The Parish Church of St Sebastian Ramsau is an adorable little chapel located in the tiny town of Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden Germany. This world-famous little church is idyllically situated in the foothills of the alps and looks like something straight out of a fairytale!
To further add to the charm, in the forefront of the church is a little wooden bridge that spans a delightful babbling stream. Crystal clear water in a lovely shade of blue flows merrily downstream.
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Is the Parish Church of St. Sebastian in Ramsau worth seeing?
The postcard perfect setting of the Ramsau Kirche, possibly the most beautiful in all of Germany, is the reason it landed itself on my travel bucket list! This little gem is absolutely worth seeing! Not only is the view second to none but the church is a centuries old historical treasure.
Here are all the details you need to plan your trip to The Parish Church of St. Sebastian:
Table of Contents
The Parish Church of St Sebastian (Ramsau church/ Ramsau Kirche)
What is Ramsau Church (Ramsau Kirche) famous for? Besides the world-famous scenery, The Parish Church of St Sebastian has a rich history that includes a connection with the classic Christmas carol Silent Night and an American President.
The Parish Church of St. Sebastian, sometimes simply referred to as the Ramsau Church (Ramsau Kirche) is a Catholic church located in the municipality of Ramsau (Gemeinde Ramsau) along the banks of the Ramsauer Ache River.
The historic and beloved church has been in this spot for over 500 years! Built in 1512 under Prince Provost Gregor Rainer, it’s a pleasing mixture of Gothic Revival and Baroque Revival architecture. St. Sebastian was consecrated and opened in 1518.
For a time, Joseph Mohr, an Austrian Roman Catholic Priest, assisted with clerical duties at Ramsau Church. Mohr is known for composing the famous Christmas tune Silent Night.
Looks can be deceiving (full disclosure)
I’ve been gazing at photos of St. Sebastian for years and dreaming of the day I’d find myself in this idyllic setting. I imagined a remote mountain paradise. Imagine how surprised I was when upon arrival I discovered that the church is located right in the middle of town!
There’s actually a road that runs between the church and the bridge! So much for the unspoilt nature of my dreams! However, this historic church is still a worthwhile place to visit. If you work it just right, you can get a photo of the church with a view of a harmonious landscape SANS PEOPLE.
Where to get the best photos
Cross the little bridges that cross the steam for the best photos. Holzbrücke Bridge will lead you to the Malerwinkel (Painters Corner), a good place to get the iconic photos of St. Sebastian Parish Church.
Visiting Saint Sebastian Parish Ramsau Kirche
Can you go inside the Parish Church of St Sebastian?
Yes, you can! Visitors are welcome to view the historic interior. While you’re there, light a candle and soak in the feel of this little ancient chapel.
The old wooden pews/ benches in the church date to 1615 A.D. The wooden figures of Jesus and the twelve apostles are estimated to date back to 1430 A.D. Notice the lovely patina of age on the old stone tile floor.
If you really want to have a full immersive experience, plan to attend a church service.
- Thursday 7:00 pm
- Saturday Evening Mass 7:00 pm
- Sunday 8:30 a.m.
Times subject to change, especially on holidays, check the official website for current and up to date information.
There is a public toilet next to the church.
You’ll find two well cared for cemeteries in the little churchyard. The one on the hill is a burial site, the little cemetery next to the church is for cremated remains.
Webcam and video Ramsau Kirche
Can’t get to the Parish Church of St. Sebastian just yet but can’t wait to see it? You’re in luck! There’s a 24-hour webcam pointed at the church!
Location and how to get to St. Sebastian Church
The church can easily be done as a daytrip from Salzburg, and even Munch!
Salzburg Austria 42 km
Munich Germany 140 km
Berchtesgaden 10 km
Location (by car)
Address: Im Tal 82, 83486 Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, Germany
GPS coordinates: 47.60799180698436, 12.894637323279314
There is free parking on the main street in front of the church. You may need to use your parking disc since free of charge parking may be restricted to 2 hours. We parked across the road from the Sparkasse grocery store.
It is easy to arrive at Ramsau by bus.
Hourly bus service from Berchtesgaden: take the Bus 846 (Berchtesgaden – Ramsau – Hintersee) to Ramsau (15 minutes.) To seamlessly plan your route use Rome2Rio.
Nearest train station: Berchtesgaden Hbf (10 km)
From Berchtesgaden you will need to either take a taxi or the bus (see above.)
When is the best time to visit St. Sebastian?
As you might expect, this is a popular attraction among tourists. If you want to get a picture without people in it:
- Show up very early
- Show up later in the day
- Try to visit during shoulder (spring and fall) or even the off season (winter)
- Expect to sit and wait for the perfect opportunity and press that button fast!
Parish Church of St Sebastian In Winter
In winter, a heavy snow blankets the entire scene and the addition of a snowy mountain backdrop significantly increases the charm!
The lights of summer that illuminate St. Sebastian church are replaced by the addition of a few tastefully simple Christmas lights. It’s the perfect place to snap a few holiday photos.
Other things to do in the area and how much time?
How much time do you need to plan for?
You can easily see Ramsau Kirche in the one hour of time between when the bus drops you off and the next arrives to whisk you off. However, I recommend that you linger and really take in the scenery and soak up the feel of the historic site.
Additionally, there are many other things to do in the area. Whether you are using public transportation or driving, I urge you to consider some of the other worthwhile things to do in this area. Make a whole day of it!
Adrenalin Erlebnis mountain cart ride
Adventure with fantastic mountain views! Contact Marco through their website for instructions on where to meet.
Distance from Ramsau Church: 11 km
Konigsee and Obersee
Konigsee is a fjord like lake nestle in the German Alps. Take a scenic boat tour on Konigsee to the back of the lake where you have the option to disembark. From there, a lovely path leads to Obersee, an idyllic emerald green lake.
Don’t stop there! If you continue, a moderately challenging path will lead you from the front of Obersee to the back for even more stunning views! Up for more walking? There’s a path that leads from Obersee through an alpine pasture to Röthbachfall waterfall, the highest waterfall in Germany!
Distance from Ramsau Church: 12 km
The Eagles Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)
Hitler’s “nest” sits perched on a sheer rock cliff, today a restaurant.
Distance from Ramsau Church: 14 km
Wimbachklamm gorge and waterfall
Don’t miss this stunner! Transverse elevated wooden walkways and bridges that run through this ridiculously scenic gorge with multiple waterfalls. Easy 1.4-mile loop.
Distance from Ramsau Church: 3 km
There’s a lovely lake just a few kilometers down the road from the church. Hintersee Lake has a 3.5-kilometer trail that circles the lake and takes you through a magical forest.
If walking isn’t your thing, you can rent rowboats and swan pedal boats instead or just take in the views.
Distance from Ramsau Kirche: 4 km
Walk from Ramsau Church
It is possible to walk from Ramsau Church to Hintersee through a storybook forest. Use Komoot to plan your route.
Berchtesgaden National Park (Nationalpark)
The land around the church is actually a national park that boasts 174 named mountains, including the Watzmann, the tallest peak in the park. Berchtesgaden National Park is a veritable hiking paradise with mountain huts scattered throughout the park.
Bindalm trail is popular with visitors. Check this site for further information on the ALM ErlebnisBUS that runs a route through the park.
Distance from Ramsau Church: 5 km
Pilgrimage Church Maria Himmelfahrt Chapel
Near the Gasthof Oberwirt -Ramsau you’ll find a little trail named Kunterweg that leads to a tiny little chapel in the forest called Maria Himmelfahrt. The path is quite steep but supposed to be worth the climb.
Distance from Ramsau Church: 900 meters via Kunterweg trail
Painting and Photography
Ramsau Church (Ramsau Kirche) is, for obvious reasons, a popular motif among both hobby and professional painters and photographers. In fact, there’s a spot just over the little river called Painters Corner (Ramsau Malerwinkel) where you’ll get those iconic views of the church.
It stole the heart of an American President
American visitors may be interested to know that Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was also smitten by St Sebastian. Eisenhower enjoyed hobby painting, and the little church was one of his favorite subjects.
Purchase fine art and professional photos of St. Sebastian Parish Church
Art Heroes offers several images of Ramsau Church including a night image by Henk Meijer, (unlimited print runs) frame service available.
Fine Art America
Try your hand at painting Ramsau Church!
ST. SEBASTIAN IN RAMSAU – masterpiece triptych from SCHIPPER Arts & Crafts
3 individual paintings. Painting templates on a palpable canvas structure. Oil on canvas enhances the finished painting’s appearance with a touch of your own artistic character of the paintings. Matching aluminum frames available.
Contents of the box: 3 rigid painting cardboards with canvas structure finish. Precise pre-printed contours with well legible numbers. Water-based acrylic paints. Ready-to-paint pre-mixed colors. Brush with fine tip. Template and detailed instructions for successful results.
Where to stay
Search nearby accommodations at Booking.com. Here are a few standouts in the area: (Prices based on double occupancy)
ALPEN EXPERIENCE Jugendgästehaus CVJM Aktivzentrum
Is nested on the shores of Hintersee and offers rooms with balconies overlooking the lake. 5 km from Ramsau, 8.1 guest rating. Prices start at $144 per night.
book it here on booking.com!
Located just 650 meters from Ramsau Kirche with beautiful alpine decor, spa services with panoramic views, choose a balcony or terrace with mountain views, 9.0 guest rating, prices starting at $355 per night.
book it here on booking.com!
Villa Rein Boutiquehotel
This Art Nouveau villa, dating from 1898, is a great option for visitors to the area who have transportation. Located 20 km from Ramsau this beautiful boutique hotel located in the historic section of Bad Reichenhall is central to sites in the National Park, Salzburg, and Berchtesgaden. 9.5 guest rating, prices start at $208.00 per night.
book it here on booking.com!
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Distances: distances noted in this article are for approximation only, Source: Google Maps
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