boat, leaving in only ten minutes. It was almost too quick. We boarded and headed straight to the top where we would have the best view of the ride.

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The ride. The ride is one reason you go to the Weltenburg Abbey. On the way, you go through one of the Danube’s most beautiful gorges. Limestone pillars, very similar to the ones we saw at Bastei Bridge in the Saxon Switzerland , come all the way to the water. It seemed to be over before we knew it, though. It was quick.

Boats of all sizes ply the Danube near Weltenburg.

When we arrived at the dock, we took our time disembarking unlike the rest of the passengers. They wanted off, but we know that sometimes when you hang back, you can get the best photos so we took our time.

Weltenburg Brewery

The abbey and brewery sits on a tight bend in the river, rather like a horseshoe shape and the monastery and grounds take up most of the available space. There are a few things to do, take a brewery tour if they are being offered, visit the cathedral or the museum, and do a little shopping.  But one of the best reasons to go is that Weltenburg has a huge beer garden where you can drink the beer that’s been made there for centuries.

The Weltenburg boat sails past Kehlheim.

Looking for a space to sit down, we now knew where all those folks in those parked cars were…enjoying the autumn sunshine with a liter of beer. We intended to do the very same thing. We found a table, and since we’d eaten at the restaurant before , we decided to just have a pretzel and a beer, sit and chat, and enjoy the afternoon warmth in that golden light of fall.

Locals and Tourists alike take the Danube boat cruise through a gorge on their way to the oldest monastic brewery in the world, Weltenburg.

Afterwards, we made our way down to the boat dock and headed back to our car. We then wanted to go to Kuchlbauer Tower since it was right up the road and another fun and quirky brewery tour.

How to Get to Weltenburg

Weltenburg is nestled in between two major cities, Regensburg and Munich. It’s only an hour drive from either of them, so if you have your own car or are renting one it’s super easy to get there. However, you cannot drive directly to Weltenburg Abbey, but you can drive to the town and take a one kilometer (about 15 minutes) walk along the river after leaving your car in the nearest parking lot.

We did this the first time we visited in November, because the boat ride doesn’t run during the winter months. If the weather is nice, and the boats are running, we definitely recommend the river route. You can book tickets at the departure point in Kelheim, just look for the Kasse kiosk.

Schiffart-Kelheim operates several ships making the round trip several times per day between March and November. You can get more information and latest prices at their website, however, they do not currently offer online bookings.

Weltenburg is a fantastic place to take a boat ride and have lunch.

From Regensburg to Weltenburg


  • Take the A93 until you come to exit 45, Regensburg-Sud. 
  • Follow the B16 to Kelheim and take the Riedenburg/Kelheim exit
  • Turn right at the end of the offramp
  • Cross the bridge over the Donau and stay on Riedenburgstr.
  • Take the third exit at the first traffic circle
  • Follow the signs to the Schiffsanlagestelle and the parking lots (Schiffsanlegestelle Kelheim, Stadtknechtstraße, 93309 Kelheim, Germany)
  • Park in the ample parking lots, buy your tickets, and climb aboard one of the ships of the “White Fleet.”

If the ships aren’t running or you’d rather drive as far as possible, head to the parking lot in Weltenburg village. It is across the street from the firestation at Asamstraße 8, 93309 Kelheim, Germany.

Follow the trail on foot (or bike) around the river to the kloister. By train, hop on at Regensburg Hauptbahnhof and journey on to Saal/Donau, from there it is a short taxi ride to Kelheim (about 15 euro) or a bit further to Weltenburg (about 20 euro).

With plenty to see, do, and eat in Weltenburg, don't forget to visit this amazing baroque chapel which is part of Kloster Weltenburg.

From Munich to Weltenburg

Driving – take the towards Nuremberg and then switch to the A93 in the direction of Regensburg. Take exit 49 and follow the road signs on into Kelheim as above.

By train , the nearest station is Abensberg, and then you would either have to take the bus that has few departures or hire a taxi.

A day trip from Regensburg or Munich, Weltenburg boat ride and a visit to the abbey and brewery should be on everyone's German itinerary.

Other Boat Trips You Might Enjoy around the World: France: The Scandola Nature Reserve Sweden: Tall Ship Sailing Croatia: Rowing on Lake Bled Turkey: Lake Van Botswana: Chobe National Park Uganda: The Kazinga Channel USA: San Juan Island, Washington

Where to Stay

Weltenburg is a great day trip, so I would suggest staying in Regensburg or Munich where you have lots of choices for restaurants and other sights to see. However, you can stay right there at Weltenburg Abbey or nearby in Kelheim right in the old town, and then you can enjoy this amazing beer without worries.

If you’re looking for a fun day out, one that keeps both kids and adults happy. Take the boat from Kelheim to the Weltenburg Abbey and have a terrific lunch after exploring the small monastery. Like us, you’ll go back again and again.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

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Weltenburg Abbey is the best place to head on a lazy weekend afternoon! Take the boat and enjoy a beer in true Bavarian Style.

Thursday 29th of November 2018

I think I unconsciously clicked on this post when I saw the word "abbey"because I knew beer would be involved. I'm in Morocco right now, have been for 4 days during which time I've had no alcohol. I don't know the last time I went 4 days with no alcohol. But I knew that going in and actually vowed not to drink for the 5 weeks that I'm here (Lissette always said if I stayed away from the alcohol for a month I would lose the beer belly. So that's the mission). Weltenburg Abbey looks very nice and since we'll be in Germany for a month next year (including nearby Regensburg) we'll make sure to visit. Can wait to drink some beer again and I'm sure I'll have the belly back :)

Corinne Vail

Hi Frank, You crack me up. You are almost 1/5 of the way there. Unfortunately we won't be there. We've moved to Japan, so if you happen to come this way, let us know. We now live near Kamakura, Japan.

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View of Weltenburg Abbey from the other side of the Danube

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View of Weltenburg Abbey from the other side of the Danube


Brandenstein organ in the monastery church

The World's Oldest Monastery Brewery

Located near the city of Kelheim, Weltenburg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery by river Danube and, first and foremost, famous for its brewery. It was founded in 1050 AD and is thus the oldest still existing monastery brewery in the world. On weekends, guided tours are offered at the brewery.

Beer Garden in the Courtyard

The courtyard of the brewery is particularly popular because of its beer garden. Anyone who appreciates Bavarian brewery tradition will immediately feel at home here. Don't miss out on the famous “Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel” that has already won the World Beer Award as the world's best dark beer (dark lager or dark draught).

But you shouldn't come here only for the fantastic beer. Have a look inside and around the abbey, one of the churches in Bavaria with ceiling frescos painted by the famous Asam brothers. 

Donaudurchbruch (Danube gorge)

Weltenburg Abbey is situated idyllically above the Donaudurchbruch. Enjoy your summer days, and stick your feet into the cool wet of the river along the pebble beach of the Danube. It is recommended to come to Kelheim by ship as one will be smoothly led through the Donaudurchbruch while listening to interesting information about the special characteristics of this particular stretch of Bavarian soil.

Historical Information

Little Frauenberg chapel

The genesis

Weltenburg Abbey was founded by the Irish-Scottish monks Eustachius and Agilus around 617 AD and is thus the oldest monastery in the whole of Bavaria. Allegedly, the abbey was consecrated to St. George by St. Rupert in 700 AD.

Continuation, Fleeing Monks and Resettlement

While the founding monks were leading the monastery strictly following the rules of St. Columbanus, the abbey was later put under the Benedictine order in the 8th century.

In the 10th century, Hungarians invaded the region and, as a consequence, all monks were forced to leave the abbey. In 932 AD, then, Weltenburg Abbey was inhabited once again, as a proprietary monastery of the Regensburg Diocese.

Looting and Extending the Monastery Complex

In the 14th and 15th century, the abbey was looted on several occasions during wars. The 18th century saw new buildings added to the monastery complex, such as the Frauenberg church and a new one dedicated to St. George again.

The Monastery's Closure is a New Beginning for the Abbey

On 21st March 1803, the monastery was closed down due to secularisation movements, and in 1842 King Ludwig I of Bavaria had the monastery reorganised as the priory of Metten monastery. Prince regent Ludwig, who later became Ludwig III, proclaimed the monastery an abbey.

How to get there

Weltenburg Abbey: beautifully located amidst natural landscapes

It is highly recommendable to travel to the abbey from Kehlheim by boat. The way there, against the stream, takes up to 40 minutes, whereas getting back will take only half the time. The first ship departs Kelheim at 9.30am and the last one at 6.30pm (weekends, April – October) or 6.10pm (Monday to Friday, April – October). A return ticket costs 9 € per adult. Dogs and bicycles are allowed on board. The pier can be found at Bahnhofstraße 1, 93309 Kelheim.

Coming from Regensburg, take the B16 until you get to the KEH38 in Saal and exit the B16 again at Riedenburg/ Kelheim. Following the KEH38 and the St2233 leads you to the Bahnhofstraße. Fee-based parking facilities are provided directly at the pier, but you may also park your car free of charge at the Volksfestplatz (square), which is only 400m (437yd) away from the pier.

The monastery cannot be accessed directly by motorised vehicles. You can find car parks at the Danube pier, which is only a few minutes walking distance away from the monastery.

From the direction of Nuremberg Use the A3 in the direction of Passau/ Regensburg and take Exit 95/ Beratzhausen. Continue on the St2041 towards Beratzhausen, where you follow the R11 until Hemau. Leave the roundabout driving towards Kelheim/ Painten on the St2233. Carry on until you reach the next roundabout. Once there, take the second exit leading into the Weltenburgstraße. Roughly after 6km (3.7mi), you will be able to see the car park at the Danube pier signposted.

From the direction of Munich Take the A9 in the direction to Stuttgart/ Nuremberg. Taking Exit 65/ Dreieck Holledau, you change onto the A93 leading towards Regensburg/ Hof. Leave the motorway at Exit 50/ Siegenburg and follow the B299 in the direction of Neustadt an der Donau. Continue on the road until you get to the B16 towards Nuremberg/ Ingolstadt, which you leave again at the exit Mühlhausen/ Neustadt an der Donau. Keep following the Landshuter Straße through Neustadt until you get to the Herzog-Ludwig-Straße. This is where you turn right into the Bad Gögginger Straße and automatically get to the St2233. The car park is signposted from here.

From the direction of Passau Take the A3 in the direction of Regensburg and leave at the motorway intersection Kreuz Regensburg at Exit 99. Continue on the A93 towards Ingolstadt/ Munich and then take Exit 45/ Regensburg-Süd. Get on the B16 leading to Kelheim and after approximately 16km (10mi) you get on the St2233 taking you to Saal an der Donau/ Kelheim. Once in Kelheim, you enter a roundabout, which you need to leave at the third exit to keep on the St2233. This way you will soon reach the car park at the pier along the Danube.

View of Weltenburg Abbey from the other side of the Danube

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A Boat Cruise down the Danube to Weltenburg Abbey

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Located on a bend along the Danube River (Donau) is a solitary monastery founded in 620 which makes it the oldest monastery in Bavaria. It is also considered to be  the world’s oldest monastery brewery , however it does rival Weihenstephan Abbey for the title. What makes this monastery special, is that one of the best ways to reach it is with a river boat ride down the Danube. 

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How to Find the Boats

Just below the Befreiungshalle in the small village of Kelheim , you can find a small parking lot next to the DeutschePost from where the ships pick up to take you downstream to the beautiful Kloster Weltenburg. We decided to spend the afternoon taking a boat ride up the Donau (Danube) river so that we could go to Kloster Weltenburg. This is one of the best river cruise day trips from Regensburg , but not every day, of if you’re extra motivated. it’s an easy day trip from Munich via train to Kelheim and catch the boat from there.

Check out this website for more information depending on the seasons. Unfortunately, the site is only in German, but for adults its about 8,90 € per person round trip and in case you are traveling with children they are only 4,45 €.


I highly suggest checking out the Befreiungshalle either before or after your boat cruise, especially since the parking lot for the boats is just below the memorial. King Ludwig I of Bavaria commissioned it to be built commemorating the victories won during against Napoleon during the Wars of Liberation from 1813-1815. It was finally built in 1842 and finished in 1863.

From Befreiungshalle, you will have a great view over the Danube and will even see many of the chips floating past, making their way down the winding river. The Danube river is the second longest river in Europe  that passes through or touches 10 countries! It is the only river to flow from West to East and is measured from the Black Forest backwards to the delta in the Black Sea .

Take a Leisurely Boat Ride

The  Weltenburg Abbey boat trip is incredibly enjoyable with commentary over a loud speaker about the history of the Danube in this region with informative in both German and English. Immediately taking off from Kelheim, the commentator will begin by giving you some details about Kelheim . This tiny town was founded by the Wittelsbacher dynasty and has just over 16,000 people. There are two churches squished together just below the Befreiungshalle. One is green and the other white. The small white one is the smallest church in Kelheim.

Legends Along the Danube & the Rock Formations

Further along, there is an interesting story about one of the rock formations which is called “Napoleon’s Suitcase” because he supposedly was in such a hurry to leave the area. Some other massive limestone rocks include a section with a bunch of caves. It is said that during the Medieval period, boat pirates used to hide in these caved from which they would attack ships passing, although in reality, these were once cave dwellings dating back to the Stone Age !

Another interesting legend we heard while on the boat included a tall, skinny rock formation standing on its own which says that once upon a time, a witch who lived in the area turned a beautiful young maiden into a stone. Therefore, this stone is called the “Petrified Virgin ” or in German the “Jungfrau” .

As we begin to near the abbey, we flow through one of the deepest and narrowest parts of the Bavarian Danube at 20m deep and 80m wide! To the right is a large rock formation which has 65 iron rings nailed into the side of the rock which before the times of motorized boats, boat people used to pull themselves along this difficult part of the river. There is also a small statue on the “Long Wall” of the Patron Saint John Nepomuk who was from Prague and was the patron saint for water and bridges.

The views of the Danube are absolutely beautiful with many rock formations. You may even see people rock climbing, dangling from the cliffs over the river. Finally, you will have a beautiful view of the Abbey as the boat finally gets closer and turns around to face the other direction.

Weltenburg Abbey & the biergarten

It is also popular because it is also the oldest monastery brewery and Weltenburg Abbey beer is some of the best beer you’ll have in Bavaria! During Lent, monks would brew their own beer because it was rich in vitamins and very filling. The brewery has been in operation since 1050! Therefore, their beer is ridiculously delicious! I especially love the Bockbier  and the Dunkles Radler !

If you’re looking for one of the best beer gardens in Bavaria, look no further. Bavarian biergartens are renowned for being incredibly Gemütlich (cozy) and have a great vibe. Inside the abbey grounds is a huge beer garden restaurant . There isn’t much to choose from, but it is good! If you go too late in the day, finding a table will be difficult. Going in May before the tourist season was the perfect time to go, otherwise you will stand around preying on the tourists who are finishing their meals. It’s really best to try to go during the week or before summer really kicks off because then there aren’t so many people. This is much more enjoyable for both the biergarten and the boat ride!

Here, you’ll be served traditional Bavarian cuisine and of course only beer from Weltenburg Abbey. Waiters and waitresses are dressed in traditional Lederhosen & Dirndl . 

The abbey’s church, the Asamkirche is one of the main sights to see at Weltenburg Abbey which is open to the public free of charge and was also designed and built by the Asam Brothers who also built the Asamkirche in Munich . Therefore, this church is also highly decorated. I even donated a few euros to help maintain the church since it was so beautiful and in June 2013, Weltenburg Abbey sustained heavy flooding. It was one of the worst floods the region has experienced in over 500 years! It was the first Spring after I moved here and the damage along the Danube was incredible to witness for myself!

Once we were done looking around the abbey and ate a nice lunch, we skipped some rocks into the river, which is a pleasurable pastime for those going to the abbey. This was a relaxing way of waiting for the next boat to arrive which would take us back to Kelheim. sadly, the ride back is always much faster than going as then we are going downstream.

There is also a restaurant in the city center of Regensburg called “Weltenburg am Dom” which has some of the best food ever. I highly suggest making a pit stop there just for their Bockbierschnitzel ! And of course, more of their delicious beer!

If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

weltenburg abbey tour

Other Related Posts:

A Local’s Guide to Regensburg

Abensberg’s Kuchlbauer Brewery & the Hundertwasser Tower

The ULTIMATE List of Day Trips from Munich

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Visit Weltenburg Abbey

This residence for monks is on the to-do lists of many visitors to Kelheim . But Weltenburg Abbey isn't the only drawcard in the area. Danube Gorge, Kuchlbauer Tower, and Castle Prunn are some other recommended attractions close by.

Plan a trip to see Weltenburg Abbey

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Beer-tasting at the world’s oldest brewery

“Visit the oldest brewery in the world!”. My first thought, when I read this headline on a brochure, was of Weihenstephan Abbey. I’ve enjoyed this beer on numerous occasions around the world and the label proudly claims Weihenstephan to be the world’s oldest brewery. Located in Freising, Bavaria, just north of the Munich Airport, Weihenstephan has been recognised as a licensed brewery since 1040 AD (making it almost a thousand years old!!). It thus came as a surprise when I opened the brochure and saw that it referred to the Weltenburg Abbey ( map ), about 30km southwest of Regensburg.


Visiting the Weltenburg Abbey

The excursion to the Weltenburg Abbey was one of the offerings on the Viking Danube River Cruise I was on. Intrigued by this claim (and I can’t deny my love of beer), I signed up for this excursion to the “oldest brewery in the world”.

Getting there was a treat. This part of Bavaria, in southern Germany, is characterised by a hilly, thickly-forested landscape. It was early-autumn and we passed gorgeous patches of yellow, orange and red as we made our way to the abbey by bus from Regensburg. The bus dropped us off at Weltenburg village and we continued the rest of the way on foot, a short but scenic walk along the banks of the Danube River.

The Weltenburg Abbey is situated at a bend of the Danube River, close to the Danube Gorge. Founded in the 7th century AD, making it the oldest monastery in Bavaria, the monks at Weltenburg adopted the Benedictine order in the 8th century. Beer-brewing activities at the monastery started at around 1050 AD.


Our first stop was the abbey church. Built in the 18th century in Baroque style, the church features a stunning ceiling and altar (with a statue of St. George). Aside from visiting the church, there are also possibilities to go on a hike through the surrounding forests and see the excavations of Wolfgang’s Wall, remnants of a 10th century fort.


After a short stroll in the forest, I made my way to the biergarten (beer garden) for a beer-tasting and lunch. Weltenburg is famous for its Barock-Dunkel dark beer, which was absolutely superb! As I sipped this full-bodied brew, I caught hints of dark bread, caramel and a fruity finish. The other beer I truly enjoyed was the Hefe-Weissbier Hell, a wheat beer with a delicious taste of malt, banana and citrus, and a subtle hint of cloves.


After lunch, which consisted of delicious pork knuckles, Wiener sausage, Bavarian dumplings and salad, our guide had another treat in store for us. We walked to the nearby pier and boarded the Weltenburg boat for the village of Kelheim, on the other side of the Danube Gorge. The boat ride, past impressive limestone cliffs and forests, was absolutely beautiful!


Which is the oldest brewery in the world?

So, which is the world’s oldest brewery: Weltenburg or Weihenstephan? Whilst Weihenstephan claims to be the world’s oldest brewery, Weltenburg makes the claim of being the world’s oldest monastic brewery. Both breweries began operations at around the same time (early 11th century) and available records provide conflicting views. Whatever the case is, they’re both REALLY OLD! I certainly enjoyed my visit and I’m now a fan of the beers from both breweries!

weltenburg abbey tour

How to get to Weltenburg Abbey

Weltenburg Abbey is about a 30-minute drive from Regensburg. You’ll have to park in the Weltenburg village. However, I recommend parking in Kelheim instead and catching one of the frequent boats to Weltenburg Abbey. The scenery in the Danube Gorge is definitely worth the extra effort.


It’s also possible to spend the night and enjoy the tranquil abbey and surroundings once the day-trippers have left. Visit the abbey website for more info.

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  •   Monday, June 24, 2024
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Weltenburg Abbey- Come for the Beer, Stay for the History

Sitting somewhat precariously on the shores of the Danube not too far from Regensburg, you’ll find Weltenburg Abbey . I visited on a warm day in July. The plan was to tour the Brewery, but I was delighted to learn that there is much more to see at the Benedictine Abbey than just big vats of beer (not that big vats of beer aren’t interesting…). The Abbey also houses a small museum, and even more exciting, an Asam church.

Kloster Weltenburg’s location on a gravel spit of land near the Danube Gorge makes it a tough place for floods. (And there are markings on the archway showing where the high water reached.) Yet somehow, this monastery toughed it out close to 1000 years, even losing their land for a while. Today there are only a few monks left…but on a summer’s day, the Abbey grounds are bustling with activity.

weltenburg abbey

A Visit to Weltenburg Abbey

You enter though a small archway, and suddenly the courtyard opens in front of you. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the afternoon in the Biergarten with its rows and rows of umbrella shaded tables under large Linden trees.   You can have lunch, or maybe cake. Or try the cheese, made by the monks in the Abbey’s dairy.

But you should definitely try the beer.

weltenburg abbey beer

Weltenburg Abbey Beer

There’s a mostly good-natured rivalry going on in Germany about who can lay claim the oldest brewery. Weinhestephaner brewing goes back to 1040 CE, but monks have brewed Weltenburger Abbey beer since 1050 CE… and the Abbey foundations on the shores of the Danube, date back to the 700s. In the end, whether those 10 years make a difference is totally up to you. And the beer brewing rites are “Pacht” (leased) to a company out of Regensburg.

weltenburg abbey beer

The Weltenburg Abbey Beer Tour shares the history of brewing on the site. Four beers are brewed here. Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel (Winner of the World Beer Cup award in 2004, 2008 and 2012 for best Dunkel), 1050 (referring to the date of the first brew), Helles, and Weißbier. You can taste each of them in the very cool beer tasting cellar. Tour the on-site brewery ( you can to reserve that here ).

weltenburg abbey beer

Weltenburg Abbey

Don’t feel like a tour? But, as I mentioned, visiting the Weltenburg Kloster is more than just a chance to drink beer.

The foundations of the Weltenburg Abbey date back to circa. 610 CE by Agilolfing Duke Tassilo I, making it the oldest monastic foundation in Bavaria according to the brochure ( of course I grabbed the brochure ). There is “evidence of human habitation from the Neolithic Age (4500-3500 BCE). ( Makes sense, a nice spot on the river is a great place to set tle).

weltenburg abbey

I n the 8th century, the Benedictine order took over the space , started brewing beer in 1050, and then consecrated a church on the spot in 1191. And so it went on until 1713, when Abbot Maurus Bächl took over. A strong leader and organizer, he breathed new life into the order. AND (and this is the exciting part) he brought in the painter Cosmas Damian Asam to update the simple rectangular church.

weltenburg abbey

The Church Gets a Redesign by the Asam Brothers

Cosmas took the ball and RAN with it. First he reshaped the nave (that central part of the church where the people sit) into a domed ellipse. Then he painted frescos with stories of the spread of Christianity across the globe. ( Side note- 12 Benedictine monks traveled with Columbus on the Santa Maria… so the spread of Christianity to the Americas is depicted in the paintings ).

weltenburg abbey

He also added an apse (the end of the church for clergy) on the east end to get more dramatic space for the altar. Then Cosmas brought in his sculptor brother Egid Quiri Asam to build massive sculpture of St Georg slaying a dragon, which dominates the space.

weltenburg abbey

St George and the Dragon

Like most Asam works, the church is simply breathtaking. (Read more about the Asam Brothers here)  You can’t just walk through and say, “I’ve seen it”. Sit, and LOOK. The Asam brothers, and later Cosmas’s son Franz, covered every surface with a story. Paintings, Friezes (dimensional sculptures in the wall), and Sculptures (even one of Cosmas himself laughing down at you!). Color and gold. I try to imagine what it must be like for the monks… then and now…to sit in that place and experience the history of Christianity all around you.

asam brothers

Cosmas looking down on you

weltenburg abbey

Delivering the message of Christianity to the world.

Changes for the Monastery

From 1804 to 1812 Germany underwent a period of secularization and mediatistation . Which meant that many small principalities from the Holy Roman Empire coalesced into larger states (basically it went from over 300 to just 39) and a lot of religious entities lost their status, and became secular. The brewery and much of the land surrounding the Kloster were sold off. The church itself became a parish church for the area.

Then in 1841  King Ludwig I (the Oktoberfest king) gave the Benedictine’s their charter back. The Weltenburg Kloster went back to being an Abbey.

Kloster Museum

weltenburg abbey beer

Visiting the Weltenburg Kloster

Today, only 7 Monks live on the grounds (they must rattle around a bit). The Abbey Biergarten is open during summer months, and people are welcome to come enjoy themselves in the beautiful surroundings. It’s possible to wade or swim in the Danube…or you can just enjoy an Eis on a warm day (like my friend Carrie!)

weltenburg abbey

For information about visiting the Weltenburg Abbey, check out their Website –> Visiting the Weltenburg Abbey 

Kloster Weltenburg can be found just 5 Kilometers from  Kelheim, approximately 30 minutes southwest (by car) from Regensburg. Be aware that the parking lot is a 10 minute walk from the entrance, and you walk between a wall and street.

Spend the Night within the walls of Kloster Weltenburg.

“Gästehaus St. Georg – Weltenburger Klosterbetriebe GmbH provides modern but functionally furnished rooms. A rich buffet breakfast is available each morning. There is also a recreation room where guests can enjoy Weltenburger beer specialties that were brewed in the oldest monastery brewery in the world. There is also a traditional Klosterschenke lounge with a beer garden. The property also offers meals made from fresh produce from the region. Guests are also welcome to use the reading room where there is a selection of daily newspapers, nonfiction and fiction.” Click HERE for images of the rooms.

Gästehaus St. Georg - Weltenburger Klosterbetriebe GmbH

And maybe on your way out, you can grab a go-cup (or small barrel) of Weltenburger Abbey Beer

weltenburger abbey beer

You could also take an excursion to Kloster Weltenburg from Regensburg or Munich

Exclusive Bavarian beer tastings with Danube cruise from Munich

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By ship ...

... through the Danube and Altmühl valleys: On board the excursion boats of the Kelheim “White Fleet” (“Weiße Flotte”), passengers can enjoy the unique natural landscape.

Schiffahrt nach Kloster Weltenburg

Between March and November, excursion boats of Kelheim’s “White Fleet” (“Weiße Flotte”) run regularly between Kelheim and the Weltenburg Abbey . From April to November, they also run on the Altmühl River between Beilngries and Kelheim. In a relaxing atmosphere, passengers can enjoy culinary delights and a ride through the picturesque Altmühl Valley or through the extraordinary Danube Gorge .

Tip: A ride on the Altmühl or Danube is exciting and enjoyable on one of the entertaining special trips offered throughout the year.

The White Fleet of Kelheim

With six modern ships and room for almost 3000 passengers, today Kelheim’s Weiße Flotte, or White Fleet, is one of the largest private shipping companies in Germany.


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  1. Visitor center

    Nature — monastery — culture Experience 1000 years of history in the museum in the historic Weltenburg rock cellar! Amphorae from the Neolith­ic Age, the Gams­bart of the Alt­mühltal, the seals of Cos­ma Dami­an Asam, the plas­ter­ers' tools and pho­to­graph­ic views behind the monastery walls: his­to­ry comes to life in the muse­um in the his­toric Wel­tenburg ...

  2. How to Visit Weltenburg Abbey

    The visitor center in the historic rock cellar is open every day from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM between April and October (it's closed in winter). Entrance Fee. Apart from paid parking and boat tours, Weltenburg Abbey is technically free to visit. The entrance fee to Weltenburg Abbey visitor center (rock cellar) is €3.

  3. Weltenburg Abbey, Kelheim

    Inside the Abbey, our tour guide (from Viking) explained all the symbolism of the Gothic interior (lowest part of sanctuary very dark because people are sinful, higher up is a bit lighter to show enlightenment, and the top is full of light to represent heaven). ... The Weltenburg Abbey and its Baroque church enjoys a stunning location in the ...

  4. Weltenburg Abbey, Kelheim

    Weltenburg Abbey: Our most recommended tours and activities. 1. Regensburg: Day Trip to the Danube Gorge in Weltenburg. On the way to Weltenburg Abbey we make a stop at the Liberation Hall in Kelheim, an impressive 19th-century structure commemorating the liberation of Bavaria in 1815. Inside the monumental building there are 18 goddesses of ...

  5. Kloster Weltenburg Abbey: The world's oldest monastic brewery

    Weltenburg Abbey actually is the "World's Oldest MONASTIC Brewery." But let's not lie, there is something REALLY good about beer made by monks in Germany. And no, that was not sarcasm. ... Take a Brewery Tour. Tours are not the norm. Therefore, if you would like a guided tour of the Weltenburg Brewery, you'll have to call or email in ...

  6. Boat Ride to Weltenburg Abbey [Brewing Amazing Beer]

    Weltenburg Brewery. The abbey and brewery sits on a tight bend in the river, rather like a horseshoe shape and the monastery and grounds take up most of the available space. There are a few things to do, take a brewery tour if they are being offered, visit the cathedral or the museum, and do a little shopping.

  7. Weltenburg Abbey

    Abbey brewery. Weltenburg Abbey brewery ( Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei) is by some reckonings the oldest monastic brewery in the world, having been in operation since 1050, [2] : 30 although the title is disputed by Weihenstephan Abbey. Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel was given the World Beer Cup award in 2004, 2008 and 2012 as the best ...

  8. Weltenburg Abbey • Tourist Attraction Kelheim

    The World's Oldest Monastery Brewery. Located near the city of Kelheim, Weltenburg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery by river Danube and, first and foremost, famous for its brewery. It was founded in 1050 AD and is thus the oldest still existing monastery brewery in the world. On weekends, guided tours are offered at the brewery.

  9. The BEST Weltenburg Abbey Tours 2024

    Weltenburg Abbey. Tours. 2 activities found. How GetYourGuide ranks activities. Activities on the GetYourGuide marketplace are ranked by a combination of factors including popularity, diversity, availability, customer rating, cancellation rate, performance over time, and amount of revenue generated. Top pick. Guided tour.

  10. A Boat Cruise down the Danube to Weltenburg Abbey

    The Weltenburg Abbey boat trip is incredibly enjoyable with commentary over a loud speaker about the history of the Danube in this region with informative in both German and English. Immediately taking off from Kelheim, the commentator will begin by giving you some details about Kelheim. This tiny town was founded by the Wittelsbacher dynasty ...

  11. Weltenburg Abbey

    The Weltenburg Abbey is situated at the mouth of the romantic Danube Gorge. It was founded in the year 600 by the Iro-Scottish Columban missionary monks Eustasius and Agilus of Luxeuil (Burgundy), and is thus the oldest monastic settlement in Bavaria. The abbey church, built and embellished by the Asam brothers from 1716-1739 under Abbot Maurus ...

  12. arrival

    Since there is no reg­u­lar bus ser­vice, we rec­om­mend a taxi for the onward jour­ney to the monastery. Taxi com­pa­nies are Taxi Eisler 09443 3788 or Taxi Schier­linger 09443 928908. The cost of the approx­i­mate­ly 12 km long route is about € 20,00. For trav­ellers from Regens­burg, the sta­tion is Saal an der Donau.

  13. Weltenburg Abbey Tours

    Add a car. 1 room, 2 travelers. Economy. Explore Weltenburg Abbey when you travel to Kelheim! Find out everything you need to know and book your tours and tickets before visiting Weltenburg Abbey.

  14. Church tours

    Infor­ma­tion on this is avail­able from the monastery tav­ern on 09441 67570. Here you can also find out the cur­rent fees for the Wel­tenburg vis­i­tor car park. The meet­ing point for guid­ed tours of the church is the vis­i­tor cen­ter, where pay­ment is made in advance in cash or by vouch­er. The group will then be received ...

  15. Kelheim to Weltenburg Monastery: The Danube Gorge, Bavaria

    As we round a bend in the river, the Weltenburg Abbey church, built between 1716 and 1739 on a peninsula in the "Weltenburg Narrows", comes into view. Weltenburg Abbey Church A monastery was established on this site by Irish or Scottish or of St. Columbanus in about 620, although the Baroque buildings around the perimeter are much more recent.

  16. Boat trip through the Danube Gorge at Weltenburg

    The crowning glory is Weltenburg Abbey. It was founded in the year 600 and is Bavaria's oldest monastic complex. The splendid Asamkirche of this Benedictine Abbey is one of the masterpieces of European Baroque. Beer from the abbey's brewery has also won numerous accolades. It can be tasted in the beer garden of the Klosterschenke Weltenburg ...

  17. Weltenburg Abbey, Kelheim

    Weltenburg Abbey. All activities. Guided tours Private tours. Filters. 2 activities found. Activity ranking. Activities on the GetYourGuide marketplace are ranked by a combination of factors including popularity, diversity, availability, customer rating, cancellation rate, performance over time, and amount of revenue generated. ...

  18. Weltenburg Abbey in Bavaria, the world's oldest brewery

    The Weltenburg Abbey is situated at a bend of the Danube River, close to the Danube Gorge. Founded in the 7th century AD, making it the oldest monastery in Bavaria, the monks at Weltenburg adopted the Benedictine order in the 8th century. Beer-brewing activities at the monastery started at around 1050 AD.

  19. Weltenburg Abbey- Come for the Beer, Stay for the History

    The Weltenburg Abbey Beer Tour shares the history of brewing on the site. Four beers are brewed here. Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel (Winner of the World Beer Cup award in 2004, 2008 and 2012 for best Dunkel), 1050 (referring to the date of the first brew), Helles, and Weißbier. You can taste each of them in the very cool beer tasting cellar.

  20. Radtour Weltenburg-Tour

    The 37 km long Weltenburg tour begins in Kelheim in Lower Bavaria and starts with a boat trip through the Danube breakthrough. The rocks rise steeply out of the water up to 70 meters high. After about 40 minutes, the ship docks at Weltenburg Monastery. There are 5 steps leading into the baroque monastery church, and a mobile ramp is available ...

  21. Schifffahrt

    Between March and November, excursion boats of Kelheim's "White Fleet" ("Weiße Flotte") run regularly between Kelheim and the Weltenburg Abbey. From April to November, they also run on the Altmühl River between Beilngries and Kelheim. In a relaxing atmosphere, passengers can enjoy culinary delights and a ride through the picturesque ...

  22. Weltenburg Abbey & the Danube Narrows

    Weltenburg Abbey & the Danube Narrows. Hello fellow travelers! Doing a Danube River cruise in April and have only one day and one night in Regensburg. Will have a walking tour of the city included. I'm looking at adding the Weltenburg Abbey & the Danube Narrows ( by boat) excursion, but don't know if it is better to just stay in the city to ...

  23. Day trip Regensburg to Weltenburg Abbey

    You would get between an hour and an hour 45 mins at Weltenburg, depending on the outward connection at Kelheim. Return ticket prices for 2019: adults 34.50€ pp and children (6 to 16 yrs) 25.50€ pp. Families (2 adults and max 3 children) 89.00€. Suggest you email [email protected] for more details.