Churches for Motorists on German Autobahns – Spiritual Pit Stops

by KathleenDuffy

Germany's Autobahns are stressful, noisy, frantic environments. But motorists find peace and spiritual renewal at dedicated churches along the Autobahns.

German Autobahns are famous for their lack of an overall speed limit. Although traffic moves with supreme efficiency, driving on the Autobahns is stressful, requiring extreme levels of concentration.

Sometimes it can all get a bit too much for many drivers and what is needed is a pit stop. But rather than stopping off for a hamburger and coffee, many motorists are choosing to make a break for the specially situated churches along the route - a pitstop for the mind and soul.

German Autobahn Churches Give Motorists a Spiritual Break

German Autobahn
German Autobahn

When the going gets tough on the German Autobahns, drivers can turn in to a number of special motorway churches located just beyond the hard shoulder. These churches are Protestant, Catholic or privately built. They are open to all, whether religiously inclined or simply seeking rest and quiet.

Here drivers can sit in quiet contemplation or prayer, returning to their vehicles in a more peaceful and calm state of mind.

This results, some church custodians claim, is less road rage and fewer accidents.

Exter Autobahn Church
Exter Autobahn Church

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Musik for Autobahns

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Handy for the Toilet!

Is that a bad thing?

There are thirty-three churches close to the Autobahns which are specifically located to attract the weary motorist. More than one million drivers visit them every year. One pastor admitted to a BBC reporter (1) that many of the visitors to his church came to use the toilet facilities. Did he mind? "No, there are many ways to God", he said amiably.

Autobahn churches are simple places. Drivers on the move do not need much; their requirements Lighting a candleare basic. There will, of course, be parking facilities and toilets.

The church itself may provide the opportunity to light a candle and perhaps write down concerns and leave them pinned to a special place. There may be toys and books for children.

Most importantly, there will be beauty, peace and silence.

Autobahn Churches' Guest Books

Write away your stress!


What all the Autobahn churches have in common, however, is the Guest Book where drivers have the opportunity to speak from the heart. In one instance, a life was saved. A driver wrote about how he was going to commit suicide. Someone reading the entry informed the police and the driver was contacted and helped.

Erasmus writing

Other less dramatic but equally compelling entries give thanks for winning the fight against drug addiction, for being in the church and not in a motorway accident, or simply asking for a safe journey home.


The guest book is regarded as an essential, positive feature of Autobahn churches. The simple act of writing down a sentence or two about how you are feeling or your appreciation of the space provided can change your mood from frazzled and stressed to relatively calm and refreshed.

Here's the Sign for an Autobahn Church

Sign for Autobahn Church

The location of German Autobahn churches can be found at this website. It also provides photographs of each church, as well as detailed information about opening times and facilities. If you don't speak German it's easy to understand as the churches relate to the numbers on the map. All the churches are well signposted along the Autobahns and are easily accessed.

Taking time out to break your journey in a quiet, peaceful place can refresh and revitalise you.  It might persuade you to slow down, get some rest, think about where you are going and why. 

For once, in Germany at least, there is a peaceful, spiritual addition to parking up at the busy service station -  this pit stop is good for your mental health!


  • (1) “Finding Spirituality on the Autobahn”, From  Our Own Correspondent, BBC World Service, 20th May 2010.
  • “Germany's motorway churches offer travellers time to  reflect and pray”, in Lifestyle online magazine, January 28, 2010.

Handy Items for Motorists on the Move

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Updated: 07/09/2013, KathleenDuffy
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KathleenDuffy on 07/09/2013

No general speed limit, but the 'advisory' speed limit is 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph).

KathleenDuffy on 07/09/2013

I don't drive myself! :)

JoHarrington on 07/09/2013

No speed limit on an autobahn? Wow! I'm going there!

KathleenDuffy on 07/09/2013

I agree! Gives you a chance to get yourself together.

dustytoes on 07/09/2013

What a great idea this, is to use churches as places of rest along a busy roadway.

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