Lilienfeld Abbey. You may easily find this gem of a medieval Austrian Abbey (the largest in all of Austria!) only about half an hour’s drive from St. Pölten, or a good hour’s drive from the capital city, Vienna. Coming into the small town of Lilienfeld, you can’t miss the abbey against the backdrop of the gently rising alpine upland, as it’s clearly the largest building complex around. There’s a school, a mighty monastic library, countless forests as well as even an “alpine hut (“Klosteralm”) at Muckenkogel mountain” that now make up the entire little “kingdom” of Lilienfeld Abbey. I have already spent the night here as a pilgrim back in 2014 (read more about it here!), and have now come back with more time at my hands to explore the very abbey itself, as well as its surroundings.
And haven’t you, too, been wondering how a night spent as a guest at Austria’s largest medieval abbey might look like ..?
I have also been really impressed with Irene Rabl, a young woman who is responsible for the abbey’s oldest manuscripts.
And not only because for the first (and probably only) time in our lives, we get to see an original handwriting of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. But also because we are all but fascinated by the lightness and self-evident handling of ancient writings (some of them many hundreds years old) of Irene Rabl herself, whose youthful freshness represents an unexpected contrast to the old collections surrounding her. My tip: ask for Ms. Rabl at Lilienfeld Abbey. Her anecdotes are really exciting, and convey an interesting, historical overall impression of Lilienfeld, as well as the history of Austria.
And if it’s nature you want (and enjoy), why not visit the local abbey park, as well as the nearby mountain hut, called “Klosteralm”, as well? To get there, you have to take a one-chair chair lift: A true travel adventure not to be missed!
The establishment of the abbey park of Lilienfeld falls into a time when the discovery of the “New World” exerted a lot of fascination on former inhabitants. So, contrary to strictly geometrical guidelines at the time, it was created gently, even playfully, and planted with numerous, exotic tree species. The park thus seems more contemporary than ever, despite being almost two hundred years old.
Not far away from Lilienfeld Abbey, you will also find the opportunity to “hover” up to the so-called Klosteralm hut on the Muckenkogel mountain, using a quiet chairlift ride which takes about 20 minutes. The view from the top is wonderful, extending far into the northern Alpine foothills, the Tulln basin, the city of Sankt Pölten, and many other parts of Lower Austria. My tip for you: Up at the Klosteralm hut itself, you will be well looked after and can enjoy regional food and drinks, as well as the sun (and a local, cute furry cate!) warming your belly!
Monika & Petar Fuchs, who publish on TravelWorldOnline.de, as well as Angelika Mandler, of WiederUnterwegs.com, have also written about their experience of staying at Lilienfeld Abbey:
- “2-tägige Stift Heiligenkreuz und Mayerling Tour für Genießer“
- “Sie beten, chanten und posten – Zu Gast bei den Mönchen im Stift Heiligenkreuz“
- “Noch eine Nacht im Kloster: Im Stift Lilienfeld.“
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Austrian Association of Monasteries, Abbeys & Convents “Klösterreich” on this trip to Lilienfeld Abby. All opinions are my own.