Visiting (and staying) at Disentis Monastery when travelling to Switzerland.

“You’re going to Switzerland to stay in a monastery!? Is that even possible?” There’s quite a few questions over my upcoming trip to Disentis Monastery in Switzerland, located in the Swiss canton of Grisons (Graubünden). And I must say, I’m actually quite excited myself – especially in times like these. Will it be possible to cross the border without any issues? And back? Well, I can now say that the answers to these questions are all YES: Travelling to Switzerland by car from Austria, as we did, was no problem at all, and the drive from Bludenz in Vorarlberg, the start of our trip, took only one and a half hours via Chur. At Disentis Monastery, it was Brother Martin who received us very warmly following a prior announcement of our visit and stay via the Austrian association “Klösterreich”.

Herzliche Ankunft und lockeres Plaudern mit Bruder Martin sowie meinen Reise-KollegInnen Christina Leutner (rechts) und Inge & Heinz Jucker (links).

A warm welcome at Disentis Monastery, where we got to chat with Brother Martin at the modern St. Placi Stube parlour, including my travel buddies Christina Leutner (on the right) as well as Inge & Heinz Jucker (sitting left).


Gleich zu Beginn weist uns Bruder Martin unter anderem stolz darauf hin, dass es auch einen eigenen Wein aus dem Kloster Disentis hier zu verkosten gibt. Selbiger wird uns später beim Abendessen gereicht.

Right from the beginning, Brother Martin points out that Disentis Monastery even has its own wine label, proudly presenting this red wine which is again served with dinner later that day.


Spending the night in a monastery is a truly special travel experience.

So what’s it really like to “check in” at a monastery?

As with my previous experience of spending the night in a monastery, convent or abbey in Austria (check out my blog posts about staying at the rather famous Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Lower Austria, the Abbey of Saint Lambrecht in Styria or Wernberg Monastery near Villach in Carinthia), I am once again humbled and excited to being welcomed by a community of Benedictine monks at their magnificent monastery, over 1400 years old in its original building structure.

Der Blick in den Gästetrakt des Klosters verrät: Hier ist man wirklich sehr um Gäste bemüht.

A peek into the corridor that is reserved for guests at Disentis Monastery: It does look comfortable and inviting, very much in line with the rule of the Benedictine Order as for generous hospitality towards visitors and pilgrims.


Brother Martin Hieronymus takes his time in guiding us around the monumental historical building complex, also explaining such mundane tasks as to when and where breakfast and dinner are served. In addition, he welcomes us to take part in the holy evening and morning service right inside the adjacent monastery church. It is not compulsory to do so as a visitor, however very much appreciated by the community of monks when staying at Disentis Monastery. I did go to church service in the evening (it’s a truly splendid church after all, and I have welcomed the experience) but failed to show up for much of the morning service, going for a nature walk first and then stumbling right into the breakfast room!

Blick in mein Zimmer im Kloster Disentis: Alles hier ist in gemütlich-hellen Holztönen gehalten.

Take a look at my room in Disentis. This is where I stayed: Comfortable, right? I love the modern touch in this ancient building.


Abends wird uns gemeinsam Suppe und Hauptmahlzeit aus großen Schüsseln serviert, dazu gibt es Wein aus den klostereigenen Weingärten.

In the evening, Brother Martin serves us soup and a generous, delicious meal from large bowls. After prayer, he explains the language that’s written on the coasters that you can see: It’s a Rhaeto-Romanic dialect particular to this part of Switzerland, connected to other Roman languages that I speak so I actually understand a little bit of what I’m reading!


Richtig herzlich wird es, als wir herausfinden, dass Bruder Martin den ehemaligen Chef von Heinz kennt, der Klosterschüler hier in Disentis war. Die Welt ist einfach klein!

It gets even more personal, when we find out that Brother Martin actually knows Heinz’ former boss, who was a student at the local high school in Disentis.


Was für ein netter Abend! Danke für die Gastfreundschaft in Disentis!

What a nice evening! Thank you so much for your hospitality in Disentis!


Auch das Frühstück im Kloster Disentis erfrischt uns mit einer guten Speise- und Getränkeauswahl, erneut direkt in der St. Placi-Stube.

Breakfast is again served at the St. Placi Stube parlour, which delights us with its choice and overview of local flavours.


Rund um das Kloster genieße ich bei meinem Morgenspaziergang den Blick auf die Klosterkirche samt den zum Morgengebet hell erleuchteten Fenstern.

Around the monastery, I enjoy the mountain landscape that surrounds Disentis Monastery, and its brightly lit monastery church.


Tours of the monastery are available both online and “offline”.

Disentis Monastery has its own free app offering a virtual tour of the monastery church, the monastery building complex as well as the monastery museum. On our way to the actual monastery church, we pass by a touch screen that offers even more detailed visitor information about Disentis Monastery. I am further impressed by the monastery’s very own Instagram account; there is even a Social Media manager employed here. Brother Martin laughs all while busily typing up suggestions for improvements that we give him. It’s “only three years ago” that he got himself a smartphone, finding it very useful indeed. Even as we go about our visit, he sends me emails with further information and links about the monastery and its activities. Chapeau to such an excellent display of modern “customer service”!

Blick auf den Bildschirm: Auf dem Weg zur Klosterkirche finden Besucher erweiterte Informationen rund um das Kloster Disentis vor.

Check out further information about Disentis Monastery on this touch screen located right near the entrance to the monastery church. It is available in three languages. I can also recommend the easy-to-use monastery app.


Bruder Theo eröffnet die Führung durch die Klosteranlage mit einem Blick in das "Allerheiligste":

Brother Theo welcomes us with a peek into the “Sanctus Sanctuarium”: Relics of Saint Placidus und Saint Sigisbert, who are the attributed founders of Disentis Monastery, as well as a look upon the ancient monastery wall dating back to the seventh (!) century AD. Wow. Can you believe that the sun is said to have fallen through the window in the back on precisely the day the monastery was founded, 11 July ..?


Weiter geht es mit einem Besuch der Klosterkirche, die dem Heiligen Martin gewidmet ist und über die wir während unseres Rundganges viel Interessantes und Wissenswertes erfahren.

We continue our visit by marvelling at the splendour of the Baroque monastery church, dedicated to Saint Martin.


Auf dem anschließenden Weg zum Museum begegnen uns erneut uralte Grundmauern der gewaltigen Klosteranlage.

On our way to the museum, we again pass by the ancient stone foundations of Disentis Monastery.


We will visit the museum together with Brother Martin, which is partly housed in the former chapter house of the monastery and contains true treasures, including altarpieces and vestments that are a good 700 years old

We visit the monastery museum together with Brother Martin, which is partly housed in the former chapter house containing treasures such as altarpieces and vestments that are well over 700 years old.


Gut gefällt mir weiters die Ausgestaltung des naturkundlichen Teils des Museums. Hier wäre ich gerne schon als Schüler

I also enjoy visiting the natural history museum part here. Do the students of the nearby school think alike, I wonder ..?


Uralte Bücher (ich LIEBE alte Bücher!) sind in der Museumsausstellung ebenfalls zu bewundern.

Ancient books (I LOVE ancient books!) are also to be seen in the museum exhibition.


Vielen Dank für die tolle Führung sowie den teilweise großartigen Blick hinter die Kulissen, Bruder Martin und Bruder Theo!

Thank you very much for taking the time to show us around, Brother Theo, Brother Martin! Brother Theo is mostly responsible for doing the guided tours at Disentis Monastery, do ask for him when you visit here as his way of guiding visitors is wonderful.


Around Disentis Monastery: Herbal garden, high school and a magnificent church organ.

Spending the night at Disentis Monastery, we brought some more time with us over simply visiting the museum, the church or the shop area. We have thus spoken with a young monk about his work in the garden, and he even shows us the drying racks he uses to dry herbal leaves and flowers. “The garden is my passion”, he explains modestly, and gently points towards the orchards from the adjacent monastery high school.

Blick in den Kräutergarten des Kloster Disentis, der direkt am Berghang hinter dem Kloster liegt ...

The best view of the herbal garden and flower orchard at Disentis Monastery is from one of its high school rooms.


Wir dürfen in den Trockenraum des Klosters blicken und erkennen, welche Schätze hier reifen und zu köstlichen Tee- und Kräutermischungen weiterverarbeitet werden.

We are allowed a glimpse of the drying racks that are used to make excellent herbal tea varieties, as well as herbal mixtures.


Last but not least, we are taken back to the monastery church in order to visit its mighty organ, a musical instrument that is unlike any other church organs I have ever seen. Parts of it are several hundred years old, it counts over 4000 single pipes, and now is entirely computerised, too: “I can establish a WiFi connection that allows remote technical support all the way from Germany”, Brother Stefan explains, who is very modest about his excellent musical (and technical) abilities in playing this wonderful organ. I have never quite seen anything like it, and hearing him play in the mighty monastery church, the building for which it was conceived, is really something. Check this out.

Die mächtige Orgelanlage beeindruckt mich: Auf dem Foto hier

The mighty organ at Disentis Monastery is something you shouldn’t miss as part of your visit here.


Bruder Stefan gibt uns bereitwillig eine Darbietung seines Könnens und zieht dabei sprichwörtlich "alle Register"

Brother Stefan is able to “pull all registers”, in the literal sense of the word, making music from thousands of different pipes that sound quite out of this world really!


If you fancy looking at even more photographs from visiting Disentis Monastery, here is my selection on Flickr:


My travel buddies Christina Leutner ( as well as Inge & Heinz Jucker ( have also written about their stay in Disentis:


Disclaimer: We have been invited by Disentis Monastery as well as “Klösterreich” on our visit to the monastery in Switzerland. All opinions are my own.

You may also like

Join the discussion

This website uses cookies to make your visit more efficient and to offer you more user-friendliness. By using this website, you consent to the use of cookies. Accept Read More

Cookies Policy