Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz

Choir stalls in the abbey Heiligenkreuz

Day trip to Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz

The monks from the Cistercian Monastery of Heiligenkreuz are known in the Vienna woods mainly because of the sensational success of their choir. They celebrated this with their Gregorian chant in both the Classic Charts and the Pop Charts. The CD Chant - Music for Paradise alone stormed into the top ten of the pop charts in England immediately after its release. A success that until then only Falco and DJ Ötzi had achieved. This phenomenal success continued in Austria, Germany, England, Holland, Poland, Belgium and even the USA where it topped the Billboard charts.

The music on this CD is 900 year old choral songs by the Cistercians. These obviously met the taste of the time. If you want, you can listen to the monks live, even daily during the monks' choir prayers. However, we did not come to the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz to hear the monks. We wanted to visit the Cistercian Abbey Lower Austria to watch, which was founded in 1133. It is the largest cultural attraction in the world today Vienna woods.


The monastery building of the Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz
The monastery building of the Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz


Guided tour through Stift Heiligenkreuz

And impressive is the Collegiate Church of Heiligenkreuz, which is located in the narrow valley in the Vienna Woods, not far from the city Baden near Vienna nestles. We meet Frater Nicholas, a young monk who guides us through the monastery and the church. He speaks amazingly open about life as a monk in modern times. At first I do not dare ask too curious questions about life in the monastery. I fear being too indiscreet, but when Fr Nikolaus, without hesitation, answers my cautiously formulated questions, I am getting more and more courageous. He tells us frankly about the life behind the monastery walls.


Hotels in the Vienna Woods *



Father Nicholas explains monastic life to us
Father Nicholas explains monastic life to us


Life as a monk

I want to know from him what life looks like as a monk in this day and age. Do not you live in this world? Frater Nikolaus laughs and explains that the closeness to the modern man is very important, especially among the Cistercians. Only then could the Christian thought be further communicated. Somehow we come to the proselytizing. Here, too, he means that only through contact with the people on the ground do they experience what Christian life looks like. It is not missionary in the foreground, but living together in everyday life. Whether this is really so, I can not judge as an outsider. But I'm impressed by the frankness with which Fr Nikolaus talks to us about these topics.


A saint relief in the monastery
A relief of a saint in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz


Cloister, mortuary chapel and Anna chapel in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz

He leads us through the cloister and shows us the death chapel and the Annakapelle in the inner monastery area. In the collegiate church he tells us about the founding of the church and how Robert of Molesme founded the Order and Bernard of Clairvaux made him known. He shows us how different the works are that monks practice in Heiligenkreuz Abbey. In the sacristy, we see works of art created by monks of the monastery. Even today, a monk living in Heiligenkreuz Abbey produces his works of art, sculptures and furnishings for the public spaces of the monastery.


Beautiful stained glass windows in the collegiate church
Beautiful stained glass windows in the collegiate church of the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz


In the collegiate church in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz

After our tour, we stop at the beautifully carved choir stalls of the monastery church at the end of our tour of the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz, where Frater Nikolaus shows us one of the hymn books. He picks it up from below, puts it on the choir pew and hits the book cover with a loud bang. Then he looks at me mischievously and asks, "Do you know where the phrase 'open a book' comes from?" It's easy to guess that it has something to do with his behavior. And he explains: “The books are closed on the side with a tight metal buckle and can only be opened when the book pages are close together. Therefore the monks must open the books in this way.”


The book is open
The book is open in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz


After our tour of the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, we gained interesting, amazing and surprising insights into the life of today's monks and will certainly see life in the monastery with different eyes in the future. And as it should be, after our visit we make a stop in the monastery tavern, where we end our visit with the monks in the monastery of Heiligenkreuz for a hearty drink snack relish.

Travel Arrangements:

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.

Arrival at the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz

Arrival by plane, bus or train*. The nearest airport is Vienna Schwechat. The Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz can be easily reached by public transport from Vienna, via Baden or via Mödling.

The most comfortable way is by car. You can book a rental car * here.

Excursions from Vienna:

There are also organized excursions from Vienna to the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz and to the Vienna Woods:

Accommodation in and around the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz:

The Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz offers simple overnight accommodation in the monastery for guests who are seriously interested in monastery life. Participation in church services and prayer hours is encouraged.
Inquiries by email to:

If you do not want to, you will find accommodations here


Travel destinations in the Vienna Woods



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Source: Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz: Research on site at the invitation of Wienerwald Tourismus. However, our opinion remains unaffected.

Text Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz

Travel expert Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.