Do you know the Lower Austrian Mostviertel? If not, it’s about time! Too often, I just bypass the south-west of Lower Austria myself, the gently rolling foothills of the Alps, jetting past along the nearby highway or railway.
However, this alpine upland with its hilly orchards, the delightful “Moststraße” Wine Route or the sprawling four-cornered farmsteads with typical of this part of Lower Austria are well worth seeing. You can even find opportunities for Creative Travel along the Iron Trade Route in Mostviertel: Forging & Scything! here. Wow!
Today, though, let me share the story of visiting (and staying) at Seitenstetten Abbey.
Visiting (and staying) at Seitenstetten Abbey.
How does it feel to “spend the night behind monastery walls“, being part of the monastic community? From my many trips visiting monasteries in Austria over the last few years, I can say that such visits are always special.
Seitenstetten offers large, cosy rooms for overnight stays, while finding our way to the dining hall over corners and steps, behind the church and past the monks’ cloister turns out to be a real adventure! The food during breakfast and lunch is excellent, all typical, local fare. To better illustrate what I mean, let me offer you a view of my room at Seitenstetten Abbey.
Our visit of Seitenstetten Abbey takes place as part of a guided tour. But that’s not all: During evening vespers, which are held in Latin language every Sunday, we are surrounded by the peaceful atmosphere of the magnificent, baroque collegiate church. We sit together, rather rapt and listen (my six years of Latin at school turn out to be a good help!).
If you want to learn more about Seitenstetten Abbey and its history, I would advise you to join one of the various guided tours. One takes you through the historical abbey gardens, or along the exhibition rooms of the abbey and its church. Currently, there is also an exhibition called “400 Years of Potato Pioneers“: Did you know that the first potatoes in Europe, which came from overseas, were already cultivated in the abbey gardens exactly 400 years ago?
Foodie Travel Tips: Dinner at the Mostviertlerwirt restaurant and a tasting of local brandies.
Enjoy a typical dinner menu right on the main market square of Seitenstetten, at the “Mostviertlerwirt” restaurant Ott. You may order the “Father Franz” Pfandl – a good choice if you are into sampling local meat and veggies! Father Franz must have known that.
Afterwards, there’s a tasting of the abbey’s own liqueurs at the garden shop and restaurant, offered by a graduate of the local abbey grammar school. It’s great how committed the young people are here.
Visiting the abbey gardens and the garden academy.
Last but not least: Be sure to take at least one, preferably two hours to stroll through the historical gardens of the abbey. There is so much to see here: The creative garden, which students of the local grammar school have created and continue to design, the “Rosary Labyrinth Garden” and the adjoining Bognerhof nursery. We are lucky that owner and garden director Stefan Kastenhofer runs a special, guided tour for us.
The Bognerhof nursery is new and has only been attached to the historic abbey gardens for a few years; here the view opens up 360° over the alpine foothills surrounding Seitenstetten Abbey in the Lower Austrian Mostviertel district.
The garden academy is also relatively new, offering creative courses and seminars on the art of gardening all year round (I mean, where else can you get so much inspiration if not here? The course “Wildflowers for Balcony and Terrace” would also appeal to me … I must come back!).
But first, let me take you to the garden …
If you are into visiting other abbeys besides Seitenstetten, I can also recommend going to Reichersberg Abbey in Upper Austria. There, too, you will find opportunities for creative travel, including art and music workshops, historical gardens and cultural treasures besides. Read more about it here.
Check out my picture travel gallery of visiting both Seitenstetten and Reichersberg Abbeys here.
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Austrian Association of Monasteries, Abbeys & Convents “Klösterreich” on this trip to Seitenstetten Abbey. All opinions are my own.