Since I was a child, I have been looking at Göttweig Abbey towering high above the city of Krems and the Danube valley. Despite numerous visits (Christmas markets, panorama terrace, school visits, walks …) it always remained somehow distant “up there on the mountain”. It’s an impression that was also confirmed by Prior Father Maximilian during a guided tour: “We always have to overcome the feeling of being ‘them up there’. As monks, we try to convey closeness, contact and cordiality to our visitors every time we meet.” Having spent two days and two nights at Göttweig Abbey, I can say they are really good at it. So what’s it like to sleep “behind monastery walls”?
Spending the night in a monastery: The guest house and rooms are modern and comfortable indeed.
My travel companions Christina, Sabine & Tom, Monika & Petar and I were guests at Göttweig Abbey for a total of two nights. We spent them in simple but beautiful rooms; the guesthouse lounge welcomed us to refreshing drinks and in-house monastery wine. From here, the view of the surrounding landscape, the World Heritage Site Wachau, is truly magnificent. So is the feeling of walking all alone across the spacious inner courtyard of the monastery grounds early in the morning or late in the evening – when there are still or no other visitors. Check this out.
Possibilities to visit Göttweig Abbey: Guided tour of the exhibition, Emperor’s Staircase and Abbey Church with a look behind the scenes.
Göttweig Abbey is always worth a visit, even for day visitors. The enormous baroque Emperor’s Staircase, which is the prelude to a visit to the museum in the Emperor’s Wing, is a feast for the eyes. What was special for me was to be allowed to go one level higher this time and also to get to know the roof construction. It bears the famous ceiling fresco by Paul Troger, which makes this part of the monastery one of the most beautiful and largest staircases in Europe.
In addition, both Eveline Gruber, who is responsible for culture and tourism matters at Göttweig Abbey, and Prior Father Maximilian took extra time for us. They both provided us with many interesting explanations about the workings of such a large and important visitor attraction. Philosophizing with the long-time Benedictine monk, whom I already know from a visit to Saint Paul’s Abbey in the Lavant Valley in Carinthia, on the north-facing balcony with a view over the Danube valley made me feel like we were on a “state reception”. Go take a look at this.
Tip: If you visit during the summer season, go check out the abbey’s garden grounds.
If, like us, you visit Göttweig Abbey during the warm season, be sure to take time for a short (or long!) detour to the Abbey’s apricot show garden. It is open daily and offers interesting facts about the original Wachau apricot. Of course, we were also allowed to taste the products of the garden: Apricot nectar, liqueur or schnapps. Mmmh – delightful!
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Austrian Association of Monasteries, Abbeys & Convents “Klösterreich” on this trip to Göttweig Abbey. All opinions are my own.